Dallas Cowboys: Trade for Jeff Okudah, the top CB in the 2020 Draft?

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys are rebuilding their secondary. The Detroit Lions are rebuilding their team. A trade for Detroit’s top pick from 2020, Jeff Okudah, could help both teams achieve their rebuilding goals.

With Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis both likely to leave in free agency, the Dallas Cowboys are in the market for one, if not two, cornerbacks this offseason. At the very least, they need a starter to match with second year cornerback Trevon Diggs.

Detroit is in a much different situation than Dallas. With franchise QB Matthew Stafford possibly on the way out, the Lions don’t really expect to compete in 2021 like Dallas hopes to. Detroit just flushed the toilet on their front office and coaching staff, and is determined to rebuild the franchise in the image of their newly installed leadership ranks.

With new GM Brad Holmes in place, the Lions are ready to rebuild. That could involve trading away their top draft selection from last year if it means Holmes can get draft pick(s) to replace him.

The Dallas Cowboys should inquire about Jeff Okudah, the top CB in the draft last year.

Jeff Okudah, the best cornerback prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft and third overall pick, was seen as a can’t miss prospect last year. Stacked against the crop this year, his prospect status is head and shoulders above top prospects Caleb Farley and Patrick Surtain II.

Now, Okudah’s rookie season was nothing short of terrible last season (which is why a proposition like this is even possible), but this could be the perfect “buy low” situation for a player with All-Pro potential.

Stacked against the crop this year, Okudah’s prospect status is head and shoulders above top 2021 prospects Caleb Farley and Patrick Surtain II.

Coaches and general managers inherently want to make their picks work. When draft picks bust, decision makers look stupid. This leads to many teams holding onto players much longer than they should. It’s both the fallacy of sunk costs and ego that makes them hold on.

The opposite happens when new front offices and new coaching staff’s come on board. They have no desire to “make it work” and would just assume bring in their own guys than play with the mess they inherited. This can cause some premature dispatches of personnel.

It’s the latter situation the Dallas Cowboys could look to. Jeff Okudah was given a 40.8 rating by Pro Football Focus for his play last season. That ranked him 115th in the NFL. Not exactly what one would expect from such a highly regarded prospect in last year’s draft.

But to put that in perspective, Jeff Okudah was the highest regarded CB prospect to enter the league since Jalen Ramsey. He’s in a different class than the top of the class this year and may be worth gambling on since all cornerbacks are gambles anyway.

Another thing to consider is how slowly CBs typically develop. The position notoriously has growing pains that must be endured. There aren’t short cuts. Look no further than Dallas’s second round pick last season: Trevon Diggs

Trevon showed us oodles of promising play, but he gave up a lot along the way. I likened him to the feast or famine style of play Marcus Peters became known for, but the reality is, he could develop into something much different in the next couple season. The maturation process at CB is fluid and often hard to predict.

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How much would the Dallas Cowboys have to give up for Detroit’s bust from last season? That would probably depend on what they think of them. There was talk about moving Okudah to safety last year. If that’s seriously considered by them today, then the cost probably wouldn’t be unreasonably high to get him. A Day 2 pick and conditional sidecar pick may be able to get the job done if Brad Holmes wants to bring in his own guys to build around.

Why would Dallas want to trade for someone else’s bust?

He may not be a bust. Let’s look at the top CBs in the game. The five highest rated CBs last season are Jaire Alexander, Xavien Howard, Bryce Callahan, Darious Williams, and Jonathan Jones. Only one rated in the top-50 as rookies. Cornerbacks don’t  just hit the ground as all-stars, they build up to it. Here’s how they all ranked as rookies:

So can any old bum turn into a star CB? Yes, but those that consistently rank high year to year tend to be drafted high. Here’s where these top guys were all drafted…

One year in, Jeff Okudah is a bust. But as one of the highest rated players to come out of college in years, he still has plenty of time to turn it around. The position itself also notoriously takes time to develop in. So if Dallas can take advantage of the situation and work out a trade for last season’s No. 3 overall pick (without having to spend Pick 10 this year), they should do it.

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What do you think Cowboys Nation? Should Dallas try to trade for an unproven player with loads of potential like Okudah, or should they draft someone and deal with his rookie growing pains?

  • Published on 01/20/2021 at 12:01 PM
  • Last updated at 01/20/2021 at 10:52 AM