I've said it several times over the last month and a half. I fear that the number 14 slot in this year's amateur draft is dangerous territory; no man's land so to speak. Unless a team is silly enough to draft Ryan Tannehill just because he throws the football (which is quite possible), there is a big chance that the initial Dallas targets might be off the board by the time they make it to the top. For me, that's Quinton Coples, David DeCastro or Fletcher Cox.
In case you haven't noticed, the recent flavor du jour for Dallas at 14 is Alabama S Mark Barron. Barron has been sitting as a 18th-22nd ranked prospect through this entire ordeal, until everyone linked him to Dallas, and now he's worth the 14th selection or higher. Well, these guys watch more tape than I do, but I guess new tape has shown up since his Pro Day that hasn't been released to the general public.
Now, if you truly believe that there's a player that is a much better contributor, than you take him. However, if you feel that there is a large group of players at various need positions that all have relatively the same grade, you shouldn't be wary of trading down just because "Dallas doesn't trade down well." Not only is it a scared mentality, does it even really apply?
Now, granted, when the Cowboys traded out of the first rounds in 2007 (selected Anthony Spencer w/ first pick) and 2004 (Julius Jones) to gain multiple firsts in '08 and '05 respectively, things didn't work out exactly how they were planned. They weren't necessarily failed trades, but it didn't work out to the full extent of the possibility with the players that were selected. Marcus Spears has been a disappointment from the 2005 draft and injuries haven't allowed Felix Jones to maximize his potential. Mike Jenkins has bounced all over the inconsistency scale.
However, one important caveat needs to be discussed. Neither Tom Ciskowsi ('08) nor Jason Garrett ('10) had ascended to their current positions at the times those trade downs were made. Stephen Jones also hadn't wrestled as much power away from Jerry Jones yet either. Times are different now.
So can the current regime, the recently well-drafting Cowboys really be held to the pseudo-failures of the previous trade downs? I say no. If there is no difference between 4-6, or even 10, prospects once Dallas is on the clock and an offer arises, don't run for the hills. Take the call, Jerry.