While successfully drafting young talent is key to winning in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys can’t turn down opportunities for guaranteed production.
Dallas has had several of those successful draft picks over the past decade, with quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott and linebacker Micah Parsons all coming to mind. However, the team has infamously failed to win in the playoffs, capped by an NFC Wild Card exit to the San Francisco 49ers earlier in 2022.
A potential solution to playoff success is adding more talent that has established itself in the league. This is why a potential trade out of the 2022 NFL draft’s first or second round in exchange for a player may be a shrewd move.
With a No. 24 selection and a need for an interior offensive lineman, receiver and defensive end, Dallas could not too far back in return for a player while still getting to pick fairly high up. That’s where the Jacksonville Jaguars and wide receiver Laviska Shenault factor in.
The third-year receiver’s time in Duval County has been a mixed bag, and NFL insider Jordan Schultz recently reported that the Jaguars engaged in talks with the Kansas City Chiefs about dealing Shenault.
The Jaguars could want to trade up from their No. 33 pick, and the Cowboys would be a perfect location with Shenault as an enticing trade piece.
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Shenault’s Track Record with Jaguars
Coming out of Colorado, NFL.com labeled Shenault as a “three-level threat” with “explosive” playmaking ability. The Jaguars believed in his promise, taking the 23-year-old in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft.
However, his production hasn’t been flashy. On a team that’s won just four games since he was drafted, that’s not necessarily surprising. Shenault has had two quarterbacks, two offensive coordinators and two coaches in two seasons, so continuity was hard to find.
That beings said, the former Colorado star was consistent: after 600 receiving yards in 2020, he totaled 619 in 2021. Conversely, he scored no touchdowns after catching five TDs in 2020, Pro Football Reference states.
Shenault is known for breaking tackles, and his 5.7 yards after catch average is a testament to his shiftiness. However, the major red flag with the Jaguars WR is his dropped passes: Shenault had eight drops on 100 targets.
Why Shenault Works for the Cowboys
Shenault isn’t a perfect player, but he is a sure bet compared to a second-round or third-round receiver selection. Plus, he offers the same benefits of selecting a receiver: cheap pay.
The 23-year-old isn’t off his rookie deal until 2024, which means the Cowboys would only have to pay him just under $3 million over the next two seasons, according to Spotrac. If the Jaguars want to move on, the Cowboys could use his skillset.
That’s what is so attractive about Shenault too: he could be a Deebo Samuel-type player. In two seasons, the Jaguars star ran the ball 29 times, averaging 4.6 yards per attempt. With young and innovative Dallas OC Kellen Moore sticking around for the 2022 season, he could have a field day with Shenault.
Plus, if Jacksonville is truly trying to deal their young receiver, the Cowboys should be able to get the No. 33 pick, Shenault and potentially another late-round pick to go back nine spots. That allows Dallas and owner Jerry Jones to knock out the receiver position and not move too far back in terms of taking a highly-touted offensive guard or defensive end.