A First Round Grade Does Not Equal a First Round Pick By Rafael Vela 32 Comments I’m seeing more and more debate in the threads about selecting a WR or a RB in the first round and I’m seeing the same misconception I discussed a few weeks ago. Specifically, I’m seeing people cite Mike Mayock’s claim that he doesn’t see a receiver with a first round grade as reason to skip the position at pick 22 and even pick 28. Hold on just a second. A source I trust, who has helped construct many draft boards, has told me the typical number for first round grades is usually around 18 and that the number of first round grades he’s seen handed out has varied from 17 to 23. This explains a lot of events. It makes clear why Dallas’ trade with Cleveland netted a first rounder this year; not only were the Browns after a quarterback they rated as a first, but Dallas was dealing from a spot where the first round talent was due to run out. This also means, to me anyway, that Dallas is unlikely to trade out of this spot. Sure, the Quinn scenario could replay itself and Dallas could find itself with another extra number one next year. But the dearth of first — and second round talent — in last year’s draft prompted the Quinn trade. This year’s draft is deeper. Dallas has a better shot at getting first round value for that first round pick. What’s more, the future is now for the Cowboys. There’s no point in deferring talent. Going back to pick 28, it’s unlikely that Dallas — or anybody else — will see players with a first round grade still available there. That doesn’t mean the pick is worthless. There are always outstanding players to be found in the turn between the first and the second. But don’t discount a wide receiver at 28 because he doesn’t have a first round grade. The guards to be found there, or the cornerbacks or the safeties won’t have those grades either. In other words, if Dallas likes Devin Thomas there, it’s perfectly justified in taking him, unless it has a Felix Jones or a Brandon Flowers rated higher and likes him better.