DENVER — In a strange draft-day maneuver, the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys negotiated a trade, thought they had it consummated but ultimately had to call it off, causing Denver to slip several notches in the draft order and the Cowboys to lose the player they wanted to select.
The Broncos tried to trade their spot in the third round and actually had made a deal with Dallas, giving up the choice in exchange for Dallas' fourth- and fifth-round picks.
But Dallas subsequently didn't get a selection made within the five-minute time limit, and the player the Cowboys wanted, Fresno State wide receiver Stephen Baker, from Hamilton High in Los Angeles, was then taken by the New York Giants.
In the confusion, Denver Bronco Coach Dan Reeves said there were "several intervening picks" before the Broncos realized the trade had, in effect, been nullified and submitted the name of LSU linebacker Michael Brooks.
"We thought if we traded down, we could gain an extra pick and still get the player we wanted," Reeves said. "The deal was made, but Dallas didn't get it off in time. So it didn't get completed and the pick came back to us."
Two players apparently were claimed before the Broncos named Brooks.
"It hurt us a little bit," Reeves said. "I was annoyed. But if we had lost Brooks, I would have really been hot."