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2020 NFL Draft: Why Trading Up Could Make More Sense Than Ever Before

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating all sorts of new challenges for teams as they prepare for the 2020 NFL Draft. Given these unusual circumstances and limitations in scouting players, could it make this a year where teams would be better off packaging their draft picks and trading up into higher spots?

While the traditional philosophy has always been to try and get more picks by trading down or trading away veteran players, 2020 is giving teams less opportunities to evaluate talent. College Pro Days were mostly cancelled and interviews are having to be done over the internet.

Granted, everyone is in the same boat. And while this may not be a major deterrent with the star players who go in the early rounds, what about small-school prospects and others that you just never got a chance to get a good look at?

If there’s less familiarity or certainty with prospects in the middle and later rounds of the draft, teams could easily be more motivated to try and use those picks to move up in Rounds 1-3.

The Cowboys are one team that hasn’t been afraid to trade up in the modern era. They did in 2012 to get Morris Claiborne and again in 2014 for DeMarcus Lawrence.

Depending on how Dallas feels about their current talent and their comfort level with the 2020 rookie class, I could easily see them looking to move up at various points in this draft. Other than a few specific needs at WR and CB they have solid depth across the board after their free agency activity.

Perhaps I am underestimating how much evaluation work has been hindered during the current health crisis, or overrating how much teams base their decisions on what happens between February and April. After all, we got a full college football season and the Scouting Combine came and went before COVID-19 started shutting things down.

Still, with the typical evaluation process being hindered in some ways, I can’t help but wonder if it will cause teams to be less clingy to their middle and late-round picks. If so, it could mean a very active trade market during the 2020 NFL Draft.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


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  1. You forgot to mention that safety is one of the biggest needs for us!! We have plenty of wide receivers, so that’s not really that big of a need for us, and we got a couple CBs that’ll still be with us after this season, but after this season we won’t have any safeties with any starting experience!! Drafting a safety should be on the top of our list if not at the top then right after getting a CB1…. If we can find one at our positions in the draft!! And chances are that the only CB that’ll be good enough to start on day 1 is Jeffery Okudah, the rest of the CBs are questionable at best, so in my opinion I think we should draft a safety in the 1st round preferably Xavier Mckinney, and then draft the best corner available in the 2nd round and then we can get a slot receiver in the 3rd round and then double dip on the safety and corner positions in the 4th and 5th round and with the extra 5th round pick and the 7th round pick draft the best player available!! We have way too many needs on defense to trade away some of our picks to move up in the draft!! If anything we should move back in the draft to gain extra picks!! But if we don’t move back then we would be better off staying put and drafting as I mentioned above!! But that’s just my opinion!!

  2. ONLY WAY you trade up (and have to give up a lot is Okudah.
    Besides that if one of top 3 wr don’t fall to us or Chaisson/Kinlaw

    I trade down get corners and or quality wr

  3. Article might have made sense if you had discussed players worth trading up for.

    If there is a special player, a true difference maker, a qualified maybe. But Dallas has too many holes to fill, trading back makes more sense, especially if one of the big 4 QBs slides to 17.

    Dallas’ needs today, S/CB/DE/DT/LB/TE/C/P and I would mind seeing Dallas nab 2 of either S or CB as they always make good STs guys

  4. Always easy to find a trade up partner; not that easy to find a trad back partner, especially when the golden rule is whomever calls first loses.

  5. You lost me at “COVID-19” and the fact you didn’t mention a single target they should trade up for. One more thing, Journalism 101: Chapter 1 teaches you all about run-on sentences.

  6. not the best explanation. But the point of trading up is usually for a player you really like. There are very few prospects worth trading up for in the class, especially in the 1st – Burrows, Young and Simmons – all to be in the top 5. What would it cost – that’s the real question – if we have to give up a 2nd, which is a minimum to get into top 5, so it’s definitely a no.

  7. The only player I would move up and get is Isaiah Simmons 6-4 235 Clemson 4.39
    He can cover Tight Ends like Ertz, Kittles, Howard, Engram. Use him up and down the defensive line like they did HOF Lawrence Taylor. Let him blitz in the stand up position and let offensive coordinators guess were he will line up at.

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