There is still a little over two whole months until the 2021 NFL Draft kicks off, but the idea of the Dallas Cowboys trading up or down is never too early to discuss. Some fans around Cowboys Nation would prefer to see the Cowboys trade up for a true difference maker, while others would like to see them trade down to acquire extra draft capital. Today, I thought we’d explore both possibilities.
For this exercise I used Drafttek’s handy-dandy 2021 NFL Trade Value Chart to determine the value of all the draft picks around the league, including the Dallas Cowboys. According to Drafttek, the Cowboys hold the 10, 44, 75, 105, 167, and 200 selections in the upcoming draft. Compensatory picks have yet to be added.
Let’s take a look at what it would take for the Dallas Cowboys to trade up or down using Pick 10…
TRADING UP FROM PICK 10
The idea of trading up is always a fun topic of discussion around Cowboys Nation, whether it’s realistic or not. It’s always fun to dream about the Dallas Cowboys moving up to snag one of those true difference makers, however, I believe it’s important to know the cost of making such a move.
Using their current draft capital and Pick 10, how far can the Dallas Cowboys move up in the first-round of the 2021 NFL Draft?
Trading Cowboys’ 1st and 2nd-round picks to move up:
- 10th Pick (1300 pts.) + 44th Pick (460 pts.) = 5th Pick (1700 pts.)
The Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins currently hold the fourth and fifth overall picks in the first-round of the 2021 NFL Draft and there is just a 100 point difference between the two. That means the Dallas Cowboys can essentially combine their first and second-round picks to trade up into the Top 5.
Trading Miami for the fifth overall pick favors the Cowboys by 60 points where as trading with Atlanta favors the Falcons by 40 points. Neither is an equal trade and equates to approximately a late fourth, early fifth-rounder one way or the other that could be tacked on. For argument sake though we’ll pretend Dallas’ first and second-rounder is enough to facilitate the trade.
If the Dallas Cowboys move within the Top 5 they are more than likely targeting one of the top quarterbacks still on the board. That means things with Dak Prescott turned ugly and the Cowboys are looking to replace him with either Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, or Trey Lance. The combination of Pick 10 and 44 is a small price to pay for a young, talented QB on a rookie contract.
Trading Cowboys’ 1st and 3rd-round picks to move up:
- 10th Pick (1300 pts.) + 75th Pick (215 pts.) = 7th Pick (1500 pts.)
The Detroit Lions are currently the owner of the seventh overall pick in the first-round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Trading down three spots to acquire an extra third-round pick could be appealing to them, especially considering it looks as if they could be in the midst of a rebuild. That of course is purely speculation right now.
This is pretty close to an equal trade, although the 15 points the Cowboys are giving up is approximately the same value as a late sixth, early seventh-round pick. That’s hardly something Dallas would squabble over if they were truly interested in making this trade with the Lions. The only question is, who would they be trading up for?
For Detroit to be willing to move down three spots it likely means all of the top QBs have already been drafted. If that’s the case, Dallas is likely trading for either Patrick Surtain II or Caleb Farley. Right now cornerback is one of their biggest offseason needs, but would giving up Pick 75 in the third-round be worth it? That could be used on another potential starting caliber player.
TRADING DOWN FROM PICK 10
As much fun as it is to think about the Dallas Cowboys trading up in the 2021 NFL Draft the more plausible, and more likely, scenario is them trading down to acquire extra draft capital. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how far they would have to trade down to pick up an extra second or third-round pick.
Trading down for an extra 2nd-round pick:
- 10th Pick (1300 pts.) = 18th Pick (900 pts.) + 50th Pick (400 pts.)
If the Dallas Cowboys are looking to pick up an extra second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft the Miami Dolphins are the perfect trade partner. The Cowboys 10th overall pick and the combination of Miami’s Pick 18 and 50 both add up to 1300 points. Other teams to consider here would be the Raiders and Bears, but the equality of the trade doesn’t match up as well it does with the Dolphins.
There are really only two reasons the Dallas Cowboys would be looking to pick up an extra second-round pick. Either the players they were targeting with Pick 10 were already drafted or they simply wanted to increase the number of draft picks they have in the first couple of rounds. Either way, trading down seems more plausible than them trading up.
Trading down for an extra 3rd-round pick:
- 10th Pick (1300 pts.) = 14th Pick (1100 pts.) + 78th Pick (200 pts.)
If the Dallas Cowboys want to trade down a few spots to pick up an extra third-round pick the Minnesota Vikings are a perfect match. The Cowboys 10th overall pick and Minnesota’s Pick 14 and pick 78 both add up to 1300 points. Moving down four spots to pick up an extra third-rounder doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all depending on which players might still be on the board.
If the Cowboys believe they can trade down four spots and still draft the player they want while also picking up an extra third-round pick I’d be all for it. If there’s any doubt though that particular player won’t be there for them with the 14th overall pick then they should just sit tight and draft their targeted player. That’s the gamble of trading down though.