For the majority of the last decade, the Dallas Cowboys have found themselves positioned toward the middle or end of every NFL Draft. Sitting at the 17th spot, this had led to the annual questions of how much it would take for Dallas to trade up into a higher spot.
Let’s tackle this topic briefly today with the help of Draft Tek, who have provided a handy draft pick value chart for easy reference.
Let’s say that Dallas wants to jump from 17th to try to snag a player who falls out of the Top 10. According to the traditional chart, the 17th pick is worth 950 points. The 11th pick is worth 1250, a difference of 300 points.
The Cowboys’ second-round pick, 51st overall, is worth 390 points.
So that gives you a very rough idea of what it might take for the Cowboys the move up those six slots in the first round. Dallas would likely have to send their first and second-round picks to the team at the 11th pick (currently the Jets). However, those 90 points leftover in the exchange could mean the Cowboys get back and extra fourth or fifth-round pick as well.
Remember that the trade value chart is just the floor for these discussions, and some teams have even adjusted their own chart over time. If the team trying to trade out is a desperate-enough seller then they might be willing to takes less in the deal.
However, more often than not, these draft pick trades are fairly even according to the chart.
This 2020 scenario actually isn’t far off from what the Cowboys faced in 2012. Dallas had the 14th pick in that draft and wanted to move up to get prized cornerback prospect Morris Claiborne.
Dallas had to get all the way from 14th (1100 points) to 6th (1600 points) to draft Claiborne, a difference of 500 points. The St. Louis Rams held that pick and were seeking to move down.
That year the Cowboys’ second-round pick, 45th overall, was only worth 450 points. So when the Rams actually accepted that trade without any additional compensation, Dallas was essentially getting a bargain. St. Louis could have easily asked for an additional fourth or fifth-round pick in addition.
Of course, to say Dallas got a good deal on Morris Claiborne is a loaded comment full of hindsight benefit. But at least on that day, the Cowboys were very happy with what they accomplished.
If Dallas wants moves up significantly in 2020 then it will take a similar kind of investment, which will put whatever player they might take in the same unenviable position as Claiborne. Being a first-round talent brings harsh criticism on its own, but having had multiple picks spent on your just raises the bar even more.
With so many free agents this year and a lot of roster needs to fill, the Cowboys may not be that interested in trading up. They can still get a very talented player at #17 and then hopefully another immediate contributor in the second round.
However, as we saw in 2012, Dallas isn’t afraid to pull the trigger on a big move if they think it will land them a special talent.