You will often see fans clamoring for a team to “trade up” in the NFL Draft, hoping to snag a player that they’re worried won’t fall to their team’s current pick. We should expect a lot of that in 2019 with the Dallas Cowboys, but just how much trade value do their picks really have?
With the Cowboys not having a first-round pick in 2019, thanks to sending it to Oakland for Amari Cooper last October, the crowd is going to get antsy. Being left out of the fun on Thursday night will stink for all of us, and it will have many desperate to see Dallas land a player who falls into the second round.
However, any thoughts of Dallas trading up into mid or late-30s are probably wishful thinking. That’s because the Cowboys’ current 2019 picks simply aren’t worth that much.
According to the traditional value chart for NFL Draft selections, here is what Dallas’ picks are worth:
- 2nd Rnd, 58th overall = 320 points
- 3rd Rnd, 90th overall = 140 pts
- 4th Rnd, 128th overall = 44 pts
- 4th Rnd, 136th overall = 37.5 pts
- 5th Rnd, 165th overall = 25 pts
- 7th Rnd, 241st overall = 1 pt
To put this into perspective, the total book value of ALL of our 2019 picks is 567.5 points. The first two picks of the second round of are worth 580 and 560 points each.
In other words, based on standard value, Dallas would have to package nearly all of its draft picks to move up to the top of the second round.
Of course, these values are just the starting point in negotiations. Teams may be willing to accept less if they’re desperate to trade down and acquire additional picks. But generally, we see draft trades stay close to the standard formula.
The trading power of draft picks is relative to the round you’re trying to move up in. The 25 points from your fifth-round pick is almost a drop in the bucket in the second round, but in the fourth round it could move you from the 128th spot up to around picks 112-113.
Given how stocked the Cowboys roster already is, you could make a case for Dallas to combine picks and land superior players. Combining their second and third-round picks could move them up from 58th to 44th. If they wanted to combine both fourth-round picks and the fifth, they could potentially move back into the bottom of the third round.
If Dallas really wants to improve its positioning in this draft, using some its current players in trades may be the best way to do so.
A guy like Maliek Collins, a multi-year starter but entering a contract year, could get them a decent mid-round pick. Or what about Taco Charlton, who was a first-round guy just two years ago but seems to be falling down the depth chart?
Any player who’s at risk of not making your team at final cuts, or at least not factoring in your long-term plans, could be more valuable in a trade now than whatever they’re going to do for you on the field in 2019.
If you can get some extra picks for these guys, that’s more trading power for you to use.
The Cowboys have the luxury of not needing a lot from this draft. Outside of maybe a backup running back, the team has no immediate issues that would stop them from fielding a competitive team next season.
This year’s draft seems more about landing talent for the future; a tight end, safety, or defensive tackle who can rotate now and take on a larger role next year. If you really love the long-term potential of a player who you don’t think will fall to your pick, this is a great year to make bold moves and trade up.
But clearly, the Cowboys will have to get creative. They’ve already made the biggest splash of their 2019 draft by trading that first-round pick for Amari Cooper. Their strong finish to the year didn’t help their draft positioning, either.
Still, as we’ve discussed, Dallas has options to make moves if they’re willing to get aggressive and take some risks.