Draft picks are fungible, and one of the fun games in preparing for the draft is working out trade scenarios. Since Jerry Jones is a noted mover and shaker, working out scenarios is almost a must for Cowboys fans.
Fortunately, the Cowboys have made it easy for GMs and fans to calculate the value of a trade. Back in '89 when Jimmy and Jerry were the NFL's young punks, they had a chart created which assigned a numerical value to every pick in the draft. For a brief time, it was their sole property. But as coaches like Dave Wannstedt and Norv Turner left for other jobs, the chart became known league wide. It has become almost standardized in its use. You can see one here.
With this chart, you can play armchair GM and plot the Cowboys reconquest of the NFL. Here's a hypothetical to give you an example of how it works. Let's say it is draft day and the Cowboys' pick at 11 is fast approaching. The Green Bay Packers, who have the 24th pick, call you. They need secondary help and want to get Antrell Rolle, who is still on the board.
That's a steep drop for Dallas, but you consider it because the Packers have two 2nd round picks. You know they can afford to wheel and deal. You look at your draft chart and see that the 11th pick is valued at 1250 points. The Packers pick at 24 has a value of 740 points. In order to make it work, the Packers have to come up with extra picks worth 510 points, the difference in value between the Cowboys' pick and theirs.
Your chart shows that their first 2nd round pick, the 51st, is worth 390 points. Their 3rd round pick, the 89th, is worth 145. That's 535 points worth of picks. You tell the Packers you'll drop to 24th if they'll give you the higher of their 2nd round picks and their third.
Green Bay comes back and says you would owe them 25 points if this deal went through. That's the value of a high sixth round pick. You're willing to give them your sixth, but you don't have one. (Dallas has two sixth round supplemental picks, but supplemental selections cannot be traded, by league rule.) You offer your seventh, which is worth 10 points. You also offer your sixth round pick in 2006, which will probably be worth 16 to 22 points. Green Bay says okay, but they want it upgraded to a 5th rounder. When future picks are factored into deals, NFL teams upgrade them one round; in other words, a sixth rounder today is worth a fifth rounder next year. That's how Dallas got Buffalo's #1 in the Julius Jones trade.
To summarize, your charts calculate the following deal:
Green Bay gets: Dallas' 11th pick, Dallas' 7th round pick, and Dallas' 5th rounder in 2006.
Dallas gets: Green Bay's 24th pick, Green Bay's 2nd rounder (51st) and Green Bay's 3rd rounder (89th).
Again, this is hypothetical. I have heard nothing about such a trade. But if this were to come Dallas' way on April 23rd, and the decision was yours, would you take this deal? It would give Dallas two first rounders, two second rounders, and recoup the third rounder Dallas lost in the Drew Henson trade. On the other hand, you lose your pick in the top 12. What do you do?
The clock is ticking.