Ideally, the 2022 NFL Draft plays out similar to 2020. The elite wide receivers start falling down the draft board and are still available in the early-to-mid 20s, then the frenzy begins. In that case, the Dallas Cowboys’ 24th overall pick just became exponentially more valuable.
There aren’t many other positions where a few players sliding would cause the Cowboys' pick to increase in value, even QBs. But if a player like Jameson Williams, Treylon Burks, or Chris Olave makes it to 24, Dallas might be calling to trade out and pick up some extra picks. Here are three potential suitors.
3.) Tennessee Titans (26th overall)
This would be a trade similar to last year. In 2021, Dallas traded two spots back with the Philadelphia Eagles, who wanted to jump the Bears to secure a wide receiver they believed in.
Well, in this instance, the Titans would be jumping the Bills, who are also in a market for a receiver. With Emmanuel Sanders leaving Buffalo and Julio Jones leaving Tennessee, both are vying for a WR according to PFF’s listed needs.
So, if Jameson Williams or Chris Olave make their way to 24, and the Titans want to secure their guy, they become a trade-back candidate for the Cowboys. However, there are two downsides to trading back with Tennessee:
- The Titans and Bills are less needy for a wide receiver than the other teams picking past 24 and it is only two spots back. So, this trade likely wouldn't come with a lot of additional value.
- Both Tennessee and Buffalo are in need of an offensive guard. So if Zion Johnson or Kenyon Green is still on the board and you trade back, you risk losing the guard you want.
But, let's say Dallas wants to make the trade, here is the capital they would likely acquire, per PFF:
- 26th pick and two fifths (91% chance Titans accept the trade)
- 26th pick and one third (55% chance Titans accept the trade)
- 26th pick, a third and fifth (35% chance Titans accept the trade)
2.) Detroit Lions (32nd overall)
The Lions have some major holes to fill, but they also have the draft capital to do it. After the Matt Stafford trade, they should have multiple selections in the first round for a while. And this year, that includes the second and 32nd overall pick, on top of the second pick on day two.
However, they need some wide receiver help. Adding D.J. Chark opposite rookie standout Amon-Ra St. Brown is a step in the right direction, but drafting another solid pass-catcher would help the rebuild. And with the Chiefs and Packers assuredly taking a WR in the first round, they might not want to wait to see who falls to 32nd.
And with the Lions, the 24th overall pick might not even represent a WR. They have holes across their secondary, at QB, LB, ED, and DT. So if a player that they are high on, like a Kenny Pickett, starts slipping down the board, the Lions might want to slide into 24th.
We discussed this idea in greater detail on the latest episode of 1st and 10 on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to our network so you don’t miss any of our shows! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
The point is that Detroit has a lot of needs to fill, and they have the seemingly unlimited draft capital to advance their positioning from 32nd to pick at 24th.
The only reason this might not work is because of how many needs the Lions have to fill. If they decide that finding bodies to fill in the gaps is more important than the value of those players, they might just stay where they are.
And there is one downside for the Cowboys; between 24 and 30th there are the Bengals, Chiefs, Buccaneers, Titans, and Bills who all need a guard. A player like Kenyon Green or Zion Johnson likely won’t slip to 32nd. This only works if both players are already off the board at 24, similar to last year when Patrick Surtain and Jaycee Horn went two picks before Dallas at tenth.
But if Dallas decides to do it, here is the capital they would likely acquire in this trade, per PFF:
- 32nd pick and an early fourth (>99% chance Lions accept the trade)
- 34th pick and early third (66% chance Lions accept the trade)
- 32nd pick and early third (50% chance Lions accept the trade)
- 26th pick, early third and late fifth (39% chance Lions accept the trade)
If the Cowboys decide to trade back in the draft, the first team they should call is the Kansas City Chiefs. Picking at 29th and 30th after the Tyreek Hill trade, the Chiefs have two late first-round picks. The issue is that they are now desperate for a WR and do not have an early first to get it done.
If one of the big-name WRs starts falling, the Chiefs shouldn't be passive with the Packers, also desperate for a WR, picking at 28th. They don’t have a lot of holes and thus they will prioritize Hill’s successor over holding a lot of capital.
And this trade is perfect for Dallas. In giving the Chiefs their pick at WR, they will likely move to either 29th or 30th. That puts them right in front of the Bengals, who still might try to give Joe Burrow more protection. The Cowboys could trade back with Kansas City, while potentially still getting their guy at offensive guard.
And they will only be taking a sliver out of the stockpile of picks the Chiefs now have post-Tyreek Hill trade. With five picks in the top-100 and another at 103, Kansas City has the capital to make this happen.
This is a match made in heaven because let’s review what the Chiefs’ thought process would be if Williams, Burks, or Olave made it to 24:
- They are desperate for a WR with Juju Smith-Schuster as their current WR1
- They know the Packers are likely going to select a receiver at 28th post-Davante Adams trade and Aaron Rodgers’ public dissatisfaction with his lack of weapons
- They have 12 picks to move up, including several top-100 picks
It is perfect. But the only question is what the Cowboys would likely get in return:
- 29th pick and a late third (99% chance Chiefs accept the trade)
- 29th pick, a late third and fourth-rounder (68% chance Chiefs accept the trade)
- 30th pick, a late third and two fourth-rounders (34% chance Chiefs accept the trade)
- 30th pick and late second (24% chance Chiefs accept the trade)
The most likely outcome is Kenyon Green or Zion Johnson makes it to 24th and Dallas picks the guy they like more. And if that is the case, then trading back is not the right move. Especially if Will McClay is infatuated with one of those players.
However, as fans learned in 2021, the draft can go in a million different directions. There is a chance that Green and Johnson are off the board before the 24th pick. Dallas needs a backup plan. Luckily for the Cowboys, if a few wide receivers start to fall, there are several potential suitors for them to trade with and move back. And you can’t argue with the outcome of this strategy for Dallas last year.