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2022 NFL Draft: Trading options for the Cowboys during the draft

Wanting to make a move and finding a good one to make are two very different things in the NFL draft.

NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2022 is looking more and more like a great year to have a lot of picks in the NFL Draft. That is good news for the Dallas Cowboys, who currently hold nine. There are few “blue chip” players in this year’s class, but it is believed to have an unusually high number of players with a legitimate chance of making an NFL roster. It would seem to be a highly conducive situation for Jerry Jones to put on his trader hat and move around.

There is, of course, a huge difference between wanting to and being able to. Ask anyone who wants to lose some weight. This is an attempt at a feasibility study of possible trade options for the Cowboys.

Let’s start at the top. Trades involving first-round picks are always the most exciting. Dallas currently holds the 24th overall selection. This year’s crop of prospects doesn’t point to any reason for them to want to trade up. What does seem possible is that they could draw closer to going on the clock with a lot of players they can use, but they are players they are not so eager to invest that first-round selection in. It could seem a better value a bit later. It certainly looks like a year when trading back is much more attractive. Additionally, Dallas has done rather well trading back. That was how they landed Travis Frederick and Micah Parsons.

We discussed this idea in a larger sense on the latest episode of Ryled Up 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.

As they say, it takes a pair to waltz, so that means they need to find someone who wants to make a move up to 24. Someone could well see value in that. While the very things that make a move back attractive to the Cowboys might dissuade other teams from coming up, it is no mystery that different organizations have very different approaches. Who might have something that would entice Dallas to trade with them? (All trade values are based on the Calculatorsoup draft value tool.)

One such team is the New York Jets. They are still very much in rebuilding mode. If they have a target they desire that will be there at 24 but not when they go on the clock in the second round, they could offer a package of their pick 35 plus pick 69 in the third for 24 plus one or two of Dallas’ fifth-rounders. The brain trust at the Star has all but declared that their first pick is going to be help for the offensive line, and based on current big boards like the one at Drafttek, CBS Sports or Fanspeak, there is an excellent chance that they can fill that need at 35. The additional third-round selection would give them a chance to get another valuable addition at one of their other positions of need like WR or ILB.

Another possible trade partner is the Seattle Seahawks. While they may be compelled to take a quarterback with Russell Wilson gone to the Denver Broncos, that would likely be how they use the ninth overall pick, given that the current QB group is unlikely to be depleted by that point. And they clearly have a bunch of other needs. They have back-to-back picks at 40 and 41. They could offer one of those plus pick 72 in the third. The same logic applies for this as for one with the Jets.

While both those options would deny Dallas a day one pick, this year is one where early picks in the second are not that much different in the talent available. It could well be worth moving out of the first to get an extra selection in what looks like a strong part of the draft.

Outside of that, the Cowboys may find themselves wanting to move up, especially on day three. This is where the bevy of fifth-rounders may come in very handy. Packaging picks 155 and 167 could get them a pick around 120. That is another selection currently held by the New Orleans Saints, who also may be looking to gain more picks later on. The Jets, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, and Kansas City Chiefs also have picks that may be in the mix here.

There are other ways to move up on day three using those late-rounders. It all depends on what the Dallas board looks like at that point. If a targeted player is there but in danger of being taken before their current spots in the fifth, it would be a valuable way to use those, especially if they have already garnered an extra premium pick from a trade back.

All this is of course speculative. This might be a year when they believe their current places in the draft order will net them the kind of players they can really use. There is also the possibility of trading a pick this year for a future one. The general rule of thumb is that a pick you trade away this year is worth one a round higher in 2023.

I’m betting the Cowboys won’t be quiet this year.