Dallas Cowboys Draft Scenarios: The Draft Trade Value Chart


Everyone knows that in the upcoming NFL Draft, the first overall pick held by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is worth more than the 27th overall pick, where the Dallas Cowboys currently sit. So, how do teams determine the cost of moving up and down of the draft?

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It was a problem that was solved by the Cowboys back in 1991. Then Dallas head coach Jimmy Johnson and current owner and general manager Jerry Jones wanted a quick and easy way of telling if there was inherent value in a trade involving draft picks.

Therefore, America’s Team commissioned Mike McCoy, a former Cowboys’ minority owner, to essentially create what is now called the NFL Draft Value Chart. The chart gave a numeric value to each draft selection. Those values, based on the successes and failures of previous trades, would then be used to determine if a particular exchange of picks was fair or not.

Some version of this chart is now used by all NFL teams to the determine trade value of draft selections. But it is far from a price list for draft picks. Rather, it is only a guide to help franchises make those decisions.

Below is a version of the NFL Draft Value Chart from DraftCountdown.com.  Under the chart, we’ll toss around a few draft trade scenarios involving the Dallas Cowboys.

The NFL Draft Value Chart as provided by DraftCountdown.com.

According to the above chart, it would actually cost the Cowboys more points than they have in this entire draft to move from 27th overall to first. Here are Dallas’ selections in the upcoming draft and their corresponding numerical value according to the above chart.

First Round, 27th overall – 680 points
Second Round, 60th overall – 300 points
Third Round, 91st overall – 136 points
Fourth Round, 127th overall – 45 points
Fifth Round, 163rd overall – 26.2 points
Seventh Round, 236th overall – less than 2 points
Seventh Round, 243rd overall – less than 2 points

If the Cowboys traded their first and second round picks, they could possibly moved up in the draft to the 16th overall spot, occupied by the Houston Texans. This would allow them to jump before the San Diego Chargers and select running back Todd Gurley, if he’s still available.

The Cowboys first and third selections could get them around the Philadelphia Eagles pick at 20th overall. If Dallas was willing to trade their entire draft for one selection, they could go as high as 12th overall, which is owned by the Cleveland Browns.

If Dallas wanted to trade down from their first overall pick, a good trade partner would be the New Orleans Saints who own two third round selections. For the Cowboys first round pick, 27th overall (680 points), equal value could be found by trading that pick to the Saints for their second round pick, 44th overall (460 points), and one of their third round picks, 75th overall (215 points).

These are just some minor examples of how the chart can make quick value estimations, which is especially useful during those hectic draft days. But the chart is not an exact science, only a tool to help teams make a final decision.

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