Skip to main content


Presented by

Mailbag: Should Cowboys trade down?


Given the many holes the Cowboys need to fill on the roster, do you think the team needs to trade down in the draft to get extra picks? – Rob Riggieri/Rutland, MA

Nick Eatman: While this seems obvious to some, it's worth reiterating how trades actually work. So many times, I hear people say that the Cowboys should trade up or trade down or trade for this guy or that guy. Just as long as everyone realizes that trades have to be agreed upon on both sides. I'm sure everyone knows that but they sometimes forget. I do remember hearing that two years ago when they drafted No. 24 and there were a lot of fans asking why they "reached" for Tyler Smith when they could've gotten him in the second round. Fans suggested they should've just traded out of the pick. Well, it doesn't always work that way if no one is offering a deal. Sometimes teams would entertain it but that doesn't mean you're going to get the picks on the back end that make sense. But in a perfect world, if the Cowboys are sitting at No. 24 and they've got 5-6 players they could take there and someone is trying to move up for that pick and willing to give you a third-round pick or maybe a fourth and fifth, then yes I'd consider it for sure. The Cowboys need more picks but they also need good players to help right now. So moving too far down is a risk as well. If the right trade is available, yes the Cowboys should consider it, and knowing Jerry, he will.

Kurt: In short, yes I do think the Cowboys need to trade down for extra picks. The Athletic ran a story last week that dove into this subject and the largely mistaken ways in which NFL teams draft. In a nutshell, an in-depth study determined that, because the draft is such a crapshoot, there is usually greater value in obtaining more picks than drafting higher. Consider that less than 10 percent of players chosen actually go on to have careers that would be considered great with another 20 percent or so considered just average or good. In other words, 70 percent of drafted players just don't produce, and that includes first-round picks as well. An article by The Washington Post found that from 2011-20, a total of 14 quarterbacks were selected among the top five picks. Only five of those players could now be considered franchise quarterbacks. Like those odds? As The Athletic would go on to state, "The more darts you have, the better your chance of eventually hitting the bull's-eye." It's definitely an interesting take, although no NFL team seems to consistently follow that philosophy. But given the situation the Cowboys find themselves in this year, I think they will work out a trade come draft day for additional picks. They are sitting in a perfect situation where they can move down for more draft capital and still get a player (and hopefully players) who can help them immediately. It just makes sense.

Related Content