The 2022 NFL Draft class may not feature the same high-end talent as last year’s, but it is an exceptionally deep one at multiple positions. Accordingly, trading down in the first round to gather some additional mid-round ammunition is a move several teams might be exploring.
Among the potential trade-down candidates are the New England Patriots, who are slated to select 21st overall in the first round. While the team does have some prominent holes to fill — including cornerback and along the offensive line — trying to add more capital on Day 2 would make sense from a New England perspective.
Of course, it always takes two to tango: a team can only trade down if another is willing to move up the board. Enter the Dallas Cowboys, who apparently plan to be aggressive this year.
“I would trade up this draft,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones told reporters during a recent media availability.
“Just going in, as much as you can say about it until you see what’s there or who’s on the other line, but I would trade up since we’re down as low as we are in those first two or three rounds. If we had a chance to and somebody that we had really coveted was sitting down there at the bottom, then we could trade up and get him.”
The Cowboys currently own the 24th overall pick in the first round as well as picks Nos. 56 and 88 in the second and third rounds, respectively. In total, they hold nine selections with six coming on Day 3.
Jumping from 24 to 21 and vice versa would be just a minor move for both the Patriots and the Cowboys, but a possibly beneficial one to both parties: Dallas might be able to move up and grab a player it is looking at, while New England would bolster its later-round capital.
So, what might such a move look like? Using Rich Hill’s draft value chart, the Patriots sending their first- (1-21) and fourth-round (4-127) picks to Dallas in exchange for the Cowboys’ first- (1-24) and third-round selections (3-88) would be a fairly balanced trade for the two clubs. Of course, the value differential between the 21st and 24th overall pick might also be reached by acquiring Dallas’ fourth-rounder (4-129) plus an extra fifth.
Obviously, that is all speculation at this point in time. However, Jerry Jones’ statements show that even in a draft as deep as this one there are always teams trying to move the other way.