The Dallas Cowboys are gearing up for the 2022 NFL Draft and owner Jerry Jones isn’t shying away from his intent.
On April 28, members of the NFL world will turn their heads toward Las Vegas, Nevada for the draft’s opening night. The Cowboys are slated for the No. 24 pick in the first round, but Jones’ recent comments seem to imply that could change.
The 79-year-old owner spoke to the media on April 13, and the topic of draft strategy came up. Jones has never been one to avoid speaking his mind, and The Athletic reporter Jon Machota shared a video of the Dallas owner declaring his desire to trade up.
“I would trade up this draft, just going in, as much as you can say about it,” Jones said. “Until you see what’s there and who’s on the other end of the line, but yeah I would trade up. Since we’re down as low as we are those first two or three rounds, if we had a chance to and somebody we had really coveted was sitting at the bottom… and we were able to trade up and get him.”
What Jones says he wants and what the Cowboys will do can often be different things, but the Dallas owner’s intentions became very clear on Wednesday.
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Cowboys Have Ammunition in 2022 NFL Draft
For better or for worse, the Cowboys haven’t brought in a flurry of players through free agency this offseason. Signings like wide receiver James Washington help round out the starters, but Washington and defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. can hardly be considered quality-for-quality replacements of ex-Cowboys WR Amari Cooper and DE Randy Gregory.
Dallas Morning News reporter Michael Gehlken made an interesting point in regards to the lack of return: it will translate to even more picks next year.
“Cowboys have four fifth-round picks this month,” Gehlken Tweeted on April 13. “Their lack of free agency activity — no compensatory free agents signed — and departures of Randy Gregory, Connor Williams and Cedrick Wilson mean compensatory picks to come in 2023. If Dallas wants to move up, it has the capital.”
At the time of writing, the Cowboys current draft selections are:
- Round 1: No. 24 overall
- Round 2: No. 56
- Round 3: No. 88
- Round 4: No. 129
- Round 5: Nos. 155 (from Browns), 167, 176, 178
- Round 6: No. 193 (from Browns)
With more comp picks coming, Dallas and Jones can trade more of their mid-to-late round picks this year or next year without giving up the majority of selections. Trading up this year in the first or second round will be expensive, so those four fifth-round selections are the most likely area to be used as trade weight.
Dallas and Jones Trading Up in the First?
It’s worth noting that Jones’ declaration needs context: if Dallas decides to trade up in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, it will be the first time the franchise has done so since 2012.
A ten-year pause from trading up in the first could be due to how the Cowboys’ last time trading up ended somewhat poorly, as the team took corner Morris Claiborne who never lived up to the billing of the No. 6 overall pick in the draft.
Dallas and Jones may want to trade up again, but it’s hard to see them trading up as far as the top 6 or 7 picks. When they traded up for Claiborne in 2012, the Cowboys sent the Los Angeles Rams their No. 14 pick and No. 45 pick in the second round in exchange.