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Don’t base trade value on the draft pick value chart

28 March 2018 Opinion

It has been all over Twitter. In discussions about what the right value is for a trade involving draft picks, over and over again people have referred back to former Cowboys Head Coach Jimmy Johnson’s trade value chart 


“Well according to the chart, three first-round picks exceeded the number of points that the first overall pick has so that is too much to give up.”

The chart places specific points on each draft pick based on its supposed importance. For instance, the first overall pick is worth 3,000 points.  Heading down to the 2nd round, and the 45th overall pick is worth just 450 points.

Although this can be a decent sidebar in draft discussions, the chart is extremely flawed and it doesn’t represent how teams view draft value, or how they view a fair trade in the sense of draft picks for draft picks.

The first flaw in the chart is just how many points each pick gets. The fifth overall pick has a value of 1,700 points. The 10th pick has a value of 1,300. That is a 400 point difference for just five spots. 400 points is equal to a mid-second round draft pick.

So based on the chart, the 10th overall pick and a 2nd have the same value as the 5th overall pick?

The last pick in the second round is only 270 points, yet teams are always stubborn giving up these picks.

The Dolphins could only get a 4th round pick for Jay Ajayi, a young, proven running back. Rarely do you see teams get 1st or 2nd round picks for any player in a trade unless it is a quarterback.

Let’s use the Eagles trade for the second overall pick back in 2016 that then became Carson Wentz, as an example of how trades don’t reflect the point system of this chart.

Browns receive: 

2016 1st RD pick (8th overall)

2016 3rd RD pick (77th overall)

2016 4th RD pick (100th overall)

2017 1st RD pick (12th overall)

2018 2nd RD pick (64th overall)

Eagles receive: 

2016 1st RD pick (2nd overall)

2017 4th RD pick (132nd overall)

There is a 2,600 point placement on the second overall pick but to go from eight to two, the Eagles gave up 3,175 points of value.

A better example would be the trade between Houston and Cleveland, that turned into the Texans taking Deshaun Watson with the 12th overall pick.

The Texans gave up 2,520 points for the pick, which only had a 1,200 point value placed on it.

According to the chart, Houston vastly overpaid for what was the rookie of the year, a franchise QB, an electrifying play-maker that will mask any flaw on a team in Deshaun Watson.

So did they really overpay?

How about the Jets giving up three 2nd round picks, and the sixth overall pick to Indianapolis for the third overall pick?

For the third overall pick (2,200 points), the Jets gave up roughly 3,200 points.

Just trying to say, don’t use the chart as an end all be all.

Things like leverage, depth of a draft class, competition for a pick aren’t taken into account.

When talking about leverage, let’s use the Giants right now who have the second overall pick for example.

The Buffalo Bills have been collecting draft picks since last year’s draft in hopes to land one of these top quarterbacks in the draft. They got from 21 to 12 in the 1st round after a trade with the Bengals and now would probably like to use the Howie Roseman method of multiple trades to get in the top five for a quarterback.

After the Jets acquired the third overall pick, however, the Bills really only have one option if they want a shot at the QB they covet. That option is the Giants pick at second overall.

New York knows this, and if they don’t want any of the quarterbacks themselves, they will probably ask for both Buffalo 1st round draft picks this year, their 2019 1st round pick, and multiple second and/or third round picks.

That will be roughly around 3,000 to 5,000 points depending on where the Bills pick in 2019. 3,000 to 5,000 points for 2,600 points.

Might not seem fair based on the chart, but if Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, or any of these signal callers turn into a star QB, there isn’t a price for that.

Picking a fight with the draft chart isn’t a big one but I’m owning it.

Just a thought.


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