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  1. #1
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    Mar 2005
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    Thoughts on the Draft Value Chart

    There have been a bunch of threads that have been started about trading, that eventually lead to someone pointing out the draft value of the picks. I just wanted to take a second to discuss the whole idea of the draft value chart.

    A little history lesson first. Prior to his second NFL season in 1990, Jimmy Johnson and then-club executive Mike McCoy devised an evaluation chart, one that placed a numerical value on every draft selection taken. This chart or versions of it, have proliferated throughout the NFL, so that almost every team on draft day will have the value chart in arm on draft day.

    The chart started out as a way of teams to gauge where and what they might trade for another draft pick. I have a few issues with what the chart has become; a crutch that GM's, and talking heads use to decide winners and losers on every trade. I feel that the draft value chart has become this end all, be all, to decide every trade. I dont mind it being in existence to use as a way to loosely associate how picks relate to each other, but I feel like people use it as a hard and fast rule. People here are putting together possible trade scenarios, and when they are off by 50 draft pts, others come in and say that trade can never happen, X team is getting ripped off by 50 points. And I dont feel like its just our message boards, when I read analysts they often write how evening the draft value chart is crucial in making a trade.

    At some pt player value comes into play as well. For example lets say in a draft like last yr, where there was no clear cut #1 player. A commonly used draft value board places pick one at a value of 3000 pts, and pick 5 with a value of 1700 pts. The difference which is 1300 pts correlates with pick 10. In a draft like last yr if you had to trade up do you really think pick #5 and #10 would be worth trading if there is no clear cut #1. If there are 5 equally rated players, the 5th pick shouldnt be that vastly different from the 1st pick. In a draft like that to move from #5 to #1, if i were holding #1, maybe an early 2nd rder woudl enough to drop a few spots, still get a stud, and save some money doing it.

    The other problem with the draft value chart is the fact that is completely arbitrary. There is no science, or evidence behind these pt values. They were arbitrarily assigned to draft picks, and now have become so common, they seem like rules, when they are just opinons of a 2 men. In a really deep draft wouldnt the #10 pick hold more value, than say a very shallow draft where their are only say 5 "cant miss prospects". Wouldnt a 2nd rder hold more value in a deep draft than in a weak draft. Or in an evenly distributed draft vs, a very top heavy draft.

    My main issue is when I read articles, or ideas that are thrown out, where people feel every trade needs to be equal in the draft value chart.

    One obvious example of an unequal trade is the Den-Atl trade, where we traded our 1st and 3rd rd picks, for their 1st rder. We gained over 350 pts in that trade. But I feel like that trade was only made bc ATL could spin it as a 3 team trade; Their #15 pick for John Abraham and and 3rd rder. That doesnt look as bad. Now if from some other reason ATL wanted to drop down in the draft and werent involved with getting Abraham, and they tried to trade the #15 for #29 + 3rd pick, they woudl have been crucified, bc they lost so many draft points. It all depends on who you want, and where you can get them.

    I know that the value chart has made trading more common, but its only because GM's were too afraid of getting ripped off, now they look at their handy charts, call it even, and its a day. Doesnt matter as long as they can say it was even in their chart.

    Maybe I am the only one thinking this, but I was wondering if anyone else had any thoughts on the draft value chart system, good or bad??? I would appreciate any input, thanks.

    I just recently posted the follwing in another thread ni response to a post suggestnig the trade wouldnt make sense bc the value was off by 50 pts on the trade chart. Figured I would add it here.

    "Just numbers man. They are just numbers. Said this a few times, but its really crazy that htis value chart is becoming some sort of bible. Especially when you are saying that #38 is worth more #61 and #68 because of 8 "points". What does that really mean?

    For example: If the player you are eyeing at say #50 will be there at #60, would it be worth dropping down and gettnig an extra pick, to do so, even if points wise the deal isnt exactly even? Of course it is you will draft the same player, and get a free pick.

    The draft chart is just a framework, nothing more. The chart isnt scientific or absolute. It is not fact. It is a rough estimate, a way of getting teams on the same page. There is no actual scientific factual basis to it.

    Another example, I will make this extreme to drive home the point.
    Lets say the concensus top 2 players in the draft, are twins going to rival schools, with the same stats, immeasurables, charactersitics, etc come out for the draft. With no seperating characteristics between them.
    Lets say the following year, there is a once in a generation type talent coming out of school, a John Elway type talent, and after that there is no great 2nd player available (such as last yr where Alex Smith went 1st). In both years should the #1 pick be exactly 400 "points" more valuable than the #2 pick?
    I would think in the first example, the 1st pick should be roughly equal to the 2nd pick. And in the second example, the 1st pick shoudl be much more valuable, bc the 2nd player isnt as great.
    Now does the draft chart take anythign like this into account? No, becuase its merely a rough framework. That is all."
    Last edited by ydave77; 04-23-2006 at 08:58 PM.

  2. #2
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    You have a good point.

    The same type of thing can be said about money. A nickel is what it is--1/20th of a dollar. If you have a couple hundred bucks in your pocket, tossing a nickel into the guitar case of a street performer is almost being cheap.

    But if you're stranded on a desert highway and at a pay phone with 30 cents and a local call is 35, that nickel surely is worth a lot more than in another situation.

    Maybe it's a bad analogy (after all, you could just press zero and make a collect call!), but the point is value is sometimes very arbitrary and situational. But the thing is, if you need a nickel and someone offers you 30 pesos, did you just come out ahead or behind?

    This is the element the trade chart provides- if it's what everybody is using, then it becomes the standard by default. It simply provides a basis for people to get started with when discussing a trade. If a move helps your team out while you lose in the numbers game that a chart provides, it's still a good move because you have accomplished the ultimate goal you were trying to via the draft--get better.

    But Denver has done very well the last couple of years, so sayeth the chart. The trick is, you gotta find somebody who is stranded on the side of the road in the desert and offer them a nickel.

    I bleed orange and blue!!!


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    I thought it might be interesting to discuss something/anything other than the 153rd mock draft, but I guess not.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    I agree with you. I think too much is made about getting a good "value" for your pick. If the guy helps us when the SB pick him at 22 even if it seems to be a reach. So much of this can't be seen though until after the player has been out for a year or so. A #10 pick that gets your guy is worth tons more than a #11 that doesn't. I would rather we won the Super Bowl than we got a good value.

    Think about the spot the texans are in, their spot is worth 3,000 and the pick there is Reggie Bush who is great IMHO, but doesnt fit their needs. With the value up so high though how do they get a trade? If there weren't such a difference in the top picks they would be a lot better off.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    5,758
    Quote Originally Posted by ydave77
    There have been a bunch of threads that have been started about trading, that eventually lead to someone pointing out the draft value of the picks. I just wanted to take a second to discuss the whole idea of the draft value chart.

    A little history lesson first. Prior to his second NFL season in 1990, Jimmy Johnson and then-club executive Mike McCoy devised an evaluation chart, one that placed a numerical value on every draft selection taken. This chart or versions of it, have proliferated throughout the NFL, so that almost every team on draft day will have the value chart in arm on draft day.

    The chart started out as a way of teams to gauge where and what they might trade for another draft pick. I have a few issues with what the chart has become; a crutch that GM's, and talking heads use to decide winners and losers on every trade. I feel that the draft value chart has become this end all, be all, to decide every trade. I dont mind it being in existence to use as a way to loosely associate how picks relate to each other, but I feel like people use it as a hard and fast rule. People here are putting together possible trade scenarios, and when they are off by 50 draft pts, others come in and say that trade can never happen, X team is getting ripped off by 50 points. And I dont feel like its just our message boards, when I read analysts they often write how evening the draft value chart is crucial in making a trade.

    At some pt player value comes into play as well. For example lets say in a draft like last yr, where there was no clear cut #1 player. A commonly used draft value board places pick one at a value of 3000 pts, and pick 5 with a value of 1700 pts. The difference which is 1300 pts correlates with pick 10. In a draft like last yr if you had to trade up do you really think pick #5 and #10 would be worth trading if there is no clear cut #1. If there are 5 equally rated players, the 5th pick shouldnt be that vastly different from the 1st pick. In a draft like that to move from #5 to #1, if i were holding #1, maybe an early 2nd rder woudl enough to drop a few spots, still get a stud, and save some money doing it.

    The other problem with the draft value chart is the fact that is completely arbitrary. There is no science, or evidence behind these pt values. They were arbitrarily assigned to draft picks, and now have become so common, they seem like rules, when they are just opinons of a 2 men. In a really deep draft wouldnt the #10 pick hold more value, than say a very shallow draft where their are only say 5 "cant miss prospects". Wouldnt a 2nd rder hold more value in a deep draft than in a weak draft. Or in an evenly distributed draft vs, a very top heavy draft.

    My main issue is when I read articles, or ideas that are thrown out, where people feel every trade needs to be equal in the draft value chart.

    One obvious example of an unequal trade is the Den-Atl trade, where we traded our 1st and 3rd rd picks, for their 1st rder. We gained over 350 pts in that trade. But I feel like that trade was only made bc ATL could spin it as a 3 team trade; Their #15 pick for John Abraham and and 3rd rder. That doesnt look as bad. Now if from some other reason ATL wanted to drop down in the draft and werent involved with getting Abraham, and they tried to trade the #15 for #29 + 3rd pick, they woudl have been crucified, bc they lost so many draft points. It all depends on who you want, and where you can get them.

    I know that the value chart has made trading more common, but its only because GM's were too afraid of getting ripped off, now they look at their handy charts, call it even, and its a day. Doesnt matter as long as they can say it was even in their chart.

    Maybe I am the only one thinking this, but I was wondering if anyone else had any thoughts on the draft value chart system, good or bad??? I would appreciate any input, thanks.
    The draft value chart is really only a beginning. It was a method to codify draft values, so that there's a basis for talking about trades.

    Otherwise, it's all subjective and how do teams determine whether they are offering each other approximate value?

    You forgot to mention how the Cowboys came up with the chart. They examined historical draft day trades!

    Now, obviously every situation is different. The #1 pick is worth so much more than #5 because it gives you the right to pick anyone in the entire draft.

    Those top picks are normally reserved for players who can be obtained in no other way, if at all. Franchise QBs. Top RBs. A monster pass-rushing DE sometimes.

    In a draft there might be 10 can't miss players that everyone agrees on.

    Or there might be 7 or 8. There might not be all that much value difference between some of them. But, as they are grabbed by teams, there is less and less choice. Finally, by the time teams start drafting between 10 and 15 it becomes more and more subjective.

    Between 15 and the end of the 1st round. Now you're into territory where each team's subjective value is more and more important.

    Virtually everyone might agree that A.J. Hawk and Mario Williams are the top defensive players in the draft and that Matt Leinart is the top rated QB. Vernon Davis is clearly heads and shoulders above the other TEs. D'Brickshaw Ferguson is the top rated OL. Reggie Bush is the best rated RB.

    Now, are those guys really going to be the best players? Not necessarily, but at least they appear the best at this point. If you take one you are minimizing your risk by selecting a player who's at the very top of his class.

    Minimizing risk. (Not of course eliminating it altogether! #1 pick Courtney Brown and #8 pick David Terrell were busts for their teams).

    Is the right to draft Reggie Bush with the #1 rather than Jay Leinart with the #2 really worth the middle pick of the 2nd round?

    Sometimes, YES! Just ask the San Diego Chargers who missed out on Peyton Manning only to draft Ryan Leaf!

    Sometimes not, as when the Giants gave up two #1s and a #3 to move up 4 places to get Eli Manning, when they could have traded DOWN, stockpiled picks and still drafted Ben Roethlisberger.

    But some attempt to quantify the draft is necessary if teams are going to agree on trades. It simply makes it a lot easier than arguing endlessly about whether you've got equivalent value in a trade.

    Is it sometimes a short-cut for creative thinking? Sure, but you have to start somewhere.
    Last edited by Cugel; 03-30-2006 at 09:37 PM.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Honolulu
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    Only a basis for starting serious trade negotiations. Look at the pick and what system you have and the value of the player is sometimes missed. Steve Young was drafted high and bombed in TB. He then ended up in a system which had some better players and land in the SB.

    In a fake draft of say taking Peyton Manning or Mike Vick. Every body has there own thoughts of whos best, but they have systems in mind. Do you take Dan Marino and his records or John Elway and the SB. Think if you could only take the stats from the future, no record of SB wins or appearances, who would you take. The stats would say Marino. Do you take Big Ben or Eli. Eli has a great support group of QBs in the family. How would you know that Big Ben almost never loses based on college.

    The trades are ragged upon by people who get paid to nit-pik, not by making the team better. Those who know the inner working of the team. Nobody can honestly say one guy is a bust and one guy is a sure thing before the draft and be right. You could have a good guess and even evidence that this guy will do what but it is only time that tells. Its the same with trades. Do you need the guy that much to make it to the SB, sacrifice in the trade points.

    Ryan Leaf is the example. I would have taken him over Peyton on what little I saw of him in the Rose Bowl. That would make me the Chargers paying for years over that mistake. But I did not lose my job over that decision. Somebody did.
    Broncos forever!!
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  7. #7
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    Jimmy Johnson is a football genius. The chart is a good set of guidelines.

  8. #8
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    Mar 2005
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    As long as it is used as a mere guideline, I am fine. Unfortunately people often take it to be the bible of truth. I feel like its talked about like its matter of fact, written in stone that "x" pick is worth exactly this much value, when in reality it is dependant on many situations.
    Last edited by ydave77; 04-23-2006 at 08:19 PM.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2005
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    I was just relooking at this thread, felt like it deserved a bump. I see there were some of you who agreed with me, but judging by the lack of responses, not too many. I was wondering if anyone else had any thoughts on this subject?

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