NFL Draft Value Chart
The most complete example of an NFL Draft value chart, its origins, and usage can be found here.
The chart’s origin is somewhat of an unknown, but we do know the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs were among the first NFL clubs to utilize the NFL Draft value chart in the late eighties.
Its purpose is to provide general managers with a means of assigning values to Draft picks to assist in trading.
Some GMs swear by it while others swear at it.
One thing nearly all front-office executives can agree on is that the chart provides a starting point from which to begin negotiations.
Dallas and Kansas City were among the first clubs to utilize the NFL Draft value chart in the late 1980s.
When Jimmy Johnson was hired as the Cowboys head coach in 1989, he made extensive changes to the chart to match his vision of player valuations.
Johnson’s version remains largely intact today and is commonly accepted as the “official” Draft value chart.
Of course the history of the NFL Draft value chart depends on which version you’re talking about.
There’s been a number of different flavors used throughout the years and of course teams are free to use whichever one they prefer.
Some clubs prefer to use other means to gage the “fairness” of a proposed trade. It really doesn’t matter how a trade in finalized as long as both parties are satisfied with the deal.
NFL Draft Value Chart
|ROUND 1||ROUND 2||ROUND 3||ROUND 4||ROUND 5||ROUND 6||ROUND 7|
NFL Draft value chart usage
Imagine for a moment you are the general manager of the Dallas Cowboys and you’re interested in moving up the Draft board to select the top rated cornerback, who is projected to go third overall.
The Cowboys hold the ninth pick, so it’s going to require some negotiations on your part.
Okay great… but how much will I have to give up in order to move up six spots?
This is where the chart comes in.
Let’s say the Cleveland Browns have the third overall selection in the NFL Draft and are looking to trade down to accumulate additional Draft picks.
The Cowboys would need to come up with a package deal that is acceptable to the Browns (and to the Cowboys of course) for Cleveland to consider moving down from their current slot.
What’s an “acceptable” deal you ask? Typically—but not always—an acceptable deal is one where both parties receive equal point values in the transaction.
Now that we understand the basics of a Draft day trade, let’s take a look at how the NFL Draft value chart is used to obtain a “fair” trade numerically.
|COWBOYS RECEIVE:||BROWNS RECEIVE:|
|• No. 3 overall pick||2,200 points||• No. 9 overall pick||1,350 points|
|• 2nd round pick (41)||490 points|
|• 3rd round pick (73)||225 points|
|• 6th round pick (169)||23.8 points|
|Total||2,200 points||Total||2,088.8 points|
As you can see from our mock Draft day trade, the cost to move up six spots is extremely steep.
Notice too that even after receiving four Draft picks from the Cowboys, there still is a 100-plus point gap in favor of Dallas.
Does this mean the Cowboys are getting the better end of the deal?
Intangibles such as leadership, durability, and character cannot be measured using this or any other chart that assigns numerical values to a player.
This is where the general manager has to use his best judgment and instinct to gauge the fairness of a trade. Unless the player targeted at No. 3 is rated first or second on the Cowboys’ Draft board, I wouldn’t make the deal.
If I was calling the shots and the player was someone we really liked, I would try to package a player on the current roster and/or future Draft picks; hoping that the following year the Cowboys are selecting significantly lower than No. 9 in the first round.
There’s numerous ways you can slice it and it often takes some very creative thinking by both parties to get a deal done.
And to make all of this even more of a challenge, you have 10 minutes to get the deal finalized.