Errors in the NFL Draft Trade Value Chart

By Matt McGuire
Feb. 18, 2009

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If you are familiar with my series on NFL Draft theory otherwise known as NFL Draftology, then you know I am a true expert on the Trade Value Chart. I really wanted to do an in-depth analysis of the current TVC in place one day after class, and I could not believe my eyes � I found two mathematical errors.

Now before I get to those two errors and their affect on the rest of the TVC, I will first give a brief introduction to what the TVC is. A TVC is the only way to objectively analyze how much draft picks are worth. It is impossible to state into words how valuable a pick is. You might say the third-overall pick in the draft is worth "a lot", but that begs the question "How much is a lot?" By putting a number next to a pick (which is subjective), you can then objectively analyze how much a pick is worth in relation to the other selections in the NFL Draft.

Also, the TVC acts as a guide for NFL general managers. They sometimes do not have much time to analyze trade offers, and by adding up the point values of the picks associated in the trade they can determine the best route for their team.

Now, I am not saying the TVC is the only way to analyze how valuable picks are. You can also look at the talent on the board and your teams' depth chart (needs). The TVC is therefore the only way to objectively analyze pick value since judging the draft board and depth charts is subjective. If it is subjective, then you will have bias. The TVC has no bias since the values of the picks never change.

Let's now review the two trade value chart mathematical errors. Later, I will also analyze a few things that do not come across as logical to me. You will need a visual aide, so click the following link to bring up the official trade value chart. I also checked several other official trade value charts on the Internet to insure just one or two charts did not have typos, but this mistake exists everywhere.

NFL Trade Value Chart

NFL Trade Value Chart Error No. 1:

Take a glance at pick No. 18. Ever since pick No. 8, the point drop differential (PDD, or difference in points from one pick to the next pick) has been 50 points. From pick No. 18 to pick No. 19 we can see the PDD is 25 points. It is again 25 points from No. 19 to No. 20. BUT from No. 20 to No. 21 the PDD is 50 points.

In a trade value chart, the PDD cannot be more than the previous pick. It does not make any sense. What you want in a TVC is a gradual decrease of the PDD to allow for appropriate values for picks.

If you look at the corrected TVC for picks No. 19-96, you can see the re-corrected values for those picks (every pick needs to be corrected based on the PDD, but I just did the first three rounds to give you an idea of the ripple effect these mistakes have). At No. 21, you can see that pick should be worth 825 points; not 800. Pick No. 22 should be worth 800 points; not 780.

NFL Trade Value Chart Error No. 2:

Now look at pick No. 31, which is worth 600 points on the current TVC. From No. 31 to 32, the PDD is 10 points. Again from No. 32 to 33 the PDD is 10 points. BUT from No. 33 to 34, the PDD is 20 points. Again, the PDD from 33 to 34 is more (20) than it was from 32 to 33 (10). This is completely incorrect.

Another thing I just do not understand in this current trade value chart is why the PDD is 6 points just on one pick. Look at pick No. 62. The PDD is 8 points from No. 62 to 63. Then from No. 63 to 64 the PDD is 6 points. Then from No. 64 to 65, the PDD is 5 points. Can Jimmy Johnson, the creator of the TVC, explain why he just has one pick with a specific PDD as opposed to spreading the 6 points over 10 to 20 picks? I do not understand that at all, and it looks pretty amateurish.

One more thing that just does not make much sense is why to change the PDD (see comparison of the PDD at the bottom of the page) once the picks get down to a 0.5 PDD. Johnson went from 0.5 to 0.4, then 0.4 to 0.3. Please. Why make it even more confusing for NFL general managers? Just stick with 0.5. We are talking about tenths of a point here; it just is not worth the trouble and comes across to me as inconvenient and unnecessary. Based on the two mathematical errors, 91.7 percent of the picks on the current TVC are incorrect, value-wise. It does not look good when this is the official trade value chart that these NFL front offices use on Draft Day.

For a few months, I have an alternative chart in place. My TVC has ZERO mathematical errors. It also is not top-heavy on the first four picks and gives far more value for the second-round picks on in the TVC. We all know how valuable the second-round picks are because these teams are looking for immediate starters. The current TVC in place does not put enough emphasis on those second- or third-round picks.

I talked to a few NFL front office personnel and scouts in Mobile, and they told me their teams have their own trade value charts. I understand this, but to say the current TVC in place has no affect on the draft is ridiculous. These teams do not share their TVCs with other teams, and so it is impossible for one team to know where the other team is grading the value of their picks in a trade offer.

I am not going to tell the NFL front offices what to do. They certainly will not listen to some "guy" on the Internet telling them how to do their own jobs.

I will say this: I understand trade value charts more than they do. If they knew more about this subject than I did, then someone would have came out and stated that the current TVC needs to be corrected because of these two mathematical errors.

However, no one did this. Out of the hundreds of thousands of people who have looked at the current TVC at one point or another, I do not believe anyone has noticed these two HUGE errors.

Since I do know trade value charts better than nearly everyone else on the planet, I think the NFL should consider adopting my trade value chart. Why? Well, it allows more fluidity for trades at the top of the NFL Draft and gives more value to the second- and mid-round draft picks - they have more value now because of advances in scouting and talent coming out in the draft.

As I have previously stated, my TVC is not perfect. If you read my NFL Draftology, then you know there is no such thing as a perfect TVC because you are subjectively putting a number next to a pick.

However, because of my discovery, I think the NFL should at least listen to what I have to say regarding my TVC, and updating the current, incorrect one.

The NFL would not look very intelligent if it did not make any changes to the current TVC in place. It's a joke. It should at least correct the picks to what they should be based on Johnson's PDD, if not completely revise it and adopt my TVC.

Below in this spreadsheet, you can look at the corrected TVC in place based off of Jimmy Johnson's point drop differential in the current TVC. In each grouping of cells, the first column is the pick number, the second column is the corrected point value, and the third column is how much that pick's value changes as compared to the current TVC.

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