Matt McGuire’s NFL Draftology 321:
Revising the Trade Value Chart

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In Draftology 320, I discussed why the trade value chart (TVC) is necessary to analyze trade scenarios and find the value of draft picks. However, this does not mean the current TVC is any good.

The current TVC handcuffs teams to their high draft picks making it nearly impossible to make trades if they were interested in trading down to acquire more picks.

The Rams last year wanted to talk shop, but the TVC dictates approximately how many points a team needs to make a move. For example, let’s say the Ravens wanted to move up to No. 2 ahead of the Falcons to draft Matt Ryan. The No. 8 pick was worth 1,400 points and the No. 2 pick was worth 2,600 points. That means to fulfill the value of the trade, the Ravens need another 1,200 points, which is equivalent to the No. 12 overall pick. This was too much for the Ravens and they really had no other option other than to stay put, eventually trading down with the Jaguars.

Again, let’s go to the 2007 Draft. There was much hype that the Bucs wanted to move up from No. 4 to No. 2 with the Lions to draft Calvin Johnson. The difference in points here is 800 points. Is this not completely ridiculous? Two spots in the draft add up to about 27 percent of the No. 1 pick. The Buccaneers had a high pick in the second round and offered it, but this trade was rejected by the Lions. The No. 2 pick is worth too much according to the TVC. If there was a different TVC in place, maybe that trade goes down.

The TVC we use now was developed by Jimmy Johnson. The Dallas Cowboy front office at the time highly valued the first four picks. We can see each pick goes down 400 points until you get to No. 4. After that it goes down 100 points. This is a steep drop handcuffing those teams who do poorly to their high draft pick.

Also, I believe the second- and third-round picks lack the value they deserve. Let’s say you have picks at Nos. 24 and 55. Together they add up to 890 TVC points. If you want to move up in the first round, you can move up about six spots to No. 18. That is not very much and in my opinion – the No. 55 pick is worth much more than that. Teams are looking for starters often times in the second round.

Granted, there is no rookie salary system in place to limit the amount of money paid to each draft pick like the NBA has. There is so much money going to the Jake Longs and Matt Ryans of the world; teams are hesitant to move up because it puts a big dent in their salary cap. This is also a big reason why teams do not make moves high into the NFL Draft, but it is hard to ignore the impact of the TVC.

The reason why you do not accept significantly less value according to the TVC with those high picks is because of leverage. You are susceptible to being ripped off if you do not get near equal value for your pick. If you get ripped off in a trade according to the TVC, you are helping the other team in the deal more than you are helping yourself.

The TVC can be altered to allow more fluidity in trades at the top of the NFL Draft. Why has this not happened yet? I have no idea. There is a saying that, “Complaining is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but ultimately you go nowhere.” Let’s stop the complaining because I have a solution.

Before I reveal my TVC and why it is far better than the current one, there are certain things that need to be discussed.

1. There is no such thing as a perfect TVC. Ultimately, every TVC can be criticized. You are assigning a point value next to a pick. “How do you go about giving a pick a certain value?” This is something that must be accepted because it is what the TVC is. How did Jimmy Johnson determine how much each pick is worth? I am doing the exact same thing, except I am solving the problem of not handcuffing the top five picks to their teams.

All I am saying is, if you are going to criticize my TVC, then just realize we can find faults with every TVC. The bottom line is we need to find a better solution to how we go about determining pick value. My TVC is absolutely open to criticism, but instead of complaining about it, make your own TVC and try to improve it.

2. While it is important to have fluidity at the top of the NFL Draft, it is also important teams are well compensated for their high picks. It does no good to put together a TVC that is not top-heavy, if the teams at the top of the NFL Draft are still getting ripped off in their deal.

For example, Scouts Inc. last year in ESPN the Magazine put out their own TVC. To move up from No. 2 to No. 1, it merely cost a team their seventh-round pick. Seventh-round picks never really pan out, often used as camp fodder. The top picks need to have some value, or it is better more for the teams trading up than the teams trading down. The idea here is to find a balance.

Without going any further, take a look at a comparison (1) between the current TVC, and my TVC. As you can see, the current TVC is on the left, and my TVC is on the right. Next to the picks, you see percentages. These tell you how much each pick is worth in relation to the No. 1 pick. In the current TVC, the No. 2 pick is worth 2600 points. The No. 1 pick is 3000 points. 2600/3000 = 87%.

If you look at both TVCs, you can see how much more value I assign to the mid- and late-first round picks (and on). The No. 2 pick in the current TVC is equal to my No. 3 pick. The current No. 7 pick is equal to my No. 13 pick. The current No. 21 pick is equal to my No. 31 pick.

Why is this good? It is good because it allows the teams at the top to have more options trading down, and it allows those teams in the top 10 to have the potential to move up into the top two or three.

Now I know you might say, “Well with your TVC, a playoff team would have a hard time trading up into the top three.”

I do not look at this as a bad thing. I look at this as a very good thing. Those teams should not have the ability to trade up into the top five or so. If it was easier for them, then you would have less parity because those playoff teams would get better and better acquiring the elite talent in the NFL Draft.

This TVC not only allows those teams in the top four to move down, but they have the ability to get adequate compensation in the process.

Like I said, this TVC is not perfect – I am sure it has flaws – but I think we can all agree it is certainly better than the TVC in place. Therefore, why shouldn’t my TVC be considered to replace the current one if I have a better solution?

In the next Draftology, I examine mid- and late-round draft theory. Here (2) you can view my entire TVC with all of the picks.




Matt McGuire’s 2009 NFL Mock Draft

Walt’s 2009 NFL Mock Draft

2008 Fantasy Football Rankings