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Analyzing the Trades in Day 1 of the 2013 Draft

by Chase Stuart on April 26, 2013

in Draft

There were five trades in the first round of the NFL Draft.  Who were the winners and losers?  Which draft chart was used — the traditional Jimmy Johnson chart or something closer to my chart?  I’ve never argued that teams use my chart when making trades (rather, I’ve argued simply that they should), but it’s worthwhile to see the trade market has shifted under the new CBA.

1) Oakland traded the #3 pick for Miami’s #12 and #42 picks

At the time, most thought the Dolphins were trading to select the last of the three left tackles, Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson.  Instead, Miami drafted Dion Jordan, the DE/OLB out of Oregon.  Jordan will team with Cameron Wake to give Miami an incredible set of pass rushers, although the left tackle situation remains unresolved.

My draft pick value calculator says the Raiders received 107% of the value they gave up, making it slightly in their favor.  On the other hand, the Jimmy Johnson chart says the Raiders only received 76% of the value of the third pick back.

Winner: Oakland.  The Raiders were able to select the player they really wanted (D.J. Hayden), so they essentially received the #42 pick for free.  Meanwhile, the Dolphins gave up a high second round pick, a risky move in a draft that is flat on talent.  Miami fans will be happy with Jordan now, and the team could still send their other second round pick to Kansas City for Branden Albert, but strictly on trade value, the Raiders won this one.

Chart Used: This trade deviated far enough from the traditional chart to at least consider this as one data point that teams are beginning to use more reasonable charts.  On the other hand, the #3 pick was likely less valuable this year than most, so this may be an isolated situation. Reports indicate that Reggie McKenzie was prepared to use the #3 pick on Hayden, and at the very last minute got this deal from Miami. Since he knew he could get Hayden at 12, this trade may not be very useful in predicting future team behavior.

2) Buffalo traded the 8th and 71st picks to St. Louis for picks 16, 46, 78, and 222

It was no secret that the Rams wanted Tavon Austin, as St. Louis has failed to surround Sam Bradford with playmakers.  And while many expected Buffalo to do something foolish (Ryan Nassib?), the team played this one perfectly.  The Bills received 118 cents on the dollar according to my chart, sending 28.9 points of marginal AV in exchange for 34.2 expected points.   However, the Jimmy Johnson chart had the deal as nearly perfectly matched, making it clear that teams are still basing trades around that chart.  Austin fits a huge need for the Rams, but they paid a significant price to get him.  The 5’8 West Virginia Mountaineer is the shortest wide receiver ever selected in the top ten of the NFL Draft1, and he’s at least three inches shorter than every other receiver drafted in the top ten outside of Desmond Howard.

Winner: Buffalo.  The Bills are rebuilding, and the 46th pick will make that an easier process.  Then again, since Buddy Nix then drafted E.J. Manuel with the 16th pick, perhaps the Rams got the better end of this one.

Chart Used: The Jimmy Johnson chart.

3) Dallas traded the 18th pick to San Francisco for the 31st and 74th picks

Clearly, the Cowboys weren’t high on any of the players available at eighteen; Jerry Jones even hinted as much earlier in the week.  Dallas then surprised everyone by selecting Wisconsin center Travis Frederick, who had a third round grade according to Mike Mayock.  As for the trade itself, the Football Perspective Draft Value Chart says Dallas received 123 cents on the dollar by trading down; according to the Jimmy Johnson chart, the Cowboys received only 91 cents on the dollar. San Francisco drafted safety Eric Reid to replace Dashon Goldson.

Winner: Both teams. The 49ers were obvious trade-up candidates, as they have arguably the most talented roster in the NFL and way more draft picks than they could use.  They overpaid according to my chart, but not egregiously so, and “won” versus the traditional chart.  Dallas, meanwhile, was able to add a third round pick.  They probably could have used that pick on Frederick, but at least the Cowboys didn’t spend the 18th pick on him.

Chart Used: Combination of the two.

4) St. Louis traded the 22nd and 2015 7th rounder to Atlanta for the 30th, 92nd, and 198th picks

A 2015 7th round pick is worth roughly three cases of beer, so I’m going to leave that out of this one.  My calculator said the Rams won the trade, receiving 19.6 points in exchange for just 14.9 points (giving St. Louis 132 cents on the dollar).  Meanwhile, the Jimmy Johnson chart called it a nearly even deal, with the Falcons actually giving up slightly less than what they received (St. Louis received 98 cents on the dollar).

Atlanta, who traded up for Julio Jones two years ago, pulled the trick off this season to add Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant.  The Falcons desperately needed a corner, but they might have been able to wait it out and grab Trufant (or Xavier Rhodes or another corner) at 30.

Winner: St. Louis lost a lot of value in moving up to get Austin, but did a great job recouping draft capital in this deal. The Rams selected linebacker Alec Ogletree at 30, another strong player who would have made sense for the team at 22.

Chart Used: Jimmy Johnson chart.

5) New England traded the 29th pick to Minnesota for the 52nd, 83rd, 102nd, and 229th picks

The Jimmy Johnson draft chart says this trade was close to even, with the Patriots giving up 640 points and receiving 649 points (101 cents on the dollar). Of course, you know if a big trade down is even on the old chart, it’s going to look outstanding on my chart: the Pats received a whopping 159 cents on the dollar according to my draft values, sending 13.2 points of AV to Minnesota in return for 21.1 points.

With that pick, the Vikings selected Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson, an athletic wide receiver who should help Christian Ponder.  Add Patterson to an offense that features Adrian Peterson, Greg Jennings, and Kyle Rudolph, and Minnesota should be a better team in 2013.  Putting aside the huge value hit they took in the trade, Minnesota had a great draft, catching the falling knives better known as Sharrif Floyd (Florida) and Xavier Rhodes (Florida State).

Winner: New England, as usual.  Trades for Aqib Talib, Albert Haynesworth, and Chad Johnson left New England without their 4th, 5th, and 6th round picks, but New England now has a significant amount of draft capital to use over the next two days.

Chart Used: Jimmy Johnson chart.

Recapping the Jets Draft

Things started poorly for the Jets and quickly went from bad to worse. Dion Jordan was always a pipe dream, but division-rival Miami traded up to grab him at three. Then Barkevious Mingo, the presumptive player the Jets were going to take at 9, was snagged by the Browns at six. Then, the Rams traded up to 8 to select Austin. When the Jets were finally up, they were forced to look at the top cornerback (Dee Milliner), a nose tackle (Star Lotulelei), the best run-blocking guard (Chance Warmack), or a second-tier outside linebacker (Jarvis Jones). John Idzik took nearly all of the ten minutes he was allotted, making it clear that the team was desperately trying to trade down. When the clock ran out, the Jets selected Milliner, a relatively safe pick that does fill a position of need.

I’m slightly skeptical about Alabama cornerbacks — Javier Arenas and Kareem Jackson looked outstanding when they played for the Crimson Tide, too. Nick Saban is the game’s best teacher and a former defensive backs coach, and some feel that he coaches up his cornerbacks so well that by the time they reach the NFL, they’ve already reached their potential. But that’s a minor complaint: Milliner was rightly considered the best or second best corner in the draft, and with Kyle Wilson being a disappointment and Antonio Cromartie only signed through 2014, cornerback was a bigger need than you might think.

With the 13th pick, the Jets had two obvious moves: trade down for more picks or select Jarvis Jones. Idzik again took the full ten minutes, and my hunch is that he was way too aggressive (likely demanding he be given value equal to the old Jimmy Johnson chart) and should have accepted less to move down. If the team didn’t like Jarvis Jones, Lotulelei would have been a solid pick. Instead, New York drafted Sheldon Richardson, a 4-3 defensive tackle. My complaint isn’t about Richardson as much as it is about the scheme.

The Jets drafted Muhammad Wilkerson, a player capable of playing as a three-technique in the 4-3 or as a 3-4 end, in the first round of 2011. Last year, Quinton Coples was the team’s first round choice, and Coples was projected as a defensive end in either a 3-4 or a 4-3, although he is probably only capable of playing as a left defensive end. What the Jets really needed to complement these two players is a nose tackle — and the team did draft Kenrick Ellis in the third round in 2011, who was being groomed to start in 2013. A player like Richardson makes little sense, at least to me: the options would be to move Wilkerson to a one-techinque (ugh) or moving Coples to outside linebacker (double ugh). The other plan could be to move Wilkerson to defensive end and move to a 4-3, but that seems unlikely because the Jets would struggle to come up with at least two, if not three, 4-3 linebackers, and Wilkerson and Coples would be a very unexplosive pair of defensive ends.

Wilkerson is a Pro Bowl-caliber player because he can be an interior pass rusher, and Coples showed much of that same ability in 2012. Sticking to the 3-4 and adding an edge rusher or two at outside linebacker could have given the Jets a great pass rush. I would have preferred trading down for Jarvis Jones, trading up for Dion Jordan, staying put at 13 and selecting Jones, and just about anything to drafting a 4-3 defensive tackle at 13.

Before the draft, I thought the Jets had serious needs at the following positions:

QB
Big, possession WR to complement Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley (Santonio Holmes will be gone after 2013)
TE
LG
RG
RT
NT
ROLB
LOLB
RCB
FS
SS

Amazingly, the Jets drafted an interior defensive lineman who can’t play nose tackle instead of filling one of the many needs above. I just don’t get it. If the Jets were so in love with Richardson and viewed him as an elite prospect that you have to take regardless of scheme and your depth chart, (1) they should have selected him at 9, and (2) they wouldn’t have waited all ten minutes when they were on the clock as they desperately tried to trade down.

Drafts are about much more than the first round, but Thursday was a disappointing night for Jets fans.

[Note: A previous version of this article stated that the Raiders received 138% of the value for the picks in my chart and 90% in the Jimmy Johnson chart: I don't know why I wrote that. If you put 3 and 12/42 into the draft calculator, Oakland received 107 cents on the dollar in my chart and 76 cents in the traditional one. Obviously that's a lot worse.]

  1. Although 5-8 Joey Jones was selected with the 9th pick in the 1984 Supplemental Draft Pick of the USFL players. []

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Wintermute April 26, 2013 at 7:21 am

Your new draft calculator is wonderful and added a lot to yesterday’s draft for me. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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Chase Stuart April 26, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Thanks Wintermute! Appreciate hearing that it was useful to folks.

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David Myers April 26, 2013 at 9:16 am

Some comments..

1) I loved you tweeting the new value chart and the comparables between the JJ chart and the AV based chart last night. Added much to the drama.

2) A couple years ago I did a draft analysis that assumed drafting was efficient and that random variance could account for the difference between drafted value and perceived value. If, as a rule, you assume one 1 round error per draft in the first round, the standard error of the variance has to be 1.0 rounds per pick to get that kind of behavior in the draft. Short take home is that drafting isn’t accurate to a few draft positions, it’s accurate to about a round in terms of “real value”..

3) Seattle has been the dog of the first round draft critics in 2010 and 2011. Where did that get them?

David Myers, of Code and Football.

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Chase Stuart April 26, 2013 at 12:36 pm

1) Thanks David. Appreciate it.

2) I’m not sure I’m following you, and unfortunately your link does not work.

3) True.

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maxnote April 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Two things:

First, I’ve been thinking that maybe the reason that teams overpay to trade up based on your model is that the teams trading up aren’t getting an arbitrary quantity; they will only choose to trade up if there is a player they want that fits there team well. In some sense, I think that, for example, the Falcons say “Desmond Trufant will be worth more to our team than the average player picked at 22,” which encourages them to trade up. In fact, they may have valued him at the equivalent value pick as all the value combined that they gave up according to your chart. I think that’s why teams have to overpay for draft position – they aren’t picking an arbitrary value, they are picking the player they want.

Second, I thought the Jets had a great draft. They got the consensus #1 corner, and the arguably best or second-best defensive tackle. I don’t think they are in a good position to win now, but I don’t think they were planning to be. The message is clear to Rex Ryan: win with players that may not fit your scheme, or we’ll have someone else coaching them next year. I think Idzik is planning for the long term, and so far I think he has done an amazing job.

Anyway, thanks for your analysis. I think this is the first time I’ve posted, but I’ve been reading everything you have written since I found your site a couple of months ago.

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Chase Stuart April 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Thanks maxnote.

You’re absolutely correct. It’s the “winner’s curse” just like in free agency, where the team that signs the FA overpays for them by definition: no other team wanted to pay for that player! The thing is, teams are fooling themselves if they think they know so much more than everyone else.

If the Falcons think Desmond Trufant will be worth more to them than the average player picked at 22, they’re suffering from a case of overconfidence, IMO. But there is a sense of need meeting value, and teams aren’t wrong to trade up from say, 30 to 22 if their 10th player on the board slips to 22. But that was the sort of logic that had the Broncos trading a future first round pick for Alphonso Smith, who was a top-ten player on the board and fell to the second round.

2) Milliner is fine, but he’s not an elite corner. He’s very good. It’s a safe pick, but one I don’t love.

Richardson was also arguably the third best defensive tackle. I have yet to hear anyone explain to me how they envision getting the most out of Wilkerson, Coples, and Richardson.

3) Glad you dig the site!

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maxnote April 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm

I agree that Atlanta shouldn’t have traded for Trufant; I think they could have gotten him or another fine corner at 30. However, if Atlanta had him as the best player by far on their board, their scouting is what should be criticized, not their trading.

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Brenner April 26, 2013 at 2:25 pm

So, since you recapped the entire Jets draft in the rest of the recap, and used either the JJ or a combination calculator for every OTHER trade, at least to declare a winner, that you have a Dolphins bias for #1? The JJ calculator says the Dolphins won by a whole quarter and your calculator says that the Raiders won by less than a dime. A combination of the two percentage values for Miami would still pit the Dolphins as having won the deal, so I’m not sure why you insist they lost here.

The facts independent from the calculator, it was wise of Oakland to deal down since they could take Hayden, who they were prepared to take at 3, instead at 12 and draft another player for free. And if the ‘Phins don’t make a deal for Albert, their decision to overlook Lane Johnson will be pretty glaring in a few years, I’d guess…

But Barnwell is using your calculator and your calculator only to evaluate deals on Grantland, and so, he’s marked the Dolphins as a loser, as have you. I’d like to know what goes into your calculations, of course, and I’m sure that is posted elsewhere here, but the articles and talking heads and traditional JJ calculator analysis have pegged this as a big win on trade value alone for Miami. As for whether they made the right pick that’s up in the air. Let’s just say they drafted Lane Johnson like they were expected to, I’d have to think that would be universally panned as a “big win”, even by Barnwell, considering the fact that the traditional calendar says they only gave up 3/4th the value needed to move into a Top 3 slot. The uncertainty of the player is coloring the situation here, I think, for both you and Barnwell. I’m not entirely convinced either, but an Albert trade would go a long way to winning me over.

Thanks for your work and it must be encouraging to be cited by Barnwell as THE draft calculator, he didn’t even mention the fact that Miami crushed this base on the traditional calendar. I don’t like the outcome, but I appreciate the creative process. Just wish it made my Phins look a bit better.

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Chase Stuart April 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm

My value chart is the chart I use, so the fact that Miami was closer on the JJ chart to 100% doesn’t really move the needle.

The links in this post explain what goes into my calculator. It’s based on the expected marginal value provided by a draft pick in his first five years and tracks production over a few decades.

Miami traded less to trade up to #3 than probably anyone in history, so from that standpoint, it was a good deal for the Dolphins. Of course, just about every trade up to #3 would be considered a bad deal on my chart. Miami fans should be happy that they got Jordan, but there are likely to be several good DEs still available at 42 today. Miami might have been able to draft, say, Richardson or Star or Floyd and Tank Carradine or Damontre Moore or Alex Okafor. I don’t think it’s incongruous to say the Dolphins got better value than you would ever expect when trading up to 3 and to also argue that they’d have been better off keeping their picks.

FWIW, my analysis of the trade would not have changed if the team selected Johnson instead of Jordan.

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Brenner April 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Running on a bit here, but not sure you can say you used “primarily the JJ chart” to give Oakland the upper hand there. Miami only gave 3/4th the JJ Chart value needed to vault into the #3 slot. The only possible way Oakland is viewed as a winner is with your chart, and even with that, it’s by a very slight amount. Not to say that your chart is wrong, given the fact that it takes actual results into account, it seems like a more reliable choice of calculators to believe, but the fact remains that if you were using the JJ chart at all, or even a combination of the two, Miami would be viewed as the winner.

I am proud of Ireland for having the balls to make this move and even prouder that he got the guy the entire coaching staff wanted, and did it while giving up only 3/4th of the “suggested value”… Real-life value, this might end up pretty even, but pass rushing works wonders for teams and Jordan is the best pass-rushing project in the draft. Jarvis Jones at 17 on the Steelers, I am prepared for Jones to look better than Jordan due to team, scheme and overall talent (Jones really is a beast… and his sack numbers versus Jordan’s in college are really ugly when you think about their draft slots, though each were used in different ways at their schools…) But I digress. The Albert trade would be the nail in the coffin for me on this trade being worth it. Wish I could edit these messages once I post them, plenty of errors in the above one, and I was (hopefully transparently) being tongue-in-cheek about the Jets bias, although I do suspect you might harbor some anti-Dolphins bias, deep down, as I know my Jets bias is well out in the open!! Thanks again, and I found the link where you explain your calculator’s criteria posted above. Interesting stuff. Again, gotta be nice for you to see Barnwell referencing your stuff on a widely-read publication. Best of luck in the future!

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Chase Stuart April 26, 2013 at 3:08 pm

I am sorry for the confusion: it’s my fault.

I don’t know what I did wrong, but I think I initially put in an extra draft pick or something going to Oakland. My original numbers were 138 cents on the dollar for Oakland in my chart and 90 cents on the dollar in the JJ chart. In that case, my conclusion was that the JJ chart was used.

That’s what happens when you write an article at 1:30 in the morning. Today, I realized my error, and switched the values but forgot to change the conclusion. I have since modified the post.

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Chase Stuart April 26, 2013 at 3:12 pm

I agree that Ireland did a nice job here. Being aggressive and trading to get a player is a good example of organizational clarity, something that’s been missing for too long in Miami. I won’t argue with the Dolphins for deciding that Jordan was a better fit for their team than Johnson, even if it was a surprise.

The trade was a win-win by most accounts. I simply noted that Miami did give up a valuable pick, and therefore they get the lesser grade in this trade, as the Raiders still received more value in the deal. But considering the facts at play, I wouldn’t call the Dolphins losers in this trade.

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Brenner April 26, 2013 at 4:33 pm

A win-win I can certainly live with. That’s only an evaluation of what it took to end up at #3, and so hopefully the pick that they made is a winner too. Barnwell’s critique of this year’s draft tendency to value projects highly outside of the Top 3 tackles did ring true, and a little scary when comparing Jordan’s results versus someone like Jarvis Jones for a blitzing OLB. I also see a lot of potential from a guy who is a converted TE with only about two years playing defense, who runs a 4.6, and will be taking practice reps with Cam Wake. It’s an exciting time for Phins fans, and I had ingested so much positive mass media content about at the very least the framework of the deal, that coming across Barnwell’s outright classification of the move as a loss (and the disparity between your calc and the traditional calc, a fair disparity considering that it’s founded on results, but still a wide disparity nonetheless), rubbed me the wrong way and I can’t comment on his Grantland articles, so you bore the brunt. It’s admirable that you reply to all of your web traffic, and I’ll keep tabs on your site and work in the future. I do agree that they could have used the picks to get two great pieces of value instead of Jordan, but I also think they got perhaps the highest ceiling in the draft on defense, and we need those pass-rushers to get to Brady (as you I’m sure well know…)

It all hinges on the Albert deal for me, hopefully that gets done today. That will be a complete off-season overhaul for me, if they deal 54 for Albert and use 77 and 82 on CB (though Ireland has said that CB is not a position of need… yesterday… So, not sure what to expect today…)

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Chase Stuart April 26, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Football Perspective welcomes all visitors, even Dolphins fans. I understand how non-traditional analysis could be jarring. I’m sure if you stick around for awhile you’ll find many articles to enjoy. I’d tell you to just skip the Jets ones, but sadly, the contents of those articles are likely music to Dolphins fans’ ears these days.

All is quiet on the Albert front, although I suppose that isn’t necessarily indicative of much.

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Brenner April 26, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Non-traditional analysis is the kind I seek out, I was really anxious to read Barnwell’s take on everything and figured he might take exception to us drafting an unproven project. The implication that we overpaid, which is, again, based in statistics so it’s tough to argue it, was the only thing that didn’t sit well. Like you said, this was the least anyone has ever paid to move up into the Top 3, so in comparing that fact in my mind mentally, the premium didn’t seem much to pay. At least you did acknowledge that the trade value calculator shows that Oakland only recouped around 75% of the value they had in the pick. Barnwell/Grantland types are the ones I seek out for deeper-rather-than-surface validation, and while I could understand the pick being questioned, I didn’t agree with the impression that they overpaid to get to the spot to make the pick. He didn’t even reference the traditional calc in his analysis, but c’est la vie.

The 160% value that the Patriots cyphoned out of the Vikes for their 29th overall pick is certainly a more defined winner-loser argument, though some would say that the Vikings hitting on three first-rounders, each of which was a need, cements a solid draft in itself, but those three make up the entirety of the picks that will define value in this draft for them. They could have had a LOT more by waiting til 52nd for one of the many good WR still available, and then used 83 and 102 on other positions of need. The Pats will have that trade looking brutally lopsided in a few years, I’m sure, since of course they’ll use one of the 4 picks on a WR and that WR will have Brady throwing to him, rather than Ponder, and therefore perceived value will skyrocket compared to Patterson. Oh yeah, plus the other two (three if you count the 7th rounder that they’re sure to hit on) picks that they’ll collect for free. The Raiders position was very much a “deal down, still get our guy, and a pick for free” so I agree with it being a win-win. The Albert quietness is worrisome and your presumption about the Jets’ troubles being music to my ears are very correct. How would you feel if they landed Geno here in the 2nd?

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Chase Stuart April 27, 2013 at 1:19 am

I didn’t like the Smith pick initially, but I suppose I might be talked into it. Ending the Sanchez era is nice, but I would have rather seen the team go in another direction. I wasn’t particularly high on Smith entering the draft, but I’ll hold out hope that he can fix his inconsistency issues.

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