There were six trades in the first round of the 2017 Draft, so let’s do some quick analysis of those moves. To do so, I will be using two draft calculators used: the one I created and the traditional one referenced as the Jimmy Johnson chart.
49ers trade: 2nd overall
Bears trade: 3rd overall, 67th, 111th, and 2018 3rd round pick
If you value a 2018 3rd round pick as equivalent to the 100th overall pick, The 49ers traded 30.2 points of value, and received 45.3 points of value, meaning San Francisco received 150 cents on the dollar. On the traditional chart, SF traded 2600 points for 2627 points, making it a nearly perfectly even trade. If you valued a 2018 3rd as equivalent to the 110th pick, it’s a perfectly even trade.
In other words, this is a sign that teams used the traditional chart. But we know that on average, the FP chart will provide a more accurate representation of player value. As a result, this was an outstanding trade for the 49ers, and a very, very risky one for the Bears. If Trubisky doesn’t turn into a star, this is going to be a bad trade for Chicago.
Good analysis available here from Bill Barnwell.
Bills trade: 10th overall
Chiefs trade: 27th overall, 91st overall, 2018 1st
The Chiefs moved up 17 spots to draft Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs could use a quarterback of the future, of course — after all, it’s now been 30 years since Kansas City won a game with a quarterback drafted by the team. But if you value that 2018 1st round as equal to say, the 24th overall selection, that means the Bills received a whopping 170 cents on the dollar on the FP draft value chart. Even on the traditional chart, it’s still a great trade: Buffalo gets 120 cents on the dollar. And the Chiefs 2018 1st round pick could obviously be better than 24, too.
This was a great trade for the Bills, who were on the opposite end of this sort of move 13 years ago. In 2004, Buffalo traded 43, 144, and a 2005 1st to move up from 43 to 22 to draft J.P. Losman. Now, the Bills move down 17 spots and grab a future first and a third. As for Kansas City? The only way this works, of course, is if Mahomes becomes a star. The Chiefs are using two firsts and a third on him, which means he needs to be more than just average.
Browns trade: 12th overall
Texans trade: 25th overall, 2018 1st
Houston trades up for Clemson QB DeShaun Watson, and the simplest way to compare this deal is to the one right above.
Cleveland traded a slightly worse pick than Buffalo did (12 instead of 10), and got back a future 1st and a slightly better pick (25 vs. 27), while not getting that third round pick. Given that the Texans 2018 1st is probably a better asset than the Chiefs 2018 1st, that makes this pretty close in value: if you loved the Bills trade, you have to love this one, too, although I’d say Buffalo did slightly better. I’m sure the Browns tried to get that third round pick — or even a 4th — but I guess kudos to Houston for not giving in?
But let’s be honest: Houston paid a huge price. Let’s say the 2018 Texans 1st round pick is worth the 22nd overall pick. That gives Cleveland 154 cents on the dollar in my chart, and 125 cents on the dollar in the traditional chart.
Houston needed a quarterback, of course, so this was a trade borne out of desperation. The Texans have now given up their first round pick this year and their first two picks next year (traded in the Brock Osweiler deal) to the Browns in an attempt to get their man. That’s a lot of pressure for Watson, who admittedly seems to do pretty well in that situation.
Seahawks trade: 26th overall
Falcons trade: 31st overall, 95, 249
Feel familiar? Last year, the Seahawks moved down with the Broncos from 26 to 31, and added the Broncos 94th pick. This was as close as you can get to the same trade. Atlanta moved up to select UCLA DE Takkarist McKinley, and paid a decent price: 132 cents on the dollar according to the FP chart, and 103 cents on the traditional chart.
Packers trade: 29th overall
Browns trade: 33rd overall, 108
Cleveland gave up the first pick on Saturday and Sunday — the top picks in rounds 2 and 4 — to grab TE TE David Njoku. The Browns paid 130 cents on the dollar to move up 4 spots on my chart, and 103 cents on the dollar on the traditional chart. This, of course, is very similar to the Seattle/Atlanta trade above.
What you see throughout the draft is that paying a premium to trade up is simply the cost of doing business. This isn’t a knock on teams that trade up, who likely know that they are paying excess value. In a vacuum, it wouldn’t make sense to trade 33 and 108 for 29, which is why we don’t see 20 trades in each round of the draft. Rather, teams are trading up for specific players — if the Browns think Njoku is worth the 20th overall pick, then the Browns would have paid 110 cents on the dollar in my chart, and just 77 cents on the dollar in the Jimmy Johnson chart. Of course, this is often the trap teams fall for: they are overconfident that a sliding player is really valuable, and they are getting the 15th or 20th best player with the 29th pick.
But it’s hard to fault Cleveland for this deal: the Browns are swimming in draft capital, so if there’s a player the team really wants, it makes sense to go after him. For Green Bay, this is a no brainer move: the Packers get valuable picks to kick off the draft on Friday and Saturday, and my hunch is they move at least one of those.
Seahawks trade: 31st overall
49ers trade: 34th overall, 111st overall
This trade is nearly identical to the one above: an early 4th round pick to move up 3-4 spots, from the top of the 2nd to the end of the 1st round. The 49ers traded up for falling Alabama LB Reuben Foster. A dominant college player, many thought Foster would go in the top 10, or at least the top half of the first round, making this a potential steal if Foster’s healthy. Of course, as usual, be wary: if a player slips from the top 10 to 31, there’s probably a reason the teams picking at 27, 28, 29, and 30 didn’t take that player, either.
But this is a low-risk gamble for the 49ers: giving up a 4th round pick to potentially get a steal, a player who could have been selected at any time.
As for draft value: the Seahawks got 131 cents on the dollar here on my chart and 105 cents on the traditional chart. Combine the two trades, and Seattle sent 26 for 34, 95, 111, and 249, gaining 161 cents on the dollar on the Football Perspective chart. Seattle didn’t make a draft pick on Thursday, but it was still a good night for the organization.