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Introducing the NFL Draft Pick Value Calculator

I first created a draft value chart five years ago. While the famous Jimmy Johnson chart was designed to facilitate trades, my chart was designed to measure the actual expected value from each draft pick. I fine-tuned my chart last November, and the graph below shows how much marginal Approximate Value you can expect from each draft pick over the course of the first five years of his career:

draft value chart 2

You can see all the values for each draft pick here, but today, I’m introducing the Draft Pick Value Calculator. It’s pretty simple to use: just type in the draft picks that Team A is trading and the draft picks that Team B is trading, and the calculator will let you know which team is winning the deal.



You can also use the calculator to help set up a trade between two teams. The Dolphins and Chiefs seem like natural trade partners this year: a left tackle is likely to be the number one pick, the Dolphins need a left tackle to protect Ryan Tannehill and take advantage of Mike Wallace, and Kansas City already has a left tackle and needs draft picks to rebuild (and recoup what they lost when they traded for Alex Smith).

Miami has an additional second round pick from the Colts (the Vontae Davis trade) and an additional third round pick from the Bears (the Brandon Marshall trade). If we put the #1 pick into the DPVC for Team A, what can Team B give up to meet that value? Putting in Miami’s #12 and #42 picks comes close but isn’t quite enough; if we throw in Miami’s natural third round pick (#77), and add in Kansas City’s pick at the top of the 6th round (#170), the DPVC tells us that we’ve crafted a perfectly fair deal.

To recap:

Miami gives up #12 (first round pick), #42 (second round pick), and #77 (third round pick) in order to get their top left tackle and the 170th pick. Since the Dolphins would still be able to make selections in the second and third rounds, this might work.

Kansas City gives up the first pick in the draft and their 6th round pick, but they receive mid-to-high picks in the 2nd and 3rd rounds as the cost of doing business to move down from #1 to #12. The Jimmy Johnson chart would say the Chiefs got robbed, of course, but since (1) everyone knows that chart overvalues the top picks and (2) in this year in particular, the value of the top pick seems very low, I actually think this is a pretty reasonable offer.

In fact, since one could argue that the expected value of the #1 pick is quite low this year, perhaps the Dolphins don’t even need to give up the 77th pick. If you think the expected marginal value of Luke Joeckel after five years will be worth 29.6 points of AV instead of 34.6 — a pretty reasonable assumption — then simply packaging the 42nd pick with the 12th pick would be enough to move up to #1. On the other hand, Football Perspective’s Draft Value Chart says that in general (i.e., folks who use the Jimmy Johnson chart) the top picks are way overvalued, so to further devalue the top pick this year might be a tough pill for the Chiefs to stomach in reality.

[Update: I have created a page that will permanently house the Draft Pick Value Calculator. You can access it by clicking on the gray button of the same name on the top right of the screen.]

[Update#2: I have created a page that will permanently house the Jimmy Johnson Calculator, too.]

  • Chris

    You have an error in the calculation for “Team A Traded Total Draft Pick Value (and Team B Received)”. The sum is not adding up. I chose Team A gave up 56 and 63 (9 and 8.1 respective value). The total came out to be 107.1. It should be 17.1.

    • Chase Stuart

      Thanks Chris. I’m not sure what the problem is, as that’s a very simple formula (it’s just summing the fields). I’m looking into it.

    • Chase Stuart

      It looks like if I tell the Team A Traded Total Draft Pick Value (and Team B Received) cell to ignore the Team A Traded Draft Pick 5 Value, it works fine.

      So for now, this will only work for four pick trades.

  • Jon Dykema

    Just an FYI that the calculator seems to be doubling the value of Team A Traded Draft Pick 1 for the purposes of the Team B Recived box.

    I’m curious, why use the AV from your November 2012 chart if the April 2013 update is potentially a better model?

    • Chase Stuart

      Jon,

      The update earlier this month wasn’t an improvement as much as another way to do things. The comforting thing, at least in my opinion, is that the results are nearly identical.

  • Chase Stuart

    As an FYI, I’m not a programmer. I am using an excellent plugin called Calculated Fields Form that (in my mind, amazingly) allowed me to create this calculator. The downside is when I add a 5th pick to either side, for reasons I don’t understand (but assume to be in layman’s terms, system overload) the thing doesn’t work. So for now, the Calculator will be limited to 4 picks per team.

  • Jon

    Thanks Chase. This will be fun to play with.

    • Chase Stuart

      Glad to hear.

  • Richie

    Maybe it would be too complicated, but it would be cool if the calculator also gave the results of the Jimmy Johnson chart.

  • Richie

    I tried to plug in trade values at http://www.footballperspective.com/draft-pick-value-calculator/ but it wasn’t calculating Team B. But when I do it on this page, it works.

    • Chase Stuart

      Really? That one works for me. Can you describe exactly what the problem is?

      • Richie

        Hmm – it’s working now. Must have been operator error.

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  • Chase Stuart

    I’ve added a second Green Cell, which shows the percentage value.

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  • Swiggy

    This is nice work. Unless I am missing something this calculator only accounts for approximate value and does not factor in “approximate cap charge”, thereby overvaluing players from a “cap-neutral” standpoint. For example, before the new CBA the top 5 or so picks were worth less than subsequent picks because of the exorbitant contracts they entailed. I know Brian Burke has attempted to quantify EPA vs. Cap Charge. I would be interested in an attempt to compare draft value that accounts for the differences in relative cap charge. Thanks

    • Chase Stuart

      You are correct that the calculator does not account for cap charge.

      I disagree that before the new CBA the top 5 picks were worth less than the subsequent picks. That said, it’s a moot point for analyzing the current NFL. While I could create a draft value chart that incorporates salaries, there are three reasons I haven’t done so to date:

      1) I’m lazy.

      2) My draft value chart already says the top picks are overvalued. Adding in cap hits would only further emphasize that, and as a theoretical matter, I’m not sure I like the idea of that.

      3) It wouldn’t make much of a different even if I added in cap charges. For example, it’s expected that the #3 pick will have an average cap charge of 5.1M. The Raiders traded that for #12 (2.6M) and #42 (1.2M). The Dolphins will replace that #42 pick with a player who will probably average around 500K per year. So the Raiders, by trading down, pay their 2 players 3.8M instead of 5.6M. So they saved about 1.8M by trading down. That is not a particularly significant amount.

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  • http://www29.myfantasyleague.com/2013/home/11011 Wintermute

    I am pondering how to apply this calculator to dynasty fantasy football leagues rookie drafts. My idea would be to prorate the fantasy pick number to its NFL equivalent. So assuming 64 rookie picks in an IDP dynasty league you would take pick X, divide by 64 and multiply by 224 (32 teams * 7 rounds) to get the NFL pick equivalent. But in non-IDP dynasty league you would only multiply by 112 because a NFL offense-only draft would be 3.5 rounds long. Reasonable?

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  • Greg

    Love this as a trade tool but you need to include the following year draft pick valuation. They say 2nd round pick this year is equal to 3rd round next year?
    Would make it of more value.
    Greg

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  • W Van Landingham III

    The team picking #1 in the draft is never trading down to get two mid-round 1st rounders.

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  • Ben

    My question would be how you would evaluate compensatory picks? Does your model assume that: 1) pick 256 is .01 and any compensatory picks would simply be averages the picks, 2) every pick after 244 is .01? How would you evaluate those?