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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.]