A little sum'n else to read:http://www.profootballweekly.com/PFW/NFLDraft/Draft+Insider/2004/TradeValue.htm
Dealing in the draft
Trade value chart serves as guideline for NFL teams
By Nolan Nawrocki
April 12, 2004
In the early 1960s, before the NFL draft was the highly watched televised event that it has become, trades were consummated as quickly as it took a coach to walk from one table at a hotel where the draft was being held to another table and make a proposition. Deals were sometimes struck within minutes while a team was on the clock.
Nowadays, trade talk has evolved into a sophisticated science, with teams assigning values to each pick, future picks and veteran players and negotiating well in advance of the draft.
To strike an accord, most NFL teams evaluate the value of a trade based on three factors â€” a 10-year history of trade activity, their pro grading system and a trade value chart. The 10-year record helps establish a ground floor of what to expect in exchange for a pick. A team's pro grading system â€” which includes scouting reports and grades for all veteran players â€” is used to assign a value (e.g., first-round caliber) to each player. That value is not based on when a player was drafted but on his current value as a pro.
For example, New England QB Tom Brady, who was drafted in the sixth round in 1999, would be regarded as a first-rounder by most teams based on his excellent leadership, accuracy, work ethic and football intelligence. If Brady were to be traded, he would require at least a first-round pick, as Trent Green merited from the Rams when Kansas City acquired the quarterback in 2001 in exchange for St. Louisâ€™ No. 12 overall pick.
Although each team calculates the value of picks slightly differently, the trade value chart below is close to what many general managers use to gauge the value of this yearâ€™s draft picks. The chart gives varying point values, ranging from 3,000 to 680 in the first round, with 3,000 points assigned to the first overall pick and 680 to the 32nd and final pick of the first round. Based on this chart, the Chargers' No. 1 pick is worth 3,000 points. For a team like the Giants, who hold the No. 4 overall pick and have initiated discussions for the top pick, they would likely have to produce value worth 800 points â€” the difference between the first (3,000) and fourth picks (2,200) â€” to move up.
In instances where next yearâ€™s draft picks are traded, teams generally divide the league into quadrants, ranking how they expect a team to finish next year. If the Chargers were to deal with the Eagles, who are expected by many to finish in the top eight next year after an active offseason, San Diego could expect a 2005 first-round pick belonging to Philadelphia to be worth 680-800 points. If the Chargers were considering a trade with the 49ers, who are expected to finish in the bottom eight after depleting their roster of much of its veteran talent to better position the team financially for the future, they could expect to receive value ranging from 1,400 to 3,000 points. However, because there is so much parity in the league and it's difficult to predict where a club will finish, some teams generally expect to receive about 1,000 points in exchange for a future first-round pick from a bad team and 750 from a contender. Also, in any trade involving draft choices in both the current year and a future year, most teams will value, say, a fourth-round pick in the current draft as being worth a third-rounder in next year's draft â€” the team receiving the future pick moving up a round in return for having to wait an extra year to exercise its pick.
Generally, teams with the highest draft picks hold the most leverage and wind up with greater perceived value, according to trade value charts. Thus, expect the Chargers to wind up with the better deal on paper if they make a move.
Other factors could come into play, however. In 2001, when the Chargers held the No. 1 pick and the late GM John Butler was calling the shots, Butler traded the Chargersâ€™ top pick to the Falcons in exchange for the Falconsâ€™ fifth overall pick, their third-round pick (No. 67 overall), their second-round pick the following year and WR Tim Dwight. Butler had Michael Vick rated as the top player in the draft, but as Draft Day neared, it became increasingly more clear that the team was not going to be able to reach an agreement with Vick prior to the draft, as ownership preferred. So the Chargers accepted the package of picks from the Falcons.
In hindsight, the Chargers received LaDainian Tomlinson, Tay Cody, Reche Caldwell and Dwight for Vick. Cody was a nickel corner whom Marty Schottenheimer cut last fall. Caldwell has failed to live up to expectations, has struggled focusing and was demoted last year. Dwight has not panned out as a receiver and has not been able to stay on the field consistently to contribute as a return man. He still has big-play potential, but he has yet to earn the unwarranted contract he received in 2001. Tomlinson finished second in the AFC in rushing this year and led the division in receptions with 100. Due to Vickâ€™s injury last season, Tomlinson has been the more productive pro thus far in their young careers.
On paper, the Chargers received 1,900 points for the fifth overall pick, 260 for the third-rounder, 380 points for the future second-round pick they used on Caldwell, and Dwight, who at the time probably warranted a fourth-round value. Together, the value does not add up to 3,000 points, but in the end, the chart should be used strictly as a guideline. As one talent evaluator stated, teams who treat the chart as gospel either (a) don't understand math or (b) don't have the guts to trust their instincts and make a decision without looking at the numbers. John Butler was a very well-respected, competent evaluator who trusted his instincts more than some forumla originally devised at MIT.
In the end, it's not about math. It's about knowing players and trusting your instincts as an evaluator, as many old-school coaches and scouts will tell you.