After making four trades in the 2022 NFL Draft, Bucs GM Jason Licht showed he isn’t afraid to move up and down a draft board if he sees a deal he likes. Pewter Report gave analysis on Licht’s big trade on the first night of the draft, where he picked up a ton of draft capital. But how did the team fare for the entire weekend in terms of surplus value? And looking at it even further, how much surplus value has Licht picked up or given away in his tenure in Tampa Bay? Let’s take a look.
A note before we go further: This analysis will look at only trades featuring just draft picks. Any trades involving picks and players have been omitted.
2022 Draft Weekend
As we covered earlier, per the Fitzgerald-Spielberger draft chart, Licht picked up 903 points in the Bucs’ trade down from No. 27 to No. 33. However, the Bucs made three additional trades as the rest of the weekend unfolded. All three of these trades were trade-ups, which teams usually have to pay a premium for in terms of value. Did Licht and the Bucs do that? And if so, how much value was there?
Trading Up In The Second Round
The second trade Jason Licht made during the 2022 NFL Draft occurred on Friday when he took one of his newly acquired picks (No. 180) and packaged it with pick No. 60 to trade up three spots in the second round to pick at No. 57. With that selection, the Bucs drafted Central Michigan offensive lineman Luke Goedeke. Per the FS trade chart, the Bucs gave up 342 points in surplus value, which is the equivalent of a sixth-round pick. This left the team with 561 net points of surplus value for the weekend.
Returning To The Jaguars’ Well
Sam Houston State CB Zyon McCollum – Photo by: USA Today
The Bucs’ first trade on the third day of the draft saw them work with Jacksonville yet again. Giving up a fourth-round pick in 2023, Licht was able to get picks No. 157 and 235 in 2022. They used the higher of the two picks to select Sam Houston State cornerback Zyon McCollum. What is very interesting about this trade is that Licht actually picked up surplus value.
Now, this assertation requires an explanation of methodology. When it comes to future draft picks, no one knows exactly where in the round that pick will fall. And the difference in value between, say, the first and the last pick of a round is considerable.
Therefore, every team and analyst has to determine a valuation method for future picks. My method is to assume a future draft pick will fall into the middle of the round (the No. 16 pick of the round).
Additionally, teams have consistently valued a future draft pick the same as one round later in the current draft. Therefore, the 2023 fourth-round pick Licht gave up would be the equivalent of the No. 159 pick in the current draft at 431 points.
Meanwhile, the total points accumulated from the two picks he received was 671 points. That was good for 240 points of surplus value. Running total of draft value accumulated: 801 points
The Final Trade
Finishing up his trade-a-thon, Licht packaged pick No. 235, which he acquired in the previous trade, with selection No. 261 to trade up to No. 218 for Minnesota tight end Ko Kieft. Did Licht pick up or give up value? He gave up some, but not much.
A total of 142 points in surplus value left Licht’s coffers in the deal. This brought Licht’s total weekend surplus value tally to 659 points in his favor. That is the equivalent of overall pick No. 101. With Cade Otton being selected in that slot, one way for Bucs fans to look at it is that Otton was basically a free bonus pick after all of the trades netted out.
Looking At Licht’s Total History
Bucs GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Including the four trades this year, Licht and the Bucs have made 17 trades involving just draft picks since 2014. The net result of all of those moves is 1,658 points of surplus value to Licht’s favor. That total is the equivalent of the No. 15 pick in a current draft.
Looking over the trades individually, when Licht trades down, he makes sure to get a haul. Examples of this were his trade out of the first round this year, his trade down from pick No. 7 to No. 12 in 2018 and his trade down from No. 70 to No. 94 in 2019.
Licht isn’t always about picking up value and he isn’t afraid to pay a premium to move up to get a player he likes. The difference between his trade-backs and his trade-ups, though, is a disciplined approach to the cost-value proposition. Bucs vice president of football administration Mike Greenberg helps determine the value, too. In all of Licht’s trade-ups, he has never given up more than 342 points in surplus value. This is the equivalent of a mid-sixth-round pick.
There is one exception to this pattern, though. And that exception is one that still stings for Bucs fans. In 2016, Licht traded down from No. 9 overall to No. 11, picking up 535 surplus points in the form of pick No. 106 in that draft. The next trade Licht made gave away almost all of that surplus, as it cost that No. 106 pick and pick No. 74 to move up to No. 59 to select… kicker Roberto Aguayo.
Since then, however, it would seem Licht and his team have learned from that mistake and continue to trade down for big value and trade up for small-value losses. Over time, that is a winning strategy that has been paying off for the Bucs on the field.