Cover 3 is a weekly feature column written by’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat writer Trevor Sikkema published every Tuesday. The column, as its name suggests, comes in three phases: a statistical observation, an in-depth film breakdown, and a “this or that” segment where the writer asks the reader to chose between two options.


Each of us loves the game of football for our own reasons. For some, it’s the game they grew up playing. It was what they did all throughout middle and high school, perhaps even into college. I know many who have gone that path that chose to even coach afterwards. For others it might be about memories. I’ve heard so many stories of people watching or going to games with their families and friends. Football helps hold some of our happiest moments. Whatever reason it is, there’s a reason we all keep coming back to the teams we follow, not just every week, but every single day, even in the offseason.

For me, I never played football growing up. I was what you’d call a “late bloomer” in terms of body type and athletic ability in a football sense. I grew up playing hockey (ice and roller), basketball, soccer, some baseball, but never football. Sometimes I really regret it and wish I could have, but other times when I watch guys get absolutely plastered on contact, I’m reminded that my mother was probably right when she said a 5-foot-4, 120-pound soon-to-be-freshman would get killed if he went out for football.

Instead, I found a love and passion for the game through a different spark: virtual reality. Since I couldn’t actually play the game myself, I found myself putting every waking moment of my free time from the years 2002 to about 2009 into the Madden video game franchises. At first, it was the allurement of making plays with the people I controlled that made me obsessed. I’m not sure if I’m incredible proud or extremely embarrassed of how much time was spend drafting and re-drafting and re-drafting and re-drafting.

But from there it grew into mastering the game, not just on the field, but in the playbook, at the GM’s desk and in the war room on draft day. I loved the intricacies of building a team, being efficient with the roster and owning the draft every single year – that train of thought is also why I’ve come to love fantasy football so much.

I know I’m not alone in the love I have for that side of the game. Any football fan who follows the NFL draft, free agency or the trade deadline are all in that same camp to some degree. With that passion often comes a hunger to know more, the desire to not guess on what pick or what signing should be made, but learn how to put value to it and be right more often than not.

That’s what brings us to the first topic of this week’s Cover 3.

In last week’s Fab 5, Scott Reynolds referenced The NFL Draft Value Chart. It’s a tool that draft evaluators and even some NFL teams reference when making or predicting trades on draft day. It’s a simplistic way to put value to each draft pick – and by “simplistic” I mean that it’s obvious not bulletproof in it’s numbers, external forces always come into play. Where some picks may be worth more or less to certain teams than others, this chart gives us somewhat of a common ground from the probability of each selection number being a success in the NFL. Obviously the higher the pick, the higher the chance of success.

Here’s what that chart looks like.

1st Rd 2nd Rd 3rd Rd 4th Rd 5th Rd 6th Rd 7th Rd
1 3,000 33 580 65 265 97 112 129 43 161 27 193 14.2
2 2,600 34 560 66 260 98 108 130 42 162 26.6 194 13.8
3 2,200 35 550 67 255 99 104 131 41 163 26.2 195 13.4
4 1,800 36 540 68 250 100 100 132 40 164 25.8 196 13
5 1,700 37 530 69 245 101 96 133 39.5 165 25.4 197 12.6
6 1,600 38 520 70 240 102 92 134 39 166 25 198 12.2
7 1,500 39 510 71 235 103 88 135 38.5 167 24.6 199 11.8
8 1,400 40 500 72 230 104 86 136 38 168 24.2 200 11.4
9 1,350 41 490 73 225 105 84 137 37.5 169 23.8 201 11
10 1,300 42 480 74 220 106 82 138 37 170 23.4 202 10.6
11 1,250 43 470 75 215 107 80 139 36.5 171 23 203 10.2
12 1,200 44 460 76 210 108 78 140 36 172 22.6 204 9.8
13 1,150 45 450 77 205 109 76 141 35.5 173 22.2 205 9.4
14 1,100 46 440 78 200 110 74 142 35 174 21.8 206 9
15 1,050 47 430 79 195 111 72 143 34.5 175 21.4 207 8.6
16 1,000 48 420 80 190 112 70 144 34 176 21 208 8.2
17 950 49 410 81 185 113 68 145 33.5 177 20.6 209 7.8
18 900 50 400 82 180 114 66 146 33 178 20.2 210 7.4
19 875 51 390 83 175 115 64 147 32.6 179 19.8 211 7
20 850 52 380 84 170 116 62 148 32.2 180 19.4 212 6.6
21 800 53 370 85 165 117 60 149 31.8 181 19 213 6.2
22 780 54 360 86 160 118 58 150 31.4 182 18.6 214 5.8
23 760 55 350 87 155 119 56 151 31 183 18.2 215 5.4
24 740 56 340 88 150 120 54 152 30.6 184 17.8 216 5
25 720 57 330 89 145 121 52 153 30.2 185 17.4 217 4.6
26 700 58 320 90 140 122 50 154 29.8 186 17 218 4.2
27 680 59 310 91 136 123 49 155 29.4 187 16.6 219 3.8
28 660 60 300 92 132 124 48 156 29 188 16.2 220 3.4
29 640 61 292 93 128 125 47 157 28.6 189 15.8 221 3
30 620 62 284 94 124 126 46 158 28.2 190 15.4 222 2.6
31 600 63 276 95 120 127 45 159 27.8 191 15 223 2.3
32 590 64 270 96 116 128 44 160 27.4 192 14.6 224 2
The chart is out of a max value of 3,000 as seen at the No. 1 overall pick. Basically, the way to use this is with simple addition of a few picks to equal the value of another. For example, if you’re picking No. 1 in the the draft and want to trade down, you would ideally demand a trade that would be worth at least 3,000 points of value. 
In my latest first round mock draft, I had the Tampa Bay Buccaneer trading back from No. 19 to No. 26 with the Seattle Seahawks and in exchange getting two bottom-end 3rd round compensatory picks for the move. 
  • Tampa’s No. 19 pick = 875
  • Seattle’s No. 26 = 700
  • Seattle’s No. 102 compensatory pick = 92
  • Seattle’s No. 106 compensatory pick = 82

Since the main chart only calculates scheduled picks and not compensatory picks, we have to use NFL Draft Tek’s Complete 2017 Chart – I would have put that chart in this article, but it’s too big to fit on the page.

So, if we do the math, the Buccaneers would be trading a pick that is valued at 875 points for a package deal from the Seahawks that is worth 874 total points. That’s pretty dang close, and if the Bucs were to negotiate one of those compensatory third round picks into Seattle’s actual third round pick at No. 90, the value for that would be 140 and would give the Bucs a clear gain of value.

Let’s look at the chart value of what the Bucs did last year moving back for Hargreaves and then up in the second round for Aguayo – not taking the players themselves into account, just the value of the selection numbers.

The Bucs traded their No. 9 pick (worth 1,350 in value) back to No. 11 (worth 1,250 in value) to select Hargreaves. The team also received the No. 106 overall 4th round pick from the Bears to move back (worth 82 in value). So with a 100-point value difference between No. 9 and No. 11, the Bucs actually took a bit of a loss by only getting 82 points back from the additional pick.

Later in the draft the team used that No. 106 pick to move up. The Bucs were sitting at No. 74 in the third round (worth 220 in value) and used the No. 106 pick (worth 82 in value) to move up to No. 59 (worth 310 in value) to select Roberto Aguayo. In that instance, the Bucs came out on top in terms of value for the move with an 8-point gain.

Just for fun let’s look at some of the biggest draft trades from the NFL and see what their value was according to the chart.

The Jared Goff Trade

  • Titans No. 1 (2016) = 3,000


  • Rams No. 15 (2016) = 1,050
  • Rams No. 43 (2016) = 470
  • Rams No. 45 (2016) = 450
  • Rams No. 76 (2016) = 210
  • Rams 1st Rd 2017 = ~ 1,050
  • Rams 3rd Rd 2017 = ~ 230

Since the Rams didn’t know exactly what picks they were trading in the 2017 year, we had to make an educated guess for what they might have been thinking at the time of the deal. I put their value of the 2017 1st round pick right in the middle at 1,050 and the same with their 3rd round pick. Even then, the Rams took a value loss of 3,460 points given up to only 3,000 back for the top pick.

However, now that we know what the Rams ultimately gave up, that number gets even worse since the 2017 picks turned out to be No. 5 (worth 1,700 in value) and No. 83 (worth 175) which means the Rams actually gave up 4,055 points.

The value wasn’t good and the pick itself might have been even worse.

The Julio Jones Trade

  • Browns No. 6 (2011) = 1,600


  • Falcons No. 26 (2011) = 700
  • Falcons No. 59 (2011) = 310
  • Falcons No. 124 (2011) = 48
  • Falcons 1st Rd 2012 = ~ 800
  • Falcons 4th Rd 2012 = ~ 60

By once again taking some sort of medium for what the future year’s picks would have been at the time of the trade, the Falcons ended up giving 1,918 points of estimated value for the Browns’ single pick worth 1,600. 

Those 2012 pick ended up being No. 22 (worth 780 in value) and No. 118 (worth 58 in value) which doesn’t change much.

This year Falcons Thomas Dimitroff was asked if all that was worth it for one player and he said,


The Ricky Williams Trade

This is one of my favorite trades in football history because it’s so ridiculous.

  • Washington No. 5 pick (1999) = 1,700


  • Saints No. 12 pick (1999) = 1,200
  • Saints No. 71 pick (1999) = 235
  • Saints No. 107 pick (1999) = 80
  • Saints No. 144 pick (1999) = 34
  • Saints No. 179 pick (1999) = 19.8
  • Saints No. 218 pick (1999) = 4.2
  • Saints 1st Rd 2000 = ~ 1,050
  • Saints 3rd Rd 2000 = ~ 60

In this trade, the Saints gave every single pick they had in the 1999 NFL Draft and two extra picks at the top half of the 2000 draft to move up just seven spot for running back Ricky Williams. At the time of the trade, they gave up an estimated 2,683 points which is over 1,000 points in the red – or the value of a No. 16 first round pick.

However, when you factor in that the Saints ended up picking No. 2 overall the following year and No. 64 in the picks they gave away, that value lost goes up to 4,443 points which is nearly a No. 1 overall pick of value lost in the deal. 


Now, look, I’m sure I’m going to get people in the comment section talking about this value chart meaning nothing because it can’t take into account what player is being selected and blah, blah. Look, take a deep breath, it’s OK.

Like I referenced earlier, this not a chart to judge on whether a pick itself is good or not; that part happens on the field. But, when it comes to the war room. This chart gives us a good reference as to what general managers may be thinking in terms of movement on draft night. It takes two to tango in trades, and this chart is a way to get teams closer to a deal since interpretations can often be so far apart. The best general managers know how to work teams whose backs are against the wall to acquire gains in movement more times than not.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at:
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4 years ago

good read trevor.depending who might drop. im really starting to like the idea of trading out of 19 and picking up extra picks. if we can get 4maybe 5 players in the 1st 3 rounds? wepons and depth. the front office strengh is scouting. i like how there building the team

Hank Scorpio
4 years ago

Nice write-up. I’ve been a fan of Kollmann’s breakdowns (wish he’d do more) and his on Peppers was eye opening.

That said, I still think he’s a 2nd rd prospect. Maybe someone falls in love with the hype/potential and snags him, but I think he SHOULD be there at 50 based on tape (even the good stuff he did). If an unpolished prospect (and future #2/slot WR) like Curtis Samuel gives him trouble in 1on1, it’s going to be a steep learning curve in the NFL. Plus his lack of turnover generating plays is very concerning to me.

Reply to  Trevor Sikkema
4 years ago

Since he has experience at LB, could we use him at Sam to set the strong side edge on running downs, and move him back to nickel on passing downs? That way he never leaves the field.

Twelfth White
4 years ago

If we’re in a situation where Buddha, Davis, Williams, Ross, Cook, Howard are all gone I wouldn’t mind it. I prefer Buddha to Peppers, but I also think Peppers is back on the upswing after things such as this that people are realizing. I know we seem to have our eyes on Buddha, Obi, and Peppers based on visits but if we do want him I would want to trade back a little bit if possible. He does bring an intrigue but I feel that he’s third in line as far as safeties we like behind Buddha and Obi and… Read more »

4 years ago

Interesting article. First, to answer your question, my price would be the Bucs’ second round pick. But the more curious aspect of Peppers’ rep is why isn’t his agent getting this angle out in public to boost his client’s stock? He may be doing it within the NFL community but it isn’t getting fan or media attention. Also, I assume that NFL scouts talk to college staff to understand what role specific players were asked to play so that they can better evaluate their skills and capabilities.

4 years ago

I think the Bucs need a WR, TE, RB and DE much more than they need a slot CB in the first four rounds of this draft. Especially when you’re talking about a prospect in Peppers who has a lot of projection going on with regard to his success at the next level. The Bucs should be focusing on proven producers and certain impact players at positions of need in the early rounds of the draft, not guys that are combine champions and who are being talked about mostly based on that risky, unpredictable word: potential. Personally I’d pass.

Reply to  FLBoyInDallas
4 years ago

Here are the primary players under contract at three supposed “need” positions: WR – Mike Evans, Desaean Jackson, Adam Humphries, Josh Huff, Dontae Dye, Freddy Martino RB – Doug Martin, Jacquiz Rodgers, Charles Sims, Peyton Barber DE – Jacquis Smith, Noah Spence, Robert Ayers, Will Gholston, George Johnson I understand that Doug Martin is a question mark potentially, but he just resigned last year after a huge season. I do agree that TE is a position that seems pretty thin, but so is cornerback. TE – Cameron Brate, Luke Stocker, Tevin Westbrook CB – Brent Grimes, Vernon Hargreaves III, Jude… Read more »

Reply to  BucWild02
4 years ago

They also have Ryan Smith moving to CB this year – not that’s he’s polished and ready to be a probowler, but they are high on him and it is his second year…time to start playing!

Reply to  EastEndBoy
4 years ago

The Bucs play 2 corners and 1 nickle 60% of the time…I don’t think Jude or Ryan are ready to step in for Grimes on the outside full time. Both those guys are nickle corners.

4 years ago

Trevor, I understand your enthusiasm. I grew up a Packers fan and Bart Starr was my Hero. I wanted to go to Penn State when I was a kid and I wanted to play QB for the packers. Unfortunately I was slow, and after getting hit really good a few times I realized I liked football a whole lot better from the sidelines. But when Tampa got the Franchise, I was so excited and followed the draft every year. I think trying to put a value at #19 is difficult because it is going to depend who is still on… Read more »

Reply to  seat26
4 years ago

I know you are disappointed in the trading up concept, but recently did they not trade up for Marpet and Alexander?

4 years ago

I just want the best player available. This draft is strong, we will get plenty of good players if we did good scouting.

Reply to  seat26
4 years ago

How refreshing to read someone mention drafting the “best player available” and not focusing on perceived need with every discussion on what to do at #19. Maximum value should be the goal at each selection and see how it shakes out regarding what position we fans think was needed. We all think we know the needs, but what we don’t know is how the team is ranking the players. What we “need” is the best players we can get.

Reply to  Trevor Sikkema
4 years ago

Will we ever be there…..

4 years ago

Very in depth analysis which I appreciate. Although my vote is still for Njoku. You mention that the TE is being used more these days to create mismatches. Njoku is clearly a physical mismatch. Plus the o-line could use some help and Jameis likes to throw to his TE.
If Peppers slides to the 2nd round then trade up and get him. Your comment about how that would help Hargreaves stay in his more natural spot was enough to convince me of his value.

4 years ago

This is what I’ve been saying about Peppers since the college season ended. I’m a huge fan of his and I love his game and attitude. I’d still pick him at #19 if available because he can still contribute in many meaningful ways even while getting the coaching he needs for whatever spot his team puts him in. The thing about Peppers, is that he can fill a lot of needs on a team on a short term basis and still allow the team to play their normal defense. Injuries at corner, he can play corner. Injuries at safety, he… Read more »

4 years ago

I cannot justify the 19 pick for this guy .. second round, sure, he sounds like someone with a lot of potential in an evolving league where slot corners are becoming more and more the standard defensive lineup. Tripled up with VHII and Grimes, we’d have a very good DB corps. Getting him at our second round pick, however, seems somewhat doubtful .. we’d likely have to trade up. If we’ve traded down in the first round, then we might have some room to trade up in the first. I’m also doubtful, however, that trading down from 19 is going… Read more »

Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

I’m w/ you Naplesfan- Trevor didn’t sell me on the 19th pick being a good value.
Informative article, as always- thanks Trevor

4 years ago

I was impressed with Peppers at the combine. He has a fairly thick frame and he looks like the kind of guy that gets into a collision on his way to the Coke machine. He also showed humility and a team first mentality. Those intangibles boost his value and his chance of succeeding at the next level in my opinion. I listened to the podcast and realize that SR isn’t a huge fan, but I thought Peppers was a star in Indy. I think grabbing a corner in the first round is a priority and would prefer Gareon Conley if… Read more »

4 years ago

Okay, just throwing this out there since I am in no way qualified to come up with defensive schemes or judge how well a player will do in them, but doesn’t it seem like Peppers would be an almost ideal fit for our Sam linebacker? And I mean in a way that we wouldn’t have to constantly shuttle in a nickel CB? Doesn’t Mike Smith’s defense almost beg for a guy like Peppers who can be used to blitz, to cover, or to play outside containment? Again, I’m not even marginally qualified to make a call one way or another,… Read more »

Reply to  Trevor Sikkema
4 years ago

Thanks for the reply, sir. I understand he’d be incredibly undersized there, and would have to sub on short yardage. I guess I’m just dreaming of a LB corps of 3 really fast guys. Would it really be so bad to have Kwon and Lavonte line up in different places? No matter, I still think Mike Smith would come up with some incredible ways to use him, and having Mike Smith at DC, IMO, makes Peppers significantly more valuable because Smith has and does design schemes to use the players he has to the best of their abilities. I’d hate… Read more »

4 years ago

Good read Trevor. Be thankful that you never played football. Every morning it’s horse lineaments and brace on both knees. When people ask me if their children should be allowed to play, I adamantly say no. Wish I never played myself, even though I loved every minute. I’m still waffling on Peppers. First round? I’d have to say no. If he fell to us in round 2 I’m all for it. There are too many really good CB in this draft to gamble. Unfortunately for the BUCS he will be drafted in the late 1st and make a good team… Read more »

Reply to  Trevor Sikkema
4 years ago

You guys are making me feel better about my choice to play rugby!

4 years ago

Very nice article Trevor and a nice look at Peppers. I think his “safe” value is in the 2nd round. One thing we do know is he is a great athlete & return specialist, those are proven facts. What is not known is his true ability on defense (his full time job). Does he have good instincts? Are the assessments written over the last 3 pages truly accurate? Is he an NFL position player or a “tweener”? Michigan had sooo many very good defensive players did the totality of the parts/players make them all look better than they are individually?… Read more »

Reply to  MudManVA
4 years ago

First of all, Trevor you rock and are ‘playing’ at a level above everyone else on this site. Second I have agree with Mud and Vette earlier. No projects in the first round, or even second for that matter, for a team like ours. We don’t have the luxury of depth to take chances. Stacking another few missteps on top of the two picks wasted on Roberto, drafting ASJ (leaving us needing another TE), overdrafting Smith (which IMO leaves us still needing a top flight LT) and drafting a one dimensional pass catching RB in Sims (necessitating another pick being… Read more »

4 years ago

Wow, great read Trevor! I must type, you now your stuff. Draft “geek” or not!
I’m on board with Peppers as well but truth be told I’m so confident in Jason Licht that I’ll probably be happy no matter who the Buccaneers choose to draft. The problem with mocks is that for me personally, they are simply fake news. Pointless. Now as soon as a player IS drafted I’m all over him as far as looking at his skills and college career.

In just over two weeks the fun really begins.

4 years ago

Like our Coach always says:” We want our best players on the field regardless of position.” I would hope GM would follow the BPA world. If another player is available with similar grades, they could move down then and still get him; I’m for this type of drafting.

Biron Smythe
4 years ago

Sounds to me like his strengths match up to a more raw version of Budda Baker. If we are talking first round, I would much rather have Baker. If we end up with someone like Njoku at 19, I would be pretty happy with Peppers at 50.

Buc 1976
4 years ago

Just draft David N from the U stop this BS!!

4 years ago

This article describes Peppers similarly to the LA rams nickel corner Lamarcus Joyner. He was drafted with the 41st pick and that might have been a reach considering he’s struggled there and is being considered at FS now. Peppers is much more athletic than Joyner but I don’t think he has the football IQ and instincts Joyner has. I was fine with drafting Hargreaves as a nickel corner since his upside was moving to outside corner. If we draft Peppers it needs to be with a 2nd round pick since he doesn’t project to likely move to a more traditional… Read more »

Reply to  Adam
4 years ago

Also, in the gif of the slot receiver “beating?” peppers, he’s definitely responsible for the flats and the HB taking that space, not the slot. Especially with the pump fake from the QB.

The safety had no reason for being late and should have decleated that brave receiver.

4 years ago

As a Wolverines fan, i watched this guy play every game of his college career….one think is for sure: every coach in college football had to game-plan for this guy, and they were all scared out of their wits about him. He’s fantastic in space – as a WR on short passes, as a kick returner, and in closing distance as a defender. Maybe he’s not the NFL-ideal for any position, but he’ll make things happen on the field. having said that, not our best bet at 19…trading up in round 2 would make sense….the sort of round 2 trade-up… Read more »

4 years ago

Yesterday I said the 49ers would draft Deshaun Watson at #2, now it’s been reported he’s coming in for a visit. It’s also been reported the Browns might surprise everyone but me they’re leaning towards Turbisky at #1. If this happens two stud D.E.’s slip down. The Jets also need a Q.B.. So if 3 Q.B.’s go, 2 D.E.’s go we’re really picking at #14. Factor in corners who every team needs, a stud tackle or two we now have the 10th pick in the draft. With the 19th pick in the NFL draft the Tampa Bay Bucs select Running… Read more »

Reply to  surferdudes
4 years ago

Deshaun Watson #2 overall??? No, no, no. Deshaun Watson in ROUND #2. There’s a better chance the 49ers take McCaffery at #2 than Watson.

Reply to  BucWild02
4 years ago

Watson will be a first half round one pick, probably not make it past the first five. Too many QB needy teams, and he is the most ready of the several QB candidates for first round picks.

4 years ago

I just think a tweener taken at 19 and this “experiment” to find his niche is too risky. Good article and interesting though.

4 years ago

I have been ranking players in the last week and I really like peppers but he ends up being one of my last 2nd round talents. There isn’t a scenario where I would be able to draft him prior to the 3rd round, based on my rankings. This draft is so deep. I also saw that video breakdown on Peppers and it was really good, but also very one sided. Where Peppers really struggles is in deep coverage when the ball is in the air. He almost seems to lose balance trying to track the ball. He brings a lot… Read more »

David DeLeon
4 years ago

Hey Trevor, another good one. I like Peppers, I like him a lot. As much as I like Cook, Davis and Howard. That first pick has to be a starter by mid season. If we can back up a couple spots and still get a stud and another pick that would be awesome. I don’t see anybody worth moving up though.

Obi or Peppers in the second would be ideal at the end of the day.

Julian Jordan
4 years ago

We have some of the fastest linebackers in the league I don’t see a need for Jabrill.

Especially not in the 1st or 2nd I don’t believe he’d be a substantial upgrade over Jude or Javien Elliot.

So.. Just, no.

Love the draft values though.

Julian Jordan
4 years ago

Give me Ju Ju Smith-Schuster in the 2nd please.

Julian Jordan
4 years ago

So many decent DBs and Defensive Lineman in this draft to be wasting time on Peppers.

Teez and Corn should be Buccaneers.