Thursday, April 22, 2010

The NFL Draft Value Chart

Every Spring, the NFL looks at the available unsigned college talent and decides to hold a draft in order to restock the league with players. There's a good article on "Everything You Wanted to Know About the Draft But Forgot to Ask" by Barry Goodberg to catch you up to speed on all that normally takes place for the NFL Draft.

The yearly NFL Draft gave rise to NFL Draft Value Charts. The NFL Draft Value Chart was built originally in 1991 by Mike McCoy for then Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys Jimmie Johnson and Owner Jerry Jones (see the first 3 links below for his values). Though flawed in it's creation, NFL Draft Value Charts were designed to give a numeric value to each draft position for an entire NFL Draft. The reason for building a chart was to be able to evaluate trades before, during, and after the draft. If one were to receive draft picks in a trade or trade away draft picks one needed to know the potential value they were gaining or losing or both. Everyone knows earlier picks are more valuable than later picks but how much more valuable are they? Well, smart NFL executives have assigned values for each pick in the draft.

Here are some of the NFL Draft Value Charts out there, although, I am sure there are more (that are published and unpublished):
NFL draft-pick value chart (ESPN)

Value Chart (Draft Countdown)

Draft Pick Value Chart (

NFL Draft Pick History This astute blogger has tracked all the NFL draft pick(s) for draft pick(s) trades since 1992 and proposes the "Values For Trading Down"

Here's that blogger's recent post on The trade value of NFL draft picks. Look for it to be updated following the results of the 2010 NFL Draft.

The Draft Value Chart: Right or Wrong? (Chase Stuart May 21,2008) This blogger uses an approximate value system of players to come up with his value chart which closely resembles the common one created by Mike McCoy. However these are both flawed because they do not assume perfect market efficiency/an ideal draft value chart that is human error free.

Some discussions on the NFL Draft Value Chart:
Picks of the Littered: Draft's bottom-dwellers cannot choose their destiny ( March 25, 2008)

Raiders Trade Chart Cheat Sheet Offers Glimpse Behind Curtain (by Ryan Wilson) A pretty funny assessment of the Oakland Raiders Draft Rules

Who Makes Draft Trades and Why (by Michael David Smith April 20, 2004) Smith analyzes a few years worth of trades and asks: "Do the point values hold up when teams actually trade picks?" when considering the Draft Pick Value chart from the Jimmie Johnson era. As a result he makes some pronouncements on how certain teams will either be more or less active in that year's draft.

draft pick compensation chart The blog presented a question with some good responses by readers.

The following is a more recent technical discussion (in April of 2010) regarding the NFL Draft. Basically it talks a bit more about money. Massey and Thaler "found that the teams choosing early in the draft generally don’t, in fact, get the players that provide the most value per dollar. [Their] paper is titled 'The Loser’s Curse' because [they] discovered that the first pick in the draft is, on average, the least valuable in the entire first round." Their work produced an article by Ben Riley in 2008 called "Building a Better Draft Value Chart." Regardless, here's the links to the recent discussion:

The Loser's Curse: Overconfidence vs. Market Efficiency in the National Football League Draft (by Cade Massey and Richard H. Thaler April 8, 2010)

When a First Pick Isn't the Best Pick by Richard H. Thaler April 2, 2010

When a First Choice Isn't the Best Choice (by Bill Barnwell April 5th 2010) Barnwell critiques the work by Massey and Thaler.

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