The Downside to Trading Up for Draft Choices
Because the Green Bay Packers have a dozen draft choices this year, which is five more than the typical number, they have lots of options. Many fans are thinking they should trade off some of those lower picks for better picks.
If you are one of them, you might be surprised to find out how little you move up in the draft when you make such trades.
There’s a chart, which the entire league seems to have accepted as accurate, that gives a numerical rating for each draft position.
If you go to Drafttek.com, you’ll find their NFL “Interactive Trade Chart” for 2018. It seems the numbers shown are pretty well accepted as accurate around the league. If you type in “GB,” you’ll see the Packers’ choices highlighted.
Play around with the chart if you wish. For example, in the pending Packers-Browns deal, by exchanging fourth and fifth-round choices, the Packers two new picks are valued at 132.5, whereas before their two picks were valued at 97. So, the Packers draft value moved up by 35.5 points – that is equivalent to the third pick in round five, or the 140th overall selection.
Cleveland Browns’ Draft Stature
The Packers 12 prospective choices have a total chart value of 2,001.9 points.
Cleveland, on the other hand, currently has nine draft choices valued at 6,321.4 points – including four of the first 35 choices. They used to have an even higher number, but on March 10 they announced that a third-round pick was going to Buffalo for Tyrod Taylor, a fourth-round pick to Miami for Jarvis Landry, a fifth-round pick to the Patriots in the Danny Shelton deal (for which they got back a third-rounder), and the exchange with Green Bay was also disclosed.
Interestingly, when Brian Gutekunst and Russ Ball sat down with the Browns negotiators, or more likely had a conference call, the Browns team must have included these familiar faces: John Dorsey, Eliot Wolf, and Alonzo Highsmith – all Packers’ alumni. There will be some bragging rights for one side or the other a year or so from now.
Trading Up Is a Steep Slope
One way to illustrate how difficult it is to make significant gains by trading up for better draft choices is to present some examples.
If the Packers kept the 14th overall pick, but traded away all other 11 picks, they could theoretically get the 18th overall pick in round one.
If the Packers were to go from the 14th overall pick to the 10th, they’d likely have to give up their third-round pick (76th overall).
If the Packers gave up all three of their fifth-round picks, they might be able to get the seventh pick of the fourth round in exchange.
This all assumes that the other team is willing to make a trade. And therein lies a big downside: generally speaking, the team seking to make the trade will not get as good a deal as the team being approached. One wanting more than the other party to make such trades is in an inferior bargaining position.
Other Teams’ Draft Status
In the NFL North, the Chicago Bears have seven picks worth a point total of 2,111.2, slightly above Green Bay’s 2,001.9. They were greatly helped by being the eighth team to pick in each round. Detroit, selecting at number 20, has six picks, with a total point value of 1,510.8.
Minnesota, which picks third from last, has seven picks, but they only have a total value of 1,071.2. There’s some good news for Packers fans.
The Eagles, by virtue of being the Super Bowl champs, have a total of only 709.2 points. This is how parity is achieved in the NFL.
The deals are heating up. On March 10 alone, four draft pick deals were announced – all involving Cleveland.
Green Bay, Dallas, Cincinnati, and Oakland each claimed four compensatory picks, which are based on players lost and gained in free agency. Arizona and Houston have three picks, while 17 teams received no compensatory picks. Green Bay’s picks, which came at the end of round four, two at the end of round five and one at the end of round six, have a value of 90.8 points. That’s about equivalent to the second pick in round four.
Some Recent Packers’ Draft Deals
To get Brett Hundley in 2015, Ted Thompson did a draft-day exchange with the Patriots, moving up in the fifth round from the 166th to the 147th overall pick, by giving up a seventh-round pick.
In 2013, the Packers dropped down six picks in the third round, and selected Eddie Lacy. They also dropped back from 88th (third round) to 109th (fourth round) and picked David Bakhtiari.
In 2012, Green Bay got the Patriots’ second-round pick (62nd), by giving up its own round three, round six, and two round seven picks and then drafted Casey Hayward.
In 2009, Thompson traded his second-round (41st overall) and third-round choices to the Patriots in order to move up into to the first round (No. 26) – acquiring Clay Matthews.
Tomorrow, I’ll present my theory of the upside to trading up for draft choices.