FanPost

What Is The Rams #2 Overall Pick Worth? The Answer Might Surprise You.

Part I: Charts

First, a little history, Jimmy Johnson came out with his draft pick value chart (pictured below), which gives a value to each draft pick for evaluation and trading purposes in the mid-90s. It has been used as a reference for many years, but the main issue with the chart is the escalating cost of the top 5 picks in the draft compared to the rest of the draft. When the cost of the contract for top 10 picks in the draft escalated, the value of those picks did not match up with the value of the contract plus the player. However, now that top picks are cost controlled for 4 years, the value chart may be coming back into vogue.

draftvalue1.jpg (538×584)

(via Harvard Sports Analysis)

However, with the rise of analytic study of the draft and player evaluation, a new chart has emerged that uses Pro Football Reference's CarAV to understand what average value each team should receive from each pick. And if you follow me on twitter, you know I'm a huge fan of Pro Football Reference's simple stats. So, using a simple formula, we can see what the expected Career Approximate Value is for each position and evaluate each trade accordingly using previous players drafted at that position as a guide.

The formula I use is as follows:

( -12.583 * LN(x)) + 73.195

where x is the overall draft pick of the player.

Chase Stuart of Football Perspective prefers to use the first 5 years of a players career as the limit, but for this exercise, we will use the player's entire career. (Which coincidentally, was developed earlier also by Chase Stuart, at Pro Football Reference.) Edit: I've placed a new chart at the end of the post, which counts the player's expected value through the first 5 years of his career for the 1st round and the first 4 years of his career for the 2nd and beyond. The reasoning for this is that 1st round picks under the new CBA get 4 year contracts with 5th year options and the other rounds get 4 year contracts maximum. This way we account for ONLY the amount of time the team is GUARANTEED to have the player under contract.

Here's the chart using the above formula:

Rd1

Val

Rd2

Val2

Rd3

Val3

Rd4

Val4

Rd5

Val5

Rd6

Val6

Rd7

Val7

1

73.20

33

29.20

65

20.67

97

15.63

129

12.04

161

9.26

193

6.97

2

64.47

34

28.82

66

20.48

98

15.50

130

11.95

162

9.18

194

6.91

3

59.37

35

28.46

67

20.29

99

15.37

131

11.85

163

9.10

195

6.84

4

55.75

36

28.10

68

20.10

100

15.25

132

11.75

164

9.02

196

6.78

5

52.94

37

27.76

69

19.92

101

15.12

133

11.66

165

8.95

197

6.72

6

50.65

38

27.42

70

19.74

102

15.00

134

11.57

166

8.87

198

6.65

7

48.71

39

27.10

71

19.56

103

14.88

135

11.47

167

8.80

199

6.59

8

47.03

40

26.78

72

19.38

104

14.75

136

11.38

168

8.72

200

6.53

9

45.55

41

26.47

73

19.21

105

14.63

137

11.29

169

8.65

201

6.46

10

44.22

42

26.16

74

19.04

106

14.51

138

11.20

170

8.57

202

6.40

11

43.02

43

25.87

75

18.87

107

14.40

139

11.10

171

8.50

203

6.34

12

41.93

44

25.58

76

18.70

108

14.28

140

11.01

172

8.42

204

6.28

13

40.92

45

25.30

77

18.54

109

14.16

141

10.92

173

8.35

205

6.22

14

39.99

46

25.02

78

18.37

110

14.05

142

10.84

174

8.28

206

6.15

15

39.12

47

24.75

79

18.21

111

13.93

143

10.75

175

8.21

207

6.09

16

38.31

48

24.48

80

18.06

112

13.82

144

10.66

176

8.13

208

6.03

17

37.54

49

24.22

81

17.90

113

13.71

145

10.57

177

8.06

209

5.97

18

36.83

50

23.97

82

17.75

114

13.60

146

10.49

178

7.99

210

5.91

19

36.15

51

23.72

83

17.59

115

13.49

147

10.40

179

7.92

211

5.85

20

35.50

52

23.48

84

17.44

116

13.38

148

10.32

180

7.85

212

5.79

21

34.89

53

23.24

85

17.29

117

13.27

149

10.23

181

7.78

213

5.73

22

34.30

54

23.00

86

17.15

118

13.17

150

10.15

182

7.71

214

5.67

23

33.74

55

22.77

87

17.00

119

13.06

151

10.06

183

7.64

215

5.62

24

33.21

56

22.54

88

16.86

120

12.95

152

9.98

184

7.58

216

5.56

25

32.69

57

22.32

89

16.71

121

12.85

153

9.90

185

7.51

217

5.50

26

32.20

58

22.10

90

16.57

122

12.75

154

9.82

186

7.44

218

5.44

27

31.72

59

21.89

91

16.43

123

12.64

155

9.73

187

7.37

219

5.38

28

31.27

60

21.68

92

16.30

124

12.54

156

9.65

188

7.30

220

5.33

29

30.82

61

21.47

93

16.16

125

12.44

157

9.57

189

7.24

221

5.27

30

30.40

62

21.26

94

16.03

126

12.34

158

9.49

190

7.17

222

5.21

31

29.99

63

21.06

95

15.89

127

12.24

159

9.41

191

7.11

223

5.16

32

29.59

64

20.86

96

15.76

128

12.14

160

9.33

192

7.04

224

5.10


Part 2: History

With the math and charts out of the way, we can begin to evaluate previous trades and see where they fell on each chart. Let's stick to the 1st round to make it easier and remove the trades that include picks in future years.

2013

Team1

Picks

Old Value

New Value

Team2

Picks

Old Value

New Value

Miami

#12 overall, #42 overall

1680

68.09

Oak

#3 overall

2200

59.37

Rams

#16 overall, #46, #78, #222

1643.6

86.7

Buffalo

#8 overall, #71

1630

66.59

SF

#31 overall, #74

820

49.03

Dallas

#18 overall

900

36.83

Minn

#52 overall, #83, #102, #229

649.5

61.07

NE

#29 overall

640

30.82

2012

Team1

Picks

Old Value

New Value

Team2

Picks

Old Value

New Value

Clev

#4 overall, #118, #139, #211

1902.5

85.36

Minn

#3 overall

2200

59.37

Jax

#7 overall, #101

1596

63.83

TB

#5 overall

1700

52.94

Dallas

#14 overall, #45

1550

65.29

STL

#6 overall

1600

50.65

Philly

#15 overall, #114, #172

1139.6

61.14

Sea

#12 overall

1200

41.93

NE

#27 overall, #93

808

47.88

Cincy

#21 overall

800

34.89

NE

#31 overall, #126

646

42.33

Den

#25 overall

720

32.69

Minn

#35 overall, #98

658

43.96

Balt

#29 overall

640

30.82

TB

#36 overall, #101

636

43.22

Den

#31 overall, #126

646

42.33

You can see in the charts above that most teams trading up have been giving up too much value by the new chart, and coming fairly close to the old chart (which is looking not so old now apparently!). Minnesota got fleeced by New England in 2013 (of course) by trading up into the bottom of the first round if you go by Expected CarAV, but were right on the old trade chart. Some of these trades are SO on point by the old trade chart that it most of the GMs must be using the old chart as a reference guide. With just the 2013 and 2012 as a templates, we do not have to look back further as I believe we have the guide for how trades are orchestrated in the NFL.

Part 3: The 2014 NFL draft

The most obvious need to see and the need to be filled is the need at quarterback and so if you take the leap of faith that the Rams are NOT in the need of a 1st round QB in 2014, (plenty of time to discuss that!) let's look at the other teams that may be players (at this point) for QBs in the first round of 2014 in picks 3-14. Jacksonville at 3, Cleveland at 4 and Oakland at 5 pop out initially. Minnesota at 8 is in need and possibly the Bucs at 7 if the new coach doesn't buy into Glenn and the Bears at 14 depending on what happens with McCown and Cutler.

Here's what each trade value chart indicates the pick the Rams should receive from each team for the #2 overall pick. The value for the #2 overall pick in the old system is 2600 and the new system is 64.47.

Jacksonville - If the Jags want to move up to prevent anyone else from moving ahead of them, they would have to give up (beyond pick 1.3) a mid 2nd rounder in the old system (#50 overall). Since Jacksonville picks at the beginning of each round, 3.3 and 4.3 would get the job done. In the new system, it would be about 5 points, so all Jacksonville would need to give up is a 7th rounder.

Obviously, that doesn't sound like much, but it makes sense if you think about it as (on average) the career value of a number 2 overall selection is not significantly different than the career value of the number 3 overall selection, so moving up from one to another shouldn't be a significant cost. Obviously, market factors including the willingness of the team to trade up, the attractiveness of the player at 2 and other offers can affect the trade haul

Given the average CarAV of mid-round players in the draft, teams that constantly trade for 2nd and 3rd round picks and constantly trade down seem to have an advantage (*cough* Patriots *cough*). But, this is the NFL and although you need value players, you cannot win without high-end talent and that's found at the top of the draft.

Cleveland - If the Browns want to jump the Jags, they will need to give up their 1.4 pick and 600 points of value in the old system, which would correspond to their 2.4 pick and 4.4. The new system says that Cleveland will only have to give up about 10 points, which corresponds to pick 5.4. The Rams could give a little bit on their end to snag the Browns 2nd first rounder as well, which should be 24-30 range.

Oakland - The Raiders would have to give up 900 points, which is the equivalent of a mid-1st rounder (18th overall) via the old system and a 4th rounder via the new system.

Tampa Bay - The Bucs would have to give up a whopping 1100 points in the old system, which is a slightly higher mid 1st rounder (14th overall) and a 4th rounder via the new system.

Minnesota - The Vikings would have to give up 1200 points, which is the 12th overall pick in the old system or a late 3rd rounder via the new system.

Chicago - The Bears would have to give up a bounty to move up to 2, which would be 1500 points, which is the #7 overall pick or a pittance in the new system which would be their mid 2nd rounder.

The new system is a real downer for valuing these high picks, but NFL teams don't use it religiously (thankfully for the Rams!) so let's use the previous season's trades as a guide with regards to value to see what the Rams can get from these 6 teams.

Team

Picks Needed

Notes

Jax

#3 overall & 3.3, 4.3

Clev

#4 overall & #31

if IND are SB runners up

Oak

#5 overall, 2.5, 4.5

TB

#7 overall, 2.7 & 2015 1st

Minn

#8 overall, 2.8, 7.8 & 2015 1st

Chi

#14 overall, 2.14, 3.14, 4.14 & 2015 1st

What do you think? Should the Rams trade down? What value should they receive? Who's the best trade partner points-wise?

EDIT: New Chart below:

Rd1

Val

Rd2

Val2

Rd3

Val3

Rd4

Val4

Rd5

Val5

Rd6

Val6

Rd7

Val7

1

35.90

33

12.36

65

9.18

97

7.31

129

5.98

161

4.94

193

4.09

2

31.85

34

12.22

66

9.11

98

7.26

130

5.94

162

4.91

194

4.07

3

29.47

35

12.08

67

9.04

99

7.21

131

5.90

163

4.88

195

4.04

4

27.79

36

11.95

68

8.97

100

7.17

132

5.87

164

4.85

196

4.02

5

26.48

37

11.82

69

8.90

101

7.12

133

5.83

165

4.82

197

3.99

6

25.42

38

11.70

70

8.84

102

7.08

134

5.80

166

4.80

198

3.97

7

24.52

39

11.57

71

8.77

103

7.03

135

5.76

167

4.77

199

3.95

8

23.74

40

11.46

72

8.71

104

6.98

136

5.73

168

4.74

200

3.92

9

23.05

41

11.34

73

8.64

105

6.94

137

5.69

169

4.71

201

3.90

10

22.43

42

11.23

74

8.58

106

6.90

138

5.66

170

4.68

202

3.88

11

21.87

43

11.12

75

8.51

107

6.85

139

5.63

171

4.66

203

3.85

12

21.36

44

11.01

76

8.45

108

6.81

140

5.59

172

4.63

204

3.83

13

20.90

45

10.90

77

8.39

109

6.76

141

5.56

173

4.60

205

3.81

14

20.46

46

10.80

78

8.33

110

6.72

142

5.53

174

4.58

206

3.79

15

20.06

47

10.70

79

8.27

111

6.68

143

5.49

175

4.55

207

3.76

16

19.68

48

10.60

80

8.21

112

6.64

144

5.46

176

4.52

208

3.74

17

19.33

49

10.51

81

8.15

113

6.60

145

5.43

177

4.50

209

3.72

18

18.99

50

10.41

82

8.10

114

6.55

146

5.40

178

4.47

210

3.70

19

18.68

51

10.32

83

8.04

115

6.51

147

5.36

179

4.44

211

3.67

20

18.37

52

10.23

84

7.98

116

6.47

148

5.33

180

4.42

212

3.65

21

18.09

53

10.14

85

7.93

117

6.43

149

5.30

181

4.39

213

3.63

22

17.82

54

10.05

86

7.87

118

6.39

150

5.27

182

4.37

214

3.61

23

17.56

55

9.97

87

7.82

119

6.35

151

5.24

183

4.34

215

3.59

24

17.31

56

9.88

88

7.77

120

6.31

152

5.21

184

4.31

216

3.56

25

17.07

57

9.80

89

7.71

121

6.28

153

5.18

185

4.29

217

3.54

26

16.84

58

9.72

90

7.66

122

6.24

154

5.15

186

4.26

218

3.52

27

16.62

59

9.64

91

7.61

123

6.20

155

5.12

187

4.24

219

3.50

28

16.41

60

9.56

92

7.56

124

6.16

156

5.09

188

4.21

220

3.48

29

16.20

61

9.48

93

7.51

125

6.12

157

5.06

189

4.19

221

3.46

30

16.00

62

9.41

94

7.46

126

6.09

158

5.03

190

4.16

222

3.44

31

15.81

63

9.33

95

7.41

127

6.05

159

5.00

191

4.14

223

3.41

32

15.63

64

9.26

96

7.36

128

6.01

160

4.97

192

4.11

224

3.39

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