An alternative approach to draft slot value


While free agency provides an important method of player acquisition, quite often the big splash free agent acquisitions are underwhelming. The tried-and-true way of the modern NFL is to build a team's core through the draft, while augmenting positions of need with judicious use of free agency.

With the salary cap in place, the game has evolved. There is now increased focus on ROI (Return on Investment); building a team isn't just about stars now, but it's about getting Performance per dollar. In fact, we can take one step back and invoke the Al Davis maxim : "Just Win, Baby" and say that the goal is not to buy performance but wins. In fact, that is the central concept in the Moneyball approach (one that is often missed or misstated).

To repeat : the goal is to buy as many wins as possible.

Here's the full Ninja Goro blog post, which includes the charts :

In general, This means that overall value is more a motivating force than the absolute worth (obviously there are exceptions and some that have had good results).

Performance per Dollar

The days are passed when players were simply judged on raw on-field performance without regard to their contract. Before the salary cap, it didn't matter how much the QB made, as long as he threws lots of TD passes and the team won. Now, we scrutinize a player and are always wondering/arguing if the player is "Worth it." Heyward-Bey and McFadden are two prime examples.

But in most of these discussions, we tend to discuss AROUND the idea of what the exact value for the player is. Meaning, we don't actually put down a number assigned to his value based on contract. But if we want to formalize our approach, this would seem the natural first step : trying to establish some kind of rating.

In some cases it pretty obvious. It's much nicer to have Arian Foster's 2010 season of 16G, 2200+ scrimmage yards, 18 TDs for $400k (3yr/$1.2M contract) instead of Deangelo Williams' 2011 season of 16G, 970 scrimmage yards, 7 TDs for $8M (5yr/$43M contract).

If you call Foster's season worth 3000 points, then you might rate Williams' season at 1,000. Obviously Foster had a better season than Williams. But the $7.6M that the Texans saved in salary compared to what Carolina was paying allows the team to pay additional talent on the team, potentially (presuming judicious use of those funds) adding to the team's win total.

We could loosely measure this by looking at Value per (Millions of) Dollar.

For Foster, 3000 points for $0.4M results in 7500 points per million dollars. For Williams, 1000 points for $8M results in 125 points per million dollars.

So while in raw points Foster's season was 3 times better than Williams (3000 points to 1000 points), Foster's value is actually 60 times greater than Williams' (7500 v 125). That's huge (obviously).

This type of value metric would seem to be used for determining if the team should keep a player on the team, if they should spend money to retain a potential free agent (and what dollar-levels they might want to restrict themselves to), and if they should spent to acquire a free agent.

For instance, we might look at Mike Brisiel score him and calculate his value. Then we might do so with a free agent or backup and see what the result might be. That doesn't DICTATE the decision, but does give some interesting and useful guidelines to make an informed decision.

However, this approach is also a viable tactic to use in the draft, particularly in the 1st round.

The initial difficulty in determining value is in assessing the player's performance score. Without that, there's no value determination. In the draft, however, much of that work has already been done. Every draft slot has been already scored.

The Number 1 overall pick is worth 3,000 points. The Number 2 pick is worth 2600 points. In fact, the entire draft has been rated and scored ahead of time by virtue of the NFL Trade Value Chart.

With the new rookie wage scale in place, we have a rough idea of what each draft slot is set to earn. Since the cap is remaining relatively flat from 2012 to 2013, the wage scale will not rise much. So we can use the same wage scale from 2012.

If we combine this data into a single table, we get this :

Spot Player Years Total Signing Avg Points
1 Andrew Luck† 4 $22.10 $14.50 $5.53 3000
2 Robert Griffin III† 4 $21.10 $13.80 $5.28 2600
3 Trent Richardson 4 $20.50 $13.30 $5.13 2200
4 Matt Kalil† 4 $19.70 $12.80 $4.93 1800
5 Justin Blackmon 4 $18.50 $7.10 $4.63 1700
6 Morris Claiborne 4 $16.20 $10.00 $4.05 1600
7 Mark Barron 4 $14.50 $8.90 $3.63 1500
8 Ryan Tannehill 4 $12.70 $7.60 $3.18 1400
9 Luke Kuechly 4 $12.50 $7.50 $3.13 1350
10 Stephon Gilmore 4 $12.10 $7.20 $3.03 1300
11 Dontari Poe 4 $11.30 $6.60 $2.83 1250
12 Fletcher Cox 4 $10.20 $5.80 $2.55 1200
13 Michael Floyd 4 $9.97 $5.70 $2.49 1150
14 Michael Brockers 4 $9.50 $5.40 $2.38 1100
15 Bruce Irvin 4 $9.30 $5.20 $2.33 1050
16 Quinton Coples 4 $8.80 $4.80 $2.20 1000
17 Dre Kirkpatrick 4 $8.60 $4.70 $2.15 950
18 Melvin Ingram 4 $8.40 $4.50 $2.10 900
19 Shea McClellin 4 $8.30 $4.50 $2.08 875
20 Kendall Wright 4 $8.20 $4.40 $2.05 850
21 Chandler Jones 4 $8.17 $4.38 $2.04 800
22 Brandon Weeden 4 $8.08 $4.30 $2.02 780
23 Riley Reiff 4 $7.99 $4.25 $2.00 760
24 David DeCastro 4 $7.80 $4.10 $1.95 740
25 Dont'a Hightower 4 $7.70 $4.05 $1.93 720
26 Whitney Mercilus 4 $7.60 $3.99 $1.90 700
27 Kevin Zeitler 4 $7.50 $3.90 $1.88 680
28 Nick Perry 4 $7.50 $3.89 $1.88 660
29 Harrison Smith 4 $7.10 $3.60 $1.78 640
30 A. J. Jenkins 4 $6.95 $5.49 $1.74 620
31 Doug Martin† 4 $6.80 $3.40 $1.70 600
32 David Wilson 4 $6.68 $3.30 $1.67 590

Dollar values in Millions of Dollars.

Note that the first 16 picks have fully guaranteed contracts. From picks 17-31 the guarantee drops gradually and #32 is not guaranteed at all (other than the signing bonus).

Now if we graph this out, we get the following :


The red is the total contract amount given. Since these first rounders now have fully guaranteed rookie contracts and are all 4 years long, it is reasonable to compare the total contract amount.

The blue is the points on the trade value chart at the spot in the draft. #1 pick is 3,000 points. #2 is 2600 pts. And so on.

What we see is that the shape of the two curves are similar. They both exhibited something like exponential decay; the difference being some of the turbulence in between and different stages they go through along the way.

Note that the blue curve (Value) has three basic regions, two linear sections and a curved "tail". While the red curve (Contract) follows the same general shape, various sections deviate from the blue form.

The blue line drops significantly from the pick #1 to pick #4 before it starts to slow down. However, the contract value does not drop equivalently. From 1 to 2, the contract value slope is rather shallow. It then drops suddenly at around pick #5 to #8.

Around pick #12, both curves stabilize and are relatively smooth.

Now if we calculate the per dollar value of each position (Points/Contract Amount) we get the following :

Spot Total Points Value
1 22.10 3000 136
2 21.10 2600 123
3 20.50 2200 107
4 19.70 1800 91
5 18.50 1700 92
6 16.20 1600 99
7 14.50 1500 103
8 12.70 1400 110
9 12.50 1350 108
10 12.10 1300 107
11 11.30 1250 111
12 10.20 1200 118
13 9.97 1150 115
14 9.50 1100 116
15 9.30 1050 113
16 8.80 1000 114
17 8.60 950 110
18 8.40 900 107
19 8.30 875 105
20 8.20 850 104
21 8.17 800 98
22 8.08 780 97
23 7.99 760 95
24 7.80 740 95
25 7.70 720 94
26 7.60 700 92
27 7.50 680 91
28 7.50 660 88
29 7.10 640 90
30 6.95 620 89
31 6.80 600 88
32 6.68 590 88

You can probably already see from the value column (far right) that there is an interesting dynamic occuring in the first 15 slots.

To see it more clearly, we graph it :


Blue is Performance in points. Green is value in Points per Million Dollars.

The first pick of the draft has the highest value (136 points/Million). High performance and high contract, but at this point the player's (potential) ability/rating/performance projection rates as well worth it.

The step from 1 to 2 is a major dropoff as the value drop 13 points/Million from 136 to 123; that's over 9%. This is caused by the performance (prediction) points dropping sharply while the contract amount drops only slightly. That means the 2nd overall pick is paying nearly as much as the first pick and yet the points for the 2nd player is substantially lower. That makes the #2 pick relatively expensive in terms of typical player available.

This trend continues to pick #4. From 2 to 3 is a 13% drop and 3 to 4 is a 15% drop.

Then at pick 4, the trend reverses itself. When the Performance graph flattens, the contract graph drops sharply. This leads to the value of the picks INCREASING from pick #5 all the way to pick #12.

At pick #12, the value chart reaches it's relative maximum and then trends downward until it stabilizes around 90 points/Million.

The value at pick #12 is 118 points per Million. That's 87% compared to the #1 overall pick; this value is slightly worse than the #2 pick (4 percentage points less) and well ahead of the #3 overall pick (8 percentage points greater), but this pick is 10 slot behind the #2 pick.

There's something interesting about the #12 pick.

The Sweet Spot

The "Sweet Spot" is where we see the highest rate of return on investment. In the preceeding graph, we see that #12 is the highest valued point to occur after the #2 pick. This is where the contract amount and slot points combine to form the highest value.

However, there is another, earlier "sweet spot" : pick #8.

Notice on the value curve that from #5 to #8 the value chart rises (near-) linearly. At #8, it flattens out and then trends upwards. That indicates that the 8,9,10,11 picks are very similar in quality. As we can see from the Contract graph, the peak at #12 is driven by a drop in contract amount while the decline in performance points remains steady.

So we have two sweet spots : 8 and 12. From a financial perspective, if you cannot have the #1 or #2 overall picks, dropping to #12 gets the highest rate of return.

And keep in mind, this does not consider compensation. This is just a graph of the points of the slot compared to the contract amount paid for that player. This indicates that the 3 teams with best ROI position in the first round are Kansas City (#1), Jacksonville (#2), Miami (#12), Carolina (#14), Tampa Bay (#13), ...

and if we sort it by value, we get this :

Slot Team Value
1 1 Kansas City Chiefs 136
2 2 Jacksonville Jaguars 123
3 12 Miami Dolphins 118
4 14 Carolina Panthers 116
5 13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 115
6 16 St. Louis Rams 114
7 15 New Orleans Saints 113
8 11 San Diego Chargers 111
9 17 Pittsburgh Steelers 110
10 8 Buffalo Bills 110
11 9 New York Jets 108
12 10 Tennessee Titans 107
13 3 Oakland Raiders 107
14 18 Dallas Cowboys 107
15 19 New York Giants 105
16 20 Chicago Bears 104
17 7 Arizona Cardinals 103
18 6 Cleveland Browns 99
19 21 Cincinnati Bengals 98
20 22 St Louis Rams 97
21 23 Minnesota Vikings 95
22 24 Indianapolis Colts 95
23 25 Seattle Seahawks 94
24 26 Green Bay Packers 92
25 5 Detroit Lions 92
26 4 Philadelphia Eagles 91
27 27 Houston Texans 91
28 29 New England Patriots 90
29 30 Atlanta Falcons 89
30 32 Baltimore Ravens 88
31 31 San Francisco 49ers 88
32 28 Denver Broncos 88

We see that the Raiders are 13th in value at the #3 slot. The 1 and 2 slots are 1 and 2 in value, but then it jumps to the Sweet Spot at #12 and then stays in the teens until it finally wraps its way back to the Raiders. Interesting side note, pick #4 (Eagles) is near the bottom of the round as the 26th in value.

Now, it's important to realize that this does NOT mean that Miami expects to get the 3rd BEST player in the draft. What the value number represents is that in terms of (expected) production from that draft slot (without regard to any particular player), the Raiders will OVERPAY for their pick with respect to Miami. In fact, this projects the Raiders to lose about 9% of value compared to Miami. This means that the production that Miami gets from their #12 pick compared to how much he is getting paid will be about 9% better than the return the Raiders get on their investment at #3.

This is mostly because the contract amounts don't drop much in the first 3 picks. The Raiders expect to pay about $5.1M per year for their pick. While that's thankfully less than before the latest CBA, it's still a relatively sizable sum. Side note : In 2010 (old CBA), Gerald McCoy was the 3rd overall pick; his contract was 5yrs/$63M, a $12.7M/year average.

Miami at #12 expects to pay $2.5M per year for their pick, about half what the Raiders will pay.

So you pay half as much at #12, but you get lower overall production. The points for #3 is 2200 compared to 1200 for #12. That's a 45% drop. So, you get 55% of the production for 50% of the price and that results in a nice little discount. But the cost is that overall, it is likely that you draft a lower talent at that slot.

At this point, we then take into account the other sweet spot : #8. By all indications, #8 is an interesting place to be since the value hits a momentary plateau at 8as the Points here shifts and the contract amount flattens. This is typically the area just outside of the perceived Elite Talent.

Value at the #8 spot is tied for 9th and yet remains in the mix for higher quality talent than at #12. The contract amount at 8 is also a compromise of $3.2M per year, a savings of nearly $2M/year from #3.

IF the overall performance amount of the slot at 8 or even 12 is acceptable for the team, then it appears that there is very good reason to work to getting into either of these two positions.

Player Projections

Now, in the previous section, the points rating for each draft slot is based strictly on the Trade Value chart. This is useful because the chart is used by everyone in the NFL to set the general values of a trade.

But, by it's very nature, it is a general descriptor and not a precise instrument. This indicates (in general) what the slots are worth in terms of trades; however, it does not take into account the actual players involved in a particular year.

So, consider the following example.

A Team is at slot #5.

They have the player at slot #4 rated at 2600 points (equivalent to the #2 overall pick) and the next best player rated at 1300 points (equivalent to the #10 pick). That value to the team is "worth" 1300 points even though the Trade Value Table only shows that it is worth 100 points. So the team at #5 may be willing to part with far more than the normal points. If the team at #4 goes by the Trade Value chart, they may accept 100 points when the #5 team may have been willing to offer up to 1300 points.

Alternately, consider being at Slot #3. They have the 5 players available to them all rated at 1400 (equivalent to #8 pick). This says 2 things :

1. The "Value" score of the #3 pick is extremely low. You get a #8-talent for #3 price. This works out to a Value of 68, which represents a 37% deficit when compared to the expected value of 107 for the #3 slot.

2. It is worth moving back to #8 (or thereabouts) and in fact the team is willing to take less than market value for that move.

So the evaluation of the talent now combines with the graphs to generate a team's individual value profile. Note that each team will have their own and then this is where negotiations may get sticky.

Let's try a little example for an idea how some things may go. Here's a table of a rough player scores for the 1st 12 players. We assume that the scores from 13-32 are the same as the Trade value chart for this case.

Player Contract Per Year Player Score Value
1 Luke Joeckel 5.5 2000 90
2 Star Lotulelei 5.3 1700 81
3 Geno Smith 5.1 1460 71
4 Jarvis jones 4.9 1450 74
5 Eric Fisher 4.6 1440 78
6 Barkevious Mingo 4.1 1430 88
7 Bjoern Werner 3.6 1420 98
8 Damontre Moore 3.2 1410 111
9 Dee Milliner 3.1 1325 106
10 Dion Jordan 3.0 1300 107
11 Ezekial Ansah 2.8 1250 111
12 Alec Ogletree 2.6 1200 118

With this, we have a group of player at the top of the draft that are all rated at about #4 pick or later, with many of them grouped very close together.

#1 is Luke Joeckel at 2000 points, which is halfway between the 2200 points for a 3rd and the 1800 for a 4th. We then score Lotulelei as a 300 point drop down to 1700 (equivalent to a #5 pick). Then the six picks from #3 Geno Smith through #8 Damontre Moore are separated by a total of 50 points.

Here's how the graph looks :


The Purple line shows the value. We see the relatively high value for picks 1 and 2 followed by a flat section from 3 to 8.

The Blue line is the new Value curve that we can compare against the original value (Green).

If we follow the Blue line, we see again that we have high value points at #8 and #12. So now, we would like to be able to drop to either #8 or #12, depending on what talent level we wish to draft. #8 gives a value score fo 111 while #12 gives 118, which is a 6% premium. That is acceptable for increased overall talent and impact to the team, especially for a team like the Raiders which needs to increase its talent level.

But now as we look at the player ratings. At #3 Geno Smith rates 1460 points and #8 Damontre Moore rates 1410. That means that--in this example--the Raiders would be willing to drop from 3 to 8 for 50 points. As a frame of reference, 50 points is the 122nd pick in the Trade Value chart; the 26th pick in the 4th round.

The trade value chart lists the difference from 3 to 8 as 800 points. 800 points would be about the #8 pick in the 2nd round (500 points), the #8 pick in the 3rd round (230 points), and the #8 pick in the 4th round (86 points).

How to Trade Down

If YOU look at the draft and feel that there's no real reason to draft at the #3 slot, then it's likely that others have a similar assessment or that they at least understand that sentiment. That means that there is likely no strong driving mechanism for (say) the Arizona Cardinals to trade up to #3; the value is just not there for them and so this then makes it a Buyer's Market. The burden falls onto the Seller (in this case McKenzie) to make it attractive to move up into #3.

Fortunately, we have a framework of the negotiations.

If we are looking to move from #3 to #12, we look at the players at those slots in our Player Projections table (above). #3 is Geno Smith at 1460 points. #12 is Alec Ogletree at 1200 points, so from #3 to #12, the difference in expected productivity from the player is at least 260 points. 260 points works out to be the 2nd pick in the 3rd round.

The trade value lists the difference between Draft Slots #3 and #12 as 1000 points. 1000 points is equal to the 2nd round (460 points), Next year's 1st (460 points), and 4th (78).

This now forms the basis of how to drop to 12 : willing to take a 3rd, but valued at 2nd+4th+next year's 1st.

The trading partners are important and their mindset may start as fixed. So the key is to generate interest in the slot. The typical way that this has been done in the past is to start rumors that a desired player will be taken earlier than expected. Currently there are rumors that the Raiders love Geno Smith; this would be consistent with this tactic.

However, there's another natural method that we can borrow from E-Bay : Have an auction and start with a low price. To drop slots in the Buyer's Market, the Raiders have to be willing to take BELOW MARKET price for the spot.

The trick then is to maximize the return on the trade. So to get multiple bidders on the slot, the Raiders would then need to advertise the willingness to sell the slot below value. By sending such inquiries out to teams, we may find that a team that would otherwise not even consider drafting one of the top-3 players in the draft, may find itself enamored with one of the prospects.

For instance, the first trade partner may be Arizona at #7. Let's assume that Arizona gets their QB situation squared away by acquiring Matt Flynn or Alex Smith. Arizona may be expecting Eric Fisher to be available and so would be willing to sit at 7, even if Oakland offers to take only a 2nd round pick in compensation. However, if the Raiders have stated they are considering taking below market price for the slot, then another team may be willing to move into that spot. Enter Miami.

Miami is considering parting ways with Jake Long. In fact, that may already have been decided. Their plan may be primarily to use a player internally. They are likely not considering trading up into the meat of the draft to get the #2 rated LT in the draft in Eric Fisher. But if McKenzie gives them a severe discount from the Trade Value with a 2nd + next year's 2nd, Miami may jump at it. If Miami is looking at that slot, it then puts pressure on Arizona to offer to move into that slot or to pay a severe premium to move into #2.

The scenario becomes even more interesting if McKenzie is willing to move out of this first couple of tiers of talent. For instance if he is willing to take OG Chance Warmack or WR Terrance Williams or perhaps a lower-rated defensive player like Alex Okafor (DE, Tex) or Sheldon Richardson (DT, Missou) or Datone Jones (DE, UCLA) or Johnthan Banks (CB, Ole Miss) then the target may shift from 12 down to 17-19.

Imagine that the McKenzie has Warmack rated at 1400 points (#8 pick), but that it projects that Warmack will be available at 19. The contract amount at 19 is $2.1M per year, which puts the value at an impressive 169 points per Million, which is about 20% better than the #1 overall pick (as projected).

The perceived difference from #3 to #19 for the Raiders is only 60 points, but the trade value chart sets it at 1325. As a frame of reference, the 2011 Atlanta-Cleveland "Julio Jones"-trade was worth 920 points. Cleveland got two 1sts, one 2nd, and two 4ths. But in this scenario, the Raiders would be willing to take as little as a 4th rounder.

By floating below market price on the spot, it's possible to get #17 Pittsburgh to consider it. They would jump up and be able to get Jarvis Jones or Damontre Moore as an immediate impact player at the OLB position and be able to cut James Harrison. They would be able to get rid of an $8.6M per year player with a 2013 cap hit of $10+M with a $5.1M per year player whose 2013 cap hit will likely be in the neighborhood of $3.7M. That might be worth it for (say) two 2nd + lower picks.

By floating below market price on the spot, it's possible to get #17 Pittsburgh to consider it. They would jump up and be able to get Jarvis Jones or Damontre Moore as an immediate impact player at the OLB position and be able to cut James Harrison. They would be able to get rid of an $8.6M per year player with a 2013 cap hit of $10+M with a $5.1M per year player whose 2013 cap hit will likely be in the neighborhood of $3.7M. That might be worth it for (say) two 2nd + lower picks.


Value in the draft is a gift that keeps on giving. With the CBA refactoring the salary structure for rookies, it now becomes affordable to acquire talent thru the draft. But even though the salaries have dropped by over a factor of two, it is still extremely important to get as much value as possible from the draft and for a team that is in such financial troubled waters as the Raiders are, this is even more important.

The difference between slots #3 and #8 is $1.9M per year and the difference between #3 and #12 is $2.5M per year. The question of overall team value changes a little bit. Now, it's not a matter of JUST Player A v Player B, but it resolves to Player A v Player B + $1.9M/$2.5M of salary. $1.9M - $2.5M is the price of a decent starting guard; Danny Watkins makes $1.9 and Paul McQuistan earns $2M. And $2M per year may be what Philip Wheeler is slated to earn. Use that money to ease Palmer's contract or put it into Des Bryant's new contract. At a time when the Raiders are pinching pennies to squeeze out as much performance for value, moves like this can have large ramifications.

This is especially true if the Raiders manage to do what Seattle has done recently and hit on their draft picks. If McKenzie drops to 12 (or lower, even) and takes Alex Okafor or Datone jones instead of the headliner defenders like Lotulelei and Werner, then he saves quite a bit of money. If McKenzie's draft insight is good and Okafor turns out to be the best of the bunch, then it's a double--perhaps even triple--win : better player, lower pay, and receiving compensation.

Since these rookie deals are 4 years and fully guaranteed, the decision made here in the 2013 draft will continue to affect the team for the next 3-4 years. Note that players that perform up to and beyond the expectations will likely get a new deal at the end of Year 3.

By getting good value in the draft, hitting on draft picks, and judicious acquisition and retention of free agents, it is possible to build a high value team in a three-year window. That gives a team 3 rookie contracts in place and if those contracts are high value ones, the team will likely outperform expectations. But for realtively bad teams, it can take some time to build up those players and so it may actually take a full three years to get to that point.

This isn't designed to be definitive, but as a structured methodology to help form the framework of the decision-making process. By using a relatively simple and tractable metric that combines both important factors (player talent/grade and contract amoutn), we can get a strong idea of where the value in the draft tends to be and how we might judge the draft.

It can also give insight into what our ideal drafting slot is and how much that slot is valued to us. Hopefully, this type of approach (if not formally so, then at least used in some fashion) can lead to more interesting discourse into the draft day tactics we might expect.

Exercise for the Reader

In true textbook fashion, here's an exercise for the reader. There are many MANY amateur GMs out there looking to project the draft. This is fantastic because it gives some information and entertaining reading during these boring months leading up to April 26th.

The exercise left to the reader is to grade out the first round talent. Score them using the Trade Value chart (the rightmost column in the first table).

You score the players from 0 to 3000 points (or even more if it warrants it).

If you grade a player as being a talent of a typical #1 overall pick, then give him 3000 points.

If you grade a player as being at the talent level of a #4 pick, then give him 1800 points

If he's a #10-type pick, then score him 1300.

Grade the player, not the slot. So, in this, if you think that there are NO true elite players, then no one gets 3000 points. But if you think both Star Lotulelei and Luke Joeckel are elite #1 talents, then give them both 3000 points.

If you grade the next player on your list at only a #4 pick, then give him 1800 points.

This way you build out your 1st round points scale for this year. Now, use the contract amounts from the first table (the "Total" column) and the divide points / Total. This gives you the Value amount.

Find your sweet spot.

This will give you an idea of where you have placed the optimum value in the draft. You can then determine what the talent level is at that point and make a determination of where (ideally) you would want to be on draft day.

Finale Example

Here's an example complete first round with hypothetical grades and values :

Player Grade Total $ $ Per Year Value Slot Premium
1 Luke Joeckel 3000 22.10 5.5 136 0
2 Star Lotulelei 2600 21.10 5.3 123 0
3 Eric Fisher 2200 20.50 5.1 107 0
4 Bjoern Werner 1550 19.70 4.9 79 -250
5 Damontre Moore 1500 18.50 4.6 81 -200
6 Dee Milliner 1400 16.20 4.1 86 -200
7 Jarvis jones 1350 14.50 3.6 93 -150
8 Johnthan Banks 1350 12.70 3.2 106 -50
9 Barkevious Mingo 1350 12.50 3.1 108 0
10 Geno Smith 1300 12.10 3.0 107 0
11 Sharrif Floyd 1300 11.30 2.8 115 50
12 Alex Okafor 1300 10.20 2.6 127 100
13 Chance Warmack 1200 9.97 2.5 120 50
14 Alec Ogletree 1150 9.50 2.4 121 50
15 Ezekiel Ansah 1100 9.30 2.3 118 50
16 Cordarrelle Patterson 1100 8.80 2.2 125 100
17 Terrance Williams 1100 8.60 2.2 128 150
18 Dion Jordan 1100 8.40 2.1 131 200
19 Sheldon Richardson 1050 8.30 2.1 127 175
20 DeAndre Hopkins 1000 8.20 2.1 122 150
21 Tavon Austin 850 8.17 2.0 104 50
22 Xavier Rhodes 800 8.08 2.0 99 20
23 Kenny Vaccaro 780 7.99 2.0 98 20
24 Johntathan Hankins 780 7.80 2.0 100 40
25 Lane Johnson 780 7.70 1.9 101 60
26 Sam Montgomery 750 7.60 1.9 99 50
27 John Jenkins 740 7.50 1.9 99 60
28 CJ Mosely 700 7.50 1.9 93 40
29 Tyler Eifert 700 7.10 1.8 99 60
30 Manti Te'o 660 6.95 1.7 95 40
31 Matt Elam 660 6.80 1.7 97 60
32 Eric Reid 600 6.68 1.7 90 10

I've also added a "Slot premium" column where I just subtracted the Player Grade from the Trade Value for the Draft Slot. This indicates if there is a high value at a draft slot. Negative is bad, indicating player grade is below the draft slot. Positive values are good, meaning the player grades out as better than the draft slot.


In this hypothetical example, there are two sweet spots, at #12 for Alex Okafor, DE Texas and #18 for Dion Jordan, OLB Oregon. In fact, Luke Joeckel's value is 136. Okafor is 127 and Jordan's is 131.

There are three other players with Values in the high 120s (or better) :

  • WR Terrance Williams at #17 with 128
  • WR Cordarrelle Patterson at #16 with 125
  • DT Sheldon Richardson at #19 with 127

Dion Jordan rates the highest in Slot Premium with +225, meaning he grades out at #14 pick but is ranked at #19, so it is like getting a player that should have been drafted 5 slots higher.

Sheldon Richardson, Terrance Williams, and DeAndre Hopkins all have slot premiums of +200, while Alex Okafor has a slot premium of 150.

In this example, we might be willing sell the #3 pick to drop into the 13-17 range for relatively cheap, but past 22, there is a significant drop off and the value drops to 100, indicating a region that is undesirable to trade into.

It would be very interesting to see what kind of scenarios are generated as other Raider fans fill out the first round with their own grades.

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