Imprecise but fun look at 2013 draft capital

March, 21, 2013
3/21/13
9:52
PM ET
Robert from South Pasadena, Calif., hit the NFC West mailbag with some information relating to the 2013 NFL draft-order file I made available earlier.


Robert noted that the Seattle Seahawks, despite ranking among the NFL leaders with 10 picks in 2013, ranked last in draft capital if we valued picks using the old trade-value chart.

The chart was developed two decades ago to assist with trades involving draft choices. The first overall choice was assigned a 3,000-point value. Each subsequent choice was worth a little less, all the way down to the final pick, which was worth less than half a point.

We've calculated cumulative pick values this way in past years. I've resisted more recently because most agree the chart has become outdated. Some teams are known to have developed proprietary charts to help value picks for their own trading purposes, but we don't have access to those.

Many trades do indeed come close to lining up using chart values.

Last year, Seattle traded the 12th overall pick to Philadelphia for the 15th, 114th and 172nd choices. The chart said Seattle paid 1,200 points for picks worth 1,139.6 points. Tampa Bay traded the fifth pick, said to be worth 1,700 points, to Jacksonville for the seventh pick (1,500) and 101st pick (96).

The chart provides only a general guide. Picks near the top of a draft loaded with highly rated quarterbacks would naturally have more value than picks near the top of a draft without such prospects, no matter what a static chart said.

In any event, with a nudge from Robert, I plugged in the chart values for all the picks and calculated total point values for each team in the league. Sure enough, the Seahawks are last in draft capital when we measure it this way. The 49ers, despite having a league-high 14 choices, ranked only 17th in the value of those choices using the trade chart.

Now, if we were doing this exercise to calculate value only for picks that could be traded, we would assign zero as the value for the 32 compensatory selections, which cannot be dealt. I did not do that here because we're more interested in calculating draft capital as it pertains to selecting players.

The numbers are far from definitive, but hopefully you find the results interesting, at least.

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