Ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft, the conversation of which picks could be on the move is always in high gear. The No. 1 overall pick has already been moved from the Chicago Bears to the Carolina Panthers. The Bears slid down to No. 9, and the Panthers moved up to first overall. Of course, the very next conversation is “Who won?” and “What pick gets moved next?”
Many things go into assigning value to the picks that get traded. For years, various models were created to try and standardize the value of draft picks. The influx of analytics and independent team values has rendered these models mostly obsolete. That said, they do give fans and media a starting point when discussing the various trades that are bound to happen.
The Jimmy Johnson NFL Trade Value Chart Is the Best Known
Jimmy Johnson did not create draft value charts, but his chart is the most well-known around the NFL. In fact, Johnson took previous charts and modified them based on the data at the time.
When Johnson produced his original values, he did not factor in compensatory picks. This was because those NFL Draft selections were not able to be traded when Johnson produced his chart. Later adaptations have included those compensatory selections, affecting the values for selections in Rounds 4, 5, 6, and 7.
The changes in the later rounds are minor. Under Johnson’s original chart, the first pick of Round 4 was worth 116 points. With the adjustments for the compensatory selections, it is now worth 82.
While his chart is the most well-known, it is largely outdated due to the changing dynamics of the NFL Draft and the individualization of NFL team analytics, which has each team valuing things independently of other teams.
Values From the Jimmy Johnson NFL Trade Value Chart
- First selection: 3,000
- 16th selection: 1,000
- 32nd selection: 590
- First pick of Round 3: 265
- First pick of Round 4: 82
- First pick of Round 5: 33
- First pick of Round 6: 15.8
- First pick of Round 7: 1
Differences Between the Rich Hill, Fitzgerald-Spielberger, and Harvard Trade Value Charts
While the Johnson chart is widely accepted as the official trade value chart by many in the media, NFL teams have created their own charts that they place more value on, as it is individualized to their own organization.
With new statistical analysis able to be performed, the introduction of the rookie wage scale, and more, the need to adapt was always a requirement. Each franchise has its own analytics teams, and that is what is relied on during the draft.
Rich Hill Trade Value Chart
Rich Hill’s trade chart has become one of the most commonly referenced charts outside of the Johnson model, though rarely referred to much anymore. Hill’s trade value chart begins with a value of 1,000 for the No. 1 overall selection. It then drops to 717, 514, 491, and 468, respectively, through the first five selections. Here are the values from Hill’s chart using the same selections as Johnson’s.
- First selection: 1,000
- 16th selection: 305
- 32nd selection: 184
- First pick of Round 3: 78
- First pick of Round 4: 31.5
- First pick of Round 5: 13.2
- First pick of Round 6: 5.4
- First pick of Round 7: 2
Fitzgerald-Spielberger Trade Value Chart
Jason Fitzgerald and Brad Spielberger of Over the Cap also produced their version of the NFL trade value chart. They retroactively graded every draft selection from 2011 to 2015 following the conclusion of their rookie contract. They looked at the value of the contracts and the performances of players to produce their chart. Again, their chart is more of a reference for media and fans to approximate value, as NFL teams place their own values on these picks.
Doing so accounts for how teams grade the players in the current draft. For example, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 draft may not be worth what the No. 1 overall pick is worth in 2021 or 2023.
The talent differences between those drafts cause their value to fluctuate. Teams set their own baselines, and then free market economics takes over until a value is agreed upon.
The Fitzgerald-Spielberger trade value chart begins with a value of 3,000 for the No. 1 overall selection. It then drops to 2,649, 2,443, 2,297, and 2,184, respectively, through the first five selections. Here are the approximate values from the Fitzgerald-Spielberger chart using the same selections as Johnson’s.
- First selection: 3,000
- 16th selection: 1,595
- 32nd selection: 1,244
- First pick of Round 3: 885
- First pick of Round 4: 637
- First pick of Round 5: 478
- First pick of Round 6: 354
- First pick of Round 7: 246
Harvard Trade Value Chart
Kevin Meers detailed another NFL trade value chart model in the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective. Meers used Pro Football Reference’s Career Approximate Value Metric. After analyzing data from 1980 to 2005, Meers produced his own trade value chart. The Harvard trade value chart also does not contain data for compensatory selections.
The trade value chart begins with a value of 494.6 for the No. 1 overall selection. It then drops to 435.7, 401.3, 376.9, and 357.9, respectively, through the first five selections. Here are the approximate values from the Harvard chart using the same selections as with the Johnson chart.
- First selection: 494.6
- 16th selection: 259.2
- 32nd selection: 200.3
- First pick of Round 3: 128.0
- First pick of Round 4: 97.8
- First pick of Round 5: 75.6
- First pick of Round 6: 58.0
- First pick of Round 7: 43.5
How Do the Different NFL Trade Value Charts Differ When Valuing Trades?
To demonstrate how the value of a trade differs across each of the NFL value charts, let’s take a scenario where the Buccaneers give up their entire draft to trade up to the No. 1 overall selection and draft Bryce Young.
Using the Johnson trade chart adjusted for compensatory selection, the Buccaneers would give up 1,041.9 points of draft capital. In return, Tampa Bay receives 3,000 points of capital. Their net gain of 1,958.1 equates to a selection between the No. 3 and No. 4 overall picks.
The value is similar to Hill’s chart. The Buccaneers would give up 333 points of value to receive 1,000. The 667-point difference equates to gaining a selection between the No. 2 and No. 3 overall picks in the draft.
Yet, the story is very different on the Fitzgerald-Spielberger value chart. The Buccaneers would give up around 4,400 in value to get 3,000 in return. According to that value chart, the Panthers would be the one to gain around 1,400 points in value. That would be equivalent to the 23rd overall selection in the draft.
On the Harvard chart, the value is similar to the Fitzgerald-Spielberger value chart. The Buccaneers would give up 689.5 points of value to receive 494.6 points. The Panthers would then gain around 195 points in value. That equates to a selection at the end of Round 1 or the top of Round 2.
Of course, the main difference between all of them is how they differ from the values the 32 teams themselves place on these picks.
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