ESPN.com’s Mike Sando, writer for the NFC West blog, put together an interesting series of posts last Thursday and Friday about the draft capital available to each team. The Thursday post looked at the capital available according to the NFL Draft value chart in wide use within the league, created by the Cowboys organization in the early 1990s, which we’ll call Chart Classic from here on out. On Friday, Sando analyzed each team’s position according to a revised version of the chart created by Kevin Meers in 2011 and featured on the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective site. As you can see below, the capital of each team varies widely between the two.
Being a fan of updating the draft value chart myself, I thought I would be helpful and provide a crack at this with my version of the chart and throw in Chase Stuart’s from FootballPerspective.com as well. Chase acknowledges the crucial point that his chart does not specifically account for the value of concentration of skill. One dollar is better than four quarters on the football field. While using Career Salary Cap Value rather than Career Approximate Value should help mine reflect the excess value of star players, it is a point of uncertainty in my chart as well.
One of the major things that sticks out from looking at the comparison of each chart against the original is how much additional capital is floating around. Picks 2-254 in the draft are worth 19.2x the number 1 pick according to Chart Classic. The comparable numbers for my chart, Football Perspective and HSAC are 37.0x, 44.1x and 54.1x. In more tangible terms Chart Classic is saying that only one team, Jacksonville, has the capital to put together a worthy trade offer for Kansas City using only this year’s picks. My chart would say that 22 teams have enough – though this would cost Green Bay all of their picks just to equal the value so that’s not much inducement for KC to do the deal. Football Perspective has it at 28 and the HSAC chart shows each team having sufficient capital to acquire the pick.
The relative improvement of teams is remarkably similar between the three alternative methods.
This makes sense, as all are based on roughly the same logarithmic function.
A final chart to highlight the differences between the four charts shows all four valued as a percentage of the number one overall pick.
In this one the differences come out a bit more strongly. The switch from logarithmic to linear halfway through the draft is clear in my chart, while the chart from the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective is an outlier by not reaching near-zero value for the last pick.
 My totals vary ever so slightly from those featured in Sando’s ESPN.com post because I had to recreate the updated version of the Meers chart that he used. Through trial and error I found it to be the log trendline from the posted 1st round values on Meers’ original post, ignoring the posted values for subsequent picks. Once I had this I could also extend out to the 254th pick to account for the compensatory picks. Apologies to Kevin if I misrepresent his data through errors in my recreation.