There is an unwritten rule in sports that essentially states that nobody knows the true value of something until the next time something similar sells. For instance, the next time we really know what an NFL franchise is worth is the next time one sells. Also think about your Beanie Babies and Baseball Cards. Back in 1995 they might have been worth 20 dollars, but try selling your Beanie Baby for 20 dollars now and you will be laughed at. Inflation in materials, relative need, and outside costs change the worth of those items and that is why they aren't worth much.

To say it simply the reason your baseball cards aren't worth anything is because when people learned to hold onto them and care for them then the supply over time doesn't decrease. Maybe 2 % of baseball cards were cared for back in 1950, and maybe 60 % of them are now. That means in 60 years that 30 times more of those cards (compared to the past) will have survived time, and that is why they are worth 1/30th the value.

You may be wondering what any of this has to do with the NFL draft, and I will go through it shortly by going through some myths to NFL trade value.

Myth 1: "A Draft Pick In This Draft Is Worth The Same In The Next Draft"

There are so many different false statements in the myth. In general we have no idea what the 2012 draft will bring in comparison to the 2011 draft. Coming into this year we thought that this would be one of the best receiver classes ever with AJ Green, Julio Jones, Jonathon Baldwin, Justin Blackmon, and many other studs on the list. Many also thought that the Andrew Luck, Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker and many others would create one of the best quarterback classes in years and now there we are debating whether Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton are worth even 1st round picks. The fact is that you never know what your future drafts will be like.

Teams also have to pay more for a pick now then a pick later. Think of it as draft interest. If you are trading your 3rd round pick in 2011, then you likely are going to have to pay an interest (maybe your 2nd round pick in 2012) for the pick. It's draft interest, but you also cannot have equal value on a pick because if you get the 16th pick in the 3rd round, there is no guarantee that you can give the 16th pick next year. You wouldn't lend 500 dollars to someone with a chance to possibly get 475 back next year. Getting a 2nd round pick is also worth more than a 3rd round pick... or so it would seem.

Myth 2: "A pick is always worth more than one later in the same draft"

This is mostly true, but it there are some exceptions. There are three major ones that I can come up with. In some cases it is actually more valuable to have the 5-7 pick than to have the 1-5. This is for trading, need and value. In the 2009 draft the New York Jets traded up to the 5th spot to get Mark Sanchez. They might have been able to get the same deal to move up to 4th, but there was no reason to. They got Sanchez for less trade value, for less money which therefore means less risk. Having the 5th overall pick was actually better than the 3rd overall or the 2nd overall to the Jets.

As an example for the 2011 draft, if you don't need a quarterback then you might be ok this year. The Cleveland Browns have the 6th pick which means that they don't have to trade up to get one of the best players in the draft. If even one quarterback goes in the top-five, then the Browns will get a chance to get one of these players: Patrick Peterson, AJ Green, Marcell Dareus, Nick Fairley, Da'Quan Bowers, Von Miller. They don't get first dibs on them, but if they would be beyond happy to get one of them then they are in luck because there is no way that they miss out on one of them. It makes just a little more sense for the Browns to be happy with the 6th pick.

That's the first spot. The next spot is the 33rd pick owned by the Patriots this year. The fact of the matter is that the 33rd pick could actually be more valuable than the 30th pick because of time. Every single year there are going to be a few players that unexpectedly fall in the draft. If a team like the Bills really thought that Tim Tebow was a lock to go in the first round in the 2010 draft (which he did, but let's assume he didn't), and he doesn't, then they might have called the Saints to get him at the end of day one, but given time, situations and scenarios they might have gladly paid a luxury to get him at the top of the 2nd round. Ask any gambling person what their worst enemy is when they are trying to hold onto money in a casino, and they likely would say time. The Bills would have only had a few minutes between picks to offer and get a trade, but they would have had almost an entire day to sit and think about a trade for Tebow. The Patriots will get offers likely from about 1/3 of the NFL teams for the 33rd pick, but maybe only a couple of offers could hit the Packers.

The final spot isn't as much value, but it is the same exact pick for the first pick in the 4th round compared to the Packer's pick in the 3rd.

Myth 3: "The Trade Value Chart"

One of the dumbest things that I have ever seen in regards to the draft is the Trade Value Chart (TVC). If you don't know about it is essentially a chart of values for each pick in the draft that was invented by Jimmy Johnson a while ago. Essentially if you want to trade for the 8th overall pick (which is worth 1,400 points) then you will have to accumulate enough combination of draft picks/player to hit 1,400. So if you are picking 20th and want to move to 8th you have to theoretically pay with your 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks to equal 1,400. When was the last time that you heard about a team trading their 1st, 2nd and 3rd rounders to move up that high? There is a reason, and that is because it is ridiculous.

I hate the TVC. With that same theory you assume that about 100 5th round picks are as valuable as the first overall pick. If a team offered the Panthers even their next 30 5th round picks, I am pretty sure the Panthers would love the deal. If a team like the Patriots (who are built to pick high for awhile) offered their next five or six 2nd round picks to the Panthers do you think they would take the offer? Absolutely. So the numbers aren't even close to real value. The TVC just doesn't understand the value for a number of players, and it gives WAAY too much value for the first three picks.

Another thing that the TVC can't accumulate properly is the compensatory picks. If you get a compensatory pick at the end of round three (we will call it pick 97), then you can't trade it by NFL rules. So the TVC is set up basically on a round to round basis. You see it in the TVC link I added (should be blue above) that pick 97 is worth 112 points. Actually it is worth nothing, because it can't be traded, so you have to adjust properly.

One last thing I recommend for you is to check out even more errors in the TVC by visiting another good draft science article here.



*These are just a few of the issues that accumulate improperly with trade value. Teams and people just don't understand trade value past the basics and that needs to change. Even more trade values issues will start to accumulate after the new CBA introduces a rookie wage scale that will lower the money it takes to trade early, which could mean that the TVC get's even crazier.