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Why Cowboys should probably trade down in first round

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As mentioned, I’ve been working on a few projects that I plan to release in the near future, hence the lack of updates. I’ve also been cutting down on my Cowboys coverage and working on a lot more fantasy sports-related material. But I’m still writing about the ‘Boys on a daily basis, and one of my recent articles at BR examined why I’d (probably) trade down in the first round:

The Numbers on Draft Pick Value

I charted the value of each NFL draft pick in regards to both the NFL trade-value chart and their actual NFL production. For actual value, I used Pro Football Reference’s approximate value as a grading tool.

I charted both forms of value in terms of the percentage of overall draft value that each individual pick encompasses. The first overall pick is worth 5.0 percent of the overall value on the trade chart, for example, but has historically accounted for far less in terms of the overall approximate value from his respective draft class.

At locations where the blue line surpasses the orange line, the cost of trading up is presumably too high. You can see that’s the case all the way up until around pick 20. There, the cost of the pick on the NFL’s trade-value chart is representative of how well that player should actually be expected to perform.

The obvious conclusion is that NFL teams are typically paying way too much to move up in the first round. They’re overrating the potential impact of the players selected there, particularly in the top 10. Those players are still expected to be the best in the class, but the cost for a team outside of the top 10 to move there is prohibitive.

First-Round Trade Results

Historically, teams trading down in the first round (or out of it altogether) have found a ton of success.

Amazingly, the teams moving down in first-round trades have acquired 64.4 percent of the total approximate value accumulated by the players involved in those deals, i.e. trading down has been far superior to moving up.

Perhaps even more amazing, the team trading down has gotten the best player in the deal 50.9 percent of the time! I mentioned that stat on Twitter and a reader responded that it simply makes it a coin flip. He was right that it’s a coin flip as to which team will acquire the best player, so the prudent thing to do would be to get that player at the cheapest cost possible. Stockpile picks in the range where production surpasses cost and maximize the probability of hitting on an undervalued asset.

Would you pay $30,000 for a car you can get elsewhere for $28,000? Of course not. Well, NFL teams that trade up in the first round have historically been paying extra for something they could have just gotten later. The cost is too high right now.

Read the whole article right here.

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