How do you figure out the value of a draft pick if you move up or move down in the NFL draft? I'm not an expert, but as a Math teacher and football fanatic I think I've come to understand the basic theory.

Years ago the Cowboys devised a mathematical point system to evaluate the relative value of draft picks, with the help of a computer. Gil Brandt was probably the single person who contributed the most, but the GM was Tex Schramm, and so the Cowboy's system is usually referred to as the Schramm Point System.

The system is based on a mid-first round draft pick (number 16 if there are 32 teams) being worth 1000 points. For example, according to the theory the first overall pick is worth 3000 points or 3 times the value of a mid-first-round pick. Later round picks are worth much less.

I am personally surprised at the vast differential between early and late rounds. I'll question those assumptions in a future blog, but for now the important point is that football experts generally agree with the Schramm concept, though everyone has a somewhat different formula. I've listed the values in the table below, and the same data is also plotted as a graph below.

Brandt Point Value versus Overall Draft Pick Number

Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 | Round 6 | Round 7 | |||||||

1 | 3,000 | 33 | 580 | 65 | 265 | 97 | 112 | 129 | 43 | 161 | 27 | 193 | 14.2 |

2 | 2,600 | 34 | 560 | 66 | 260 | 98 | 108 | 130 | 42 | 162 | 26.6 | 194 | 13.8 |

3 | 2,200 | 35 | 550 | 67 | 255 | 99 | 104 | 131 | 41 | 163 | 26.2 | 195 | 13.4 |

4 | 1,800 | 36 | 540 | 68 | 250 | 100 | 100 | 132 | 40 | 164 | 25.8 | 196 | 13 |

5 | 1,700 | 37 | 530 | 69 | 245 | 101 | 96 | 133 | 39.5 | 165 | 25.4 | 197 | 12.6 |

6 | 1,600 | 38 | 520 | 70 | 240 | 102 | 92 | 134 | 39 | 166 | 25 | 198 | 12.2 |

7 | 1,500 | 39 | 510 | 71 | 235 | 103 | 88 | 135 | 38.5 | 167 | 24.6 | 199 | 11.8 |

8 | 1,400 | 40 | 500 | 72 | 230 | 104 | 86 | 136 | 38 | 168 | 24.2 | 200 | 11.4 |

9 | 1,350 | 41 | 490 | 73 | 225 | 105 | 84 | 137 | 37.5 | 169 | 23.8 | 201 | 11 |

10 | 1,300 | 42 | 480 | 74 | 220 | 106 | 82 | 138 | 37 | 170 | 23.4 | 202 | 10.6 |

11 | 1,250 | 43 | 470 | 75 | 215 | 107 | 80 | 139 | 36.5 | 171 | 23 | 203 | 10.2 |

12 | 1,200 | 44 | 460 | 76 | 210 | 108 | 78 | 140 | 36 | 172 | 22.6 | 204 | 9.8 |

13 | 1,150 | 45 | 450 | 77 | 205 | 109 | 76 | 141 | 35.5 | 173 | 22.2 | 205 | 9.4 |

14 | 1,100 | 46 | 440 | 78 | 200 | 110 | 74 | 142 | 35 | 174 | 21.8 | 206 | 9 |

15 | 1,050 | 47 | 430 | 79 | 195 | 111 | 72 | 143 | 34.5 | 175 | 21.4 | 207 | 8.6 |

16 | 1,000 | 48 | 420 | 80 | 190 | 112 | 70 | 144 | 34 | 176 | 21 | 208 | 8.2 |

17 | 950 | 49 | 410 | 81 | 185 | 113 | 68 | 145 | 33.5 | 177 | 20.6 | 209 | 7.8 |

18 | 900 | 50 | 400 | 82 | 180 | 114 | 66 | 146 | 33 | 178 | 20.2 | 210 | 7.4 |

19 | 875 | 51 | 390 | 83 | 175 | 115 | 64 | 147 | 32.6 | 179 | 19.8 | 211 | 7 |

20 | 850 | 52 | 380 | 84 | 170 | 116 | 62 | 148 | 32.2 | 180 | 19.4 | 212 | 6.6 |

21 | 800 | 53 | 370 | 85 | 165 | 117 | 60 | 149 | 31.8 | 181 | 19 | 213 | 6.2 |

22 | 780 | 54 | 360 | 86 | 160 | 118 | 58 | 150 | 31.4 | 182 | 18.6 | 214 | 5.8 |

23 | 760 | 55 | 350 | 87 | 155 | 119 | 56 | 151 | 31 | 183 | 18.2 | 215 | 5.4 |

24 | 740 | 56 | 340 | 88 | 150 | 120 | 54 | 152 | 30.6 | 184 | 17.8 | 216 | 5 |

25 | 720 | 57 | 330 | 89 | 145 | 121 | 52 | 153 | 30.2 | 185 | 17.4 | 217 | 4.6 |

26 | 700 | 58 | 320 | 90 | 140 | 122 | 50 | 154 | 29.8 | 186 | 17 | 218 | 4.2 |

27 | 680 | 59 | 310 | 91 | 136 | 123 | 49 | 155 | 29.4 | 187 | 16.6 | 219 | 3.8 |

28 | 660 | 60 | 300 | 92 | 132 | 124 | 48 | 156 | 29 | 188 | 16.2 | 220 | 3.4 |

29 | 640 | 61 | 292 | 93 | 128 | 125 | 47 | 157 | 28.6 | 189 | 15.8 | 221 | 3 |

30 | 620 | 62 | 284 | 94 | 124 | 126 | 46 | 158 | 28.2 | 190 | 15.4 | 222 | 2.6 |

31 | 600 | 63 | 276 | 95 | 120 | 127 | 45 | 159 | 27.8 | 191 | 15 | 223 | 2.3 |

32 | 590 | 64 | 270 | 96 | 116 | 128 | 44 | 160 | 27.4 | 192 | 14.6 | 224 | 2 |

What about trading future year picks for a current year pick? There is no textbook answer, though GMs almost always value the current year over future years. Valuation theory won't work unless we know what period of time to amortize the investment over. GM's seem to act like the period should be about three years

For example, if you draft a guy in the present year, he contributes for all three years, but next year's pick only contributes for two years. So next year's pick is only worth 67% of this year's pick.

With that assumption in mind, let's look at the Carson Wentz trade. The Browns gave up the second overall pick, plus a 2017 4th round supplemental pick (i.e., end of 4th round)Thus,

Browns gave up

Year/Round/overall Point

2016/1st/2 2600

2017 4th 29 (i.e., 66.7% x 44 points)

TOTAL 2629 Points

The Eagles gave up

2016/1st/8 1400 points

2016/3/72 230 points

2016/4/104 and 86 points

2017 first round, 667 points

2018 2nd round. 183 points

TOTAL 2566 points

The point totals are comparable suggesting that the 3 year amortization postulate is not that far off.

Note also that the point values are made assuming the Eagles are a .500 team. So the Browns win big if the Eagles have a losing record in 2017 and 2018. But if the Eagles believe they will have a winning record in those years, it makes their price for a top quarterback more rational.

Morever, the Browns value the 2017 and 2018 squad more highly than the 2016 squad. So the deal makes sense from both sides, depending on what you believe in

Note also that the point values are made assuming the Eagles are a .500 team. So the Browns win big if the Eagles have a losing record in 2017 and 2018. But if the Eagles believe they will have a winning record in those years, it makes their price for a top quarterback more rational.

Morever, the Browns value the 2017 and 2018 squad more highly than the 2016 squad. So the deal makes sense from both sides, depending on what you believe in

Less understandable is the Brady Quinn trade, in which the Browns traded 2/36 plus a number 1 pick from the following year for the Cowboys' Round 1/22nd pick.

The Cowboys gave up 780 Schramm points, and got 540 points plus the Browns future year draft pick, worth 667 points for a mid-round future pick. That is, the Browns gave up 540 plus 66.7%* 1000 = 1207 points. This is acceptable if they believed Brady Quinn's true value was first round, 12th overall pick or higher.

The Cowboys gave up 780 Schramm points, and got 540 points plus the Browns future year draft pick, worth 667 points for a mid-round future pick. That is, the Browns gave up 540 plus 66.7%* 1000 = 1207 points. This is acceptable if they believed Brady Quinn's true value was first round, 12th overall pick or higher.

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