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Brit Pack

Why not always trade up in the draft?

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We all say the draft is a bit of a crap shoot. I just wanted to know how much? I took the metric of whether a player has appeared in a Pro Bowl to mean he is a successful/great player. Any other metric was too arbitrary for me. I didn't look at the players selected in 2018 or 19 as there will only 6 players that went to the Pro Bowl, which figures as after completing the third season we know what kind of player some team has drafted turns out to be. 

The results are below but what was quite interesting and quite obvious is that most the pro bowlers come from the first round, 45% off all of them and in particular within the first 15 picks, which makes me ask the question, why don't teams trade the rest of their picks or substantial number of them to get a top 15 selection? As 89.7% off all picks selected will never make the Pro Bowl why not always trade up where the odds of getting a stud are much higher? Example when Atlanta gave up loads to nab Julio. So why not this year Green Bay give up the house for a player like a Derrick Brown, CeeDee Lamb or Jeudy? Or if not that, why not always package picks and trade up from the second and third round to get an additional first round pick, the odds of success are just so much better.


1525 players selected from 2012 to 2017 . During that span an average of 254.2 players selected per draft. 
That six year period produced 164 pro bowl players which is an average of 27.3 pro bowlers per year 
OR 10.7% of all players in any given year will make the pro bowl.

 74 of those 164 pro bowlers came from the first round. An average of 12.3 per year will come in the first round. 
OR another way of saying it is 45% of all pro bowlers will come from the first round. 
What is more interesting 46 of those 74 pro bowlers from the first round will come in the top 15 picks i.e. 62% 
So during this span of time 28% of all Pro Bowlers come in the first 15 picks. 

2012 draft  
253 players selected 
36 pro bowlers 
14 came from the 1st round 
8 of them came in the top 15 picks 

2013 draft 
254 players selected 
29 Pro bowlers 
12 in the 1st round 
4 of them in top 15 picks 

2014 draft 
256 players 
27 pro bowlers 
17 in the 1st round 
11 came in the top 15 picks 

2015 draft 
256 players selected 
23 pro bowl players 
10 in the 1st round 
8 came in the top 15 picks 

2016 draft 
253 players selected 
27 pro bowl players 
11 in the 1st round 
8 came in the top 15 picks 

2017 draft 
253 players selected 
22 pro bowl players 
10 in the 1st round 
7 came in the top 15 picks 

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if you measure by Approximate value (pfref stat) you can see that the 1st round is not worth trading into or up in under the currently used trade value charts.

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If 1 player was the difference in being a playoff /title contender vs a bottom 10 team, the I could see the argument. But to move from late 20's to top 15 or top 10, it would take 2 firsts + some more.  

Now factor in that not all top 10 -15 picks are going to make the pro bowl .

Based on your numbers

2012 shade over 50%

2013 shade over 25%

2014 shade under 75%

2015 shade over 50%

2016 shade over 50%

2017 shade under 50%

Total 46 of 90 make pro bowl of top 15 picks.  No guarantee,  yes higher chance, but risk is still there.

Need cheap solid starters above UDFA/camp body type players to field a complete team

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Roster building isn't only about the best chance to get pro bowlers?

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17 minutes ago, Norm said:

Roster building isn't only about the best chance to get pro bowlers?

With no research I feel like this is how you get the Chargers or the Texans.

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For a lot of positions "pro bowl" is more about name recognition than "how good you are."  If you're going to do this sort of analysis, it's better to look at something like PFR's Approximate Value statistic. Fans are notoriously bad about picking offensive linemen, IDL, DBs, etc. and the "linebacker" position is entirely skewed towards pass rushers.

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57 minutes ago, PossibleCabbage said:

For a lot of positions "pro bowl" is more about name recognition than "how good you are."  If you're going to do this sort of analysis, it's better to look at something like PFR's Approximate Value statistic. Fans are notoriously bad about picking offensive linemen, IDL, DBs, etc. and the "linebacker" position is entirely skewed towards pass rushers.

And they're way late on guys just hitting the prime and delayed as they fall off. 

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1 hour ago, Brit Pack said:

We all say the draft is a bit of a crap shoot. 

I wouldn’t say crap shoot. That implies an equally random chance at something throughout the entire draft, or in your case the later rounds. But the chances aren’t equal. The odds get progressively less the later you pick, but it’s not zero. It’s possible for a collection of lower picks to have a cumulatively greater hit-rate than one higher pick. 

If we follow your logic, why would a team ever agree to trade down to facilitate another team’s desire to trade up?

GM is a profession that pays 7 figures, and a has a staff of 10+ other guys helping him in the FO. You can bet they know all the relative odds of the picks and charge accordingly if another team is trying to trade up. 

According to the draft pick value chart that generally guides teams’ trades to one extend or another, GB could trade away all their picks this year from rounds 2-7, and it would only get then up to about #40 (near the top of round 2). Picks get progressively much more expensive the higher they are. 

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That said, I am a fan of getting rid of 5th-7th round picks any way you can in order to move up.  There's probably analytics to support that 5th-7th aren't a whole lot different than undrafted. 

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25 minutes ago, Outpost31 said:

That said, I am a fan of getting rid of 5th-7th round picks any way you can in order to move up.  There's probably analytics to support that 5th-7th aren't a whole lot different than undrafted. 

I've always thought we should do this, just trade at the very least you're 6 and 7 round picks to get the best players in the round you're in. Even if it's just like 5-10 spots.

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53 minutes ago, Outpost31 said:

That said, I am a fan of getting rid of 5th-7th round picks any way you can in order to move up.  There's probably analytics to support that 5th-7th aren't a whole lot different than undrafted. 

5th you might be getting someone who's falling a bit for whatever reason. But yeah 6th and 7th I feel like you're just picking your favorite UDFA and showing them some loves.

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57 minutes ago, Outpost31 said:

That said, I am a fan of getting rid of 5th-7th round picks any way you can in order to move up.  There's probably analytics to support that 5th-7th aren't a whole lot different than undrafted. 

only problem is, r5-7 picks are comparatively worthless in trades. they don't move you up that much in the early rounds. and in the later rounds, teams' boards have diverged enough that 3-4 slots difference doesn't help much in getting someone that wasn't already going to fall to your spot. 

& r5 still nets you some good players (AJones, Hyde, Linsley etc) every now and then. 

Edited by TransientTexan

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Trading up can get you a shot at a (potentially) better player, but trading down gets you more picks. Since some picks, even high ones, will fail, there is a good case for the 'more is better' philosophy, when trading down.

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