Cost of moving up, payoff for moving down in draft

Cost of moving up, payoff for moving down in draft
April 16, 2013, 8:00 am
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The Redskins have seven picks in the draft as of right now. They may end up using them as they are but they could also elect to move up to make sure that they get a player whom they have targeted. Or, if they think they can get someone they want later on, they might trade down. Let’s take a look at how far up or down they might be able to move.

First, a couple of things about trades involving draft picks. It takes two to tango. It’s not like walking into a bank, dropping down a $20 bill and asking for a ten and two fives. Two teams have to get in touch with each other and work out a deal. A team that wants to make a move may or may not be able to find a trading partner.

Working out a deal may or may not involve using the draft pick value chart. Rarely do trades come out exactly equal per the chart, which was designed by Jimmy Johnson. Sometimes a team wants a pick badly enough to overpay for it in terms of the chart. And sometimes a team sees nobody it has any interest in taking at a particular pick and will virtually take anything for it.

But since the majority of deals fall close to what the chart says they should, we’ll look at these hypothetical scenarios using the chart. Here are the Redskins’ picks and their values according to the chart.   


Let’s look at what they would need to do to trade up. The highest pick they could obtain by dealing away two picks, their second- and third-rounders, would be about the 35th pick, early in the second. They almost certainly could get their choice of almost any safety they wanted with the exception of Kenny Vaccaro or a cornerback who could contribute immediately. However, it would be at the cost of the possible future contributor they could get with the 85th pick. From what everyone is saying about the depth of this draft, it may be a mistake to have just one pick in the top 100.

If the Redskins were to pair a lower pick with their second in an effort to move up the payoff would go down dramatically. Their second and fourth would move them up about six spots into the mid-40’s overall, one of their fifths would let them jump over a team or two.

How about if they want to move up in the third? Combining their third- and fourth-round picks would jump them up about 11 spots to the 74th pick. One of their fifths combined with their third would move them up about five spots.

What if they go in the other direction and stockpile some more picks? Could they get another top 100 pick?

If one of the teams drafting near the end of the second round, like the Falcons or 49ers, wanted to move up to 51 they would give up their second, 60-61 overall, and third, 92 or 93 overall. That would give the Redskins no picks until late in the second but they would have three between the latter part of the second round and the end of the third, all of those picks in the magical top 100.

They could drop about 10 spots in the third and pick up a mid fourth round pick. Once you get into the fourth the take for moving back is measured in sixth- and seventh-round picks.

Which way will the Redskins go? We have seen Mike Shanahan play it both ways. In 2011 the Redskins dropped back a few times and replacing their missing third- and fourth-round picks and collecting some other picks in the process. Last year he made the biggest move up deal in the history of the draft, giving up a kings’ ransom of premium picks to move from sixth overall to second to draft Robert Griffin III.

With the Redskins not having their first pick until 50 players have come off the board, it is likely that they will go in with a flexible game plan. If there is someone they really want and the way the draft is going it doesn’t look like he will still be there, they may try to move up.

But if pick 51 comes up and there is nobody they have to have and the phone is ringing with a trade offer, it is likely that they will consider it.