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Did the Jets get good value in their 2020 NFL Draft trades?

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NFL Combine - Day 2

The Jets made a number of trades during the 2020 NFL Draft. Let’s take a look at the value they got from the deals.

Jets traded pick 48 to Seattle for picks 49 and 101.

According to the classic Jimmy Johnson trade chart the 48th pick is worth 420 points. The chart has the 59th pick worth 310 points and the 101st pick worth 96 points.

This means the Jets gave up 420 points worth of picks and got back 406. This trade is around equal. The 14 point difference is negligible. It equates to an early seventh round pick. I don’t know about you, but I would never say a trade was a failure based on a seventh round pick not being tacked on.

Chase Stuart of Pro Football Reference has his own trade value chart. On the Stuart chart, pick 48 is worth 9.9 value in AV. Pick 59 is worth 8.6 in value, and pick 101 is worth 5.2. Under the Stuart formula the Jets gave up 9.9 worth of picks and got back 13.8. The 3.9 difference is equivalent to a fourth round pick. So if you adhere to the Stuart chart you could argue this trade essentially netted the Jets a free fourth round pick. That’s pretty good.

How about the trade chart developed years ago by a Harvard economics student? Pick 48 is worth 149.8 points on this chart. Pick 59 is worth 135.1 points, and pick 101 is worth 94.7 points. On this chart the Jets netted 80 points, which again equates with a fourth round pick.

Now we saved the best for last. How did the Jets do on the John B trade value chart? My chart looks at performance and salary. A pick between 41 and 50 is worth 2.07 AV per million. A pick between 51 and 60 is worth 2.29, and a pick between 101 and 110 is worth 1.92. The Jets gave up 2.07 and got back 4.21. The Jets come out 2.14 AV per million ahead on this one.

Jets traded pick 101 to New England for picks 125, 129, and a 2021 sixth round pick.

This one is a little bit trickier to calculate since the value of future picks is up for debate. Some would argue that the value of a future pick should be depreciated by one round per year. So since the 2021 Patriots sixth rounder is one year away, it has the value of a seventh round pick. I don’t really agree with that so we will value it the same as New England’s sixth rounder this year.

On the Jimmy Johnson chart pick 101 is worth 96 points. Pick 125 is worth 47 points. Pick 129 is worth 43 points. New England’s original sixth round pick from this year was worth 11 points. The Jets gave up 96 points, and got back 101. Again this looks like a fair trade on the Johnson chart.

On the Stuart chart pick 101 is worth 5.2 AV. Pick 125 is worth 3.9. Pick 129 is worth 3.7. The sixth round pick is worth approximately 0.8. The Jets gave up 5.2 and got back 8.4. They netted 3.2, which again is the equivalent of a fourth round pick.

On the Harvard chart pick 101 is worth 94.7 points. Pick 125 is worth 78.1. Pick 129 is worth 75.6. The New England sixth round pick is worth 39.8. The Jets gave up 94.7 points and got back 193.5 points. This net gain of 98.8 points is the equivalent of an early fourth round pick in value.

Finally on the John B chart a pick between 101 and 110 is worth 1.92 AV per million. Picks between 121 and 130 are worth 1.58 (x2), and the New England sixth rounder in the 201 through 210 range is 0.58. The Jets gave up 1.92 and got back 3.74 in value.

Jets traded pick 211 to Indianapolis for cornerback Quincy Wilson.

We don’t really need a chart here. Quincy Wilson is valued as much as the 211th pick.

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On the Jimmy Johnson chart the Jets broke roughly even. They came out ahead in expected value on the other charts.

The teams in the NFL use the Johnson chart to value picks, but I think the true value of picks is better reflected in the other charts. Most studies I have seen suggest that the Johnson chart overestimates the drop in expected outcome from lower picks. This means the Jets exploited a market inefficiency, and their Draft strategy was likely sound on paper.

Of course drafting the right players with those picks ultimately is more important than having a sound strategy on paper.