I made this point elsewhere, but just to expand on it.
The current draft value chart that everyone uses was something that was invented years ago, I hear by Jimmy Johnson. It's pretty arbitrary, even though everyone uses it.
Now, I get the point that if everyone uses it, it sets a market, and if you get screwed from the perspective of that chart, then it kinda means that you got screwed, since everyone uses it.
But that's only if you're playing the same game as them. What if you're playing a different game, and one that actually has more to do with what really matters in the NFL?
I've been a fan of Pro Football Reference's "Approximate Value" stat for a while. They categorize players by group, such that by looking at overall stats and impact, they're pretty statistically certain that the group of players with AV 9 (for instance) is better than the group of players with AV 8. If you peruse their database, you'll find players with Career AV numbers, and per-year AV numbers. You'll see that John Elway has a career AV of 203. Peyton Manning is at 220 and counting. Von Miller had 13 last year.
Well, it turns out they can organize this by draft position, too, and smooth out the numbers. So you can have an expectation of what kind of career value you'd get from someone drafted at #25, or #36, or #120 (those numbers should sound familiar from the last couple of days). And you can construct a trade value chart out of it as well, and I'll let the guys over at Harvard Sports Collective explain the rest of it a lot better than I can. But the point is, this is a draft value chart that is based off of what NFL players have historically actually been worth, as opposed to some arbitrary scale.
At any rate, to copy Fabio's format from his excellent fan post on the same topic:
Point of view #1 - The Jimmy Johnson Chart
We sent: #25 (720)
We got: #31 and #126 (600 and 46)
Value in points: - 720 + (600+46) = -74
According to the Jimmy Johnson chart, 74 points is what a middle 4th-rounder is worth. This is equivalent to just giving away a mid-4th rounder.
We sent: #31 and #126 (600 and 46)
We got: #36 and #101 (540 and 96)
Value in points: - (600+46) + (540+96) = -10
According to the Jimmy Johnson chart, 10 points is what an early 7th-rounder is worth.
We sent: #87 and #120 (155 and 54)
We got: #67 (255)
Value in points: - (155+54) + (255) = 46
According to the Jimmy Johnson chart, this is equivalent to gaining a late 4th-rounder. (I haven't seen many people remark about this, but it looks like quite the deal, from a Jimmy Johnson perspective.)
So overall, from our three trades, we lost a net of 38 points, or equivalent to an early 5th-rounder.
Point of view #2 - The Approximate Value Chart
We sent: #25 (221.3)
We got: #31 and #126 (203 and 77.5)
Value in points: – 221.3 + (203 + 77.5) = 59.2
According to the approximate value chart, 59 points is what a late fifth-rounder is worth. But we got this in profit - This is equivalent to gaining a late fifth-rounder.
Second TradeWe sent: #31 and #126 (203 and 77.5)
We got: #36 and #101 (169.5 and 94.7)
Value in points: – (203+77.5) + (169.5+94.7) = -16.3
According to the approximate value chart, even the final pick of the draft, "Mister Irrelevant", is worth 40 points. So losing 16.3 points is negligible.
We sent: #87 and #120 (106.2 and 81.3)
We got: #67 (125.8)
Value in points: - (106.2 + 81.3) + (125.8) = -61.7
According to the approximate value chart, this is the equivalent to losing a late fifth-rounder.
So, if you go by Approximate Value, the trades were pretty fair overall - we lost 18.8 points, or value equivalent to less than half the value of Mister Irrelevant.
Now, given that other teams might have profited even more with some of these trades, does that mean we should have too? Maybe so. But for every winner, there's a loser, and if you look at the trades we made against this other chart, we came out pretty even, in terms of the player value we'd actually expect to receive from a draft.