NFL Draft Science 2014: The war room

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

From the FanPosts -Joel

Tonight and for the next three days, Kansas City Chiefs GM John Dorsey needs more hands and more phones. His assistant will lose hair. He or she will earn their salary in the next few days. How many cell phones can they juggle? How many people can they keep on hold? They have phone numbers memorized for the 440 and the 408 area codes.

John Dorsey is probably talking to the Chiefs old buddy Ray Farmer right now. Ray used to work player personnel on One Arrowhead Drive but now he runs the Cleveland Browns as their general manager.

Ray needs a quarterback. And bunch of other players, too. Even if Ray gets the player he wants with the No. 4 pick, he probably wants another guy or two in the first round to maximize the Browns rebuild and his chance of keeping his job. And Ray is in a good position. He has extra picks he can trade.

Dorsey is going to talk to 49ers GM Trent Baalke, too. He has to because Trent has the most bullets on his belt. In fact, Baalke has the most ammunition in terms of draft picks of any team in the league. Dorsey and Baalke have done business before and it worked out for both sides. You could see this happen again.

Then there is Thomas Dimitroff in Atlanta. He has the No. 6 pick and he is a gunslinger. His bottom line for trading picks is: He Just Ain’t Scared! He did make the Julio Jones trade, remember. But he probably needs more than he’s got in order to move up. He might need two first round picks to give Houston for the No. 1 overall. How about No. 23, Tom?

He needs to acquire ammunition in order to re-trade up to the top pick … probably to draft an overrated defensive lineman with a poor work ethic that his buddy former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli has convinced him he has to go get. Sound familiar at all?

Deal-making: GM perspective

Believe it or not, there is a method to this madness. General managers have long used a tool to gauge value when trading draft picks. This is the NFL draft pick value chart. See it here.

Now, it’s been said by many that this chart doesn’t hold as much value as it once did, say 10 years ago. But I disagree and I can prove it.

Last year, there was a trade completed that is very similar to what we’re considering for the Chiefs. Last year, St. Louis had the No. 22 pick and traded with Atlanta to go back to No. 30. In addition to the swap, St. Louis received a late third rounder (No. 92) and a sixth rounder (No. 198). As valued by the chart:


Maybe the GMs don't specifically calculate value with the chart but their deals do reflect its influence. In fact, most of the pick-for-pick trades in 2013 were very even according to the chart -- except for the Raiders trade of the No. 3 overall pick. Al Davis is still haunting them. (Click here to see all the first round pick-for-pick trades from 2013.)

Now certainly, the older GMs have referred to this for years and are most comfortable with it. And while it may not be the defining value, it still gives them a rough estimate of what a trade is worth. This year the Chiefs No. 23 pick is listed as worth 760 points.

The prime candidates to trade with this year: Cleveland, San Francisco and Atlanta. All have an abundance of picks to work with. Both Atlanta and San Francisco made first round trades last year and both seem to value the single first round pick over a number of lower round picks. (Check 2013 trades again)

There are tiers of players available. Players in a given position cluster into small groups that could all be selected in a similar range. For instance, there is a cluster of the top five or six wide receivers. After Brandin Cooks, there is a drop off until the next cluster of receivers in the early to mid-second round. This will be the dead space before the second run on wide receiver selections, barring a wildcard selection by a team that fell in love with one player. With the depth of this draft, there is much more value with similar potential a round deeper than usual. This is true in a number of positions.

Welcome Aboard, I’ll be your virtual GM

At this point, my own philosophy takes over. Let’s say that I met John Dorsey at Jack Stack some night. Big Red and I proceed to talk him up and he hires me on the spot, telling me I am the new GM for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Here are the trade scenarios that I would be searching for if I had John Dorsey’s job. Not just back, but OUT of the first round! Let go of Odell Beckham. It will be OK.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Be prepared for a slow Thursday night

I would be pursuing trades completely out of the first round. 2014 in particular is the right time to do this because a third round pick in 2014 will likely give you a player you would usually have to use a second round grade on. And that is something that this GM wants more of. The effect could bolster this roster with quality players just in time before a number of difficult contracts come up for renegotiation.

There’s just too much value for me to ignore. There’s no way to know for sure that a second-tier wide receiver won’t progress and outperform the first tier wide receivers. Did anyone guess Keenan Allen would have the impact he did?

Below are four trades that will utilize the Chiefs current pick to obtain second and third round selections. This is what they could look like. They are fair transactions but if needed during negotiation, I could possibly have to throw in a sixth rounder or something similar.


Trading out of the first will give the opportunity to upgrade the roster in multiple positions. There are at least six positions the Chiefs really could upgrade and make a difference on the field. For me this offseason, filling two holes with above average players is better than filling one hole with a Pro Bowler.

Dropping out of the first round definitely lowers the quality of player available, especially in this case with wide receiver as the top priority. Beckham is clearly more NFL-ready that any of the second-tier wide receivers like Donte Moncrief, Martavis Bryant, Kelvin Benjamin, Paul Richardson, etc … however, those players do have the potential to make just as much of an impact. The average receiver doesn’t "get it" until the third season. In most cases, they have to be developed.

The Chiefs trust David Culley and they should. He is among the top receivers coaches in the league and has demonstrated his ability to develop wide receivers. Trading down allows me to feel more comfortable taking a chance on the man-child Benjamin or the athlete Moncrief. It gives Andy Reid a chance to get another quarterback, which he loves.

The selections

The potential trades with Cleveland and Atlanta are very similar so I only did three draft scenarios. Weighing the prospects’ explosive athleticism vs. need vs. potential, here’s how I would pick:


These are the picks I would make at any given tier in the rounds listed. Would I take Stanley Jean-Baptiste instead of Walt Aikens? Maybe. Is Gabe Jackson at guard more valuable than JuWuan James at tackle? He is if I am comfortable that both Eric Fisher and Donald Stephenson can play up to their potential. Otherwise James is a swing tackle that can develop and take over for one of them. Is there a pass rusher that could slide into one of these slots? Of course! I even have a list. (Click photo to see large version but, please note: Rogue99's Big Board is NOT sponsored by Vizio)


The point is that moving back out of the first round gives the Chiefs more flexibility to ask those questions. Staying put leaves them fewer options and runs the risk of still playing next season with a significant hole.

That’s what I am trying to avoid as your one-day virtual GM …

Now, I have to get back on the phone … Good luck Chiefs!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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