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The sweet spot for the Chiefs trading up in the 2017 NFL Draft

NFL: Pro Bowl-Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I remember standing near mid-court during a high school basketball game (or maybe it was junior high ... either way it was a long ass time ago). The opposing team was pressing and my job was to catch the ball and throw it to one of the streaking guards to break the press. I was standing my ground when the point guard threw it in my direction. I never caught the pass because a defender jumped in front of me while I was standing flat-footed.

My coach later pulled me aside and told me I needed to keep my feet moving and run towards the ball instead of standing flat-footed.

So how does a lesson I learned while playing basketball several years ago have anything to do with the NFL draft? I’ll explain in just a little while...

The Cost of Trading Up

The Chiefs draft 27th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. Using a table that places values on draft positions from Walter football, we can establish some realistic draft trade possibilities.

Let’s take a look at some of the picks close to the Chiefs draft order, and see how much the Chiefs would have to give up for jumping to a particular spot in the draft.

For the sake of simplicity I only chose trades that involve this year’s picks (otherwise we’d be here all day.)

Trading Up

Pick Team Give Receive
Pick Team Give Receive
10 Bills 1-2-3-3c-4-6 1
11 Saints 1-2-3-3c-6 1
12 Browns 1-2-3-4-5 1
13 Cardinals 1-2-3-5 1
14 Eagles 1-2-3c 1
15 Colts 1-2-4-6 1
16 Ravens 1-2-6 1
17 Redskins 1-3-3c-5 1
18 Titans 1-3-4-5-7 1
19 Buccaneers 1-3-4-6 1-7
20 Broncos 1-3-5-7 1
21 Lions 1-3c-6 1-7
22 Dolphins 1-3c 1-7
23 Giants 1-4-5 1
24 Raiders 1-4-6-7 1
25 Texans 1-4 1-7

If the Chiefs wanted to trade up and get the 10th overall pick from the Bills, they would need to send their first, second, third, third (comp pick), fourth, and sixth draft picks to the Bills.

I built these trade values using the old draft trade value table. So using the Bills as an example we’d get the following numbers:

Bills 10th overall pick has a value of 1300.
Chiefs 27th overall (680), second (310), third (136), third (110... roughly), fourth (49), and sixth (16.6).

Adding all the Chiefs picks values: 680 + 310 + 136 + 110 + 49 + 16.6 = 1301.6. Which is close to the value of the Bills 10th overall pick.

The Sweet Spot

Imagine if Dorsey finds a player he absolutely wants, but believes he may need to move up in the draft to secure said player. One question he may ask himself is, “How much do I want to spend to acquire this player?”

A lot of factors go into this decision. You want to try and getget ahead of other teams who are likely to draft the player you want.

You may also not want to do a trade with a divisional rival since the extra picks could help them.

And you might also be worried about overspending for a player who has never played a single snap in the NFL.

Given all of these clues, I believe the best spot for the Chiefs to trade up in the 2017 NFL draft is to the 21st or 22nd spot.

If Dorsey identifies a “must have, can’t miss” player then he would be well served to secure his pick by moving up in the draft.

Danger From Above

This is where we bring the basketball analogy back.

When people talk about moving up in the draft, they often think “Cool, we just jumped those teams and now we can take the player they wanted” — which is an absolutely true statement.

However, there’s another thing that happens when you move up in the draft: Teams that are behind you lose their ability to jump you.

Like running towards the ball to catch it, moving up in the draft keeps other teams from being able to run up behind you and take your player.

Let’s take a look at the teams who pick after the Chiefs and what it would take for them to jump into the 26th position in the draft.

Threats to Trade Up

Pick Team Give Receive
Pick Team Give Receive
28 Cowboys 1-4 1
29 Packers 1-4-6 1
30 Steelers 1-4-6-7 1
31 Falcons 1-3 1-6
32 Saints 1-3 1-7
33 Browns 2-4-7 1
34 49ers 2-4-5 1-6
35 Jaguars 2-4-5 1
36 Bears 2-4-5-6 1-7
37 Rams 2-4-5-6-7 1
38 Chargers 2-3 1-4-7
39 Jets 2-3 1-4
40 Panthers 2-3 1-5
41 Bengals 2-3 1-6
42 Saints 2-3 1

It wouldn’t take much for a team to jump the Chiefs and take a player Dorsey was hoping would fall to him. Of course for the sake of this post we should talk about what could potentially happen with the QB position in the draft.

Using QB as an Example

A lot of analysts have pegged the 2017 quarterback draft class as needing some work. Many of the quarterback prospects are not expected to go in the top 10. This means several quarterbacks could slide in the draft.

The Saints, Browns, 49ers, Bears, Chargers, Jets, and maybe the Steelers may all be looking for a quarterback in the draft. This means the Chiefs are in a very dangerous position if another team wants to jump them when a quarterback they like is on the board still.

If the Chiefs want to keep these teams from poaching the quarterback they like, it may make sense for Dorsey to move up in the draft.

If Dorsey has pinpointed a player at a top position, he should absolutely move up in the draft. If not ... then don’t. What do you say, Dorsey?