Fans in Detroit and most sports writers seem to feel like Detroit got the better of the Roy Williams trade. General consensus among these types seems to be that three draft picks is too steep of a price to pay. I don't know if it's been done elsewhere, but this got me thinking about the occasionally vaunted draft trade value chart and I used that to analyze the value of the trade.
Roy Williams was the seventh selection in the 2004 draft, and Detroit selected him by trading with Cleveland to move up in the first round. The seventh overall selection, via the aforementioned draft value chart is worth 1500 points. Although Millen gave additional picks (and hence a greater point value) to move into the position to draft Williams, a number seven overall pick is a number seven overall pick.
We sent Detroit our 2009 first, third, and sixth rounders. In addition, we get a seventh in 2010. Assuming we draft at 22 in this draft (God forbid), the picks we send to Detroit are worth 780, 160, and 18.6 points respectively. The total value of those picks is 958.6 points, roughly the point value of the #17 overall pick. If we advance in the playoffs, those picks are worth less; while if we slide, those picks are worth more. We'd have to slide to the 15th pick in the draft in order to "break even", if we go by this draft chart and value Roy as the #7 pick.
So what is that lucky #7 pick really worth? The seventh overall pick in the drafts immediately before and after Roy was drafted were Troy Williamson and Byron Leftwich. Those are busts, dude; and the whole draft thing is a crap shoot.
We don't need to play dice with our roster. We are loading up for a playoff run, so a developed, talented WR is more valuable to us; and Detroit is rebuilding, so of course draft picks are worth more to them. At the trade deadline players are always worth more than picks; and at the draft, picks are always worth more than players. However, the fact is that any player we could have drafted with our 2009 first round pick would have trouble getting on the field with the squad we have, and we still have draft picks in every successive round of the 2009 draft to build our depth.
Football is a violent, chaotic sport, and anything can happen. I don't know if Roy is worth the seventh overall pick or the seventeenth, but I do believe he's the right player for us right now. I do know that he's been to a Pro Bowl and led the conference in receiving. He's a ready fit, having developed into a polished veteran receiver. I'd say the odds of him flourishing in Dallas, winning games, and perhaps helping the team advance are very good. I'm going to dodge the conventional wisdom on this one and call this acquisition a solid win.