The Harvard Trade Value Chart

A big part of the draft are trades. But when trading picks, teams have to find a way to put a value to those picks. To do this, teams use trade value charts. The most widely known of these charts is the "Jimmy Johnson Draft Value Chart" and that version is commonly accepted as the "official" draft value chart.

When Johnson joined the Cowboys in 1989, he took older draft value charts and modified them to his liking, and the end result is the chart we all know. The main criticism of the chart's point value system is that it wasn't created using any real form of statistical analysis, but was based on the available data at the time and research that Johnson and others had gathered previously.

A chart that is much more statistically rigorous in its approach to valuing draft picks is the Harvard Sports Analysis Chart, which was developed by Harvard economics student Kevin Meers and uses a metric called "Career Approximate Value" to value a draft pick. In late 2011, Meers wrote about the specifics of his chart:

"This non-arbitrary statistic is a massive improvement over the old draft chart. The old system massively over-values the earliest picks and significantly undervalues mid-to-late round picks."

Here's what the Harvard Chart looks like:

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
1 494.6 33 175.2 65 128.0 97 97.8 129 75.6 161 58.0 193 43.5
2 435.7 34 173.3 66 126.9 98 97.1 130 75.0 162 57.5 194 43.1
3 401.3 35 171.4 67 125.8 99 96.3 131 74.4 163 57.1 195 42.6
4 376.9 36 169.5 68 124.7 100 95.5 132 73.8 164 56.6 196 42.2
5 357.9 37 167.7 69 123.6 101 94.7 133 73.2 165 56.1 197 41.8
6 342.4 38 165.9 70 122.5 102 94.0 134 72.6 166 55.6 198 41.4
7 329.4 39 164.1 71 121.5 103 93.2 135 72.0 167 55.1 199 41.0
8 318.0 40 162.4 72 120.4 104 92.5 136 71.5 168 54.6 200 40.6
9 308.0 41 160.8 73 119.4 105 91.7 137 70.9 169 54.2 201 40.2
10 299.1 42 159.1 74 118.4 106 91.0 138 70.3 170 53.7 202 39.8
11 291.0 43 157.5 75 117.4 107 90.3 139 69.7 171 53.2 203 39.4
12 283.6 44 155.9 76 116.4 108 89.5 140 69.2 172 52.7 204 39.0
13 276.8 45 154.3 77 115.4 109 88.8 141 68.6 173 52.3 205 38.6
14 270.5 46 152.8 78 114.4 110 88.1 142 68.0 174 51.8 206 38.2
15 264.7 47 151.3 79 113.5 111 87.4 143 67.5 175 51.4 207 37.8
16 259.2 48 149.8 80 112.5 112 86.7 144 66.9 176 50.9 208 37.4
17 254.0 49 148.4 81 111.6 113 86.0 145 66.4 177 50.4 209 37.0
18 249.2 50 147.0 82 110.7 114 85.3 146 65.8 178 50.0 210 36.6
19 244.6 51 145.6 83 109.7 115 84.6 147 65.3 179 49.5 211 36.3
20 240.2 52 144.2 84 108.8 116 84.0 148 64.8 180 49.1 212 35.9
21 236.1 53 142.8 85 107.9 117 83.3 149 64.2 181 48.6 213 35.5
22 232.1 54 141.5 86 107.1 118 82.6 150 63.7 182 48.2 214 35.1
23 228.4 55 140.2 87 106.2 119 82.0 151 63.2 183 47.8 215 34.7
24 224.7 56 138.9 88 105.3 120 81.3 152 62.6 184 47.3 216 34.3
25 221.3 57 137.6 89 104.4 121 80.7 153 62.1 185 46.9 217 33.9
26 218.0 58 136.3 90 103.6 122 80.0 154 61.6 186 46.5 218 33.5
27 214.7 59 135.1 91 102.7 123 79.4 155 61.1 187 46.0 219 33.1
28 211.7 60 133.9 92 101.9 124 78.7 156 60.6 188 45.6 220 32.7
29 208.7 61 132.7 93 101.1 125 78.1 157 60.0 189 45.2 221 32.3
30 205.8 62 131.4 94 100.3 126 77.5 158 59.5 190 44.7 222 31.9
31 203.0 63 130.3 95 99.4 127 76.9 159 59.0 191 44.3 223 31.5
32 200.3 64 129.1 96 98.6 128 76.2 160 58.5 192 43.9 224 31.1

Note that this chart shows a linear decline from pick 215 on down, which is different from the original Harvard Chart, which has a distinct and unexplained bump at 215.

After the 2013 draft, the Cowboys were roundly and loudly criticized for giving up value in trading down from the 18th spot for the 31st and 74th pick. (18 = 31 + 74)

The Johnson Chart did indeed suggest that the Cowboys gave up points (900 = 600 + 220) whereas the Harvard Chart (249.2 = 203 + 118.4) indicated that the Cowboys had come out ahead in that trade, a point Stephen Jones stressed in the post-draft press conference:

"There are a whole lot of [trade charts]," Jones said during a press conference Thursday night. "We have one that we work off of and we do update it. I would say that on the ones that we have, for the most part, we either won or hit right on it. This was also a draft where moving back, usually the ones who were moving back were not getting near what they should have had. We felt like we got right on it."

In this day and age, there is no one single "correct" chart, but the odds are that the different charts being used by NFL teams are a lot closer to the Harvard Chart than to the Johnson Chart.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Blogging The Boys

You must be a member of Blogging The Boys to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Blogging The Boys. You should read them.

Join Blogging The Boys

You must be a member of Blogging The Boys to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Blogging The Boys. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker