Draft value. A term that is subjective at best. Chased by GM’s and obsessed over by owners and fans alike “draft value” is an organic measurement that starts from the moment a team makes a selection till the end of the players career. There are many reasons a player may drop on draft day. Of course teams evaluate players differently. However most often team need is the primary culprit when a player begins to slide down draft boards. A RB may be the best player available but if you already have a young all-pro toting the rock it makes no sense for you to draft another. Ergo in lieu of a trade down your team selects a different talent and a players drop begins.
Ed Note: It’s acknowledged you can’t effectively grade a draft until 3-5 years after it occurs. The same is true with value.
What draft value is not. Draft value is not grabbing a player that would have gone in the first round but is injured. That is risk/reward, not value. It may work out. It just as likely won’t and like lost salary, lost snaps due to injury is value a team can never recoup.
For an early return on the “best” values from the first round we simply look at the pre-draft ratings and see who dropped down the board and which team was lucky enough to nab them.
Pick 15 – Indianapolis Colts – Safety Malik Hooker
Hooker was rated #3 on the SportsTalkLine Big Board and the Colts picked him up at #15. That’s value any way you slice it. Is he the next Bob Sanders? He has a long way to go to earn that badge. But he is in the conversation and that’s impressive by any measurement.
Pick 11 – New Orleans Saints – CB Marshon Lattimore
The Saints stood pat at number 11 and were rewarded with a sliding talent at CB. Lattimore is the real deal and was projected to be a top 5 or top 10 at the least. Rated #4 on our Big Board the talented defender immediately upgrades a defense that is badly in need of a talent infusion. Well done.
Pick 19 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – TE O.J. Howard
In the NFL life is often unfair. The Falcons, Saints and Panthers certainly believe it after watching the most complete TE in years tumble down draft boards falling into the lap of the Buccaneers. QB Jameis Winston has to be giddy. After landing speedster DeSean Jackson in free agency to pair with WR Mike Evans now he gets a mismatch nightmare as his safety valve. RB Doug Martin is happy as well with Howard also being a plus blocker! Nope life isn’t fair and if you are a Bucs fan, you are loving it.
Pick 31 – San Francisco 49ers – LB Reuben Foster
“… vicious hitter with elite playmaking range …” is the quote from his NFL Profile that best describes this young man. A fierce competitor who has the athletic ability to stuff the run and still be on the field for coverage on passing downs. Rated at #10 on our Big Board rookie GM Lynch watched the fall then moved back into the first round by working a deal with the Seahawks and got his man. Lynch is all to aware of how a big thumper in the back seven can affect games. Great pick.
The middle of the first round seems to have offered the most value while the bottom certainly held bang-for-your-buck as well. The second round is loaded with “Value” picks of projected first rounders that are available at the top of the second. It’s going to be a fun day two.
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over