This might not initially pass the smell test as there has been a lot of praise of the Ravens’ and Jets’ drafts, neither of which grabs the top spot here. But it does make sense. Those two teams do have two of the three highest totals in capital acquired from the draft, and the big names they’ve added will be exciting for fans to follow.
But those players didn’t come for free. The Ravens had to trade away their top receiver for one of those picks, while the Jets had to deal Jamal Adams. The board doesn’t judge the efficacy of those trades and assumes every trade is fair value, though anybody is free to mentally adjust their perceptions of those trades into their calculation of the picks.
Instead, it accounts for the fact that the Jets ended up with three first-round picks — and therefore three first-round values. The Jets acquired a good player in Ahmad Gardner, but that player was ranked lower than where the Jets picked, a loss in value (a relatively minor one, but it is worth noting). On top of that, grabbing the 37th-ranked player at 37 overall would normally be a wash. But as it was a running back going to a team not perceived to need one, it hurts the board’s opinion of the draft haul. It looks like a good draft, just not one of the best based on the assets with which they entered the draft.
As a percentage of capital had in the draft, the Panthers come out on top having gained value on each of their five picks. While the bonus for quarterbacks and the boon of landing Ikem Ekwonu at sixth overall helps in a big way, they happened to secure players at needs that were important positions and were graded well by experts across the league.
The Cardinals in second place weren’t quite as consistent; they lost a small amount of value with Trey McBride, Keaontay Ingram and Christian Matthew, but they more than gained it back with Cameron Thomas, Marquis Hayes and Myjai Sanders.
Unusually, the Seahawks placed in the top five — they have typically picked against the board — and their class is highlighted by value picks in Tariq Woolen and Boye Mafe. The Chiefs did even better and only lost value on two of their 10 picks (one of which didn’t impact things much at all, as it was the third-to-last pick in the draft). Karlaftis, Darian Kinnard, Leo Chenal and Skyy Moore were well regarded by the board.
At the bottom are the Patriots, Rams, Broncos, Buccaneers and Jaguars. The Patriots are simple to explain: They only gained value with two of their pics, Bailey Zappe and Andrew Stueber, and those were minor value gains at that. Instead, they followed big loss after big loss with the picks of Strange in the first round, Tyquan Thornton in the second, Marcus Jones in the third and Jack Jones in the fourth.
The Rams actually had an advantage in this exercise, as it’s easier to gain value when picking later because teams can snap up falling players. But despite not having a pick until selection No. 104, they went well against the board. Logan Bruss was a reach of about 85 spots in the rankings, and Decobie Durant was a reach of about 100. That said, the model is overly harsh to players ranked outside the top 400, and it really shouldn’t be a big issue that a team invests seventh-round picks in players who would be ranked 412th. Really, all this means is that the Rams had only two opportunities to grab value by the board’s standards, and they didn’t take advantage of those opportunities.
The Broncos did gain value with Nik Bonitto and Damarri Mathis but had one of the bigger losses of the night when they took Montrell Washington at 162. Picks like Luke Wattenburg at 171 and Eyioma Uwazurike at 116 hurt as well.
The Buccaneers had one of the better picks on Day 3 with Zyon McCollum at 157, but their other picks were problems. Camarda was already discussed, but there was also Luke Goedeke, drafted 57th as the 100th-ranked player.
Jacksonville’s biggest miss was already discussed, and with only four other picks on hand, it couldn’t do much to make up ground. The Jags didn’t make a single pick with positive value.