Origin of the Draft Value Chart


Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2006
Props to my buddy, ftwbolt, for this dig .....

Apr. 27, 2007 By CLARENCE E. HILL JR. Star-Telegram

DALLAS -- When then-Cowboys minority owner Mike McCoy turned an idea by owner Jerry Jones and coach Jimmy Johnson into a practical application in 1991, he thought nothing of it.

They wanted McCoy to analyze the pattern of past draft-day trades and come up with a value chart to help them determine whether a deal was worth it.

McCoy, an engineer who had a special gift for numbers, simply ran some figures and plotted a graph.

It wasn't unlike what he had been doing his entire life.

It certainly wasn't as complicated as the risky oil and gas exploration business, from which he made a small fortune a decade or so earlier.

"Jerry and Jimmy both liked to trade from Day 1," McCoy recalled. "I was always in the draft meetings. So I said I would give it a try. It took only two days and a few tries. I started out with the basic assumption that a second-round pick is worth two third-round picks. That was the rule of thumb that owners and coaches used for a long time. It wasn't hard once you figured out how to do it."

Said Jones: "He thought you could quantify something that was not numerical just on the face on it. That's a value of trade, and anybody that has ever been around Mike McCoy knows that he is a genius when it comes to his being able to work with numbers.... The engineer in him makes him very practical, very practical, and so he was the perfect guy for the job."

Today, McCoy, by choice, is a forgotten man in the NFL. He left the Cowboys in 1996 following three Super Bowl titles and went back to what he knows best: running ARKOMA, an oil and gas business, from a scenic mid-rise office on North Dallas.

But his simple invention remains an NFL staple, as it is now common practice for teams across the league to use a draft trade value chart as a guide before making a deal.

You can be sure a trade won't be made in this weekend's NFL Draft without the use of one of these charts.

With 15 minutes between picks in the first round, 10 minutes between picks in the second round and 5 minutes in the subsequent rounds, the draft value chart makes making deals simpler.

"To me, it wasn't that special. But it became so to others," said McCoy, 58, whose relationship with Jones dates to 1981 when they started working in the oil and gas business. "I thought it was obvious. But you can't underestimate how valuable it is to make a trade when you have only 15 minutes and it feels like 2 minutes. That's why it became more special than I thought it was. Having that chart gives you confidence that you are making a good decision to trade or not trade based on what the return in value is."

According to McCoy, then-Cowboys scouting director Bob Ackles gave him a worksheet with all the draft-day trades from the previous four years. McCoy then assigned arbitrary numeric values to each pick in the draft, obviously with the No. 1 overall pick getting the highest number.

To make a trade, all a team needed to do was match points.

A good example would be the 2004 draft-day trade between the New York Giants and San Diego Chargers. For the Giants to get quarterback Eli Manning, whom the Chargers took with the first overall pick, they gave up the fourth pick in the first round (quarterback Philip Rivers), a third-round pick and first- and fifth-round picks in 2005.

According to a basic chart, similar to the one McCoy developed, the first pick is worth 3,000 points. So, for the Giants to trade for Manning they needed to come up with a deal that totaled at least 3,000 points. Well, the fourth overall pick is worth 1,800 points. The third-round pick, 65th overall, was worth 265 points. The 2005 first-rounder, which became the 12th overall, was worth 1,200 points and the fifth rounder, 144th overall, was worth 34 points.

The Giants gave up a total of 3,299 points which, in hindsight, suggests the Chargers got the best value in the trade. But the Giants got the quarterback they coveted.

That's how the chart worked when McCoy developed it and that's how it works today. Former Cowboys scouting director Gil Brandt said teams see the chart as a veritable draft-day bible.

Brandt said when he began working for the Cowboys in 1960, making a trade was as simple as one general manager walking across the room and telling another general manager, "I will give you this if you give me that."

Things changed over the years, with teams having their own rule of thumb on prospective deals. Nothing had ever been put to paper that teams could go by until McCoy developed the first trade value chart for the Cowboys.

"It's a point system relative to the history of the draft," said former Cowboys scouting director Larry Lacewell. "When someone would call you and offered you a draft pick, you could total it up in numbers and see if you really had your history book right there. I think it's a great way to determine very quickly what you are giving or gaining."

McCoy said the chart was initially kept secret. It allowed Jones and Johnson to make trades with confidence. They knew who they could trade with and who traded too much. They often used a history of prior trades against teams.

"It gave us an edge on what to offer and who to offer it to quickly," McCoy said. "It was something we protected."

But soon the word got out. Teams began developing their own charts, and when coaches left the Cowboys they took the chart with them.

"There was a point where it was in our best interest for everybody to have it," Jones said. "A common language or, certainly in this case, a common denominator of value was a plus for us at the time because we were trying to make something happen."

Thanks to McCoy -- not Johnson, who has historically been credited with its creation -- the use of the draft trade value chart is the only way to make something happen on draft day.

"Having that chart gives you confidence that you are making a good decision to trade or not trade based on what the return in value is."


NFL Draft Value Chart

Here's an example of a draft value chart. Each pick has a point value to compare with each round:

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
1-3,000 33-580 65-265 97-112 129-43 161-27 193-14.2
2-2,600 34-560 66-260 98-108 130-42 162-26.6 194-13.8
3-2,200 35-550 67-255 99-104 131-41 163-26.2 195-13.4
4-1,800 36-540 68-250 100-100 132-40 164-25.8 196-13
5-1,700 37-530 69-245 101-96 133-39.5 165-25.4 197-12.6
6-1,600 38-520 70-240 102-92 134-39 166-25 198-12.2
7-1,500 39-510 71-235 103-88 135-38.5 167-24.6 199-11.8
8-1,400 40-500 72-230 104-86 136-38 168-24.2 200-11.4
9-1,350 41-490 73-225 105-84 137-37.5 169-23.8 201-11
10-1,300 42-480 74-220 106-82 138-37 170-23.4 202-10.6
11-1,250 43-470 75-215 107-80 139-36.5 171-23 203-10.2
12-1,200 44-460 76-210 108-78 140-36 172-22.6 204-9.8
13-1,150 45-450 77-205 109-76 141-35.5 173-22.2 205-9.4
14-1,100 46-440 78-200 110-74 142-35 174-21.8 206-9
15-1,050 47-430 79-195 111-72 143-34.5 175-21.4 207-8.6
16-1,000 48-420 80-190 112-70 144-34 176-21 208-8.2
17-950 49-410 81-185 113-68 145-33.5 177-20.6 209-7.8
18-900 50-400 82-180 114-66 146-33 178-20.2 210-7.4
19-875 51-390 83-175 115-64 147-32.6 179-19.8 211-7
20-850 52-380 84-170 116-62 148-32.2 180-19.4 212-6.6
21-800 53-370 85-165 117-60 149-31.8 181-19 213-6.2
22-780 54-360 86-160 118-58 150-31.4 182-18.6 214-5.8
23-760 55-350 87-155 119-56 151-31 183-18.2 215-5.4
24-740 56-340 88-150 120-54 152-30.6 184-17.8 216-5
25-720 57-330 89-145 121-52 153-30.2 185-17.4 217-4.6
26-700 58-320 90-140 122-50 154-29.8 186-17 218-4.2
27-680 59-310 91-136 123-49 155-29.4 187-16.6 219-3.8
28-660 60-300 92-132 124-48 156-29 188-16.2 220-3.4
29-640 61-292 93-128 125-47 157-28.6 189-15.8 221-3
30-620 62-284 94-124 126-46 158-28.2 190-15.4 222-2.6
31-600 63-276 95-120 127-45 159-27.8 191-15 223-2.3
32-590 64-270 96-116 128-44 160-27.4 192-14.6 224-2


Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2006
leisure said:
WOW that SOB Jimma has been takin credit for it all these years (typical for a Texan) :lol:
Jimmy is from Arkansas or Okie. Same with Smiley. Neither are real Texans.