Trading Draft Picks: Eric Berry to Philadelphia Eagles Case Study

Leo PizziniAnalyst IApril 8, 2010

The football front is getting quieter for the moment. The entrails of the Donovan McNabb drama may be ongoing but the roar is dulling. Its time to sprinkle some wild draft speculation on top of the rumor mill.

Here is what we know: The Eagles have shown an interest in Eric Berry. He had a private workout scheduled, which has apparently not yet happened. He's a top 10 prospect, most likely top six.

The Lions (second), Redskins (fourth), and Chiefs (fifth) would be my prime candidates for an exchange of draft picks. That doesn't mean we should rule out a deal with the Buccaneers (third) or the Seahawks (sixth).

I think the fourth overall pick is likely the minimum necessary to secure Eric Berry. He could easily slide further, but the Redskins could also take him if Russel Okung goes to the Lions.

What are the logistics?

There is a chart that is almost universally referenced when valuing draft picks. View the Chart.

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The Lions second pick receives 2600 points.

The Lions have been rumored to be actively shopping their second overall selection. I can't say I blame them. How many top five draft picks can one team afford to have on their roster?

They could use a greater volume of quality prospects.

The Redskins fourth pick receives 1800 points.

There is a new professional friendliness between Philadelphia and Washington, but I'm sure this scenario was considered to some extent when the "big trade" went down. I still don't think that an exchange of picks and the McNabb deal mutually exclude each other. 

They could also use some draft picks. The Redskins don't have anything between rounds one and four.

The Chiefs fifth pick receives 1700 points.

The Chiefs would probably rather take an offensive lineman, but I think Eric Berry is nearly the unanimous best player available at fifth overall—if he makes it there. I would be surprised if the Chiefs let him past them.

And they have plenty of needs to consider. 

The Eagles 24th pick receives 740 points.

Knowing the Eagles, they will want a good value to engage in this type of deal. I would guess that they would look for a 15 percent to 30 percent discount (I'm guessing there) and they would probably cap it—maybe around 1500 points (I'm really guessing here).

But what's clear is the seller would have to be motivated.

The Eagles could throw in their recently acquired, 37th overall selection for 530 points. That would be uniquely recursive if that transaction were with the Redskins, but in this case-study, I will rule nothing out as impossible.

For more to consider, this does not limit the Eagles in trading only their 2010 draft picks. They could theoretically trade their 2011 and 2010 first round draft picks for what would essentially be Eric Berry.

That would be around 1500 points.

Here are the values for the Eagles remaining 2010 draft picks:

Second round | 55th overall: 350

Third round | 70th overall: 240

Third round | 87th overall: 155

Fourth round | 105th overall: 84

Fourth round | 121st overall: 52

Fifth round | 137th overall: 37.5 

Sixth round | 200th overall: 12.4

Seventh round | 243rd overall: 1.1

Seventh round | 244th overall: 1

The two seventh round selections are compensatory picks. By rule, they cannot be traded (not that these compensatories represent any value).

By this scale, we can project the best speculative trade-value discount of 30 percent with the Chiefs would require roughly 1200 points in return value. That would at least command the Eagles first round pick and both third round picks to come close.

The deal could encompass multi-year draft picks.

The Eagles' 24th and 70th overall selections in 2010 (first and third-round) and a 2011 third round pick (roughly 1130 points all tolled), would likely be the bare minimum that the Chiefs might accept for the fifth overall draft pick (1700 points by the chart).

The Jets' trade to acquire Mark Sanchez with the fifth overall selection in 2009 was an exchange for the 17th and 52nd overall selections (1330 points) along with three relatively unsung players. In that case, the Jets were the more motivated party in the transaction, but it still fits the chart valuation pretty well. 

My instinct tells me that in this case, Earl Thomas is a good enough option for the Eagles. If they felt the need to trade up a few spots to secure him, it would make for a far less costly exchange.

A final thought:

The value of the pick may be subject to some adjustable scientific measures, but the value of the player is purely in the eyes of the beholder.