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Changing the structure of the NFL draft

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by PonyExpress, Mar 3, 2008.

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  1. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    The NFL draft value chart assigns to each draft slot a numerical value, similar to a monetary value, based on the order of finish. If every team adds up the "draft value points" assigned to all of its draft picks in a given draft, each team has a "budget". This budget varies from team to team due to the dramatically sliding scale, especially in the 1st rd. The bad teams have "more money" than the good teams.

    Here is the draft value chart: http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/features/valuechart.html

    IMO the dispersion of college players should be conducted more like an auction than a military draft. Each team would get its assigned "points" budget, based on computing draft slots according to the value chart. But then all teams could BID using their "budget" on each player. Highest bid gets the player, and the salaries are roughly fixed, as they are now, but assigned from highest to lowest according to "value points" price instead of draft slot.

    Trades as we now know them, involving "draft slots" would become obsolete. However trades involving future value could still be conducted. IOW, If I don't have enough "value points" in my budget to win a bidding war for "Beau Bell" for instance, I could call up another team, and say, "lend me 100 points, I'll give you an IOU for 100 points next year, paying interest". The NFL could assign a standard interest rate on future lending, say 50%, so that 100 points this year equates to 150 points next year.

    This would remove the need for clumsy draft trades involving multiple picks; make "trades" easier and more precise; and allow the worst teams in the league to avoid paying outrageous salaries at the top of the draft if they are so inclined, while still giving them a "monetary" advantage.

    Any left over "currency" would disappear once the auction is over, encouraging teams to bid what they have.

    IMO this would create a much better product for the league, each team, and the fans.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2008
  2. Patsmaniac

    Patsmaniac Practice Squad Player

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    Seems like it could be a logistical nightmare. I dont like it....
     
  3. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    I disagree. Instead of each team spending 10 minutes getting pointless trade offers over the phone, those 10 minutes would be occupied by bidding on the floor of the stadium where the draft is being conducted, like a stock exchange. The auctioneer, in this case the commissioner or his representative, would introduce each player for bidding in the estimated order of value based on pre draft projections. This process would be exciting for everyone involved.
     
  4. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #11 Jersey

    Intriguing concept, but huge potential pitfalls. Here are just a couple:

    Extreme scenario A: There is one amazing franchise player in the draft, let's say the best QB prospect in a decade. He's head and shoulders above everybody else. Teams 1 & 2 are both desperate for him, so team 1 is forced to spend its entire allotment of points just to get him. Thus the worst team in the league, the one with the most holes and open jobs, only gets to draft one player.

    Extreme scenario B: Take scenario A and assume that the second-best prospect is equally clear, so teams 2 and 3 battle it out and team 2 only gets to draft one player. Repeat straight through team 31...leaving team 32 to take all the remaining prospects for 1 point a piece.

    Which brings up the huge overarching problem: how does this system assure a consistent number of draftees, which is a key bargaining point between the league and the union?
     
  5. ctpatsfan77

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    Actually, the more I think about it, the less I think this would work. There are two major logistical hurdles I can see:

    (1) How would you determine the order in which players are presented for drafting?
    (2) More importantly, the current structure normally guarantees that each team has a chance to select ~3 players in the top 100. How would you guarantee that each team gets access to a certain number of good players?
     
  6. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #11 Jersey

    Didn't even think about that! Yep, that's a deal-breaker right there.
     
  7. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    10 characters
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2008
  8. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    The commissioner, the head auctioneer, could introduce the players in pre auction estimated order of value, based on consultations with team and league representatives, and publish the order beforehand to alert all participants. Or he could even present the players by position in pre auction estimated order of value. As long as all the teams are made aware of the order in which players will be presented beforehand, there should be no problem.

    Remember, the order in which players are presented for auction does not determine their salary. At the end of the entire auction, the players are ranked by highest to lowest bid. The salaries are then assigned based on that order, according to preexisting agreement with the union, much as salaries are slotted today based on draft order.

    As far as the "fairness" of the system... Remember that the system is designed to be unfair. It penalizes the good teams and rewards the bad teams.The SB winner, or team with the lowest budget, going off the current Value chart, would have 1063 points. The 16th team has 1743. The worst team in the league would have 4,041. If we take the current value number assigned to a draft slot as a rough estimate of what the bidding at that point in an auction might be, (for example the 16th most valued player would roughly auction at 1,000 value points) the budgets even out after the 1st 31 players are selected. For example, if the #1 team is forced to bid 3,000 points for Matt Ryan, by the time the 32nd player is auctioned, the #1 and #32 teams have THE SAME BUDGET and an equal chance at the #32 player. This cycle theoretically would repeat itself 3 times before the 100th pick, where the team that begins the day with the lowest budget finds itself with the highest remaining budget several times.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2008
  9. jeffbiologist

    jeffbiologist Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    The major thing that would screw it up is you would get into bidding wars and spending too much $$ on just a few players you know would help your team. It would be as if there were only say 1-2 rounds of the draft and everyone else is FAs. The way its set up now there is a constant supply and demand--they even have a value for picks system. The players union would never go for it because it would basically COST JOBS. They have tweaked the length,etc...And if the system isnt broke dont fix it.
     
  10. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    This auction system is a free market system, with a money economy, but adjusted to favor the weak by giving them higher budgets. The current "draft" system is the equivalent of a feudal economy where people are bartering with cattle and chickens. It's inefficient, a waste of time and ridiculous.

    "The absence of money causes a market economy to be inefficient because it requires a coincidence of wants between traders, and an agreement that these needs are of equal value, before a barter exchange can occur. The use of money is thought to encourage trade". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money

    How would this auction plan cost jobs? The roster numbers are fixed, the money allotted to rookie players is fixed. The union would prefer to have fewer players "drafted", because that allows free market bidding to decide the fate of the others. It's the owners who want the "draft" longer, so they can count on relatively fixed rookie salaries and limit dollar bidding for UFAs. Due to that fact, the owners will control their in-auction point bidding to reflect their own interests. And the union would embrace this system. The value points that are bid do not equate to actual salary: After the auction is over the entire rookie class is reordered based on which players received the highest bids. Those players are then assigned salaries according to salary slots. Take a look at Patchick's sticky "2007 draft salary" post (http://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/showthread.php?t=70975). The same thing would occur in this system, but it would be fluid throughout the auction day. IOW, in theory you won't know for sure who the highest paid player will be until the end of the auction. A few foolish teams would empty their "value point" vaults on certain players, and then other teams would clean up on supposed mid level prospects who have always become the foundation of playoff teams.

    I'm kind of surprised people aren't seeing the benefit of this. It's like trying to argue on behalf of the wheel in a society that uses the octagon. It would be one of the greatest television events in history, combining the attributes of the stock exchange, high stakes poker, auction politics, and a game show. You could even have scantily clad women traipsing around holding up a card with the player's name on it, as they do between boxing rds in Vegas. GMs would be having nervous break downs. Pre draft strategy speculation would generate incredible interest. This would be off-season football heaven. Throw in the fact IMO it's actually better for the game, and it makes even more sense. Bad teams wouldn't be compelled to throw away salary money if they don't want to on overpriced players at the top of the draft. You wouldn't have to worry about "trading out" of the top pick. Good teams could pick their spots and go for the player they truly want, instead of having to wait around for the rd to conclude, wasting everyone's time and interest. The most coveted players would make the most money. The spirit of competiton would rule.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2008
  11. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It seems to me this ordering is a huge problem. It undermines the free-market ideal of the whole system, and it's destined to be capricious, inequitable and subject to influence and manipulation.

    Think about the mechanics of it. Do you have a committee of "draft experts," essentially putting the Mel Kipers of the world in control of the draft, with agents and team execs whispering in their ears? Or a committee of team execs, all trying to manipulate the system to their advantage a la the competition committee? Or a secret vote of all the teams, with all of them carefully trying to hide their intentions and stack the draft in favorable ways? It's the draft equivalent of replacing a playoff system with the BCS.
     
  12. ctpatsfan77

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    Patchick--thank you for verbalizing my objection to it. :)

    Seriously, though, there is a solution to this problem, but it basically raises its own host of problems. Namely, instead of having an actual auction-type event, you have a sealed-bid auction à la the postings for signing Daisuke Matsuzaka; in other words, you "bid" on every player at once.

    But then, it raises the issue of figuring out how to handle the allocations of points, in which case you either end up back at your problem, or you probably end up with a far more complicated system than even the residency match for doctors (which doesn't make for good TV :) ).
     
  13. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    It doesn't matter what order players are presented to auction, only how much is bid on those players, as long as all parties are aware of the order in advance. Just because a player is presented first for auction, doesn't mean he will have the most value points bid on him and receive the highest salary in the draft. It's like publishing an order of sale at an auction house- a Rembrandt at 5, a Picasso at 5:30, a Monet at 6. The Monet could sell for more than the Rembrandt, Braylon Edwards could get a higher value points bid than Alex Smith, and therefore end up slotted as the #1 salary. This isn't an undermining of the free market, it's the facilitation of it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2008
  14. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    I honestly don't understand your point. If you could explain it a little more clearly, I'll try to explain mine in return.
     
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  15. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    But it's not like an art auction, because each bidder has a limited number of points that they have to use or lose. So the order matters enormously. Imagine that, say, the ordering puts Matt Ryan as the 250th player up for bid. That means that every team in desperate need of a QB has two choices:

    A. Conserve your points, passing on other players you'd really want if you lose the Ryan sweepstakes. If half a dozen teams take this path, they'd all be left with a ton of points unspent at the end with only a handful of players left. Meanwhile other, better teams get to pick up good players cheap, just because of the draft order.

    B. Decide you can't afford the risk of waiting, and spend your points on a lesser QB prospect who comes up for draft earlier, missing out on your chance at the top player...and likely allowing a better team to walk away with the better prospect because the "big money" will already be spent.

    The ordering IS the auction. The strategy wouldn't be about "who" and "how much," as you intend it to be -- it would be about "when."
     
  16. ctpatsfan77

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    My point is basically the same as patchick's.

    My suggestion was that the only immediately obvious workaround to ensure fairness to the players and prevent the possibility of gaming the system, is to distribute to each team a list of all the draft picks available, and to require teams to submit master lists for all of those picks at once; then the draft would consist of announcing who was the high bidder for each player's services.

    [I realize a certain amount of gamesmanship is already inherent in the system. That said, the final determiners of where a player is currently drafted are the teams themselves. If you had, say, a "draft board" that determined the exact order, you have a decent chance of players getting screwed over, plus, because there are necessarily fewer points available at the end of the draft, the players who are "ranked" lower are automatically more likely to "earn" fewer points and thus a lower salary (i.e., "reaches"--however you care to define that term--would become less likely).
     
  17. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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  18. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    When a player is auctioned does not determine his salary. Just because a player is presented to auction first overall, does not mean he will receive the highest salary. For example, if Alex Smith is offered for auction first and Tampa wins the bid for 2,000 value points; and Ronnie Brown is offered 2nd, and Miami wins the bid for 2200 value points; and B Edwards is offered 3rd, and Cleveland wins for 2400 value points, the salary order is

    1. B Edwards
    2. Ronnie Brown
    3. A. Smith.

    The salaries are preslotted based on appreciation from the previous season's contracts. At the conclusion of the auction, players would be ranked in order based on highest to lowest bids, and given salaries preassigned to those slots.

    I don't see the logic that such an auction order prejudices the draft. The Patriots have their own value board, which only rates players that fit their system. They would apportion their own budget toward those desirable players and bid accordingly, no matter where they fall chronologically in the league auction, as would all other teams.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2008
  19. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    I'll clarify these comments so as not to have the discussion spin off at an unnecessary tangent due to confusion. Just because M Ryan is offered for auction 1st overall based on consensus projections of value, it doesn't guarantee he will receive the highest bid when the auction actually starts. Teams may offer less than anticipated, and Ryan may end up, when all is said and done, with only the 7th highest bid among all players. It would be as though he had actually been "drafted" #7 overall for salary purposes, no matter what the order of auction had been. That was my point.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2008
  20. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    PonyExpress, first I just want to say that I love this topic! I don't agree with your particular proposal, but it's certainly possible that there are better/more exciting ways to conduct the draft.

    I've already stated my objections to the "expert" ordering process. IMO the slotting of players must be determined by the market, which is to say by teams actually choosing one player over another.

    So here's a simple variant: a point system as you suggest, but what you're bidding for is just the chance to choose the next player. Still plenty of pitfalls, but it least it gets you out of the pre-ordering business.
     
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