As we get closer and closer to the NFL draft, there will be more and more talk suggesting the San Francisco 49ers should trade back. The question then turns into whether or not the value is worth the trade. Instead of discussing the players, let’s take a look at the history of trading. Warren Sharp, creator of Sharp Football, put together some detailed analysis on this very subject.
This isn’t so much related to the top of the draft as it is compensatory picks. It’s a very interesting article. The common train of thought is that building through the draft is the best route for team building. While that’s true, it’s also difficult considering that you only have seven draft picks to hit on. If the goal is to not over pay other teams free agents while accumulating more draft picks, compensatory picks are the way to go.
How the 49ers stack up
One of the most difficult decisions teams make every year is valuing if a player is worth an extension. If that player isn’t critical to your team, it’s smart to let another team overpay. This is how you are awarded one of the 32 compensatory picks that the league hands out every year. It’s a numbers game. The more picks you have, the more opportunities you have to come away with good players.
Sharp on the chart above:
Note that the above chart is based on draft points, a concept created by Football Perspective to more accurately value the “worth” of a draft pick based on how high that pick is. Picks near the top of the draft have a stronger hit rate, and thus there is not a linear distribution of hit rate through the draft.
The last 4 of the 5 teams that won the Super Bowl are in the top 5. That says something. The 49ers come in at 12th. The team is also 10th in “total comp picks by round.”
I’ll be interested in how this shakes out for the team in the next couple years. They’ve been aggressive in free agency. If a guy like Dee Ford or Kwon Alexander don’t work out, them walking will surely lead to a high comp pick. With the amount of cap space the team has, they should be aggressive. Now that comp picks can be traded, that allows you to maneuver in the draft. Teams like the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens take advantage of this. Will the Niners join the party?