Stockpiling For A Winning Team

We are on the brink of seeing what the new Kansas City Chiefs are going to look like. The draft is almost here and free agency is winding down. The football community of Kansas City can barely contain its collective excitement now that more of the Scott Pioli/Todd Haley plan is going to be revealed.

We'll see the direction Pioli and Haley are going to take by their choice of players later this month. We may even see a sterling revelation or two before the month is in the books. We could see another trade or two and we'll probably see some surprising draft-day trades. I have a sneaking suspicion Pioli has something up his sleeve.

The Chiefs have been almost too quiet in free agency. They've picked up a couple of role players and perhaps have swiped their franchise quarterback from under the nose of other interested teams. Again, this all may be Pioli's M.O. but I'm certain he's setting something up. The Chiefs hold the third overall pick, and we know this is a huge bargaining chip with a great deal of value.

Value is in the mind of the beholder. We place value on everything we have and usually everything we do. In the NFL Draft, value is a given number for every position from the top pick to Mr. Irrelevant, the last pick in the draft. Over the course of time, NFL personnel gurus have developed a draft value chart. The chart establishes a numerical value for each draft position.

The top pick is worth 3,000 points. The 224th pick is worth two points. The spread varies from 400 points between the first four picks overall to three-tenths of a point at the end of the 7th round. The NFL does throw a wrench in the works by adding compensatory picks at the end of rounds three and seven, but it's usually in rounds one and two that point value is most important. This usually complicates the formula, but early benefactors can gain extra value in the earlier rounds.

How does this work for the Kansas City Chiefs? The third overall pick has a value of 2,200 points. If the Chiefs have a mind to trade out of this pick, any trade the Chiefs make involving the third overall pick should collectively equal 2,200. Obviously this would mean trading for multiple picks, as the value is lower for all subsequent draft positions. When we talk about a "draft haul," it means teams can acquire multiple additional picks, or trade for picks in next year's draft.

Here's where things can get dicey. Many questions are asked prior to organizing a trade of picks. First and foremost is - do we have a player valued close to the point value for that position? This is where a lot of teams "reach" to get a pick. You can artificially inflate the value of a player if you reach to pick him at a higher value than you've rated him.

Scott Pioli has not displayed a careless streak in his previous life, so it's a good bet he won't reach for a player if they're not close to the value for that pick. There are teams out there with needs that could be filled by trading for KC's first-round pick. Among them would be an AFC West team that is in need of a quarterback and currently holds the 12th and 18th overall selections.

The next question is, what can a team get for the same or similar value at other draft positions? The 12th overall pick has a value of 1,200 points and the 18th overall pick has a value of 900 points. That equals 2,100 points and actually falls on the high side between the third and fourth overall pick. That's fairly close in value and the players the Chiefs have slotted at 12 and 18 may actually have a higher value on their own draft board.

In order to achieve similar value throughout the course of the draft, each team evaluates their draft boards with a value for each player considered for a pick. The players are then matched to a draft position for each round. If a team has an available player that matches the value on the chart, usually the player is picked and the draft moves on.

If the players available do not match the value on the chart, then the wheels begin to turn. If past history is any indication of future direction, Pioli will probably have an ace in the hole. My initial guess was that he will trade out of that one slot and gain picks. That may be obvious, and most might expect that.

However, I happen to think he may be thinking bigger. Pioli has been known to arrange deals that result in significant gains for his team. Don't forget, he picked Asante Samuel in the fourth round, Dan Koppen in the fifth round, Tom Brady in the sixth round and Matt Cassel in the seventh round. By stockpiling picks, Pioli has managed to find a few bright spots (and a Hall of Famer) in later rounds. I have a feeling his track record will continue and the Chiefs will benefit. Top Stories