The Vikings Trading Down Was Horrible?

May 4, 2022
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The Vikings trading down is a hot topic even days after the draft wrapped up. The fanbase is very split on the topic with some loving the trade because of the extra third-round pick. Others hate it because they perceived that there were game-changing players on the board at #12.

The Vikings Trading Down

The first thing we have to look at is value. What should we expect to get for a #12 pick VS #31 and what about #66? I ran numbers with Stathead , looking up every #32, #12, and #66 pick since 1990. Then I looked at how many years each player was a starter in the league. How many Pro Bowls and All-Pro awards they have won.

#12 Pick Overall

With the #12 overall pick in the NFL draft players typically start for their teams for 5.3 seasons on average. 52% of the #12 picks will be Pro Bowlers and 21% of them will be All-Pro players. In addition, 57% of them will start 4 or more years.

Some notable picks over the years at #12 are Warren Sapp, Fletcher Cox, Ryan Clady, Marshawn Lynch, and Haloti Ngata. The data here shows that their chances of getting a good player are very high and your chances of getting an All-Pro are significant.

#32 Pick Overall

With the #32 overall pick it is expected that there will be a drop-off in value, but just how much? Well, the average #32 pick starts for just 3.6 years, compared to 5.3 (31% longer careers for #12 picks). Your chances of getting a good player that earns a Pro Bowl drops drastically from 52% to 12%. and All-Pro selections drop from 21% to 12%. The data supports a very significant drop in value from 12 to 32.

Some notable #32 picks during this timeframe are Lamar Jackson, Ryan Ramczyk, Logan Mankins, and Drew Brees. So you can certainly get a great player at #32 but the chances are significantly lower.

#66 Pick Overall

Obviously, this pick is going to be considerably less valuable than the two above but does it add enough value to make the trade worth it? The Vikings trading down could be a good move if the value they get in return is good. Well, #66 picks have average careers as starters of 3.4 seasons. Just 27% of them will start four or more seasons. 12% will make a Pro Bowl and 6% will become All-Pro.

As the data shows there is value to be had in the 3rd round but 42% of them will never be their team’s primary starter at any point in their career. Only 33% will be in the NFL after their rookie contract has expired. The data here states that third-round picks are much less likely to be great players and they typically won’t be helping the team for more than four seasons.

BUT THEY MOVED UP IN THE SECOND!

Yes, but running the same data as I did for the above picks the difference between 34 and 46 is nearly nothing. Both average over four years as starters. Strangely #46 has produced slightly more Pro Bowlers and All-Pros than #34. So, historically moving up 12 spots at this point in the draft does not get you a better player. So, the value in moving up that was obtained in the draft is pretty much meaningless.

This Was In Fact Not A Horrible Trade

The Vikings trading down didn’t get back enough value in the trade with the Lions. They did get good value in trading the #34 to the Packers for #53 & #59. However, the value they won in this trade still leaves them in a deficit overall in trades by roughly a third-round pick.

Now you will notice with the data above the likelihood that the pick they lost in value (being a third-round pick) ends up being a good player is very low. So, yes, they did lose value in the trade but it is likely to be insignificant. The real possible loss here is that they went for dept. By doing so they passed on the #12 pick that is nearly twice as likely to produce a great player.