Sunday, April 5, 2009

What is the value of the top pick?

by: Chris Sullivan

The Lions are reportedly looking to trade away their number one overall draft pick. However, no one seems to be going for the trade-up. Why? Well, there's two main reasons.

First, there's no consensus top guy. We already know that. We've been talking for three months about the possibility of Aaron Curry, Jason Smith, Matthew Stafford, Matt Sanchez, Eugene Monroe, Andre Smith all being taken in the first slot. There was a while there where we were convinced Michael Crabtree might not fall to us at #4. Too much talent at the top of the draft? Hardly. I think most are convinced that there is too little, that at best there are one or two elite prospects in this draft and any one of them could bust. Why bet the house by trading into the #1 spot? 

The other reason, one well documented by Mike Sando amongst others, is that the cost of that top pick is quite a burden on most teams. Why assume that burden if you can't be guaranteed a star? Who was the last person picked #1 overall to be rookie of the year? I'll give you a hint: it hasn't happened once since 1989. That of course, is skewed a fair amount -- people will often draft a QB #1 overall, and the chance of a QB being rookie of the year has historically been slim because they rarely start their first year and, if they do, its usually for an awful team with no surrounding cast. Matt Ryan is a rare exception, of course. Even Peyton Manning  had very little success his rookie year. 

What do you guys think?