The first major move made by the Cleveland Browns’ new ‘Moneyball’ front office was a brilliant one

The Philadelphia Eagles pulled off the second blockbuster NFL Trade in a week when they gave up five picks, including two first- and one second-round picks, to move up six spots. But while the Eagles will draft one of the top quarterbacks, either Carson Wentz or Jared Goff, it is the Cleveland Browns who made out like bandits in this deal.

Similar to the popular draft-value chart created by Jimmy Johnson, we can assign a value to every draft pick based on the average career of players drafted in those spots in previous years, using data compiled by

The most valuable pick in the lot of those moved is obviously the No. 2 pick, worth 1,277 points. The three picks the Browns received in this year’s draft alone (1st, 3rd, 4th) are worth more than that at 1,421 points. But the real value comes in the future drafts. If we assume the Eagles will be drafting in the middle of the 2017 and 2018 drafts, the two picks acquired by the Browns (2017 1st, 2018 2nd) is comparable to acquiring the third pick in the draft.

In all, the value of the picks acquired by the Browns is about 74% more than those acquired by the Eagles. That’s a huge price for moving up six spots.


To put it another way, the Eagles paid the equivalent of $1.74 for every $1.00 in draft-pick value they received. That’s even more than what the Rams paid to move up to No. 1 overall, paying $1.70 for every $1.00 in value.

The Browns were criticised in NFL circles when they made several new hires in the front office, including Paul DePodesta, who comes from Major League Baseball and has a background as part of the Oakland A’s “Moneyball” revolution. The moves are believed to be a huge commitment to analytics and a new way of placing value on assets in the NFL.

This trade was clearly a product of the the Browns’ new thinking as they took a huge bounty over reaching for a quarterback with the No. 2 pick, and it was brilliant.

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