The Seahawks entered the 2019 NFL Draft with four picks and left with eleven. This was an even more impressive feat than it first appeared.
The draft is long over, we’ve graded the picks (as well as they can be graded this early), but there’s still a hidden story to the Seahawks draft success. We know John Schneider can weave some magic at draft time, but did we know just how much? Let’s take a deeper look.
The Seahawks began the draft with one selection each in the first, third, fourth, and fifth rounds. Specifically, selections 21, 84, 124, 159 were all they had to restock a team that needed major help at defensive end and tackle, safety, the offensive line, and slot corner. It’s pretty hard to address five or six needs with four picks. That’s basic math. We’re about to get a little more mathy and talk about draft capital.
Simply put, draft capital assigns a value to every single pick in the draft. That value is based on what you can expect a player taken in that spot to produce. The model I used was created by Chase Stuart several years ago. For the entire chart, look here. For in-depth explanations of how it works, see part one and part two.
In brief, the numbers listed are based on a measure created by pro-football-reference.com, approximate value. Simply put, approximate value assigns a value for a player’s production for an entire season. It’s a quick way to compare two player’s value at any position for any season. For example, in 2018 Mike Davis had six points of approximate value, as did Tre Flowers. All-World linebacker Bobby Wagner led the Seahawks with 16 points. Yeah, you wanted to know.
Back to draft capital. Stuart set the values for the first five years of a player’s career. He also assumed a base rate of two points of approximate value, so the points he assigns are the margin of value above that base. Over five years, that means you can add ten points to a draft slot’s expected value. It makes sense for the distribution of value, so, mathy.
The highest draft pick has the highest expected approximate value, 34.6 points. The second pick is expected to produce 30.2 points of approximate value, and so on, down to the final picks of the draft, worth one-tenth of a point. Remember, that’s above the expected value per year of two points. So the first overall pick should produce a total of 44.6 points, or 8.9 points per season. The second pick should create 40.2 points overall or 8 points per season, ad infinitum to those seventh-round guys producing 2 points per season, strictly role players.
Based on that, the Seahawks initial four draft picks were worth just 27.8 points of approximate value. After John Schneider pulled off his seven – yes, seven – trades, Seattle had 11 draft picks. The total value of all the news picks is 53.4 points. The Hawks turned four picks into eleven and nearly doubled their haul in draft capital as well. Because the value of each draft slot drops so quickly, (over 20 points in the first round alone), that isn’t as easy as it sounds. Schneider is indeed a wizard. Time will tell just how wisely he and Pete Carroll used all those picks.