When the New England Patriots traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks and a fourth-round pick to the Los Angeles Rams last week, the team received selections in the first and sixth-round of the 2018 NFL draft in return. With the added picks, the Patriots have positioned themselves well to move around the draft board and target the areas which they feel are the best to add major talent to the current roster.
New England is able to do that because of the combined value its current draft picks possess. According to Rich Hill's draft value chart, the Patriots' selections are worth a total of 705.02 points:
7- 1-219: 2.55
The value of the Patriots' stock ranks the team among the top of the league: Only five other franchises are entering the draft with more capital and only one of them – the Buffalo Bills, who are holding selections worth a total of 957.22 points – is coming off a berth in the playoffs. Safe to say, New England is in a prime position to add talent to a roster that needs more depth at offensive tackle, linebacker and behind quarterback Tom Brady.
Let's take a look around the league to find out how the Patriots compare to other teams:
2018 NFL draft values
A few thoughts on the table and the values of the 32 teams' draft capital:
For the second straight year, the Browns hold an insane amount of value: Finishing with the NFL's worst record two years in a row, Cleveland is again in prime position to add to a roster that won only one of its last 32 games. This year, the Browns are entering the draft with even more capital than last year's 1,779.78 value points. There is not better time to get impact players than now.
10 of the bottom-12 teams were in the playoffs last year: Postseason teams are naturally holding lower-value picks considering their initial draft position. It is therefore no surprise to see 10 of the 12 teams with the least amount of value coming off playoff births – among them three of the final four: the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles (30th) as well as the conference runner-ups Minnesota Vikings (27th) and Jacksonville Jaguars (25th).
The AFC East is competitive on the draft boards: As noted above, the Bills (4th) and Patriots (6th) are among the teams with the most draft capital – but their division rivals from Miami and New York are not far behind: The Dolphins rank eighth (642.56 points), while the Jets – after moving up from the sixth to the third overall selection – rank 12th (630.13).
The Texans have their work cut out for them: Five of the bottom-six organizations in terms of draft value made the playoffs last year. The sixth is a Houston Texans team that is coming off a 4-12 campaign. With no picks in rounds one and two and some core players coming off stints on injured reserve, the team needs to make the most out of its picks.
New England could move up into the top 10: Considering the Patriots' capital, we will likely see plenty of trades being made by the team. While moving into the top 10 would be a big surprise – New England typically values quantity –, the team does have the capital to make such a move: The Patriots' first two selections are roughly equal to overall pick number seven. Don't count on it, though.