Each year the draft season rolls around and I study past drafts and prior team tendencies. As I do, I marvel at the number of trades that go down during this time of year, and on draft day, more and more. This year, as in the last, you can count on the Kansas City Chiefs to be trading places with another team on or before draft day.
In each of the past three years, the NFL draft has traded draft picks:
2013- 34 times
2014- 50 times
2015- 40 times*
* see page two
As I look into each team’s penchant to trade, I am blown away by the sheer number of trades… so much so that I have to laugh every time I see a mock draft… including my own… because appreciating what a mock offers has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous as I consider the weight that trades have on any given draft.
The realization of the true role that trades play during this 8 week period prior to draft day… and on draft day especially… helps you gain a much better picture of the possibilities for who your team could end up drafting.
Trades truly… muck up the mocks… so to speak, but to even suggest a mock, with the idea that one person has any kind of insight about what a team might do with their draft pick, is nonsense, especially if they neglect to predict any trades.
Mocks… offer the opportunity to dream big dreams, while wandering aimlessly through the barren wasteland of our lost life’s purpose, spending “meaningful” Sunday afternoons watching our favorite pro team. However, facing the facts about the copious number of trades NFL teams are making involving their draft picks, is a game changer when it comes to understanding what teams go through in order to execute even a single solitary draft day decision.
General managers have been known to say that they have received no less than a dozen calls concerning a trade for their draft pick, prior to the time they take their draft card up to the commissioner.
I’ve actually come to the conclusion that mocks will be mocks… but that there should also be an automated site to predict trades… just as much as we football junkies like to go online and use the few mock-draft-generators that exist.
Considering the pure mass of players in the NFL, the idea of… predicting draft picks… by first predicting the trades that would set up those draft picks, trades which are inevitably in every draft, seems like mathematically attempting to disprove E = MC2.
While many don’t care to endeavor to predict the trades that litter the the NFL highways every Spring… I believe a starting point is for understand the inescapable reality of the trades that are rushing down the freeways head on with our teams’ general managers.
The following graphic will hopefully help to portray the phenomenon that trades are. Plus, this should help understand their impact on draft day and consequently, nearly every team’s roster.
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First, every line on the following graphic represents a trade between two teams in the 2015 draft:
+ The straight black lines represent the trades which happened between two teams in different conferences,
+ The blue curved lines represent the trades that happened between two teams within a conference.
+ The curved red lines are trades between two teams within the same division.
+ The bolded and purple lettering represents the two teams who did not participate in any trades in the 2015 NFL draft.
The key is listed below the graphic.
Next: Can We Use the 2015 Trades to Project 2016?