Breaking down the Bears’ draft pick values compared to past years

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Bears GM Ryan Pace. (Getty Images)

One of the biggest days of the year for every NFL team is the draft. This year the three-day event is set for April 26-28, and it’s going to be a critical opportunity for the Bears to add pieces that can push this team back into playoff contention.

But as anyone who follows the draft knows, there’s a huge difference between value for different picks. The selections at the top of the first round are the best opportunities to acquire franchise players, particularly at the quarterback position. That’s why Bears GM Ryan Pace was so aggressive in trading assets to move up to draft Mitch Trubisky last year. It’s actually worth it to get a pick that high in the draft.

Back in the 1990s, then-Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson came up with a chart that determined a numerical value for every draft pick. It was a quick way to gauge draft day trades, and they’ve since become commonplace around the NFL. However, the league has changed a lot since then, so the numbers Johnson came up with aren’t necessarily accurate.

Thankfully, Pats Pulpit developed a new draft chart based on 124 trades involving only draft picks since 2012, the first draft under the current collective bargaining agreement. It’s not necessarily perfect or a direct match to what NFL teams use internally, but it’s an interesting way to make a rough estimate of the value of a team’s draft picks.

Using those numbers, the Bears’ 2018 draft haul has the lowest estimated value since 2014. The 2017 draft, which includes the No. 2 pick used on Trubisky, stands out in a big way given the huge value of that selection. In fact, the Trubisky pick is estimated to be worth more than the combined value of any draft from the Bears since 2012.

Here’s a chart of the values of each Bears draft since 2012 using the numbers from Pats Pulpit. The different colors represent different picks. The No. 1 selection in the draft is estimated to be worth 1,000 points, while the concluding No. 256 selection is worth just 1.12 points.


The 2011-13 Bears teams were more competitive, so they ultimately lacked the top-10 picks that the franchise has benefitted from in recent seasons. It’s impossible to match the value at the very top of the draft, so those teams were always going to be in a less favorable position.

The 2016 draft had the highest volume of picks with nine, but after selecting Floyd with the No. 9 pick, they didn’t draft again until No. 56. The 2017 draft clearly stands out with the No. 2 pick, which cost the Bears a lot but retains massive value. If Trubisky pans out, that move will have been more than worth it.

The Bears’ 2018 draft picks don’t offer as much estimated value, but it’s still in line with two years ago. GM Ryan Pace will have a lot to work with, whether he goes offense or sticks to defense with the No. 8 pick.

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