Who Added The Most Expected Value in the 2021 NFL Draft

With the NFL draft now complete I wanted to take a look at the teams that added the most value to their teams in the draft. To calculate value I went back and looked at the Fitzgerald-Spielberger draft points for each slot and converted those back into the percentages to reflect the expected contract value for each draft slot. That was then multiplied by the current top 5 contract average for the draft pick’s position to determine what the value added to the team should be if the pick meets the average expectation. For example the top pick in the draft is expected to return about 98% of the top five value at the position meaning Trevor Lawrence should provide the Jaguars with about $37 million in value per year.

I added all the teams values to the chart below. The line represents what value the team would have realized if they had taken the average salaried position at every pick. Teams above the line made better use of their draft capital by typically drafting premier salary positions while those under the line spent their draft capital on less valuable positions.

The quarterback decision drives a lot of the value in the draft because the position is simply so valuable compared to everyone else that you can pick. If any of those players hit it will completely change the fortunes of the team. For those who did not take the most optimum of positions they need the players they drafted to hit in a major way to have the draft impact they need to improve. The picks that stand out the most in that regard are Kyle Pitts, Penei Sewell, Landon Dickerson, Alex Leatherwood, Josh Myers, Creed Humphrey, Evan McPherson, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Najee Harris, and Travis Etienne.

The teams that derived the most value overall in the draft were the Jaguars ($17.8M over average), Jets ($14.4M), 49ers ($12.8M), Patriots ($11M), and Bears ($10.2M). The least value went to the Falcons (-$7.2M), Steelers (-$5.3M), Raiders (-$5M), Broncos (-$4M), and Chiefs (-$3M).