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49ers Employ Own Value Chart on NFL Draft Day

Posted Apr 21, 2014

San Francisco enters this year's May 8-10 event with 11 choices, plenty of ammunition for moving up or down the draft board, but how they do is predicated on general manager Trent Baalke's system.


The value chart that then-Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson popularized in the 1980s is still used as a guideline in NFL Draft war rooms across the country.

    

But the San Francisco 49ers employ their own.

"There are several teams that use the same chart we do," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. "You have to understand both of them because sometimes teams aren't willing to talk to you on your chart, they're only willing to go with the standard charts that have been used and developed for a long time."

The rubric is really simple. Each draft pick is assigned a point total so that it can be compared to others when NFL GMs are negotiating multi-selection trades.

VIEW: The Traditional Draft Value Chart

San Francisco enters this year's May 8-10 event with 11 choices, plenty of ammunition for moving up or down the draft board.

Look to last draft as an example of using extra picks: The 49ers traded the 31st and 74th overall selections for the Cowboys 18th overall, which they spent on safety Eric Reid.

According to the traditional value chart, San Francisco traded away 820 "points" for Dallas 900 and the right to select Reid.

"There's flexibility in it," Baalke said of his own chart. "But identifying the player is the critical thing. And finding a way to get them is the next stop."

Others have wondered, too, whether the value chart needs updating. Harvard took a crack at making it much less arbitrary in 2011. (Their model says the 49ers traded away 321.4 "points" for Dallas 249.2 this time last year.)

Still, Johnson's not-so-mathematical chart is sticking around.

"It's the standard," Baalke said. "Everybody uses it, so you have to understand it and take a look at it.

"You're always trying to win, right? We're in a competitive business, so you're always trying to win the point battle."

As Baalke added, however, the chart isn't exactly carved into a stone tablet in his office.

"Sometimes it makes sense to just disregard it and make the decision you think you need to make to get the player you want," he said. "The No. 1 one thing is targeting the players you want, identify those and find a way to go get them."