No, Suh

Last week, I made an offhanded comment about the Colts trading for the rights to draft Ndamukong Suh, the super tackle out of Nebraska.  I dismissed it unless some team was willing to give up the rights to Suh for a first and second this year a first next year.

I want to illustrate exactly why that is such a ludicrous offer.

First, let’s assume for a moment that the obvious best player in the draft falls to slot #3.  Why 3?  Because if he were to go in the first two picks, the scenario is even more ridiculous.  Now, there are many charts of draft pick value, but using the NFL standard (which not every team adheres to), the third overall pick is worth 2200 points.

How much is 2200 points?  Well, the Colts entire 2010 draft is worth less than 1200 points.  Such is the hazard of drafting 31st.

For the scenario I laid out, the Colts would be giving up 600 points (this year’s first), plus 276 points (this year’s second), plus the value of the Indianapolis first round pick next year.  It’s notoriously difficult to judge the value of future picks, but many people just discount them by a round.  So even if the Colts got especially good value for the 2011 future first, it would still only be worth about 500 points.

So those three picks would add up to about 1376 points.  In exchange for a 2200 point pick that could be used on the next Warren Sapp, would I give up two firsts and a second…in a heartbeat.

The obvious problem is that Tampa Bay would never go for that deal in a million years.  To get Suh, the Colts would basically have to trade their entire draft this year AND their first two picks next year.  Oh, he would have to fall to third slot in order to make that work at all.

So, while deals like that are fun to speculate about, they are essentially impossible to pull off in the real world.  All this raises an interesting philosophical question:

Imagine a time traveling Colts fan came back from the year 2015 with an important message for Bill Polian about the 2010 draft.  He says that Ndamukong Suh is guaranteed to have the kind of career Warren Sapp had.  Now, armed with that infallible information, how much would Polian spend to acquire him?  The issue in the draft is risk.  If you KNEW a player would be great, you would give up a lot to acquire him.  However, barring an H.G. Wellsian development in the next several years, there is no way to be sure about any player.

This is probably the question I would most like to ask the Big Man.  If you knew a player would be a Hall of Famer at a position you needed (and no one else had that information), how much would you give up to acquire him?

Too bad two firsts and a second wouldn’t be nearly enough.