I – Currency with uncertain value
Most persons who are casual NFL fans get stuck at this point. And yet, the only way to understand the rest of this article is to grasp the simple truth that NFL Draft picks, even the top pick of the draft, are merely currency with an uncertain value.
To help grasp this, imagine that NFL Draft picks are bitcoins. Bitcoins have a high perceived value. But for the most part, they were a cryptocurrency that was difficult to spend in the conventional sense. For many, it was a task to convert dollars to bitcoins for an investment, and then bitcoins to dollars to actually purchase something with bitcoins.
Draft picks are very similar, in that they are a type of NFL currency that has a much higher perceived value to some NFL general managers than to others. Thus, the LA Rams use that difference to buy low and sell high. The Rams have discovered that with careful planning, spending wisely, and managing their roster for multiple years at a time, the Rams can essentially manufacture draft picks much like bitcoins are ‘farmed’ by computers.
The Rams are awarded compensatory draft picks when their players sign on for huge contracts elsewhere. Those compensatory picks, start in the third round and can augment the Rams allotted draft picks throughout the draft. While the Rams only have three allotted picks for the 2022 NFL Draft, the team is projected to have eight total picks after compensatory picks are awarded.
But what about drafting players? Surely that has some value to the Rams organization, doesn’t it? Of course, it does. The team has simply pierced the veil that a first-round pick is somehow a guaranteed star player in the NFL. It’s not. Like any draft in professional sports, it’s less where you pick than how often you pick.