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The Cleveland Browns' new 'Moneyball' approach is already paying off

Since appointing Paul DePodesta, the Browns were expected to make this type of move.

Jonah Hill played a character based on Paul DePodesta in Moneyball
Jonah Hill played a character based on Paul DePodesta in Moneyball
Image: Columbia Pictures

THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES pulled off the second blockbuster NFL trade in a week when they gave up five picks, including two first and one second-rounder, to move up six spots.

But while the Eagles will draft one of the top quarterbacks, either Carson Wentz or Jared Goff, it is the Cleveland Browns who made out like bandits in this deal.

Similar to the popular draft-value chart created by Jimmy Johnson, we can assign a value to every draft pick based on the average career of players drafted in those spots in previous years, using data compiled by FootballPerspective.com.

The most valuable pick in the lot of those moved is obviously the number two overall pick, worth 1,277 points. The three picks the Browns received in this year’s draft alone — first, third, and fourth — are worth more than that at 1,421 points.

But the real value comes in future drafts. If we assume that the Eagles will be drafting in the middle of the 2017 and 2018 drafts, then the two picks acquired by the Browns — first in 2017 and second in 2018 — are comparable to acquiring the third overall pick in the draft.

In all, the value of the picks acquired by the Browns is about 74% more than those acquired by the Eagles. That’s a huge price for moving up six spots.

Source: Cork Gaines/Business Insider

To put it another way, the Eagles paid the equivalent of $1.74 for every $1 in draft-pick value they received. That’s even more than what the St. Louis Rams paid to move up to number one overall, paying $1.70 for every $1 in value.

The Browns were criticized in NFL circles when they made several new hires in the front office, including Paul DePodesta, who comes from Major League Baseball and has a background as part of the Oakland Athletics’ ‘Moneyball’ revolution.

The moves are believed to be a huge commitment to analytics and a new way of placing value on assets in the NFL.

This trade was clearly a product of the Browns’ new thinking as they took a huge bounty from a team over-reaching for a quarterback.

- Cork Gaines, Business Insider

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Business Insider is a business site with strong financial, media and tech focus.

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