For years, I've been saying that it can't be that hard to be a general manager. I don't think it's an easy job by any definition, but I don't think it's as hard as the awful GM's in every sport make it out to be. For this completely fictional exercise, I'm going to imagine that I am taking over an expansion NFL franchise in the year 2020. Everything else is the same, only imagine that the London Blokes (or whatever the fuck name for a team) are joining the NFL in 2020. The Chiefs are still champions. Joe Burrow is still the projected #1 pick. Tompa still exists. I'm taking over with these ground rules in place:
1. I have 100% roster control of an expansion NFL franchise.
2. I have a fully guaranteed five-year contract.
3. My only job is to have made the postseason at least once by the end of my five-year run. It took the Texans ten seasons to make the postseason. My job is to cut that in half.
That's it. Also, this isn't a scouting guide as I am not a scout. These are just the mistakes it seems like NFL teams keep making over and over again, especially when it comes to expansion franchises and the draft. I won't be dealing with an expansion draft because I have no interest in deciding who teams who leave unprotected...but if someone else does it, then perhaps. Now, you could use the expansion draft to work out deals with teams. The expansion team selects a bad contract from Team X, and receives a second-round pick for their troubles. The Texans chose to use their first pick in the expansion draft to draft a left tackle that never played for them due to injury.
For draft value, I'll be using the value below. From Draft Tek and updated in April 2020:
Do you know how much extra draft capital an expansion team gets in the NFL draft for its first two seasons? Per our last expansion team, Texans 2002, an expansion team gets:
- The first pick in the first six rounds
- An extra 2nd, 45-50 range (400 draft value points)
- An extra 3rd, 76-83 (175 DV points)
- An extra 4th, 110-116 (62 DV points)
- An extra 5th, 148-153 (29 DV points)
- An extra 6th, 184-190 (14.2 DV points)
- Two extra 7th round picks: 221-229 range (2 DV points) and 253-261 range (1 DV point)
400 + 175 + 62 + 29 +14.2 + 2 + 1 = 683.2 draft value points
Per our chart above, we can see you get handed the equivalent to another 27th overall pick in your first draft as an expansion team.
During your second expansion year, you get:
- Two extra sixth-round picks: 192 & 214 range (12.6 & 4.6 DV points)
- An extra seventh-round pick: 233 range (1 DV point)
12.6 + 4.6 + 1= 18.2 draft value points
Per our chart above, we can see you get handed the equivalent to another 180th overall pick in your second draft as an expansion team. This is "only a sixth-round pick" until it turns into Tom Brady, Jason Kelce or Antonio Brown. To a much lesser extent, you can still get a Delanie Walker, Gardner Minshew, Elandon Roberts, Quandre Diggs, or Darren Waller in the sixth round.
That's a shitload of draft capital to just be handed. Those picks can be traded too, so you could use only your expansion picks to move up and grab guys you love. Or you could keep trading down and turning them into more and more "free" money.
Tomorrow, we get into what I'd look for on the first day of the NFL Draft.