Rookie Draft Pick Value Rundown: Who Should You Expect to Select?

Aaron St Denis

Welcome to the Rookie Draft Pick Value Rundown. Over the past few months, the staff at DLF have completed a series of articles exploring the value of past, present and future rookie draft picks. The series is broken down into smaller pick ranges to give you a better understanding of what you can expect in specific portions of the draft. For these sections, we used DLF’s Superflex ADP.

This article is going to recap that series and look at some of the key points we learned. It will also give us a chance to analyze any trends or serious dips in talent level from one draft slot to the next.

2023 Early 1st (Pick 1.01 to 1.04)

Historically the early first round is the “can’t miss” section of the draft and this year is no different. The value of the players available in the early first round is likely to hold for multiple seasons even if they disappoint or suffer an injury as a rookie. For example, we’ve seen recent rookies such as Clyde Edwards-Helaire hold their value right up to the point they went off a cliff.

The early first tier can be broken down into two sub-sections this year, Bijan Robinson and the quarterbacks. We will start with Robinson. If you own the 1.01 congratulations, you have one of the most valuable rookie picks in recent memory. Robinson is seen as the consensus 1.01 in all formats and is a generational talent. He is the easy pick for any team that traded for the first overall pick and has a reasonable chance at contending in 2023.

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Courtesy of DLF’s March 2023 Superflex Rookie ADP.

The question then becomes: what if you earned the first overall pick and are a rebuilding team with multiple holes to fill? A generational rookie running back while sexy is not likely to significantly help a team with little to no talent. In this situation, the manager at 1.01 is best served to trade away the first overall pick for a treasure trove of assets.

There are two ways that managers in this situation should go about trading the pick. If you are a team desperately in need of a starting quarterback, the gameplan should be to trade back to no lower than the 1.04. This will allow you to pick up additional assets while still leaving you in a prime position to draft a potentially elite quarterback. If quarterback is not your prime concern, then you can trade back as far as the 1.10, that’s the point in rookie drafts where you will still be able to get the last of the elite running backs or wide receivers (Quentin Johnston, Jordan Addison or Zach Charbonnet) but if you trade back any further, you risk being caught on the wrong side of a massive tier drop.

As mentioned above, the remainder of the early first round is made up of the three potentially elite quarterbacks; CJ Stroud, Bryce Young and Anthony Richardson. If you are in need of the quarterback of the future, then this is the area you need to be drafting, once Richardson goes off the board it is a tier drop to Will Levis and then a Grand Canyon-level drop off to the remaining quarterbacks in this class.

If you pick between 1.02 and 1.04 and are not one of the quarterback-needy teams, you are in a great position to follow the Chicago Bears 'strategy and sell off your pick to the most desperate quarterback-needy team. Again, if you choose to trade down from these picks to avoid drafting a quarterback, do not trade past the 1.10 or you risk losing out on an elite-level talent.

2023 Mid 1st (Pick 1.05 to 1.08)


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Rookie Draft Pick Value Rundown: Who Should You Expect to Select?