Last week, Jimmy Kempski carefully tip-toed his way along a short tree limb and said the Philadelphia Eagles have a 50% chance of drafting Marcus Mariota. Jimmy has his reasons, and they’re good ones, but I’m just not sure how many coins he flipped to reach that conclusion.
There are too many known and unknown factors at work. To illustrate, Brian Burke’s Bayesian Draft Analysis Tool gives Mariota less than a .2% chance of being available at pick 20. That’s two times in 1,000. It’s not astronomically high in the grand scheme of things, but not entirely comforting either. But that’s okay, because we all know that Chip Kelly will not sit idly by. In order to nab the quarterback of his dreams, Chip will need to move up.
It’s safe to assume that any trade up will increase the chance that the Eagles will draft Mariota. But how much? We can use Bayesian inference to find out. Thanks to Burke’s work, we know that the probability the Eagles draft Mariota at pick 20 is pretty low (less than .2%). We can also glean from NFL history that there are roughly four to five trades in the first round of the draft every year involving, on average, nine teams (~28%). Given these new bits of information, we can update Kempski’s 50% estimate.
What are the odds?
The good news? Based on an initial 50% estimate, the Eagles increase their chances of drafting Mariota 18-fold by trading up. The bad news is that it’s only 36 chances in 1,000. Even with a 100% initial estimate, the Eagles have 71 chances in 1,000. It’s still not great, but hey, still no Sam Bradford jerseys, right?
So which teams benefit most? It depends on your initial estimate. Use the calculator and see what you find out. Of course, all of this is flawed. Flipping a coin may be better.