09 Apr 2013
I just wrote our annual look back at the NFL draft from six years ago. That column was done in a very traditional manner, with only a modest, indirect incorporation of our advanced statistical methods. That was an intentional decision on my part; part of the fun of reading the column (back before I wrote it) and of writing it (my third year doing that) is making a subjective judgment on those players.
What if we want to be more objective? Danny Tuccitto recently introduced his historical draft efficiency methodology. To get a better idea how teams drafted in 2007, I've compared VAE numbers to how well evaluators thought each team performed according to our 2007 Draft Report Card Report.
In some ways, the draftniks actually did very well. Of their top nine teams (three teams tied for seventh with a grade of 3.1), five ended up in the top eight by VAE. The champions of the draft were the San Francisco 49ers, who hit big with first-round picks Patrick Willis and Joe Staley and found a later star in Dashon Goldson. The draftniks graded them second, while VAE ranks them first. The Falcons (notwithstanding the Jamaal Anderson selection), Vikings, Bills, and Panthers also fell into this category.
If you had a head man who had been widely ridiculed for his failures and you got a good grade, chances were good you had a bad draft. Example number one: Matt Millen. Calvin Johnson is the only one of the eight players the Lions selected to exceed his expected value. Example number two: Al Davis. The Raiders actually had some good picks in the draft, with Zach Miller, Michael Bush, and defensive tackle Jay Richardson, but JaMarcus Russell drags down the entire draft by a huge amount.
Several of the teams the draftniks did not like also ended up faring quite poorly, as half of the teams they ranked in the bottom ten ranked in the bottom nine by VAE. Outside of slight underachiever LaRon Landry, the Redskins did not expect much from the draft, and the late round picks they did make did not pan out even by the standard of late picks. Even with the Eagles hitting on Brent Celek, VAE ranked them toward the bottom, validating the draftniks' fourth-worst grade. The Dolphins, who found neither their franchise wide receiver nor their franchise quarterback in selecting Ted Ginn and John Beck in the first and second rounds, ended up fourth-worst (tied with the Eagles) by both metrics.
Here is a list of all teams with their VAE, draft grade from the original 2007 Report Card Report, and their ranks in both categories.
29 comments, Last at 18 Apr 2013, 12:15pm by Exystence
Patrick Peterson's dominant coverage was a big reason the Cardinals won their first division title in six years.