NFL

NFL Draft Research Roundup

I’ve been writing random things on the internet for a while now, and for a while, I did it as a hobby while not getting compensated and doing it late at night when I could not sleep. I went back through some of the stuff I have written specifically about the draft and thought I would organize it into a roundup. I would hope some of it still has value, because I try to (while perhaps using examples from a given year) take a longer term approach to questions.

Hopefully, you’ll find something that you have an interest in.

Last year, leading up to the draft, I took a look at the typical results in the draft, to provide a dose of reality. Then, to mix things up, I had a post where I compared Moto Moto to John Elway and Tim Tebow.

In 2011 Draft Analysis: The difference between a bust, a boom, and an average pick at the top of the draft, I use career value of top draft picks to look at why teams will take risks on upside, by comparing team performance based on how good or bad the pick was. I also gave some thoughts on drafting best player available versus for need.

On a similar topic, before my time at the Big Lead, I also wrote about taking the BPA at pro-football-reference.com. The Best Player Available, I took a look at how frequently teams in the first fifty picks end up taking the “best player” compared to those taken within the next 30 picks. For top 5 picks, the answer was about 10% of the time. That may not sound great, but it is 3 times greater than if we threw all first rounders in a hat and drew randomly.

In Peter King on Eric Berry: Are Safeties Really a Risk at the Top of the Draft? I looked at the history of early safeties and found that they actually panned out at a much higher rate than most positions. I then followed up with  Do Star Safeties Have Shorter Careers Than Other Positions? by looking at career longevity of young stars at each position. Safeties did have shorter careers, and I argued that this, along with their early performance, actually meant they should be attractive targets in the draft.

Do Good Teams Really Build Along the Lines? I looked at the drafting tendencies in the first round of successful teams, teams that went from bad to successful, and teams that stayed bad to see if there was any evidence to support this. I also looked at teams that devoted a heavy dose of first round picks on linemen, to see if they actually won more than other teams.

In Matt Ryan, Brian Brohm, and the Right to Choose, I took a look at how often a quarterback performs better than the next one taken in the first two rounds of the draft. Brohm ended up falling even further after I wrote that (Flacco was the next one taken after Ryan) but the general research still applies even if Brian Brohm continued to stink.

I also did a lengthy series comparing the AFL and NFL for any history buffs, and as part of that I looked at Draft Class Peaks and Declines. When do draft classes tend to peak in terms of value (overall number of starters combined with performance)? Generally in years 3 and 4.

You may also be interested in Chase Stuart’s draft value chart, right or wrong? and this interesting theoretical discussion from Doug Drinen on whether a team should prefer every fifth round pick or the #1 overall pick in a draft.

[photo via Getty]

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