Inspired by Zach Whitman, Justis Mosqueda, Rotoviz, BJ Reidell, Arif Hasan, Notorious B.I.G., and Easter, I present:
*please note, the “commandments” are really more like guidelines…
Trade back often to acquire more chances to pick.
Everyone is bad at the draft. In 2015, Hogs Haven analyzed the performance of NFL teams in the draft and found that on average teams are more likely to draft a player who never contributes (23.9%) than one who becomes a regular starter (22.3%). In this data set, the best general manager had a starter hit rate of 30.4%. With such long odds of hitting on a productive player, having more picks increases your chances to leave the draft with a productive player (10 * 22.3%) > (7 * 30.4%). Check out the full article here.
Stop drafting Running Backs in Round One.
RBs are situational players (read this). RB performance is volatile from year to year in large part because RBs have a higher injury risk than other positions and miss more time per injury (click here). First round RBs have a high bust rate (more links).
Draft offensive line in Rounds One and Two until the core of the unit is solidified.
Early-round OL have a very high hit rate and if you’re looking for an All-Pro caliber player rounds one and two are where you’re going to find them (see).
Beware the post-combine, late-rising, uber-athletic Wide Receiver.
Speed kills and overvaluing speed and athleticism is a prime factor in many early round WR busts. At the WR position, college production profile (market share/dominator rating) is far more important than raw athleticism. The folks at Rotoviz go into great detail outlining this here.
Avoid Wide Receivers in Rounds Four through Six.
Zach Whitman wrote a great piece for Rotoworld in which he explored positional draft values. Here’s what he had to say about WRs:
“It’s apparent that wide receivers are a particularly terrible value pick in the 4th-6th rounds, but tend to produce surplus value in the 2nd, 3rd, and 7th rounds.”
Check out the full piece here. Of course exceptions like Stefon Diggs exists, but for every one Diggs, you get three Aundrae Allisons with a side of Jaymar Johnson.
Target Force Players in Rounds Three through Five.
In the Whitman article referenced above, he highlights round three as the start of a “value” tier for EDGE rushers. Taking things a step further, Justis Mosqueda’s Force Players methodology should be used to maximize hit rate in this tier. Read more about Force Players here.
Draft a Quarterback at least every other year.
In the Contendersarticle published last week, I highlighted that four of the six contenders drafted their current starters while an established veteran or high priced, free agent acquisition was already on the roster. Lions General Manager Bob Quinn (who was groomed in NE) said the following to the Detroit Free Press in an interview last year:
“I think it’s really good football business to acquire a young quarterback every year or every other year.”
Quarterback is the most important position in football and is also one of the most difficult to find. To increase the odds of acquiring a good one, teams should be taking more shots with premium draft capital.
Stop drafting kickers and punters.
Avoid drafting Defensive Backs in Round Three
After comparing AV per Year for the 508 DBs drafted from 2007-2016 to Expected AV from Chase Stuart’s draft value chart, I found that DBs drafted in the third round are typically a very poor investment.
Since 2007, only one DB drafted in the third round has made 1stAll-Pro and only two DBs drafted in the third round have made the Pro Bowl.
Stop drafting Reuben Foster ahead of Malik McDowell
“I also modified those scores for position by adopting the positional premiums implied by the NFL draft over the past 10 years. Based on the average draft capital spent on the top receivers, quarterbacks, guards, etc. we can figure out how the NFL values those positions.
Predictably, quarterbacks lead the list. After that, it’s offensive tackles, defensive linemen (including edge rushers), receivers, cornerbacks, off-ball linebackers, running backs, interior offensive linemen, safeties, tight ends, kickers and punters.”
Huddle Report lists Reuben Foster and Malik McDowell as first round talents but McDowell’s positional value gives him the edge.