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How Do You Evaluate A Draft Pick?


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#1 Stroupe-a-loop

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 07:29 AM

Hi everybody,

I was talking on the forum yesterday, and I realized that such disparity between what we think of our own draft picks. I was talking to someone that threw out Captain Munnerlyn as a bad pick. I think Captain is a great pick because of all that he is able to do and considering the fact that we got him in the 7th round.

So I wanted to look into getting a sort of concrete evaluation process for draft picks after years after they have been made. So once a player has been in the league for a number of years, I'm looking for an across the board measureable that can be used to say a pick is a success or failure. This is where I'm sort of envious of baseball because the stats that can be used to back up an argument. But it's much more difficult in the NFL. But I think we can craft something reasonable that everybody thinks is decent.

My go to has always been games started because I believe that, relative to your draft position, if you can start a certain number of games, it justifies your pick. For first rounders I believe that threshold is 3 full seasons, or 48 starts. I don't think that any player gets that much time in a starting role unless they are somewhat competent. This criteria still has players that got multiple shots like Brady Quinn, Jamarcus Russell, and Ryan Leaf as failures. Which seems to be a good start. I think you could then go on a sliding scale by round to determine if a pick was ultimately successful, and it's a measuring stick that can be applied across the league regardless of position.

My eventual hope is to find some sort of way to evaluate the draft process and look at it across the board. See how other teams did, and finally have some common ground for evaluating what a good draft class looks like and so forth. You could have a league wide success rate for a particular draft or period of time.

So, any thoughts? I'm completely open to tweeking anything, I just ask that we not bog this down with "I hated player x" and "this person sucked at picking players". This is just about coming up with a common ground evaluation process.

#2 Stroupe-a-loop

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 07:50 AM

Also, most importantly, according to this criteria, The Golden Calf of Bristol is still a failure.

#3 RockyTopVol

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 07:54 AM

I'm no professional analyst, I'm just a big college football fan. I watch a lot of it, and if I've watched the player play, I probably have a strong opinion on them already. Like with Stephon Gilmore last year. I really was not impressed with that guy at all in the games that I saw, but the professionals seemed to really like him. This year (same position), I thought the world of Jonathan Banks when I watched MSU play. For some reason, nobody seems to agree with me.
If I haven't watched the player play, I just try to see what I like from youtube clips and what others say about them. It's hard to care a lot about a player like that, though. Like Cyprien this year. I just can't get stoked about a guy like that when there's so little evidence that he can compete against big talent.
Then again, I rarely know what I'm talking about. But I think most probably do their "evaluating" the same way.

#4 Stroupe-a-loop

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:03 AM

I'm no professional analyst, I'm just a big college football fan. I watch a lot of it, and if I've watched the player play, I probably have a strong opinion on them already. Like with Stephon Gilmore last year. I really was not impressed with that guy at all in the games that I saw, but the professionals seemed to really like him. This year (same position), I thought the world of Jonathan Banks when I watched MSU play. For some reason, nobody seems to agree with me.
If I haven't watched the player play, I just try to see what I like from youtube clips and what others say about them. It's hard to care a lot about a player like that, though. Like Cyprien this year. I just can't get stoked about a guy like that when there's so little evidence that he can compete against big talent.
Then again, I rarely know what I'm talking about. But I think most probably do their "evaluating" the same way.


Right, and I think that's the best way to do that sort of evaluation, and I don't like having a strong opinion on a guy that I haven't seen. And I really think that's the best way to do it.

I should have been more specific, however. I'm trying to figure out what was a good draft pick years after it has been made. So a way to look back at earlier drafts and say, with measurable criteria, "this was a good pick, that was a bad pick". I suppose I should have titled the thread "How do you evaluate a draft pick after the fact".

#5 MadHatter

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:03 AM

Given the number of bad picks and busts that happen each year, I would say that no one really has a great way to evaluate draft picks.

It truly is a crap shoot.

#6 JawnyBlaze

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:05 AM

Anyone that says Capt. was a bad pick simply doesn't understand football or just doesn't put that much thought into it. Captain was a terrible starting CB but an excellent 7th round pick. Usually the absolute most you can hope for from a 7th round pick is a solid ST contributor, which he is also, but the fact that he even started at all (even under the circumstances he started under) says he was a good pick in the 7th. Getting an above average nickle CB and above average ST player out of a 7th round pick is an excellent pick.

I don't like to look at things like "was it a good pick or a bad pick" by trying to use quantifiable formulas and stuff. Just gotta go with your gut, your opinion and your eyes. What makes football great is there's no absolute truths. There's always something to argue or disagree about with other fans.

#7 Panthro

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:06 AM

Gut feelings for me

Sometimes the bubblegut hits and you whiff on players like Kuechly....then Gut says "I want" Cordy Glenn, Janoris Jenkins, and Bruce Irvin

#8 JawnyBlaze

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:10 AM

Given the number of bad picks and busts that happen each year, I would say that no one really has a great way to evaluate draft picks.

It truly is a crap shoot.

Gut feelings for me

Sometimes the bubblegut hits and you whiff on players like Kuechly....then Gut says "I want" Cordy Glenn, Janoris Jenkins, and Bruce Irvin


I think he's talking about evaluating picks after the fact. Not before the draft. But I agree with both statements.

#9 Panthro

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:12 AM

Capt is a great for a 7th round pick. Not sure who would argue.

#10 Stroupe-a-loop

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:12 AM

I think he's talking about evaluating picks after the fact. Not before the draft. But I agree with both statements.


Yeah, that's what I'm going for. But I do agree with them on evaluating a guy going in the draft. But this is an attempt to find some sort of pass/fail criteria for drafts after we have a good sample of a player's NFL Career.

#11 XClown1986

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:36 AM

I think games started may be important, but I evaluate "success" of a pick moreso from where they were selected in the draft and the ultimate impact they have on the field. Captain, for example, was a 7th round pick. If he resulted in anything more than competition for camp, and possibly a practice squad player, then he was a success. Captain was a huge success. A very good starting nickel with return ability in the 7th round? Great pick. Then you look at players like the disasters of Jeff Otah (who looked to be a stud then got lazy), Dwayne Jarrett, Everette Brown, Armanti Edwards, etc.

I think I evaluate success based on competency of the GM selecting them, unfortunately. Hurney fuging whiffed big time in the earlier rounds a couple of times (more success than failure in this department thank god) and gave up some early picks to do it. It's not the player's fault, but immediately there are expectations and you have to hold them to a higher standard than a guy drafted in the 7th. In other words, Everette Brown being drafted in the 7th doesn't constitute failure, but if Captain had been drafted in the 1st or 2nd, he might be considered a failure. But it is really reversed, and thus so are their labels.

Expectations based on where drafted + the results of their play = Success/Failure

** There are exceptions to this of course. A player may be a decent starter, but never pan out to the huge star everyone thought he would be, but cannot be called a complete failure. Ala A.J. Hawk in Green Bay.

#12 Stroupe-a-loop

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:51 AM

I think games started may be important, but I evaluate "success" of a pick moreso from where they were selected in the draft and the ultimate impact they have on the field. Captain, for example, was a 7th round pick. If he resulted in anything more than competition for camp, and possibly a practice squad player, then he was a success. Captain was a huge success. A very good starting nickel with return ability in the 7th round? Great pick. Then you look at players like the disasters of Jeff Otah (who looked to be a stud then got lazy), Dwayne Jarrett, Everette Brown, Armanti Edwards, etc.

I think I evaluate success based on competency of the GM selecting them, unfortunately. Hurney fuging whiffed big time in the earlier rounds a couple of times (more success than failure in this department thank god) and gave up some early picks to do it. It's not the player's fault, but immediately there are expectations and you have to hold them to a higher standard than a guy drafted in the 7th. In other words, Everette Brown being drafted in the 7th doesn't constitute failure, but if Captain had been drafted in the 1st or 2nd, he might be considered a failure. But it is really reversed, and thus so are their labels.

Expectations based on where drafted + the results of their play = Success/Failure

** There are exceptions to this of course. A player may be a decent starter, but never pan out to the huge star everyone thought he would be, but cannot be called a complete failure. Ala A.J. Hawk in Green Bay.


Right, that is why I was looking at sort of a sliding scale. Perhaps a 6th or 7th rounder that starts any games can be considered a "success", or just making the roster can be considered a win.

Using the 3 season criteria I set for first rounders, Jeff Otah is a failure, and if you assign Everrete Brown a first round value, due to the trade. He is also a failure.

For second round picks I was thinking, maybe, two full seasons (32 starts) because people still expect 2nd rounders to be starters. Which would still classify Jarret and Edwards as failures.

I agree with your AJ Hawk point, but I don't really look at it as a failure, either. Maybe a top 5 or 10 pick should require a probowl bid, or all pro mention to warrant "Success"?

#13 XClown1986

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:55 AM

Right, that is why I was looking at sort of a sliding scale. Perhaps a 6th or 7th rounder that starts any games can be considered a "success", or just making the roster can be considered a win.

Using the 3 season criteria I set for first rounders, Jeff Otah is a failure, and if you assign Everrete Brown a first round value, due to the trade. He is also a failure.

For second round picks I was thinking, maybe, two full seasons (32 starts) because people still expect 2nd rounders to be starters. Which would still classify Jarret and Edwards as failures.

I agree with your AJ Hawk point, but I don't really look at it as a failure, either. Maybe a top 5 or 10 pick should require a probowl bid, or all pro mention to warrant "Success"?


I think that's fair

#14 thunderraiden

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:55 AM

Imagine where a player would be drafted in a redraft held today. What round would Jamarcus Russell go in today? Udfa or 7th rounder? Massive failure. What round would captain munnerlyn? 2nd or 3rd? Huge sucess. Greg Hardy? First rounder. Dwayne jarrett? 5th or 6th.

#15 panther4life

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 09:02 AM

http://draftmetrics.com/ is a site you would love. That being said they admit its not an exact science.
"Finally, DRAFTMETRICS cannot leave this subject without a brief discussion about the "L" word, or Luck in this case. If a team truly had a superior scouting and front office staff in comparison to its competition, one would expect a fair amount of consistency in draft results. Recognizing that injury and non-football related matters can cause some bumps in the road, this consistency seemed to be lacking in our review (the Packers looking like an exception).
One example illustrates the point. With selections 14-40 the Eagles had one of the worst records of any team, with 3.85 fewer five-year starters than expected. With selections 41-66 the Eagles had one of the best records, with 2.03 more five-year starters than expected. There may be explanations other than luck, but it was the same group of guys making the selections in both cases and in one case they stunk and in the other they were geniuses. It does cause you to wonder, though, if the draft is more like blackjack than bridge."


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