A statistical look at the draft

Discussion in 'College Football & the NFL Draft' started by Doppelganger, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. Doppelganger

    Doppelganger None

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    Preamble
    I thought it would be fun to take a statistical look at the draft.

    At the moment, Texans nation is split in their wish for the #1 overall pick. Some advocate taking one of the top 3 QBs (Bridgewater, Manziel, or Bortles) with the top selection. Others think that Clowney is too good to pass up and the Texans must select one of them. A third group feels that keeping the QB safe is the top priority and think taking an OT such as Robinson or Matthews is the proper way to go. There is a 4th group that advocates a trade down.

    As such, Texans nation does have one thing they agree upon...the Texans need a new QB. The divergence of opinion is based on when should the Texans pull the trigger. Those in the take Clowney, Robinson, or Matthews camp believe that a QB can be had later in the draft or that the fail rate for 1st overall QBs is too high to risk on this pick and there are plenty of good QB options to be hand in the second or third round.

    Method
    I was curious what the numbers suggest. As such, I delved into this statistical analysis. The objective was to determine:

    1. What is the relative success rate for QBs, DEs, and OTs selected #1 in the NFL draft vs the failure rate of the same positions.

    2. What is the relative success rate for QBs, DEs, and OTs selected in the 2nd or 3rd round of the NFL draft vs the failure rate of the same positions.

    3. Compare these rates together over a long enough point to help determine a trend.

    For this analysis, I decided to set my NFL draft parameters as 2000-2012. It gives me 13 years worth of data, which should be a large enough sample size.


    Definitions

    1. Success. I am defining Success as a quality player. In my mind a quality player has to be one who is able to positively affect his team and help them to win games. A quality player is one who also positively contributes in some way on the field of play.

    2. Failure. I am defining Failure as a subpar player. In my mind this player either was unable to positively affect play on the field, is out of the league, or was unable to get on the field.

    Stats
    I am using a simple statistical mean.

    Results

    1st Overall Picks

    QB
    Success:6/10=60%
    Michael Vick (2001), Carson Palmer (2003), Eli Manning (2004), Matthew Stafford (2009), Cam Newton (2011), Andrew Luck (2012)

    Fail: 4/10=40%
    David Carr(2002), Alex Smith (2005), JaMarcus Russell (2007), Sam Bradford (2010)

    DE:
    Success:1/2=50%
    Mario Williams(2006)
    Fail: 1/2=50%
    Courtney Brown (2000)

    OT:
    Good:1/3=33.3%
    Jake Long (2008)
    Bad: 2/3=66.66%

    These numbers suggest that many QBs have been taken. That would make sense since it is such an important position. As such, a 60% success rate is quite good. DE is 50%, but only has 2 selections. OT has 3 overall and only a 33.33% success rate.

    Now let's look at Rounds 2/3

    2nd round/3rd round
    QB
    Success: 6/27=22%
    6: Drew Brees, Matt Schaub, Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, Nick Foles, Russell Wilson

    Fail:21/27=78%

    DE:
    Success:25/51=49%
    Fail: 26/51=51%

    OT:
    Success: 26/52=50%
    Fail: 26/52=50%

    I included the names of the success QBs for a reason. Look at the threshold of the term success. An argument can be made that even some of these guys should not be in the successful group, thus making it even smaller. What clearly stands out to me is the piss poor success rate for the 2nd/3rd round QBs. Whether its 22% or lower its horrendously bad. The success rate for OTs and DEs are remarkable similar: right around 50% which is a great number to have.

    Conclusion
    Based on my statistical analysis, I conclude that the notion that fail rate for 1st overall QBs is too high to risk on this pick does not bear out statistically. QBs taken with the overall #1 selection have a 60% success rate. The second conclusion is that there are simply not enough good QB options to be hand in the second or third round. In fact, it can even be argued that players like a Russell Wilson or Nick Foles, who may have in the past had imperfections in their draft profiles may go higher in subsequent years. Russell Wilson fell into the third round because he lacked ideal size. However, due to his success, a team is more likely to take a chance on someone else who resembles Wilson thus not allowing him to fall as much as he did. Thus, finding the next Russell Wilson becomes that much harder.

    Therefore I conclude, statistically speaking, the best strategy is as follows:

    1st overall Pick: Best QB prospect.
    2nd round: Best OT or DE prospect.
    3rd round: Best OT or DE prospect.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. Sometimes I go a little overboard and do not mean to write an entire essay, but I find i have a lot that I want to say. I understand that this is a message board where these is an opportunity of give and take...back and forth...discussion and counterpoint. I am aware that sometimes my posts can become long and cumbersome and for that I apologize. I sometimes get an idea and in order to explore it thoroughly it takes a little time and perhaps more characters than are warranted. But, as I said, thanks again for taking the time to read this.

    I look forward to a spirited discussion on the matter!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
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  2. kiwitexansfan

    kiwitexansfan Site Contributor

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    What was the basis of your assessments of success?

    Your subjective judgement or some statistical tool?

    For example, Okoye, was a starter for us for many years but is widely considered by the knowledgable Texans fanbase as a huge bust.
     
  3. steelbtexan

    steelbtexan Hall of Fame

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    His judgement

    This is not a normal QB yr. Mettenberger may fall to the 3rd rd. He probably would've been a top 15 pick. Murray probably would've been a late 1st -mid 2nd rd pick.

    How does that figure into his statistical evaluation?

    Tell me more about Bruce Smith/Reggie White/LT etc..... premium pass rushers who went #1 and changed the culture of their franchises.
     
  4. infantrycak

    infantrycak Mod. Staff Member

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    Doppleganger - you have two #1's in 2004 and 2007. Maybe I am not understanding your rules. Gallery was #2 and Brown #5.

    He looked at 13 years - are you contending there were no Mettenberger type players in that time period?

    Why? So you want to go back a longer time period and only look at DL and OT? There would be more QBs too.

    Reggie White wasn't drafted #1 by the way. He wasn't even in the ordinary draft.
     
  5. steelbtexan

    steelbtexan Hall of Fame

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    He was drafted #1 in the supplemental draft. Mike Rozier was #2 by the Oilers.

    I think White was drafted 3rd in the USFL draft.
     
  6. infantrycak

    infantrycak Mod. Staff Member

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    Steve Young was #1, Rozier #2, Gary Zimmerman #3 and then White #4.

    All of which is trivia. Doppleganger used a reasonable time period to examine.

    You could extend back 1984-99.

    6 QBs - 4 good (Manning, Aikman, Bledsoe, Testaverde), 2 mediocre to bust (Couch, George)
    1 OT - good (Pace)
    2 DE - 1 good (Smith), 1 bust (Emtman)
    2 DT - 2 underwhelming (Maryland, Wilkenson)

    Doesn't appear to change much.
     
  7. steelbtexan

    steelbtexan Hall of Fame

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    So your saying White was drafted #1 in an NFL draft?

    Yes/Trivial, I like pulling your chain a little. LOL
     
  8. infantrycak

    infantrycak Mod. Staff Member

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    Works both ways. I said trivia not trivial.

    They ran an unusual supplemental draft that year because so many players were excluded from the regular draft due to having signed contracts. It was a 2nd draft with 3 rounds.
     


  9. ObsiWan

    ObsiWan Site Contributor

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    Here's the raw data going all the way back to 1980; why don't you slice and dice it....
    LINK
    Man they don't make first overall picks like they did in the '80s anymore do they...? The success rate seems to be worse and worse and the decades progress...

    1980 Billy Sims* RB Oklahoma Detroit Lions Heisman Trophy (1978)
    Pro Bowl (1980, 1981, 1982)[46]
    Rookie of the Year (1980)
    1981 George Rogers* RB South Carolina New Orleans Saints Heisman Trophy (1980)
    Pro Bowl (1981, 1982)[47]
    Super Bowl champion (XXII)[48]
    Rookie of the Year (1981)
    1982 Kenneth Sims DE Texas New England Patriots —
    1983 John Elway‡[A 8] QB Stanford Baltimore Colts Pro Bowl (1986, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998)[49]
    Pro Football Hall of Fame (2004)[49]
    Super Bowl champion (XXXII, XXXIII)[50][51]
    Super Bowl MVP (XXXIII)[49]
    NFL MVP (1987)[49]
    1984 Irving Fryar* WR Nebraska New England Patriots Pro Bowl (1985, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997)[52]
    1985 Bruce Smith‡ DE Virginia Tech Buffalo Bills Pro Bowl (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998)[53]
    Pro Football Hall of Fame (2009)[53]
    1986 Bo Jackson*[A 10] RB Auburn Tampa Bay Buccaneers[A 11] Heisman Trophy (1985)
    Pro Bowl (1990)[54]
    1987 Vinny Testaverde* QB Miami (FL) Tampa Bay Buccaneers Heisman Trophy (1986)
    Pro Bowl (1996, 1998)[55]
    1988 Aundray Bruce LB Auburn Atlanta Falcons —
    1989 Troy Aikman‡ QB UCLA Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996)[56]
    Pro Football Hall of Fame (2006)[56]
    Super Bowl champion (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX)[57][58][59]
    Super Bowl MVP (XXVII)[56]
    1990 Jeff George QB Illinois Indianapolis Colts[A 12] —
    1991 Russell Maryland* DT Miami (FL) Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl (1993)[60]
    Super Bowl champion (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX)[57][58][59]
    1992 Steve Emtman DT Washington Indianapolis Colts —
    1993 Drew Bledsoe* QB Washington State New England Patriots Pro Bowl (1994, 1996, 1997, 2002)[61]
    Super Bowl champion (XXXVI)[62]
    1994 Dan Wilkinson DT Ohio State Cincinnati Bengals —
    1995 Ki-Jana Carter RB Penn State Cincinnati Bengals —
    1996 Keyshawn Johnson* WR USC New York Jets Pro Bowl (1998, 1999, 2001)[63]
    Super Bowl champion (XXXVII)[64]
    1997 Orlando Pace* T Ohio State St. Louis Rams Pro Bowl (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005)[65]
    Super Bowl champion (XXXIV)[66]
    1998 Peyton Manning* QB Tennessee Indianapolis Colts Pro Bowl (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012)[67]
    Super Bowl champion (XLI)[68]
    Super Bowl MVP (XLI)[67]
    NFL MVP (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013)[67]
    1999 Tim Couch QB Kentucky Cleveland Browns —
    2000 Courtney Brown DE Penn State Cleveland Browns —
    2001 Michael Vick
    * QB Virginia Tech Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl (2002, 2004, 2005, 2010)[69]
    2002 David Carr QB Fresno State Houston Texans Super Bowl champion (XLVI)[70]
    2003 Carson Palmer* QB USC Cincinnati Bengals Heisman Trophy (2002)
    Pro Bowl (2005, 2006)[71]
    2004 Eli Manning*[A 13] QB Ole Miss San Diego Chargers Pro Bowl (2008, 2011, 2012)[72]
    Super Bowl champion (XLII, XLVI)[70][73]
    Super Bowl MVP (XLII, XLVI)[72]
    2005 Alex Smith QB Utah San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowl (2013)
    2006 Mario Williams* DE North Carolina State Houston Texans Pro Bowl (2008, 2009)[74]
    2007 JaMarcus Russell QB LSU Oakland Raiders —
    2008 Jake Long* T Michigan Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)[75]
    2009 Matthew Stafford QB Georgia Detroit Lions —
    2010 Sam Bradford
    QB Oklahoma St. Louis Rams Heisman Trophy (2008)
    Rookie of the Year (2010)
    2011 Cam Newton* QB Auburn Carolina Panthers Heisman Trophy (2010)
    Pro Bowl (2011,2013)[76]
    Rookie of the Year (2011)
    2012 Andrew Luck* QB Stanford Indianapolis Colts Pro Bowl (2012, 2013)[77]
    2013 Eric Fisher T CMU Kansas City Chiefs —
     
  10. disaacks3

    disaacks3 Site Contributor

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    Of course, an easier statistical analysis reveals that if the Texans take a QB at #1, he's likely to be a bust. :fingergun:

    Don't get me wrong, I think we need to go QB at 1:1, but the Texans are already part of that 40% failure rate.
     
  11. Playoffs

    Playoffs Subscribed Contributor

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    2014 NFL Draft: Evaluating QB success by draft pick
    http://www.bucsnation.com/2013/11/14/5105030/2014-nfl-draft-evaluating-qb-success-by-draft-pick
     
  12. thunderkyss

    thunderkyss Salem Poor

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    Every QB the Texans have taken with the #1 overall pick has been a bust.... 1:1, 100%


    Doppleganger: I appreciate the work you did there & I agree in so much that a 1st overall QB prospect is more likely to succeed than a 2nd or 3rd overall prospect.

    That should be a no brainer.

    However, what I don't agree with (& I believe everyone who is saying something other than QB at 1-1) is that the best QB prospect in a class is a 1st overall QB prospect.

    Now I've seen some big boards where Bridgewater is the 5th best player in the draft, & if you feel that way, I agree. You should take him #1 overall.

    I will probably never have a "big board" as I'll never get around to grading them all.

    But personally I give Bridgewater a low 90 grade & to me that does not say #1 overall, especially when I give several others a comparable grade. If I only had the one QB with a 90 score, again, I agree, you have to take him. But I've got 6 QBs I grade a low 90 (yes, McCarron is one of them). 6 QBs that I would be happy with taking & have the same odds of "succeeding" in the NFL, & only expect 4 at most to be taken in the 1st round.

    Right now, I only see 1 QB in this class that has enough "excitement" around him to draft #1 overall, but I believe a team only drafts that kind of excitement out of desperation.

    Now, in the real world I would have access to these players. I would be able to sit down with each one of them, talk to them, get to know them. I would be able to talk to their coaches, their mentors, people who've worked with & helped develop them. It is possible that that kind of access can uncover something that will separate one from the 6... so I wouldn't be surprised if someone took one of these 1st overall.

    But as it stands right now, I see no reason to take a QB that early in this draft.
     
  13. thunderkyss

    thunderkyss Salem Poor

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    Then I'm changing my stance.

    I hope we trade down with Cleveland & take Aj McCarron with the #4 pick, then he'll have a better chance to succeed.
     
  14. matts290

    matts290 Veteran

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    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Playoffs

    Playoffs Subscribed Contributor

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    Analyzing the NFL Draft: The Safest Positions to Target in the First Round
    snipped for brevity

    which leads to more fun with numbers...

    How to Value NFL Draft Picks

    [​IMG]

    Above from Harvard Sports Analysis/Harvard Sports Analysis Collective


    Or you just go with the tried & tried SI slideshow...

    First-Round QB Picks Who Were Busts

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
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  16. infantrycak

    infantrycak Mod. Staff Member

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  17. beerlover

    beerlover Site Contributor

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    great work Doppel as usual. my biggest problem is sample size is too broad & position has evolved so much just within the past couple years. look how ineffective one of the greatest QB's in NFL history looked in the Super Bowl, why? not just a great defense or great players match-up, he lacks the mobility to climb in the pocket, create time or threaten with his legs.

    two best teams in the NFL both have great defenses no doubt (49ers/hawks) but what they also have is mobile, deadly, playmaker signal callers (Kap/Russell). Manziel is probably tops but Bridgewater has the best mind/arm, then next year you have two Mariota/Hundley, after which Jameis Winston. So which ever team drafts these player stands at least a 60% chance of success?

    problem is only one or two teams now will have a shot @ top QB's just kinda hinges on how season plays out. never expected Texans to flop this past season but here we are, two maybe three (trade down) QB options or best DE/OLB prospect since Mario Williams in 2006. :handshake:
     
  18. infantrycak

    infantrycak Mod. Staff Member

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    Looks like drawing too broad a conclusion from too small a sample size. Manning's mobility was no different than the rest of the season or his career. I think Corrosion is more onto the explanation that the Seahawks disrupted Manning's under 2 second game which has essentially nullified pass rush his entire career. Manning behind an injured OL was sacked significantly less this season than for his already exceptional career. (once every 36.6 attempts rather than once in 31 attempts)
     
  19. Playoffs

    Playoffs Subscribed Contributor

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    [​IMG]

    All of which says to me use the shotgun approach -- trade down, add picks, do your best at selecting them, expect busts. [​IMG]
     
  20. WolverineFan

    WolverineFan Hall of Fame

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    Good work man.

    I've been saying for months that the chances of landing a quality QB drop significantly once you get outside the top 10 picks. Using a 1st round pick on a QB is the riskiest way to use it, but there is no better way to secure a quality QB than with a 1st round pick. Texans have to decide if the prospect is worth the risk. That's all it really comes down to.
     
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