Comments on: The Draft Value Chart: Right or Wrong? football, statistics, and football statistics (and other stuff) Fri, 11 Nov 2011 20:52:58 +0000 hourly 1 By: bruce stram Tue, 28 Apr 2009 15:40:58 +0000 Would you share the statistical properties of your formula?

By: Vern Thu, 14 Aug 2008 23:55:53 +0000 Could you prorate this by year?

That is, after one year in the league, what is the AV by pick, then after two years in the league, then after three, and so on up to "career in league" shown above.

This would provide a useful benchmark of not just the final average AV by spot for a career, but also a sense of the "average contribution pace" by year-in-league by spot.

With that, you could very easily start to measure how far ahead or behind "pace" any given draftee is relative to the average at his draft spot, after even just a couple years.

You could then say things like: "It's still early, but by year three, the AV for a guy taken 18th is on average higher then so-and-so." Also "It's only year two but with his AV, so-and-so is already way above the AV that is typical for players after two years who were taken 36th overall."

By: Pauly Sat, 24 May 2008 22:48:40 +0000 I did some similar research, although looking solely at the performance of 1st round picks against the draft value chart.

Taking the period 1967, the start of the AFL/NFL common draft, through to 1996, a period of thirty years. Looking at that period I charted the number of HOFers, number of probowlers, average length of career as a starter and busts and the average number of probowls each probowler was selected to.

For HOFers I have deemed players with 5 or more Probowls as HOFers in order to allow for players who's careers have finished recently but haven't been inducted yet. 5 PBs seems to be the starting point for inclusion in the hall with a few exceptions so I think I'm on reasonably safe ground to say that most players with 5 or more PBs will eventually make their way into the HOF.

I've labelled anyone who had less than three years as a starter a bust, which I think is a reasonable expectation for a 1st round pick.

I've broken the picks into groups of 4 as when I did my data crunching that seemed to work out as the best way to group the picks, but have posted the data for the 1st four overall.

1967 to 1996
#1 Overall
HOFers: 9
PBers: 19
Busts: 3
Avge seasons as starte: 8.7
Avge No of PBs selected to: 4.3

#2 Overall
HOFers: 9
PBers: 16
Busts: 5
Avge seasons as starter: 7.8
Avge No of PBs selected to: 4.7

#3 Overall
HOFers: 4
PBers: 19
Busts: 6
Avge seasons as starter: 7.6
Avge No of PBs selected to: 3.7

#4 Overall
HOFers: 12
PBers: 19
Busts: 6
Avge Seasons as starter: 7.8
Avge no of PBs selected to: 5.3

# 1-4 Overall as a group:
HOFers: 34
Pbers: 73
Busts: 20
Avge seasons as starter: 7.98
Avge No of PBs selected to: 4.50

# 5-8
HOFers: 13
Pbers: 54
Busts: 37
Avge seasons as starter: 6.37
Avge No of PBs selected to: 3.62

# 9-12
HOFers: 11
Pbers: 43
Busts: 38
Avge seasons as starter: 5.94
Avge No of PBs selected to: 3.45

# 13-16
HOFers: 10
Pbers: 41
Busts: 44
Avge seasons as starter: 5.71
Avge No of PBs selected to: 3.62

# 17 to 20
HOFers: 10
Pbers: 35
Busts: 43
Avge seasons as starter: 5.15
Avge No of PBs selected to: 3.31

# 21 to 24
HOFers: 6
Pbers: 33
Busts: 50
Avge seasons as starter: 4.96
Avge No of PBs selected to: 2.44

# 25 to 28
HOFers: 6
PBers: 22
Busts: 63
Avge seasons as starter: 4.44
Avge no of PBs selected to: 2.86

#29 to 32
HOFers: 6
PBers: 16
Busts: 65
Avge seasons as starter: 3.95
Avge no of PBs selected to: 3.04

Without assigning a value to the pick the first round shakes out very much like the overall draft in that it is logarithmic in that there is a rapid drop off then a levelling out.

For me the most interesting thing was that the further back you go in the draft you are significantly increasing your chances of striking out completely.

The very surprising thing for me was that the #4 overall was hugely more productive than the #3 overall, and is probably the best performing slot to pick from. I have no idea if there is a reason for this or if it's merely a statistical anomaly.

By: Chase Thu, 22 May 2008 15:04:33 +0000 Good point, mrh. I'll be posting a chart eventually with the other two types of AV used, the full career chart and the draft value chart. The full career chart weighs each season the same, and the draft value chart weighs the first four seasons at 100%, the fifth at 90%, the sixth at 80%, etc.. That probably fits what you want a bit better.

(The one I used here weighs the first season at 100%, the second at 95%, the third at 90%, etc..)

By: mrh Thu, 22 May 2008 14:25:23 +0000 Nice analysis.

One observation - in the free agent era, the draft only guarantees a team the use of a player for 4-6 years. After that, he is at least theoretically available to every team, so AV accumulated after that is not acquired through the draft (although compensatory picks for losing a FA should count as value gained thru the draft, I guess). What would the pick values/curve look like if they only assigned the first 6 years (or pick a better number - maybe max contract length for each pick under the current CBA) of AV to the draft slot?

By: maurile Wed, 21 May 2008 16:02:49 +0000 We know that Pick N is always better than Pick N+5

I know we're sidestepping salaries for the moment, but to make it clear I'd say that that the player selected at Pick N is always (expected to be) better than the player selected at Pick N+5. (And even this is an oversimplification since some teams draft for need instead of taking the best player available.)

If we're talking about the picks themselves, rather than the players, the Massey & Thaler paper argues that Pick N+5 is often indeed more valuable than Pick N.

If a team trades up to get the first or second pick in the draft, they probably don’t think they’ll end up with Russell Maryland

This one is true quite literally. When the Cowboys traded up two days before the 1991 draft, it was to draft Raghib Ismail with the first pick. But on the morning of the draft, Ismail announced that he would sign with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts.

By: Jim A Wed, 21 May 2008 15:27:29 +0000 I've always been somewhat skeptical that GMs (or draftniks) can indeed distinguish between players with "upside" (i.e. either a 5 or a 10) and players without upside (an 8) but the same mean projection, especially in the later rounds. To me, citing upside is often merely a weak justification for a reach, drafting a guy earlier than his ability/performance warrants due to intangibles. Sure, some high-profile players may truly be higher risk due to a career-threatening injury or a criminal history, but I wouldn't think there are enough of these players to warrant a systematic shift in the value chart. And it isn't even clear that such players are overvalued rather than undervalued.

Somebody ought to do a study of players noted with the upside label to see if their career value is really more varied than those without upside (that is, if we can even agree on which players actually have upside). Then maybe we could put some real numbers into quantifying the risks.

By: Brian Wed, 21 May 2008 14:22:51 +0000 Awesome post. I think you're hitting the nail on the head with the "upside risk" analysis. I can't tell if you're aware of this, but you are describing utility theory almost perfectly when you discuss the guaranteed 8 vs a 50/50 shot at a 10 or 5.

There is a point of "indifference" in the gamble you describe at which the typical GM would be just as happy with with the guaranteed 8 as with the chance for the 10 vs the 5. The point of indifference might be 60/40, or 30/70, or whatever, but it's something and it could be measured to build a true utility curve for the draft.

Another possible explanation for the apparent overvaluing of top picks may lie in decision theory. GMs are not only making decisions under risk (as you describe above), but also under uncertainty. In other words, they're not really sure what the risk level is, so they end up favoring alternatives with the highest minimum probability of payoff (the risk floor), which would be the top picks. A #1 pick may not pan out the way a #1 pick would be expected to, but there is a very low chance he would not be a contributing player at all, at least compared to picks further down the draft.

The cool thing is, guys like you can help quantify what the risks actually are, minimizing uncertainty. If GMs and coaches paid attention the overvaluing of top picks would be reduced.