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Patriots get the best value out of the draft

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by arrellbee, Apr 30, 2009.

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  1. arrellbee

    arrellbee Rookie

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    This board is pretty savvy about the philosophy of spreading salary cap money deep into the roster (notwithstanding discussions where some folks want to spend whatever it takes to retain a favorite player).

    Evaluating what value you get for the cap dollar in the draft takes on a similar dimension.

    I doubt there would be too much disagreement among the veterans of the board that high round one picks, and of course epitomized by the 1st pick of the first round, have almost no chance of yielding value to the team anywhere near the money spent on their rookie contracts.

    In roughly 2006, a couple guys did a pretty sophisticated analysis of what contribution teams got from picks in the first few rounds versus the money teams had to spend for those picks.

    Using their value for the dollar metrics, one media pundit summarized this draft as:

    "Looking at this year’s scores, the four big winners were, in order, the Patriots, the Denver Broncos, the Lions and the Giants. "

    Link to whole article:
    NFL Draft Signals Giants-Patriots Super Rematch: Kevin Hassett - Bloomberg.com

    Going back to the 2006 statistical paper, the bottom line is that the best value for the dollar is right at the 35th pick. Of course, the Pats first pick was at 34.

    The top of the value for the dollar curve stretches from roughly 25th through 40th pick, peaking at the 35th pick. Of course the Pats next two picks were at 40 and 41.

    The Pats pick at 58 was down the curve as far as value for dollar goes. But since the curve drops off as you go back higher into the first round also, the 58th pick has a roughly identical value for dollar with the 12th pick of the draft according to their statistical analysis.

    So all of these picks high on the value for dollar curve were what led to the analysis that the Patriots got the best value draft this year.

    The original paper published is very long and full of jargon until you get down to the summary section and their graphs. In case anybody is in the slightest interested, here's the link:
    http://www.econ.berkeley.edu/~webfac/malmendier/e218_sp06/Thaler.pdf
  2. Commander Shears

    Commander Shears Rookie

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    It's worth pointing out that this formula only quantifies where teams select and how many picks they have, and does not factor in the effectiveness of the players selected. It is an interesting take on draft philosophy, but says absolutely nothing about player evaluation as by its logic, Chad Jackson was one of the Patriots' best draft picks.
  3. BradyFTW!

    BradyFTW! PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Of course it doesn't- it only speaks, in a general sense, to where the optimum positions are to be drafting for expected production vs. payout, based on historical precedent. In other words, the claim is not that Chad Jackson was one of the Patriots' best draft picks; it was that the 36th draft pick is a great place to be picking based on the caliber of player that's likely to be available versus what you'll have to pay him. From there, it's still up to the team to make the right pick. Just like Tim Couch doesn't mean that the #1 overall pick is a bad place to find talent, Chad Jackson doesn't change the fact that the #36 pick is a great place to find value.

    One observation from my end: I absolutely guarantee, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Ernie Adams has plowed through the entirety of this study, and has spoken to its authors at length about it. This is the kind of stuff that he lives for.

    It surprises me that the Lions are near the top, value-wise, for this draft. Without having read the study myself, my first assumption would be that picking #1 overall would probably murder a team's draft, in the value sense. You've already established that #33 is great value, but I suppose #20 must be too.

    Also, what about someone like a Jerod Mayo? It's been pretty well documented that 8-12 are desirable picks, since the dropoff in guaranteed money from the top 5 to there is huge, while the dropoff in talent oftentimes isn't. If you've read the study in depth, do their findings back up that general consensus?

    Finally, thanks a bunch for the link and the info! I find stuff like this really fascinating, and look forward to reading more about it.
  4. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    Whether or not this study is true, Bill Belichick has been acting on his own along the same lines for years.

    He would much rather have 53 good players and with a small smattering of excellent ones. He is positive that he will clobber another team with twice a many excellent players and the balance scrubs.

    The evidence is in, he is right. Relative to the study, if Bill had his druthers he would have lots of 25-40 picks to the exclusion of all others. He would expect to win all the time, in a Capped environment.:snob:
  5. hyperpat

    hyperpat Rookie

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    BB only picked Chad Jackson for that one playoff catch against the Titans. He and Ernie Adams calculated where and when that catch would take place and its value to he team. Once CJ completed that pass BB realized he received full value for Jackson and was ready to move him out.

    He calculated a similar equation for when James Sanders would make tackles in specific games. Sanders has fulfilled his tackle allotment. And now he had better pack his bags.

    BB has everything on a big paper spreadsheet that he keeps under one of the cushions in his office.
  6. BradfordPatsFan

    BradfordPatsFan Rookie

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    I think you are confusing Chad Jackson for Bethel Johnson.
  7. Isaac

    Isaac Rookie

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    If he hadn't done it already... ;)
  8. hyperpat

    hyperpat Rookie

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    Chad Jackson and Bethel Johnson, ever see them together? Exactly.








    Actually, you're right. I goofed. Should have had my coffee before posting. :rolleyes:
  9. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    He did, it's already done. I read about those researchers and they said in an article that the only NFL team to contact them about the paper was the Patriots and Ernie Adams. This was a few years ago.
  10. bokonon

    bokonon Rookie

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    Money quotes from the underlying article:

    "it is clear that teams giving up a second-round pick next year for a third-round pick this year are displaying highly impatient behavior. Though it is not possible to say whether this behavior reflects the preferences of the owners or the employees (general manger and coach) who make the choices (or both), it is a significant arbitrage opportunity for teams with a longer-term perspective."

    "Some of the successful franchises seem to understand these concepts, most notably
    the New England Patriots, but others do not. Whether because they are smart about these ideas or others, the Patriots have been doing well recently, and so have not had high draft picks to use. We can only speculate about whether they would trade down if they somehow ended up with one of the earliest and most overvalued picks."

    Love that! Thanks for posting it.
  11. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    As someone with direct experience wih several CEOs, I found this conclusion both interesting and credible...

    The implications of this study extend beyond the gridiron. Football players are surely not the only employees whose future performance is difficult to predict. In fact, football teams almost certainly are in a better position to predict performance than most employers choosing workers. Teams get to watch their job candidates perform a very similar task at the college level and then get to administer additional tests on highly diagnostic traits such as strength and speed. Finally, once hired, performance
    can and is graded, with every action visible on film from multiple angles! Compare that to a company looking to hire a new CEO (or an investment bank hiring an analyst, a law firm hiring an associate, etc.). Candidates from outside the firm will have been performing much of their job out of view. Outside observers see only a portion of the choices made, and unchosen options are rarely visible at all. Even once a CEO is hired, the company’s board of directors is unlikely to be able to measure his or her
    performance nearly as accurately as a team can evaluate its quarterback. In our judgment, there is little reason to think that the market for CEOs is more efficient than the market for football players. Perhaps innovative boards of directors should start looking for the next Tom Brady as CEO rather than this year’s
    hot young prospect.
  12. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Assuredly, the minority of analytical managers like BB, Pioli and Ernie have since 2006 read and ingested this study. BB designs his offensive and defensive game plans to exploit the weaknesses of other teams. Opposing teams with highly cap paid major stars are more likely to have stumps at several positions. These are the game plan targets.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2009
  13. State

    State Rookie

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    That was a great article. Salary cap restrictions means teams must respond rationally. Some are, and some aren't.

    I think the Patriots are even more ahead of the curve than most of the other teams, esp. with this draft.

    It used to be an arm and leg were required to move higher up in the first round. Now drafting out of the top--unless there's a rookie sensation like Jerod Mayo--is almost doing the team a favor.

    Old habits die hard.

    The Patriots success is evident in all the coaches who have spun off the franchise in the NFL and college. Where's Romeo now?
  14. arrellbee

    arrellbee Rookie

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    Good point. However, they did indeed evaluate the effectiveness of the players taken over many years of the draft by draft position. After all, that is the point of a statistical evaluation of value for cap dollar.

    They used 3 factors if I recall correctly. First weighted factor was games started by all players picked at that position in the draft. Second factor was games played in. And a minor factor was Pro Bowl appearances.

    I think this does a decent job of reflecting that the primary value of a draft pick is that you get a starter for your team.

    My observations in some of my previous posts are that it is my impression that the Patriots pick players in the first round, especially, with a high weighting factor that they will indeed get a solid starter. And they value this factor much more than 'potential' or 'high expectations' that so many other teams draft for and then end up with a player who doesn't even start. This is perhaps why mock drafts and 'favorites' pre-draft on this board have such a hard time anticipating a Belichick pick. All we have to go on is the media hype and perhaps some film clips. We have little background to assess the more basic fundamental projection of 'solid player'. We do, of course, realize that Belichick puts a significant importance on football smarts and flexibility. Those, also are hard for us to assess pre-draft!

    However Belichick weights the factors in his decisions, it is stark fact that his success rate with 1st round picks is FAR higher than the league average of 1 out of 3 first round picks ever being a solid starter, much less a 'star'.
  15. RoughingthePasser

    RoughingthePasser Rookie

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    That's an accurate observation:cool:
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