Which teams have nailed the NFL Draft over the past five seasons? Which teams have not? Robert Mays and ESPN’s Bill Barnwell dive deep into the data to determine the best and worst drafting teams, some of which may surprise you.
Publish Date: Apr 12, 2021
And what I wanted to do was I wanted to kind of find a way to evaluate which teams have been the best and worst at maximizing their draft capital over the last five years. And when we originally I presented this to you, you were hesitant about it because I think you thought it was going to be a way to evaluate those Gs. But that's not what I want to do. Because I think we know that over time most teams aren't good or bad at drafting, it's a lot more random than that. But I do think that looking at this and seeing which teams have succeeded or failed in the draft is a good way to understand what good and bad drafts do for teams, like what are the actual impacts of doing well or doing poorly in the draft? And how does that affect the other decisions that you have to make? Yeah, I think that's fair. And I think we can have a conversation about the randomness and you know, there's a lot to say about that. I think we sort of have that as an ideal in our head and yet I think everyone, if given the choice, I'd rather have Ozzie Newsome run a draft than say me, which is again fair and smart and I would do that too. But you know, like, like I think there is a a question of like given how much we invest, given how much effort is put in here, how much the returns actually matter. We can talk about that. But I do think there is a lot to discuss about how the grease and dress have actually impacted teams because I think you can see a lot of, you know what we sort of form in our heads about certain teams or certain GMS come down to one pick or one or one year of selections. And I think that, you know, as we get sort of bigger samples and some of the James who have been around for a while when it comes to a bill Belichick or john Schneider or the aforementioned Ozzie Newsome. You know, it can go in so many different directions. I think we get these sort of different eras where we have guys who look like geniuses who then turned out to look like idiots or vice versa. And the reality is, I mean, we're just basing it on a very, very small sample of information. But for these teams, that's really all you might get. It's so fast, how quickly it all changes. They can change on a dime. You think about how recent the Jason light trading up for Roberto, Aguayo pick was, it didn't happen that long ago. And as, I mean that that team won the Super Bowl a couple of months ago and we're talking about how well they built that team and I do think they did a great job in putting together that roster. It was arguably the best roster in the league by the end of the season, but it wasn't that long ago that we were making a lot of jokes about them trading up for a kicker in the second round and we'll get to the box in a bit. But I think the other team that you mentioned that's the most illustrative all this might be seeing because if we look at it over a 10 year period, Seattle still has the best drafting record. You looked at over five and 10 years, we're gonna talk about five, but if you extended out to 10 it's still the Seahawks because of what they did in the early part of the 2010. And in recent years, It's been almost memorable how bad they're drafting has been. Like, it's a joke on Seahawks Twitter about how misguided some of these choices have been and this is somebody that we considered the best drafter in the league as recently as like 2012 2013. So that's the amazing part of me, is just how fickle all of this is consistently. Yeah. And if you go back to those Seahawks teams from the turn of the decade, we have a name by the way, for the 10s. Is there a I don't know because I almost said the odds and I was like that's not right, that's not the odds. But then after the odds, No one No 1 has ever had to do with this problem before. Unfortunately. What are we gonna do with the twenties? Are we just gonna call it the twenties? Because the twenties means something else? Yeah, I feel like we can erase that. Like, I don't think they're going to be roaring twenties. Uh we're off to a pretty terrible start so far, so they haven't been roaring so far that much. Um so, I mean, I would say that, I think we have to ask the questions about how much scott McClellan came into play for the Seahawks in the beginning of the decade. And then that extends to every sort of group, right? I mean, you know, with the Saints, um then bringing Jeff Ireland in its sort of credited for uh they're great draft, which we're going to talk about later on, you know, and then Jeff Ireland wasn't all that great of a GM in Miami. Um McLaren had some success in Washington, but obviously Uh didn't stay there in the long term. I mean, there's so many things come into play here that we have to, you know, it's so hard to parse out credit for what works and doesn't work. And then to the point about the bucks, I mean, you know, having Tom Brady, they're probably made a lot of those pics look better. I mean the defense had great advanced metrics in 2019 but only got attention really in 2020 because their quarterback wasn't turning the ball over three or 4 times a game. So I really feel So where do you find what kinds of players you find in the draft, write the books? The books found the meat of their roster in the draft, especially if you look at the 2018 and 2019 classes, but we'll get to them. There are a lot of stars on that team that haven't been found within this range. And I also think talk about gms that our opinions have changed. I think that both of us would probably look at what the dolphins have done over the last few years under chris Greer and say this is smart process for the most part. That was gonna be my question for you. Actually just came to mind for me, not in our little um, google dot, not little. I don't want to be disparaging, but not in a google doc, but it's a robust google doc. Yeah, yeah. Your, your chart is robust. The google doc is whatever. No, I'm gonna ask you a question that I want to ask you this. We'll get started. We're gonna talk a lot of things. But Patrick Mahomes is the most valuable draft pick of the last five years, correct, I think, I think. No. Right. No, I think he's the best player of the last five years, but if we're accumulating total value over the last five years, probably deck Prescott. Right. I'm not I'm not even I'm not even bringing up back. I I think you can make that case. I think Mahomes is probably more valuable still. But anyway, I'm not trying to really compare. It is the most valuable player, but I think an accumulated value since they were drafted, it would probably be Prescott up to this point. The question I want to ask you is this, it's really not about Mahomes attack, but I think that those are both fair points is Laremy Tunsil the most valuable draft pick. That's a great question because I don't know if you noticed he's been pretty good for the Miami dolphins in terms of getting them. A lot of other players who are valuable. It's so funny you mentioned that because for tomorrow I'm ready in the athletic about the debate that the Bangles might be having about offensive tackle versus receiver and how hard it is to find tackles because if you look at, I did it by Pff grades and a couple other things. If you look at the top 32 tackles in the NFL by that metric from last year, 23 of them were drafted in the first two rounds and most of them by the team that drafted them. The three guys who were first round picks that weren't drafted by their team were all traded for at least the 51st pick in the draft and often times more than that. And then we're given massive extensions. If you drafted offensive tackle in the first round, even if he doesn't become a star for you or doesn't play for you for 10 years, you're probably going to get a decent return for that guy. If he ends up being