Neil’s NFL Daily: April 25, 2013

Draft day is here and Neil takes a look at some recent draft history and the GM's that made the calls.

| 4 years ago

Neil’s NFL Daily: April 25, 2013

Well it’s draft day and if the actions of a few teams during the free agency period have taught us anything it’s that no matter how much cap space you have, some either don’t feel they’re getting good value or don’t have confidence on spending it on players they’ve had time to assess under NFL conditions.

This makes it all the more remarkable that generally front offices put so much more emphasis on the draft when they have far less useful information and are so poor in hitting even 50 percent on college players. Indeed one of the more recent tactics employed is to hoard so many picks that simply by the law of averages you manage to get a few right.

When conservatively between 25 and 35 percent of a team’s effort is dedicated to the draft you would expect good results but only a few teams generate those and today’s “Daily” is focused on that fact. I’ve used Khaled’s must read “Draft Grader” series to see which are the franchises who do well and identify those that don’t?

Thursday, April 25th

Dartboard Drafting

We don’t think it’s possible to properly analyse the 2011 and 2012 drafts yet so we concentrated on those from 2008 through 2010. Khaled ranked each player selected in his series of articles and I’ll let him give you the background.

“Each pick has earned a grade between +2.0 and -2.0 (in 0.5 increments) that depends upon:

• Where they were drafted
• Their performance
• Their contribution (how many snaps their team got out of them)
• Other factors, such as unforeseen injuries and conditions that could not have been accounted for”

What I’ve now done is summarize those articles in the following table which makes very interesting reading.

RankTeam21.510.50-0.5-1-1.5-2Overall GradeTotal PicksGeneral Manager Responsible
1GB2110731624Ted Thompson
2TEN135134526Mike Reinfeldt
3KC2351052427Carl Peterson(+2.5) & Scott Pioli (+1.5)
4MIN21294318Rick Spielman
4NYG224861323Jerry Reese
6HOU11513312.524Rick Smith
7ATL1241351226Thomas Dimitroff
7MIA2108321226Jeff Ireland
9DET2611511.525Matt Millen(+0.5) & Martin Mayhew (+1.0)
10NE3356104131Bill Belichick
10SF115851121Scott McCloughan
12CIN12315810.529Mike Brown
12OAK355620.521Al Davis
12PHI3221320.531Tom Heckert (+2.0) & Howie Roseman (-1.5)
12TB274710.521Bruce Allen (-0.5) & Mark Dominik (+1.0)
16DAL251071025Jerry Jones
16SEA25952023Tim Ruskell (-2.5) & John Schneider (=2.5)
18BAL1336811-0.523Ozzie Newsome
18CHI11513421-0.527Jerry Angelo
18WAS251042-0.523Vinny Cerrato (-2.0) & Bruce Allen (+1.5)
21ARZ1157521-122Rod Graves
21BUF213152211-126Russ Brandon (-1.0) & Buddy Nix (0.0)
21CAR161072-126Marty Hurney
21CLE426521-120George Kokinis (-1.5) & Tom Heckert (+0.5)
21PIT21410531-126Kevin Colbert
26NO21462-1.515Mickey Loomis
26STL151271-1.526Billy Devaney
28IND25873-225Bill Polian
28JAX167141-220Shack Harris (-3.0) & Gene Smith (+1.0)
31DEN2413621-2.528Brian Xanders
32NYJ35221-3.512Mike Tannenbaum

As you can see half the teams don’t get beyond breaking even and only the top three teams stop the whole NFL from falling into that category.

It’s perhaps also instructive to say that of the General Managers that presided over all three of our bottom-graded drafts only Kevin Colbert and Mickey Loomis remain in situ. The one interesting similarity about those two guys is that both their clubs recently won the Super Bowl largely on the back of superb displays from their franchise quarterbacks, but both clubs rosters now look less than stellar. How many other GMs are kept in place well beyond their actual performance would dictate because they had the luck of having a great QB?

The converse is also true because the draft, while a huge part of the GM’s role, is not everything. Both Carl Peterson (in 2008 at least) and Scott Pioli drafted well but failure to find a QB (and in Pioli’s case going with the familiar in hiring Romeo Crennel) doomed them.

The decision by Bud Adams to fire (then COO) Mike Reinfeldt looked peculiar at the time and even more so when viewing this table. The Titans didn’t have a poor roster when Reinfeldt left and drafted well during his tenure although he did make his share of errors; re-signing Michael Griffin being one of the most notable.

Other than those, the Top 10 is rounded out with a lot of teams you might expect: the Packers, Giants, Texans and Falcons are well run teams who get things right more often than not.

One final thing before I leave, if there’s one person on this list without a job I think deserves another go it’s Tom Heckert. Long before the dream team debacle Heckert built generally high quality teams with the Eagles and was starting to get things moving in Cleveland before his tenure there was cut short. His draft picks just from these years include Desean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Joe Haden and T.J. Ward.


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| PFF Founder

Neil founded PFF in 2006 and is currently responsible for the service to the company's 22 NFL team customers. He is constantly developing new insights into the game and player performance.

  • skinner

    I think it would be a better comparison if the numbers were normalized to the same number of picks