The NFL Draft has always been one of my most favorite events. In high school, my mom would let me stay home from school to watch it. And for 20 years I was a draft fanatic. But then the Massey-Thaler paper came along in 2005 (updated in 2012) and the magic was gone. Yet I persist. Still lots of interesting analytics work being done.
This Michael Lopez blog post from 2016 is an excellent starting point as to where we stand with NFL Draft Analytics. In 2016, Brian Burke followed up with A Re-Examination of Massey-Thaler Surplus Value under the New CBA with a case study of Buffalo’s trading for Sammy Watkins. Last year, Lopez again found that NFL teams were no better at efficiently drafting players than they were decades ago.
So what’s going on this year? Lots of good stuff, I think.
Football Outsiders continue with their work on position-specific models to predict success in the NFL. BackCAST is their metric for projecting the likelihood of success for running back prospects in the NFL draft. SackSEER is a statistical analysis of the factors that have historically correlated to success as an NFL edge rusher. Playmaker Score looks at wide receivers while QBASE evaluates quarterbacks. As an alternative, Jeremy Rosen and Alexandre Olbrecht wonder if functional mobility might be all you need to predict the success of the top quarterback prospects.
Pro Football Focus is trying to understand how their work can lead to draft insights. Eric Eager and George Chahrouri examine whether PFF data predict QB success at the next level.
Mike Tanier produced a pretty cool Moneyball Guide to the 2018 NFL Draft. Bill Connelly writes that There’s a new approach to NFL QB projections — and the 2018 draft class is in trouble. Jacob Olsufka made a nice visualization of an analysis of QBs and Wonderrlic scores.
Football Perspective and Football Outsiders have done work to look at NFL Combine data. Football Perspective calculates Top Weight-Adjusted 40s At 2018 Combine, Combine Bench Press Champion, Top Weight-Adjusted Vertical, and Top Broad Jump. Football Outsiders determined the Speed Scores for the 2018 NFL Combine.
Then, there’s the concept of draft value.
Michael Lopez published a post on Rethinking draft curves. Pro Football Logic has its take on NFL Draft Pick Value. Football Perspective finds Draft Capital Spent On Running Backs Is Still On The Decline. Ty Schalter writes that The ‘Blind Side’ Era is Over At The NFL Draft.
Specific to this year, based on draft capital, Warren Sharp looks at who should own the 2018 Draft. FiveThirtyEight and Fancy Stats find Saquon Barkley is a risk at the top of the 2018 NFL draft. Meanwhile, Fancy Stats believes Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold are the NFL draft’s safest bets at quarterback and The Browns, Bills and Colts have the most to gain at the NFL draft. Chase Stuart at Football Perspective lists 2018 Draft Value Leaders: Browns, Bills, Broncos, and New York, New York.
I’m sure I’ve missed something. Please let me know what that is.