Posted Sat Mar 31st by Tim Lynch
I am not personally a huge college football fan, so I tend to leave the analysis of individual players to others and instead focus on interesting statistical trends dealing with the draft. One of my favorite resources is a retired old geezer named Tony Villiotti who has been analyzing the drafts since 1969. I have no affiliation with him or his website Draft Metrics – I’m just a fan. That said, his analysis of the draft from a positional view is very interesting to me and how it relates to the Denver Broncos specifically.
Two of his more recent articles sparked me to write this little blog post up. The first concerned his ideas about Value Groups and how they relate to successful careers in the NFL. I won’t go into great detail about it as you can click that link and read up on it in fairly short order, but essentially it is the statistical compilation of length and quality of careers for every draft pick from 1992 to present day. I’ve taken a condensed version the main table from the article and duplicated it below as I will want to reference back to it later on.
|Value Groups via draftmetrics.com|
|Avg Career (yrs)||7.35||6.55||6.05||5.70||4.95||4.00||3.25||2.55|
As you can see, there is a significant drop off in terms of starting talent after the first two rounds in the draft. The Broncos currently draft on Value Groups 2, 4, 5 and three more picks in Value Group 6. Obviously you can find talent anywhere, but historically, John Elway and company absolutely must hit pay dirt with their first two picks in this draft to maximize the potential of having a successful draft in the long term.
This bring us to the Urgency Index part of this discussion. Tony’s formula for calculating this index is:
The historic probability of drafting a five-year starter at a particular playing position in that Value Group, divided by the historic probability of drafting a five-year starter at that same playing position in all later Value Groups, times 100.
He goes on to explain further:
A higher Index means that history suggests there is more urgency to draft for that playing position in that Value Group. An index of 100 means that players drafted later have had the exact same level of success as those drafted in the current Value Group. An index of less than 100 indicates that players drafted later have actually had more success than those in the current Value Group.
Once again, I have duplicated the table below for easy reference. You can still read the entirety of his analysis via the link above.
|Urgency Index via draftmetrics.com|
|Value Group 1||Value Group 2||Value Group 3||Value Group 4||Value Group 5||Value Group 6||Value Group 7|
|RB – 725||WR – 521||QB – 612||CB – 501||WR – 933||CB – 456||DT – 363|
|QB – 553||G – 420||WR – 534||S – 481||TE – 455||OT – 312||CB – 294|
|TE – 493||DT – 413||TE – 459||DT – 426||G – 367||RB – 277||LB – 256|
|WR – 473||RB – 386||RB – 410||WR – 382||RB – 308||DE – 264||OT – 197|
|LB – 366||CB – 379||S – 391||OT – 319||DT – 273||QB – 256||QB – 188|
|CB – 335||TE – 359||CB – 390||TE – 275||OT – 259||LB – 201||G – 189|
|DE – 303||C – 352||LB – 356||C – 266||LB – 201||C – 192||RB – 182|
|OT – 300||S – 317||OT – 318||G – 239||C – 193||WR – 152||DE – 178|
|DT – 290||LB – 290||G – 279||LB – 232||S – 188||TE – 132||S – 132|
|C – NA||DE – 263||DE – 233||DE – 210||DE – 161||G – 109||TE – 100|
|G – NA||OT – 243||DT – 206||RB – 161||CB – 132||S – 107||C – 73|
|S – NA||QB – 107||C – 175||QB – 116||QB – 118||DT – 46||WR – 56|
This tidbit hit me the hardest:
So, how might the Urgency Index be used? Say a team has dire needs at both wide receiver and corner back and is considering players at both positions in Value Group 1 (first 13 picks of the draft). The Index would suggest that a team is more likely to draft a five-year starter at corner later in the draft (473 Urgency Index for wide receivers versus 335 for corner backs) so, with all other things being equal, they should draft the wide receiver first.
About a week ago, I wrote about wanting the Broncos to go running back at #25. After reading that quote above and reading through the entire chart, I will likely be wanting a defensive tackle early more than a running back. I assumed defensive tackles were a more sure hit earlier in the first round rather than later in the first round. I was wrong and it is time to backtrack some. The good thing for us is that historically, quality defensive tackles can be found in both Value groups 2 and 4, which is exactly where the Broncos first two picks lie.
Using the information from both articles tells us a lot about the value of positions in terms of years served. For a defensive tackle, getting a solid starter means a much longer career from the player – unlike running backs whose careers are typically short, even for the talented backs. When you tie the two together, it makes far more sense to go after a surer position early and look for diamonds in the rough during later rounds for positions with a short shelf life.
Obviously, this is not the end-all-be-all of selecting through the draft, but I think this information can be useful when analyzing individual players by position and draft grade. If one of us happens to be really high on a wide receiver graded out in Value Group 5, then at least you know history is with you. After ready both of these articles from Tony and an earlier post from guest Bronco Talk writer, Geoff Bangs (Part 1 & 2), I’ve slightly adjusted my own view of how the Broncos should target their needs in this draft. Bolstering the rushing attack is something EFX should still address, but going defensive tackle early might give them the greatest chance of hitting a solid multi-year starter than neglecting the position until later in the draft.