Re-Drafting the Running Backs From the 2008 NFL Draft Using Advanced Analytics
When the NFL Draft comes around every year, all we do is talk about evaluations, projections, predictions and comparisons. The lead-up is exciting for all those reasons.
But the same can be said for the years following the draft -- that's when we look at a player's development and potential.
Have they performed as expected so far? Do they show signs of being a superstar, or do they look like a wasted pick?
It's not as often that we look back to compare players from the same draft class. How has this running back panned out versus the others in his group? Was it worth moving up in the draft to get them instead of waiting on someone else?
These are things we usually only consider in head-to-head matchups, but we should do it more. Why? Because it's fun and we now have the means (through advanced metrics) by which we can accurately compare one player to another.
The best way to do this is using Pro Football Reference's Approximate Value (AV), a single number representing each player's seasons, allowing us to compare across positions, seasons and eras. In order to evaluate a career, though, naturally we use Career Approximate Value (CarAV), which takes 100% of a player's best season, 95% of his second-best season, 90% of his third-best and so on in order to weight peak seasons over what we may consider "compiler" seasons.
Using this CarAV, we will re-draft a position from a draft class based on the results and value of their careers to-date. This will point out the poor picks, value picks and much more.
Today, we're re-drafting the running backs from the 2008 NFL Draft. Here's how things played out for 10 of the most noteworthy picks.
|4||Oakland Raiders||Darren McFadden||Arkansas|
|13||Carolina Panthers||Jonathan Stewart||Oregon|
|22||Dallas Cowboys||Felix Jones||Arkansas|
|23||Pittsburgh Steelers||Rashard Mendenhall||Illinois|
|24||Tennessee Titans||Chris Johnson||East Carolina|
|44||Chicago Bears||Matt Forte||Tulane|
|55||Baltimore Ravens||Ray Rice||Rutgers|
|73||Kansas City Chiefs||Jamaal Charles||Texas|
|149||Arizona Cardinals||Tim Hightower||Richmond|
|233||Seattle Seahawks||Justin Forsett||California|
More than eight years removed from their big night, which players have played themselves up or down the board? Let's check it out.