Re-Drafting the Wide Receivers From the 2014 NFL Draft Using Advanced Analytics
Every year, come time for the NFL draft, we 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.
Here, we're re-drafting the wide receivers from the 2014 NFL Draft. And here are where each of the top guys slotted in three Aprils ago.
|4||Buffalo Bills||Sammy Watkins||Clemson|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Mike Evans||Texas A&M|
|12||New York Giants||Odell Beckham, Jr.||LSU|
|20||New Orleans Saints||Brandin Cooks||Oregon St.|
|28||Carolina Panthers||Kelvin Benjamin||Florida St.|
|42||Philadelphia Eagles||Jordan Matthews||Vanderbilt|
|53||Green Bay Packers||Davante Adams||Fresno St.|
|61||Jacksonville Jaguars||Allen Robinson||Penn St.|
|63||Miami Dolphins||Jarvis Landry||LSU|
|91||Arizona Cardinals||John Brown||Pittsburg St.|
Would history repeat itself if we were to re-do it all now? If not, how would things be different?
Who would be the number one wideout off the board? Let's start with number 10 and work our way there.