Re-Drafting the Linebackers from the 2012 NFL Draft Using Advanced Analytics

Has Luke Kuechly been the most valuable linebacker of the bunch?

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 linebackers (inside and out) from the 2012 NFL Draft. First thing's first, though -- how did the draft unfold the first time around?

9Carolina PanthersLuke KuechlyBoston College
25New England PatriotsDont'a HightowerAlabama
35Baltimore RavensCourtney UpshawAlabama
46Philadelphia EaglesMychal KendricksCalifornia
47Seattle SeahawksBobby WagnerUtah St.
52Tennessee TitansZach BrownNorth Carolina
58Tampa Bay BuccaneersLavonte DavidNebraska
72Miami DolphinsOlivier VernonMiami (FL)
77New York JetsDemario DavisArkansas St.
105Buffalo BillsNigel BradhamFlorida St.

Who has lived up to they hype? Which linebacker has been the best? Let's answer those questions now.