Re-Drafting the Linebackers from the 2012 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 linebackers (inside and out) from the 2012 NFL Draft. First thing's first, though -- how did the draft unfold the first time around?
|9||Carolina Panthers||Luke Kuechly||Boston College|
|25||New England Patriots||Dont'a Hightower||Alabama|
|35||Baltimore Ravens||Courtney Upshaw||Alabama|
|46||Philadelphia Eagles||Mychal Kendricks||California|
|47||Seattle Seahawks||Bobby Wagner||Utah St.|
|52||Tennessee Titans||Zach Brown||North Carolina|
|58||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Lavonte David||Nebraska|
|72||Miami Dolphins||Olivier Vernon||Miami (FL)|
|77||New York Jets||Demario Davis||Arkansas St.|
|105||Buffalo Bills||Nigel Bradham||Florida St.|
Who has lived up to they hype? Which linebacker has been the best? Let's answer those questions now.