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Using approximate value to grade John Elway's drafts

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Even though John Elway technically wasn't the GM in 2011, we will give him credit for that draft. How well have the Denver Broncos drafted under his leadership?

Unlike Jared Goff and Christian Hackenburg, John Elway has big hands
Unlike Jared Goff and Christian Hackenburg, John Elway has big hands
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

This is a revisit of an article from about this same time last year. This will include the 2015 draft. All data is from Pro-football-reference.com

Year Rnd Pick Column1 Pos From To All-Pro ProBowl Starter? CarAV
2015 1 23 Shane Ray DE 2015 2015 0 0 0 2
2015 2 59 Ty Sambrailo T 2015 2015 0 0 0 1
2015 3 92 Jeff Heuerman TE IR in 2015 0 0 0 0
2015 4 133 Max Garcia C 2015 2015 0 0 0 3
2015 5 164 Lorenzo Doss CB 2015 2015 0 0 0 0
2015 6 203 Darius Kilgo NT 2015 2015 0 0 0 1
2015 7 250 Trevor Siemian QB 2015 2015 0 0 0 0
2015 7 251 Taurean Nixon DB PS in 2015 0 0 0 0
2015 7 252 Josh Furman DB PS in 2015 0 0 0 0
2014 1 31 Bradley Roby DB 2014 2015 0 0 0 5
2014 2 56 Cody Latimer WR 2014 2015 0 0 0 0
2014 3 95 Michael Schofield OL 2014 2015 0 0 1 6
2014 5 156 Lamin Barrow LB 2014 2015 0 0 0 2
2014 6 207 Matt Paradis OL 2014 2015 0 0 1 6
2014 7 242 Corey Nelson LB 2014 2015 0 0 0 2
2013 1 28 Sylvester Williams DT 2013 2015 0 0 2 15
2013 2 58 Montee Ball RB 2013 2014 0 0 0 8
2013 3 90 Kayvon Webster DB 2013 2015 0 0 0 4
2013 5 146 Quanterus Smith DE 2013 2014 0 0 0 1
2013 5 161 Tavarres King WR 2013 2014 0 0 0 0
2013 6 173 Vinston Painter G 2013 2014 0 0 0 0
2013 7 234 Zac Dysert QB 2013 2014 0 0 0 0
2012 2 36 Derek Wolfe DT 2012 2015 0 0 4 25
2012 2 57 Brock Osweiler QB 2012 2015 0 0 0 5
2012 3 67 Ronnie Hillman RB 2012 2015 0 0 1 15
2012 4 101 Omar Bolden DB 2012 2015 0 0 0 5
2012 4 108 Philip Blake OL 2012 2013 0 0 0 0
2012 5 137 Malik Jackson DT 2012 2015 0 0 1 16
2012 6 188 Danny Trevathan LB 2012 2015 0 0 2 20
2011 1 2 Von Miller LB 2011 2015 2 4 5 58
2011 2 45 Rahim Moore DB 2011 2015 0 0 3 20
2011 2 46 Orlando Franklin T 2011 2015 0 0 5 34
2011 3 67 Nate Irving LB 2011 2015 0 0 1 9
2011 4 108 Quinton Carter DB 2011 2014 0 0 1 5
2011 4 129 Julius Thomas TE 2011 2015 0 2 3 16
2011 6 189 Mike Mohamed LB 2011 2015 0 0 0 4
2011 7 204 Virgil Green TE 2011 2015 0 0 1 3
2011 7 247 Jeremy Beal DL 2011 2012 0 0 0 0

AV = approximate value; Car AV = total career AV

Von Miller is our only draftee during Elway's tenure to make All-Pro. Both he and Julius Thomas made the Pro-Bowl. Fourteen of thirty-eight players have become starters (37%). Those numbers need context though. How has the rest of the league compared during the same time frame. The total AV for all 38 of the drafted players is 291 at this point. Meaning that the those players have a career average AV of 7.7. That is in the top quartile of all NFL franchises during this time frame (tied for 8th overall).

I find it interesting that there are two teams that are outliers of the high end (CAR and SEA) and one team that is an outlier of the low end (SFO). All three of those teams have represented the NFC in the Super Bowl during this time frame. Seattle's number is so high because of the value that they have gotten from Bobby Wagner, Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman and KJ Wright. Carolina's number is high because they have gotten a lot of AV from Cam Newton and Luke Keuchly, but they have also gotten solid contributions from almost all of their draft picks - few stars, but many starters. The 49ers have had a horrible run of whiffs in the draft going back to about the last time that they went to the Super Bowl.

Poll

Now that you have seen the data, what overall grade would you give Elway's drafts?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    A+
    (75 votes)
  • 19%
    A
    (220 votes)
  • 41%
    A-/B+
    (472 votes)
  • 23%
    B
    (261 votes)
  • 5%
    B-/C+
    (60 votes)
  • 1%
    C
    (19 votes)
  • 0%
    C-/D+
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    F (the I'm a Faiders/Chefs/Sparklers troll option)
    (5 votes)
1124 votes total Vote Now