For the purpose of review here is part 1 and here is part 2. In part 3 we are going to look at the final piece of our front office' ability to evaluate college talent in comparison to the rest of the league.
Undrafted College Free Agents
I chose to include players who started in the NFL in 2011 or later even if they finished up their collegiate eligibility prior to 2011. Again I looked at AV and starters (to be counted as a starter a player must have started 8 games in one season). Here are the numbers for the entire league (I did not count punters, kickers and long snappers as starters).
UDCFA data for 2011-2014
|New Orleans Saints||66||0||0%||86|
|New York Giants||24||4||17%||64|
|New England Patriots||32||4||13%||62|
|Green Bay Packers||51||3||6%||58|
|New York Jets||46||1||2%||53|
|St. Louis Rams||77||3||4%||53|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||62||1||2%||47|
|San Francisco 49ers||50||1||2%||29|
|Kansas City Chiefs||50||0||0%||26|
|San Diego Chargers||74||1||1%||25|
The Broncos have done pretty well with undrafted college players over the past 4 seasons, finding Chris Harris, Jr., Duke Ihenacho and C.J. Anderson (along with Aaron Brewer). I found it interesting to see that some teams brought in loads of undrafted college players over the past 4 years (topped by the 88 guys brought in by the Falcons) while others only brought in a handful each year (NYG, WAS, NE). Despite only bringing in a handful of players both the Patriots (Jeremy Ross, James Develin, Kenbrell Thompkins and Joe Vellano) and the Giants (Henry Hynoski, Spencer Paysinger, Larry Donnell and Will Hill) have been good at finding starters in the bargain bin of undrafted players. For the purpose of tabulating starters, I gave the credit to the team that found/signed the player first, even if he turned into a starter for a different team.
From the AV perspective, Seattle really did well with undrafted players over the past 4 seasons (finding UDCFA starters - Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse for them and two guys who became starters with KC Sean McGrath and Ron Parker who both originally signed with SEA). On the other end of the spectrum the Titans did horribly with undrafted players deriving almost no value from all 55 of the guys that they singed. The Titans not only failed to find starters, but they failed to find even minimal contributors.
Half of our AV in the table above comes from Chris Harris and C.J. Anderson (35 of 70). To put that in perspective all of the undrafted players on our roster last season contributed 51 of the team total 243 (21%). 21 of that 51 last season came from CHJ and CJ. The average NFL team brought in 55 UDCFAs over the past 4 years and found 1.8 starters among them. So the Broncos are exactly average in the number of UDCFAs we have signed and above average at finding starters from that group. Eight teams have not found a single starter in the recent pool of undrafted players with KC being one of those teams.
Value vs Expected Value by Draft Position
Chase Stuart from Football perspective has calculated the career expected AV for players drafted by draft position. Another way to evaluate our recent drafts is to compare the value that we have gotten out of players picked in those spots compared to all players historically picked in those spots. This way normalizes for teams that are consistently drafting early or late. For example the average total career AV of player taken with the 28th pick is 13.4. The average NFL career (according to the NFLPA) is 3.3 years. So historically players taken at 28 have produced an average AV of 4.1 per year (13.4/3.3). We took Sylvester Williams at 28 and he has a career AV of 9 so far, 4.5 per year, just slightly above what is historically expected for players taken at 28. Below is a chart of how all of John Elway's picks have done relative to what is historically expected from players picked in that draft spot
|Year Drafted||Round||Draft Spot||Player||Pos||Career AV||AV/yr||NFL Average/yr|
The total expected AV from all of Elway's picks over the past 4 years is 53.9/yr. The AV that the Broncos have realized from these picks in 62.2/yr. So John Elway and our front office are doing better than average. I did not attempt this analysis for every NFL over the past 4 seasons so I have no idea how that compares to the best drafting teams in the league (and worst, for that matter).
The Whole Picture
Our front office has been average at finding productive players in the early rounds, above average at finding contributors in the mid-to-late rounds and great at finding talent in the undrafted pool. Here is how we rate if you sum all of that up using AV
AV Total for Players Coming from College and entering the NFL 2011-2014 by Team
|TEAM||AV rnds 4-7||AV rnds 1-3||All drafted AV||AV UDCFA||Total|
Based on AV, the Broncos have been near the top of the league in terms of selecting and developing college players over the past 4 seasons. It's scary how much better Seattle has
been over the past 4 seasons compared to even the #2 team in the league, Cleveland. It should be noted that of the top 10 teams on the table above, only Cleveland and St. Louis have been losing teams over the past 4 seasons - the other 8 franchises have winning records even with some horrible seasons included. If you look at the teams in the bottom 10, SanFran and Pittsburgh (and maybe NYG and SDG) seem like they don't belong there as they have been fairly successful over the past 4 seasons.