Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Do NFL teams draft proactively or reactively?

The NFL does not have a reputation as a forward-thinking league. It tends to get caught up in trends with a couple teams pioneering something (the wildcat formation, big CBs) and others following the next season.

Given that players are locked into rookie contracts and tend to improve in their first few seasons, the draft could be an opportunity for teams to bet on what positions will be in demand – and higher priced – a couple years in the future while their players are still locked up on rookie contracts.

By looking at whether the allocation of value in the draft more closely matches the allocation of salaries in the prior year, current year or next year, we may be able to tell whether teams are being proactive or reactive in how they draft relative to where the league spends money.

Monday, April 21, 2014

How realistic are the trades in 'Draft Day'?

If you are a regular reader of the site, you probably know that the answer is likely to be ‘very bad’ but thanks for stopping by to find out.

In the smash hit movie Draft Day the Cleveland Browns, with Kevin Costner as GM, make a bunch of trades to ‘win’ on the titular day. The dubious honor of winning on draft day is usually bestowed on the team that makes bold (read: expensive) moves to trade up and pick a player.

For those of you who don’t want to see any spoilers you should probably stop here as I will be dissecting the trades that are the main source of excitement in the movie (I’m not an expert in film production, but a movie in which a GM plods through 7 picks only at the assigned times across three days might not get people fired up). Check out this draft trade machine I built to follow along with the calculations and see the impact of assumptions.