Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Drafting for Value, Part Two

First off, I would like to thank the guys over at for their feedback on the 1st column about drafting for value. Allot of what you are about to either read, or scroll past, is in response to their comments.

One aspect that definitely needs further clarification from the last column, is the Team Need Factor.

Determining a teams needs is very subjective. You would have a tough time getting 10 Raider fans to agree on the order of need for the team. And good luck getting behind the shield and finding out the only opinion that counts, Big Al’s.

The Team Need Factor for the Raiders that was used is my opinion. I based that opinion on carefully looking at the depth chart taking into consideration age and contract status. But I can easily see how some may have a completely different ranking when it comes to what the Raiders need. I don’t claim that my ranking is correct; I just think it is better than yours.

Next is the chart itself. I fully admit that this is far from a completed project. In order for the chart to become fully functional as a tool, the needs of every NFL team would need to be entered. You would have to fully stock the talent board (I have only the top 150). Then you could have a tool that is truly useful. Right now, it is nothing more than a concept and a means for explaining the value principle of drafting.

Furthermore, the chart is not intended to be a stand alone tool. There is allot more that should go into draft prep than ranking the players, determining their value in relation to one another, and then determining their value to the individual team. A major outside item would be mock drafts. There is a reason that NFL teams spend weeks with their coaches and scouting staffs locked down, running mocks and various scenarios to see what could happen draft day. This is valuable planning that can be used to prepare a team for what they may see when they are on the clock. Where the chart comes in is to help evaluate how a pick at 40, will affect your value at 71.

So if that is what it would be its best use, lets run through a scenario, a mock draft using the chart as a tool. I will be using the free mock draft from as the basis for the mock. Stopping at each Raiders pick to discuss the options on the table, and how different pick would affect the potential value of the draft.

And we are off:

1)Detroit – Matt Stafford
2)St. Louis – Aaron Curry
3)Kansas City – BJ Raji
4)Seattle – Jason Smith
5)Cleveland – Malcolm Jenkins
6)Cincinnati – Eugene Monroe

So what do the Raiders have staring them in the face right now. By the Raiders player value chart here are the top 5 options with the 7th pick:

Grabbing Crabtree right here looks like a no brainer, his Raider Value is 370 points above the next available option. But, the point of this exercise is to look at the draft as a whole, simply running up to the podium with Crabtree scribbled on a card is not looking past the obvious.

So let’s dig deeper. 1st we will assume that the Raiders stand pat, don’t trade down and take Crabtree, how could that effect their next two picks? Right off the bat, due to the selection of Crabtree, you decrease the Raider Value of any future WR. For this sample’s purposes we will lop 200 points of their value. And we are going to be a little conservative in our projections, and assume any player who’s ranked above the Raiders selection will be gone. So what would the options potentially look like in the 2nd and 3rd round with the value of WR downgraded?

2nd Round Prospects

3rd Round Prospects

Things aren’t looking too bad from a Raiders prospective. With the remaining glaring needs for the team being at OL, DL and S, there are plenty of high value picks projected to still be there in the 2nd but the value potential for the 3rd is limited as there are only 2 picks with values over 700, and by maximizing the 2nd (selecting either an OT or DT) you are counting on a player at a high demand position not jumping. The Raiders can feel confident that they can exceed their target of 6604 value points selecting Crabtree 1st, but can they do better?

Say they select Orakpo 1st, there is more depth at WR in this years draft, so not downgrading the Value of the position opens up many more options in round 2 and affords more flexibility in round 3. The value point ceiling may not be as high, but the floor isn’t as low.

Then there is the large and in charge Andre Smith. The value point hit in the 1st round and subsequent limiting of options in 2 and 3 makes him a bit unpalatable.

As this column is getting a bit long already, and we are only at pick 7, we’ll hold off on trade down options for another post. And acting as the Raiders, we’ll swing for the fences and attempt to maximize our 3 round value by selecting Crabtree at seven.

1)Raiders - Michael Crabtree
2)Jacksonville – Jeremy Maclin
3)Green Bay – Brain Orakpo
4)San Francisco – Andre Smith
5)Buffalo – Everette Browm
6)Denver – Tyson Jackson
7)Washington – Michael Oher
8)New Orleans – Rey Maualuga
9)Houston – Chris Wells
10)San Diego – Eben Britton
11)NY Jets – Mark Sanchez
12)Denver – Brian Cushing
13)Tampa Bay – Josh Freeman
14)Detroit – Peria Jerry
15)Philadelphia – Percy Harvin
16)Minnesota – Darrius Heyward-Bey
17)New England – Aaron Maybin
18)Atlanta – Robert Ayers
19)Miami – Vontae Davis
20)Baltimore – Hakeem Nicks
21)Indianapolis – Kenny Britt
22)Philadelphia – Knowshon Moreno
23)NY Giants – Clay Matthews
24)Tennessee – Darius Butler
25)Arizona – Brandon Pettigrew
26)Pittsburgh – Michael Johnson
27)Detroit – James Laurinaitis
28)New England – William Beatty
29)St. Louis – Brian Robiskie
30)Cleveland – Larry English
31)Seattle – Alex Mack
32)Cincinnati – Max Unger
33)Jacksonville – Alphonso Smith

The Raiders are back on the clock with the 40th overall pick. Crabtree is on a plane to Oakland for a Sunday morning meet and greet with the media. And it is time to get serious again. The Raiders are feeling pretty good right now, and one look at their top 6 remaining players by Raider Value shows why.

Now conventional wisdom may tell you that Delmas is the highest ranked player, and has slipped 6 spots to the Raiders, grab him now. But when you look at the chart, even if he is the highest rated player, his value to the Raiders isn’t as high as the DT who is still there. And a quick look at what remains of the potential 3rd round picks should clear things up.

Selecting Delmas in the 2nd would cause the Raiders to take a 600 point value hit. Without opening up the possibility of making that up in the 3rd. If the Raiders truly want to go with a combination of S & DT in the 2nd and 3rd, Hood and Vaughn gives a value of 2321, while Delmas and Moala gives a value of 1990. And there are higher score possibilities than Hood and Vaughn, Delmas and Moala just about maxes out your potential.

So of course, since we are riding with Big Al, once again we swing for the fences and select Ziggy Hood at the 40 spot.

I’ll save you recapping the rest of the 2nd round and the 3rd, and just point you to:

It has been entirely coincidence that my Raider picks have matched up with theirs. Lucky for me as it has made this easier. Since my board is currently only good through 3 rounds, we’ll take a look at what is still there for the Raiders, and see how we did.

So based on their mock, what is there in terms of best value for the Raiders at 71?

Some surprises to say the least, conservatively the Raiders had been hoping to get around 700 points of value out of their 3rd round pick. They can now max it out at 1278 by selecting Sidbury (remember since we have already selected a WR, we cut 200 points off their value).

Crabtree – Hood – Sidbury

At 8258 points on the Raider Value board, it would be hard to imagine the Raiders having a better 1st 3 rounds (ok I admit, I have already come up with ways to top it). Having the values predetermined made it easy to decide if you should pass on a sliding player (Delmas) or jump on them (Sidbury) on the fly.

Of course, this is the Raiders I am drafting for, so just before making the call to NY to send in the Sidbury pick, Big Al wakes from his nap, sees Asher Allen on the board and overrules, selecting the CB with great speed.

Crabtree – Hood – Asher

7746 points, still a solid 1st three rounds, but once again Raider fans are fuming as the old man puts the secondary needs in front of building a solid line.

Hope this helped clarify how I see this chart working as one tool among many in evaluating a team’s options in the draft. There are still plenty of things to look at as far as uses for this chart, including trade evaluation and a request for what happens when a premier player slips to the 2nd.

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