Draftmetrics: Analyzing Historical Draft Results
2022 – Part One by Anthony Villiotti
For the past several years I have been analyzing NFL draft outcomes using scrimmage snaps as a measuring tool. Snap count information from profootballreference.com has been used to build a database that contains annual and cumulative scrimmage snap count data on each player drafted in 2012 and later.
The purpose of the analysis is to understand and communicate reasonable expectations for players selected throughout the draft. While every selection is made with high expectations, history can tell us how likely a selection is to pan out. History, of course, is not an absolute predictor of future performance. History did not predict the success of Tom Brady. Who would have expected his career from a sixth-round selection? But some sixth-round selections are successful every year. We focus on putting numbers to the level of success.
In this analysis, career longevity is considered in addition to snap counts; a three-year “window” is used. Three years is admittedly arbitrary, but it is viewed as a minimum requirement for a draft choice to be deemed successful. A case could certainly be made for extending that window, but three years seems to be reasonable.
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