When checking over NumberFire's hardworked write-up about "Which NFL Teams Have Drafted Best Since 2000" some are obvious, while others make your head turn and wonder if it's really true. Nonetheless NumberFire did an exceptional job and I would like to commend them. Now on to the good stuff.
When thinking of teams who draft well immediately you think of..? Personally I go Baltimore, Green Bay, New England, Pittsburgh, Denver. These are teams who continually arrive in the play-offs, and won championships recently. I am stretching the meaning of recently I know, but these teams really are dominant victors. Good to know my senses aren't incorrect after looking over statistics.
This concept to judge players is shortened to N.E.P. (Net Expected Points). Numberfire in fact built this concept generator to give a quick credit where it is due. The ranking judges at what draft position this particular position should be expected to score X amount of points. Not just touchdowns, but yards, and even on what down & distance to further acclimate the ranking to the field.
First up is obviously quarterbacks, the most important position in the NFL. The top five teams in drafting quarterbacks being:
No brainer for me. The Patriots snagged a Hall of Fame quarterback with the 199th pick of the draft. the Net Expected Points are so low it's silly and his stats are record breaking. The Seattle Seahawks also snagged a mis-match with Russell Wilson being a 3rd round selection. The Green Bay Packers also have Aaron Rodgers rocketing the NEP high and far, only the difference being the NEP for Rodgers is higher because of the draft position. New Orleans is strange because the Super Bowl champion drew Brees was drafted by the San Diego Chargers instead, thus the stats of his NEP are not given to New Orleans. The reason for such good numbers being they don't need to draft a QB to operate around with Breesus firing TD's. The final team the Pittsburgh Steelers have operated under Ben Roethlisberger long enough to continue running up stats for 11 years.
The forgotten offensive skill position. Yeah, you heard me correctly. I believe that tailbacks are being treated negatively and not cared for because the passing league everybody is currently enveloped by. But thus, a story for another time. Teams whom draft the best running backs are as follows:
Jacksonville mainly comes up big because of MJD tearing apart opposing teams. The man at one point was praised for his prolific season of dominance. Even I remember watching him slash and smash through defenders trying to catch the ball of muscle and anger. I assume that Brian Westbrook has something to do with Philadelphia's second highest spot in the rankings. Westbrook is an over-shadowed name forgotten in NFL lore. Another addition being LeSean McCoy helping to boost numbers. Curtis Martin racked up serious stats for the Jets, but Martin wasn't drafted before 2000, helping to not spend much on the position until around 05, when they snagged up an aged LaDanian Tomlinson. Green Bay I believe benefits as well from a good back Ahman Green also helping to beat up defenders, mainly due to gunslinging Brett Favre. Then scoring Eddie Lacy in the second. Unfortunately, as earlier of me talking of "forgotten position" it doesn't help these teams could find good backs for very cheap and show up at the top 5 list.
I don't like reading an entire article and re-writing a lot in my own words, but something Joe Redemann (author of the article) wrote something that I couldn't agree with more. "What's moderately unsurprising is that the Indianapolis Colts rank far above anyone else in the league. Having had generational talents Peyton Manning and now Andrew Luck under center means that even discount receivers will get a huge boost in value." Manning makes good receivers great, and great receivers look worthy of the Hall of Fame. Even worse, Hall of Fame receivers with Manning are damn near unstoppable. Completely hit the nail on the head here. Also, Manning never possessed a terrible offensive team, most would agree. The lack of defense is always the argument for why the most intelligent quarterback hasn't won championships every year. But here is the list to help you better understand the viewpoint.
- Indianapolis Colts
- New York Jets
- Carolina Panthers
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Green Bay Packers
As spoken earlier I'm not even blinking twice with the Colts at #1. What does throw me off is why the Green Bay Packers Pro Bowl production squad not have the second spot locked up; but the jets weren't such a comical team for what they seem to be as of recently (excluding current squad of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker). The Panthers did at one point ran with Muhsin Muhammad and Steve Smith Sr. These two helped to push the Panthers into a satisfying third position.
This tighe end list is surprising list for me, but nonetheless the numbers don't lie. I expected dominant team New England and New Orleans to be 1 & 2 respectively. Gronkowski being a complete nightmare of a mismatch and at one piont Aaron Hernandez did prove worth on the football field felt like an obvious #1. But once more this isn't a recency list. This is a 15 year list.
Surprising once more that Dallas in #5 here. Jason Witten has produced some phenomenal numbers for 13 years now, and continues on his career to do the same. The man is good enough to still be the first search when googling, "Dallas Cowboys Tight ends all time". His wiki pops up first just showing you his production. The reasoning for the Redskins #1 result being low draft values of Chris Cooley and Fred Davis as well. Great picks during lower rounds compared to flashy 1st-3rd round selections. Also notice that three of the four NFC East teams are in the top five here, not a causation or correlation, but an interesting tidbit to view.
The best drafting teams overall. From all five skill positions. The teams go as follows.
- New England Patriots
- Green Bay Packers
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Dallas Cowboys
- Philadelphia Eagles.
It's obvious to me that New England is number one. the NEP of this squad isn't even something to disagree with. Bill Belichick is a football encyclopedia in which he knows talent. The Green Bay Packers are also something I'm neither stunned with, nor the Steelers as we always deal with their new shiny toys after drafting. Dallas makes us all wonder, "Is Jerry Jones really doing something good?" We all tease him but his stats are worthy of the ranks.
Very frustrating not once did I get to enjoy speaking of Baltimore, and I know some scrolled up and down searching for mention of our club, but thinking back on it have we really deserved the top five? Wide receivers are for some reason completely inept of being drafted and developed here in Baltimore, and our quarterbacks before Joseph Flacco are not worth talking about save for Unitas (if we even count him. A lot of annoying controversy I know).
Running back I feel we have done well. Jamal Lewis steam rolled us into the Super Bowl on the offensive side, and Ray Rice was a great talent before the teams decision to separate. Willis McGahee wasn't drafted for Baltimore but racked up some yards and even a pro bowl for the Ravens. Hopefully soon the Ravens will be shining with more offensive draft rankings, but I'm not complaining with our defense currently loaded with perrenial pro-bowl players.