In February, the NFL’s Competition Committee approved a plan that will give every team access to in-game player-tracking data for players on all 32 rosters, not just data for their own players. For the past two seasons teams have been given information on their franchise’s personnel. In April, Baltimore and the rest of the league can expect to receive league-wide historical data from the 2016-2017 seasons. Moving forward, league-wide data will be distributed on a weekly basis starting next season.
I’d love to see how this changes team’s in game strategies going forward. A few coaches already have consultants for various situations that chime in with analytics based data.
“Best player available” is such a strongly-held doctrine in Baltimore that it may as well be tattooed on every employee in the personnel department.
But as the game has changed, and drafting trends have followed, is it time to shift that philosophy?
Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta opened up that conversation when discussing the trend of wide receivers flying off the board quicker than expected.
“Listen, you can either pick the best player when you’re on the clock or you sort of change your valuations of the positions and maybe tweak how you value the positions in comparison to the other positions,” DeCosta said. “Not all positions maybe are valued the same.”
BPA requires common sense. You don’t want a QB if you already have an established one, but you don’t want to reach for a need.
The question remains, will these moves pay off for the Ravens this season? Last year, their free agent class was seemingly a disaster. Of their big five signings, Austin Howard, Tony Jefferson, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Carr and Jeremy Maclin, only two are on the roster for next season. Not to mention, Jefferson struggled last season and was not the player many expected him to be. Carr on the other hand started out hot, but eventually began to struggle as the season progressed. He was still a solid starter for Baltimore last year.
I have some thoughts on the Ravens and free agents that I’ll share in a separate article in the coming days. The tides are changing in the NFL.