People often say that one should “wait three years” to grade a draft, but it only makes sense that anyone willing to offer analysis of players before a draft should be prepared to offer analysis of how teams did selecting those players.
To that end, the 2018 Consensus Big Board has a ranking of players by which to judge the draft picks that were selected. It would be easy to tally up the amount of draft capital spent and subtract it from the ranks spent — a method we’ve tried in the past — but the method doesn’t account for need.
At some point, flaws in an automated methodology should be expected, but this year we went one better and incorporated the need matrix produced by the people at Drafttek, creating a multiplier that roughly closes the historical gap between positional value in the actual draft and the historical player rankings the Consensus Big Board produces.
Basically, the Consensus Big Board ranks players by their “true” talent level with only a small positional bias while the NFL will “overvalue” some positions, like quarterbacks and edge rushers, compared to their true talent. The best quarterback will always be drafted ahead of the best punter. Once we account for that as well as the fact that needs are different for every team, we can more appropriately grade the draft.
First, let’s take a look at how teams did relative to the amount of draft capital they used (table is sortable):
|NFL team||Capital Spent||Capital Gained||ROI|
|New York Giants||6522||6800.7||104.3%|
|New York Jets||4723.2||4556.1||96.5%|
|Los Angeles Chargers||4634.5||4275.3||92.2%|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6560.4||6011.5||91.6%|
|Green Bay Packers||5633.1||5063.5||89.9%|
|Los Angeles Rams||3625.5||2721||75%|
|New England Patriots||5088.2||3719||73.1%|
|San Francisco 49ers||6014.6||4347.4||72.3%|
|Kansas City Chiefs||3734.4||2277.3||61%|
|New Orleans Saints||3909.8||2353.2||60.2%|
Generally speaking, it will be difficult for teams to return 100 percent of the capital they invested in a player of equal value, especially after accounting for the fact that it is easier to lose value with the early picks.
That said, the Vikings had been at the top of the class in the category — placing in the top three every year since 2014 and typically returned over 100 percent value. Though many of the picks that generated positive value on the board didn’t return it on the field — T.J. Clemmings, Mackensie Alexander and so on — most of the players did, including Stefon Diggs, Danielle Hunter and Eric Kendricks.
This year, the Vikings basically earned a “C” with the Consensus Big Board after three straight years of “A” grades.
Though the Giants’ pick of Saquon Barkley over a quarterback was controversial — and I personally disagree with their strategy — the method here is a slave to orthodoxy, rewarding teams for following the value model that teams have for the past decade. For the most part, that’s a pretty good guide, but in these instances can create some harsh disagreements.
That shouldn’t take away from what the Consensus Big Board considers a slew of high-value picks, including Will Hernandez, Kyle Lauletta and Lorenzo Carter.
Tennessee knocked it out of the park, earning big points for Harold Landry and Luke Falk and — importantly — not losing points in many places. The Saints and Chiefs, however, lost points — and that’s without accounting for the extra first-round pick the Saints gave up to move up for Marcus Davenport. The big negative value moves the Saints and Chiefs made include the Breeland Speaks, Rick Leonard, Cornell Armstrong and Kamrin Moore selections.
So, which picks did the Consensus Big Board value the most?
|Player||NFL team||Points Spent||Points Gained||Difference|
|Maurice Hurst||Oakland Raiders||451.6||1343.0||891.4|
|Josh Rosen||Arizona Cardinals||1813.1||2699.3||886.2|
|Derrius Guice||Washington Redskins||897.4||1591.6||694.2|
|Harold Landry||Tennessee Titans||1085.2||1693.1||608.0|
|Tyrell Crosby||Detroit Lions||405.8||960.3||554.5|
|Ogbonnia Okoronkwo||Los Angeles Rams||382.7||911.7||529.0|
|Josh Jackson||Green Bay Packers||1037.1||1504.9||467.8|
|Quenton Nelson||Indianapolis Colts||2076.6||2535.5||458.9|
|Duke Ejiofor||Houston Texans||330.6||748.2||417.6|
|Equanimeous St. Brown||Green Bay Packers||249.8||665.2||415.3|
|Josh Sweat||Philadelphia Eagles||489.8||884.3||394.5|
|Tim Settle||Washington Redskins||373.1||715.2||342.1|
|Ronnie Harrison||Jacksonville Jaguars||662.6||999.0||336.4|
|Jamarco Jones||Seattle Seahawks||357.5||672.4||314.9|
|Deon Cain||Indianapolis Colts||307.8||601.2||293.4|
Naturally, the board is not tuned into the medical issues that caused the falls for players like Josh Sweat or Maurice Hurst, but it is saying that these players have the best change of returning massive value for their franchises.
While the Hurst pick is the best “pick for value” after accounting for positional value and team need, I personally think the Rosen pick was a slam dunk. It was pretty close by the board’s definition of value anyway.
And who hurt teams the most?
|Player||NFL team||Points Spent||Points Gained||Difference|
|Terrell Edmunds||Pittsburgh Steelers||1281.9||553.1||-728.8|
|Tracy Walker||Detroit Lions||727.6||81.6||-645.9|
|Breeland Speaks||Kansas City Chiefs||1025.8||416.5||-609.2|
|P.J. Hall||Oakland Raiders||915.2||338.1||-577|
|Baker Mayfield||Cleveland Browns||3001||2435.8||-565.2|
|Rashaad Penny||Seattle Seahawks||1300.7||744.2||-556.4|
|Frank Ragnow||Detroit Lions||1455.5||923.4||-532.1|
|Hayden Hurst||Baltimore Ravens||1340.4||821.3||-519.1|
|Rick Leonard||New Orleans Saints||501.9||0.0||-501.9|
|Kolton Miller||Oakland Raiders||1603.9||1127.2||-476.7|
|Darius Leonard||Indianapolis Colts||1152.2||686.2||-466|
|Josh Allen||Buffalo Bills||1997.1||1536||-461.1|
|Joel Iyiegbuniwe||Chicago Bears||553.1||94||-459.1|
|Jordan Akins||Houston Texans||635.6||203||-432.6|
|Denzel Ward||Cleveland Browns||2285.8||1861.3||-424.5|
This method can never be perfect. I strongly disagree with the Baker Mayfield value here, for example, but the board is ultimately implying that the Browns should have traded down to acquire Mayfield because he was the third-best quarterback on the Consensus Big Board. Many evaluators might give the Browns a pass for staying put to select their favorite quarterback.
While the board, in my opinion, is correct in docking the Browns for selecting Ward a few picks too high when they could have landed an additional fourth just by sliding a spot or two.
In essence, the Browns gave up Josh Sweat, Nyheim Hines, Daesean Hamilton, Da’Shawn Hand or Kyzir White just to stay put.
As for the Vikings, how did they do?
|Pick||Player||School||Cons. Rk||Points Spent||Points Gained||Value|
|102||Jalyn Holmes||Ohio State||138||615||411.9||-203.1|
|157||Tyler Conklin||Central Michigan||185||392.5||257.8||-134.7|
|213||Colby Gossett||Appalachian State||170||235.1||313.6||78.6|
The board essentially thinks the Vikings only had two good picks.
For a full list of the values of each player after accounting for team need, positional value and rank on the consensus board, click here.