clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Historical Evaluation of the Redskins Draft

New, comment

Om wondered at Extreme Skins if much of the cliches surrounding the Redskins -- as a failed front office that never retains its own talent, fails through the draft, etc. -- isn't so much hyperbole. It's a worthwhile question that I cannot possibly tackle by myself.

It did spin off some reader input regarding the Draft which conventional wisdom tells us is a sour point for the Redskins. It is often repeated (by me, by reader(s), by Redskins fans) that this team simply refuses to build through the Draft and that winning teams do so. I am going to test that conventional wisdom, not because I think it is wrong, but rather because I agree with Om that these things need to be proven before they're stated as fact.

This link was provided in that thread with a full draft history of the 'Skins dating back to 1982, and this link provides it for all teams.

Speaking strictly to the draft I want to compare the Redskins to their NFC East counterparts as well as the last three Superbowl winning teams. I am only going to compare the amount of draft picks and the quality of those picks (not the players). I openly admit that a more extensive investigation of the success of those draft picks is pending. I am not trying to definitively say how successful the Redsins draft, merely how proficient they are at doing so relative to successful teams.

I chose the NFC East because it offers a relavent comparison to how we rate against rivals we play more frequently than any other team. Since 2001 the Redskins have won fewer Football games than the Giants, Cowboys, and Eagles. No other team in the division averages less than 7 wins a season. If those teams are drafting players more effectively than us then it might partially explain this discrepancy.

I chose the last 3 Superbowl winners (Indy, Pittsburgh, and New England) because those three teams have a) achieved the highest attainable goal in the NFL recently and b) have all experienced enviable recent success as franchises. Since 2001 (the same timeline I'm using for the NFC East, as a matter of convenience) all have averaged more than 10 wins a season.

The presumption I'm operating with is that draft picks are, in general, enviable and that the 6th pick is more enviable than the 7th, the 5th more enviable than the 6th, etc. etc. Below please find the statistics for the amount of players drafted by the 7 teams in question and the average pick for those teams since 2001.

Washington Redskins (41 wins since 2001, 6.83 per year):
2001 - 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 = 5 picks
2002 - 1, 2, 3, 3, 5, 5, 6, 7, 7, 7 = 10 picks
2003 - 2, 3, 7 = 3 picks
2004 - 1, 3, 5, 6 = 4 picks
2005 - 1, 1, 4, 5, 6, 7 = 6 picks
2006 - 2, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7 = 6 picks
34 total picks since 2001. Average pick is 4.35

Philly Eagles (64 wins since 2001, 10.67 per year):
2001 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5 = 6 picks
2002 - 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 = 8 picks
2003 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 = 6 picks
2004 - 1, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7 = 10 picks
2005 - 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7, 7 = 11 picks
2006 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6 = 8 picks
49 total picks since 2001. Average pick is 4.09

Dallas Cowboys (44 wins since 2001, 7.33 per year):
2001 - 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 7 = 9 picks
2002 - 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6 = 9 picks
2003 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 6, 7 = 7 picks
2004 - 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 7, 7 = 8 picks
2005 - 1, 1, 2, 4, 4, 6, 6, 7 = 8 picks
2006 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7 = 8 picks
49 total picks since 2001. Average pick is 4.38

New York Giants (46 wins since 2001, 7.67 per year):
2001 - 1, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 7 = 7 picks
2002 - 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 7 = 7 picks
2003 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7 = 11 picks
2004 - 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7 = 7 picks
2005 - 2, 3, 4, 6 = 4 picks
2006 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 7 = 7 picks
39 total picks. Average pick is 4.79

New England Patriots (70 wins since 2001, 11.67 per year):
2001 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7 = 10 picks
2002 - 1, 2, 4, 4, 7, 7 = 6 picks
2003 - 1, 2, 2, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 7 = 10 picks
2004 - 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 7 = 8 picks
2005 - 1, 3, 3, 4, 5, 7, 7 = 7 picks
2006 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7 = 10 picks
51 total picks. Average pick is 4.23

Pittsburgh Steelers (63 wins since 2001, 10.5 per year):
2001 - 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7 = 7 picks
2002 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7 = 8 picks
2003 - 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 = 5 picks
2004 - 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7 = 8 picks
2005 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7 = 8 picks
2006 - 1, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7 = 9 picks
45 total picks. Average pick is 4.31

Indy Colts (66 wins since 2001, 11 per year):
2001 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 = 7 picks
2002 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 6, 6, 7 = 8 picks
2003 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6 = 8 picks
2004 - 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7 = 9 picks
2005 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 7 = 10 picks
2006 - 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 6, 7 = 7 picks
49 total picks. Average pick is 4.22

All this proves -- and I want to stress that as I am making a very limited claim -- is the following:

  1. The Redskins have had fewer draft picks than their Division Rivals in the past 6 years.
  2. The Redskins have had fewer draft picks than three teams that have experienced nearly incomparable success since 2001.
  3. The Redskins draft picks have been, on average, higher than Philly, Pittsburgh, Indy, and New England.
  4. The Division Rivals have all won more games since 2001 than the Washington Redskins.
  5. The teams listed above in order of Wins Since 2001 are Patriots-Colts-Steelers-Eagles-Giants-Cowboys-Redskins.
  6. The teams listed above in order of Draft Picks since 2001 are (tie broken in order of lower average pick) Patriots-Eagles-Colts-Cowboys-Steelers-Giants-Redskins.
Little else. It neither totally confirms nor absolutely denies any Redskins related paradigm besides proving that some teams who have enjoyed more wins than the Redskins also have had more draft picks. I'll let reader(s) draw their own conclusions in the Comments section below.

PS: Please feel free to challenge my numbers if they seem off. I did it all with a computer calculator and mistakes happen.