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Football Outsiders ranks Redskins 9th overall in Drafting Efficiency over last ten years

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Va. Tech running back Ryan Williams in NYC for the NFL draft

Football Outsiders published a story this week in which they rated the drafting efficiency of every team in the NFL year-by-year from 2010 to 2019, with both 5 and 10-year aggregates.

It was a three step process that started with ‘valuing’ each team’s draft capital (the value of all the draft picks for each year or time period). It will be no surprise to hear that the Cleveland Browns had the most draft capital to work with. The Redskins were rather low on capital, ranking 18th over the 10-year period, with 2012 (the year of RG3) representing the nadir for the franchise. The value of the total draft capital for each team was expressed as a percentage of the total draft capital available.

The second step in the Football Outsider’s process was to rely on the Career AV metric (developed by Pro Football Reference) as a proxy for the actual value received on each pick. The CarAV number for each player was calculated and taken as a percentage of the total CarAV for all the players drafted in the same year. For clarity, Ryan Kerrigan and the other players drafted by the Redskins in 2011 were compared to the total value of players drafted by all 32 teams the 2011 class, while Dwayne Haskins, Montez Sweat and the rest of the 2019 Redskins draft class were compared to the total value of the 2019 class. The five-year and ten-year cumulative numbers, of course, used the same methodology for aggregated data.

For the value received, the Redskins, unsurprisingly, scored very well with the 2019 class, with Dwayne Haskins, Montez Sweat, Terry McLaurin, Cole Holcomb and Kelvin Harmon all playing a lot and playing well as rookies. In fact, the Redskins were rated 4th overall for actual value of the 2019 draft class. The worst value grade given to the Redskins was for the 2016 class (rated 4th worst overall that year), which featured Josh Doctson, Su’a Cravens, Nate Sudfeld, Steven Daniels and Keith Marshall as notable non-producers (though the Redskins did hit big on Matt Ioannidis and Kendall Fuller).

The final step in the process was simple — just divide the actual return (as a percentage of 100) by the value of capital expended (as a percentage of 100). Any number over 100% represents outperformance vs. expectations, while anything under 100% would represent poor value for the draft capital expended.

The Redskins were rated above 100% in seven out of the ten rated seasons. The lowest rating in the ten years came in 2016 — the infamous Josh Doctson/Su’a Cravens class — though the 2018 class, which was rated so highly by pundits in its immediate aftermath, is the second-poorest value according to the Football Outsiders calculation. It is, perhaps, less surprising when you consider the lack of production the team has gotten from Derrius Guice and Geron Christian in particular, and the relative lack of impact from the first round pick, Daron Payne.

By contrast, the 2014 draft class is rated as the most efficient in the ten years of Redskins drafts scrutinized in this article. The top five picks from that draft — Trent Murphy, Morgan Moses, Spencer Long, Bashaud Breeland, and Ryan Grant — have all had productive NFL careers, which is all the more impressive given that the Redskins had no first-round draft pick due to the RG3 trade.

Over ten years, unsurprisingly, there are 16 teams above the 100% threshold and 16 teams below. Football Outsiders says that the Seattle Seahawks have been the most efficient drafting team in the NFL, with a rating of 135%. The Redskins tied for 9th overall (Atlanta Falcons) with a rating of 108%, coming in right behind the New England Patriots, who ranked 8th overall.

This, of course, is not a perfect analysis. Trying to rank qualitative information using quantitative data is always a flawed exercise, but it does offer some independent and objective analysis to suggest that the Redskins are consistently getting a good return on the draft capital expended. While the franchise has been chock-full of problems for the past decade, the ability to select talented players in the draft does not seem to have been one of them. Of course, a look at the team’s most efficient draft class (2014) shows that the Redskins have been better at acquiring talent than at keeping it on the roster long-term.

With the major changes in the organization that took place in the aftermath of the 2019 season, it is notable that the personnel group responsible for the draft was left largely intact, and that Kyle Smith, in fact, was given more responsibility. Hopefully, a few years from now we will be looking back at the 2020 draft class and praising that decision.

Key selections from each draft class (2010-2019)

2010

  • Trent Williams
  • Perry Riley

2011

  • Ryan Kerrigan
  • Jarvis Jenkins
  • Leonard Hankerson
  • Roy Helu
  • DeJon Gomes
  • Niles Paul
  • Even Royster
  • Aldrick Robinson

20112

  • Robert Griffin
  • Kirk Cousins
  • Keenan Robinson
  • Alfred Morris
  • Tom Compton
  • Richard Crawford

2013

  • David Amerson
  • Jordan Reed
  • Chris Thompson
  • Baccari Rambo

2014

  • Trent Murphy
  • Morgan Moses
  • Spencer Long
  • Bashaud Breeland
  • Ryan Grant

2015

  • Brandon Scherff
  • Preston Smith
  • Jamison Crowder
  • Kyshoen Jarrett
  • Tevin Mitchell
  • Austin Reiter

2016

  • Josh Doctson
  • Su’a Cravens
  • Kendall Fuller
  • Matt Ioannidis

2017

  • Jonathan Allen
  • Ryan Anderson
  • Fabian Moreau
  • Montae Nicholson
  • Jeremy Sprinkle
  • Chase Roullier
  • Robert Davis
  • Josh Harvey-Clemons

2018

  • Daron Payne
  • Derrius Guice
  • Geon Christian
  • Troy Apke
  • Tim Settle
  • Shaun Dion Hamilton
  • Greg Stroman
  • Trey Quinn

2019

  • Dwayne Haskins
  • Montez Sweat
  • Terry McLaurin
  • Bryce Love
  • Wes Martin
  • Ross Pierschbacher
  • Cole Holcomb
  • Kelvin Harmon
  • Jimmy Moreland
  • Jordan Brailford