FanPost

Percent wAV of Best Available: Yet Another Alternative Draft Grading System

By ThaDers

The goal of every pick should be to draft the best player available, or if considering need, at least a player at another position at the same tier as the best player available. This system grades each pick on how close that pick was to the best available player by comparing the wAV of the player selected to the highest wAV still on the board. The compromise is of course the use of wAV, which while not perfect, is still likely the best metric available. By looking at the wAV of the player selected and dividing it by the wAV of the best player still on the board, we get the Percent wAV of Best Available (PWBA).

I looked at all draft selections for draft years 2017-2020 to see how effective front offices are in finding the best player available. Each pick is assigned a percentage going from 100% (literally the best player available based on wAV) down to 0%, players that never saw the field. This chart shows the average PWBA for all teams' picks over the 4 years. For reference, 40% is tremendous for a team's overall average. Daron Payne's wAV, when compared to the best player left on the board, earned his selection a PWBA of 46%:

1

BUF

40%

2

BAL

38%

3

LAC

37%

3

NOR

37%

5

TAM

36%

6

SFO

35%

7

ARI

34%

7

IND

34%

7

CHI

34%

7

MIA

34%

11

LAR

33%

11

KAN

33%

13

WAS

31%

13

PHI

31%

15

CAR

30%

15

TEN

30%

15

ATL

30%

18

JAX

29%

18

PIT

29%

20

MIN

28%

20

CLE

28%

22

NYG

28%

23

DAL

27%

23

SEA

27%

23

DET

27%

26

CIN

26%

27

DEN

25%

27

HOU

25%

29

GNB

24%

29

LVR

24%

29

NWE

24%

32

NYJ

19%


The Washington Commanders are just ahead of the middle of the pack in terms of average ability to find the best player available over those 4 drafts years, 2017-2020. The top team (Buffalo) more than doubled the proximity to the best available per pick of the bottom team, the NY Jets. As you can see, it is quite difficult to find the best player available, with the average of all picks being less than a third of the wAV of who could have been picked in that same position.

It gets more Washington-friendly when you look at "Plus Picks", which are players that were at least 60% wAV of best player available at that point in the draft. A plus pick could range from an early first round pro-bowler to an above average day two starter or average starter in day 3. A solid starter in the first round will not grade out to be a Plus Pick in this system (unless perhaps at QB or another very high impact position).

1

BUF

8

1

BAL

8

1

SFO

8

1

ARI

8

1

IND

8

6

WAS

7

7

TAM

6

7

MIN

6

9

LAC

5

9

CHI

5

9

MIA

5

9

LAR

5

9

PHI

5

9

CAR

5

9

TEN

5

9

JAX

5

9

PIT

5

9

CLE

5

9

DAL

5

9

CIN

5

9

GNB

5

22

NYG

4

22

SEA

4

24

NOR

3

24

KAN

3

24

ATL

3

24

DET

3

24

LVR

3

24

NWE

3

30

DEN

2

31

HOU

1

31

NYJ

1


Here, the Commanders are only one Plus Pick behind the league leaders. Worth highlighting that 6 of 7 of our Plus Picks came in the 2019 and 2020 drafts after only netting 1 in the previous two drafts combined (Chase Roullier in the 6th round of 2017). We actually led the entire league in Plus Picks over the 2019 and 2020 drafts, leading me to wonder if we truly are in an important window this year in our development cycle, with a lot of cheap talent being in the final years of their rookie contracts. Our average PWBA over these two drafts was also much better at 38% compared to 24% the previous two years.

Our entire draft classes over these 4 draft years follows. They are graded by PWBA on a scale of 0-19%: F, 20-39%: D, 40-59%: C, 60-79%: B, 80-100%: A. Plus picks are those As and Bs and as the chart above shows, most teams net about 1 single A or B pick per year, with HOU and NYJ each only drafting a single A or B (Plus Pick) over the entire 4 years.

2017

Rnd

Pick

Tm

Player

Pos

wAV

PWBA

Grade

1

17

WAS

Jonathan Allen

DE

33

55%

C

2

49

WAS

Ryan Anderson

OLB

6

10%

F

3

81

WAS

Fabian Moreau

CB

14

34%

D

4

114

WAS

Samaje Perine

RB

10

24%

D

4

123

WAS

Montae Nicholson

S

10

24%

D

5

154

WAS

Jeremy Sprinkle

TE

2

5%

F

6

199

WAS

Chase Roullier

C

23

79%

B

6

209

WAS

Robert Davis

WR

0

0%

F

7

230

WAS

Josh Harvey-Clemons

S

4

14%

F

7

235

WAS

Joshua Holsey

DB

1

3%

F


2018

Rnd

Pick

Tm

Player

Pos

wAV

PWBA

Grade

1

13

WAS

Daron Payne

DT

27

46%

C

2

59

WAS

Derrius Guice

RB

2

5%

F

3

74

WAS

Geron Christian

T

8

20%

F

4

109

WAS

Troy Apke

S

6

25%

D

5

163

WAS

Tim Settle

DT

5

21%

D

6

197

WAS

Shaun Dion Hamilton

LB

8

33%

D

7

241

WAS

Greg Stroman

CB

2

20%

D

7

256

WAS

Trey Quinn

WR

2

20%

D


2019

Rnd

Pick

Tm

Player

Pos

wAV

PWBA

Grade

1

15

WAS

Dwayne Haskins

QB

4

13%

F

1

26

WAS

Montez Sweat

DE

19

63%

B

3

76

WAS

Terry McLaurin

WR

23

92%

A

4

112

WAS

Bryce Love

RB

0%

F

4

131

WAS

Wes Martin

G

6

29%

D

5

153

WAS

Ross Pierschbacher

G

0

0%

F

5

173

WAS

Cole Holcomb

LB

19

100%

A

6

206

WAS

Kelvin Harmon

WR

3

23%

D

7

227

WAS

Jimmy Moreland

CB

5

38%

D

7

253

WAS

Jordan Brailford

DE

1

10%

F


2020

Rnd

Pick

Tm

Player

Pos

wAV

PWBA

Grade

1

2

WAS

Chase Young

DE

18

60%

B

3

66

WAS

Antonio Gibson

RB

14

93%

A

4

108

WAS

Saahdiq Charles

T

2

13%

F

4

142

WAS

Antonio Gandy-Golden

WR

0

0%

F

5

156

WAS

Keith Ismael

C

2

13%

F

5

162

WAS

Khaleke Hudson

LB

3

20%

D

7

216

WAS

Kamren Curl

S

11

85%

A

7

229

WAS

James Smith-Williams

DE

4

31%

D


Based on PWBA, some may be surprised that Montez and Chase were Plus Picks and ranked higher than Jon Allen and Payne. Goes to show why it's important to focus on impact positions which, per wAV, lead to more wins than positions like DT. If Chase had stayed healthy last year, he likely would have been an A grade pick and came close to Justin Herbert's wAV, which was the comp wAV still on the board when determining Young's PWBA. I’d also like to highlight that this system picked up the same late-round players KS4GM noted as "Impact Steals" along with Plus Picks in lower rounds that don’t meet the steal criteria. I also stole the term Plus Pick from one of his comments.

Final note: over the 4 years covered, we only snagged one single literal best player available at any point in those drafts. That would be Cole Holcomb in the 2019 5th round. Conversely, in the 2018 draft, the Baltimore Ravens selected 5 literally best players available at their respective spots in the draft: Lamar Jackson, Orlando Brown, Mark Andrews, Bradley Bozeman, and Zach Sieler. That must be historic for the NFL; the odds are just extremely mind-boggling. Over the last two years, however, we have outperformed the Ravens in the draft, netting the aforementioned 6 Plus Picks to the Raven's 2.