The Calculus of the Draft

BillsZone.com's Alex Soto takes a unique look a tthe value of the top picks in the Buffalo Bill's draft.

The Calculus of the Draft for the Buffalo Bills By Alex Soto Okay, so it is not really Calculus we will be doing here, but many times, general managers, coaches and scouts turn to a draft chart to attempt and ascertain the value of picks based on when the pick occurs within a draft. This is often done when a trade is being considered to ensure proper compensation is given or received for a trade in picks. Such a typical chart used by GMs exists in: http://www.nfldraftworld.com/tvc.htm

The following is an attempt to quantify the picks the Buffalo Bills made and determine whether the "reaches" described by many analysts for both the 1st round picks of Donte Whitner at safety and John McCargo at defensive tackle – allowed the Bills to have a good overall draft value with the players selected in the 2006 draft.

Note: For the weak of heart at math, don't get discouraged. We contain ourselves to simple adding and subtracting here.

Analysis:

1a) Donte Whitner at #8.
Pick#8 is worth 1400 pts (Note: Please see the link above for obtaining the point values). Whitner, at the very latest, was projected to have gone with Miami. Picking at #16, the value Whitner was worth was 1000 pts – there are rumors that Whitner might have gone earlier had the Bills not taken him, but we'll be conservative here and assume that Miami would have been the one that picked him. The net loss or net gain then becomes the difference between the value we picked him at, and the value he is said to be worth…
Net loss: 1000 – 1400 = -400 pts

1b) The Bills moved up to get John McCargo at #26.
Pick#42 = 480 pts. This represents the Bills scheduled 2nd round pick. The Bills moved up to #26 in the 1st round at a position which equates to 700 pts and lost their second 3rd rounder (Pick#73 = -225). The net loss then was their second 3rd round pick since that is what they lost to be able to move up.
Total loss so far: -400 + -225 = -625 pts.

3) Ashton Youboty at #70
Pick #70 = 240 pts. Many mock drafts had him going anywhere in the mid to late 1st round. I will choose #25 as an "average" of when he was slated to go. Pick#25 = 720. For this pick, we obtain a draft value then of 720 pts - 240 pts or a net gain of +480 pts.
Total loss so far: -625+480 = -145 pts

4) Ko Simpson drafted at 105th
Picked #105 = 84 pts. Most mock drafts rated him anywhere from the early 2nd round to late 2nd round. Let's choose the middle of the 2nd round as an average which then takes us to pick#48 which equates to 420 pts. The net gain for this draft value then becomes 420 pts – 84 pts for a net gain of +336 pts.
Total gain so far = -145 + 336 = 191 pts

5) Kyle Williams drafted at #134
Pick#134=39 pts. Kyle Williams was projected to go anywhere around the late 3rd round. I'll even go so far as to move him down to an early 4th – again, being conservative. The early 4th round we'll choose will be pick#100 which equals 100 pts. The total net gain then is 100 pts – 39 pts for a net gain of +61 pts. Total gain: 191 + 61 = 252 pts.

For the remaining picks (second 5th rounder, 6th and both 7th rounders) I'd say they were about right and won't offer much either way even if we try to be more specific in terms of ascertaining their draft value.

Undrafted: However, we do need to include undrafted free agent Martin Nance who was projected to be chosen anywhere between the late 2nd and early 4th rounds. Going with a mid 3rd pick as an average, the value of the mid 3rd round pick (#80) is 190 pts. The pick where we obtained him "undrafted" has no value point so I will pick the last value point on the chart which for a 256th pick in the late 7th round is .4 pts. The net gain is then 190 pts - .4 pts for a net gain of +189 pts.

Final total net gain: 252 + 189 = 441 pts.

Conclusion:

Overall, not only is Buffalo in the positive (meaning they gained rather than lost), but they are positive by quite a bit – indicating that this was indeed a successful draft. And that includes the 3rd round loss/trade up! Therefore, despite what it may look like on the surface, the front office of the Bills came out on top!!! They may have had what appeared to be reaches, but subsequent picks more than made up for them!!! People should therefore be happy that the Bills actually got good draft value overall – which some are still contending they didn't!!! Analysts might do well also to look into the overall picks more thoroughly, rather than exhibit knee jerk reactions because the Bills didn't pick who they expected them to, or make picks based on their over-hyped draft value charts.

But perhaps, even more importantly, the Buffalo Bills gained the players that specifically fit the system that is being implemented within their defense while still getting good draft value overall. That sounds like a winning scenario in my book!

A Note of caution on conceiving of a trade-down:

I do not include or add any "potential trade downs" with respect to such an occurrence in the 1st round because that could cause the whole draft to change and affect who we would have taken later. As you can see, we gained a lot with our 3rd and 4th round picks and a trade down could cause quite a change in a positive or a negative way – meaning we could lose those players we gained at great draft value. Since this is not able to be determined, it is invalid to assume anything in either direction. As an example, there have been comments that we could have traded down and still gotten Brodrick Bunkley and atleast another 3rd rounder. This is by no means a given, but even if we did, there is no way to surmise how that might change the draft and who would have been available in subsequent rounds that we might have drafted in response to those changes. As a result, any analysis attempted in this fashion is speculation.



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