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Hapless Bills Fan

QB Draft Stats: probability of finding That Guy

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This has almost become my yearly pre-draft post (like Just Jack's preseason post, only less exciting and more informational)

The source is Pro Football Reference Draft Finder, coped into Excel for better slicing and dicing.  In previous years, I've used the 'eyeball test', this year I used hard numeric cutoffs.
Shout-out to Shady Bills Fan for help with the Excel files.  He's a Right Guy!

 

Looking at the first 5 rounds of QB drafted in prev. 20 years (2017 omitted for insufficient data, and didn't go back further due to arguments about rule changes)

I calculated three statistics I consider important for QB e v a l: completion percentage, YPA, and TD/INT ratio.

My sort criteria were: Greater than 59% completion, Greater than 6.5 YPA, Greater than 1.5 TD/INT (practically speaking, that means if a guy throws 3 TD in a game, he throws 1 and not 2 INTs)

 

Here's what the summarized data look like for success rate in picking a QB who can do these things, by draft round.  1st round broken down further.

image.png.2ed13c6e1ce9975765fa200d546fb068.png

 

Bottom line: even at the top of the 1st round, the odds of getting a good QB are something like 50-50.  At the bottom of the 1st round, it falls to about 20%, which is the same as the 2nd round.  If you play with the criteria a bit, it may rise to 1 out of 3 (30-33%) at the bottom of the 1st round.

I'll include the names of the QB these three criteria sorted below, not sure it will be legible: the bottom line is you can nitpick names and cutoffs, but the "song remains the same" overall.

Surprises to me: criteria excluded 1st round QB Eli Manning, Cutler, Culpepper, Bridgewater, Campbell.  In the later round the surprise exclusion was Schaub (likely be included without his final year).  If you add the criterion of averaging >220 ypg, you exclude Kaepernick and Tannehill

 

The data suggest a couple things.   Not shown, but with 2 exceptions, all the successful high 1st round QB were pick 1 or 2.  Therefore, it may be unwise to mortgage too much of the draft to get to the 1st round 3-5 picks: Go Hard, or stay home.  The success rate in picks 6-10 is no higher than the success rate in the 2nd round.  It rises from pick 11-20, so if we're going to trade up, trading up a few picks may be the value strategy vs trading up to pick 3-10. 

After the 3rd round, it's basically throwing darts.  This is why letting someone else throw the dart, and trying to pluck the bulls eye off the dartboard is a popular choice.

 

If you start writing a response, "You need to look at this that or the other data or recalculate everything with the moon over the formahaut and X set to Malignify", please save us all time and dial 1-800-Bite-Mee - No seriously, check your personal vals, bro.  You're welcome to take and massage the data for yourself.   If you message politely I'll even get you my excel file.

image.thumb.png.67f757ae3b0265b23e5a8648c17ec4a0.png

image.thumb.png.45ad075d645ebff916f6ed70113f4493.png

 

 

Edited by Hapless Bills Fan
improve readability
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39 minutes ago, Over 29 years of fanhood said:

59% 6.5 ypa is the threshold for success? 

 

and TD/INT >= 1.5

 

Dont like it?  1-800....is the number *smooch*. 

 

I think it works - it produces a list of QB you can win with given a decent D, includes most QB I think it should, and excludes most QB I think it shouldn't.

I highlight the exceptions - most of the surprise exclusions failed on TD/INT.  Most of the surprise inclusions have low YPG.  Keep in mind I'm using career data so one has to allow for guys who had early bad years then the switch flipped on.

 

But you are welcome to collate the data yourself and slice it any way that pleases you.

Edited by Hapless Bills Fan

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6 minutes ago, kdiggz said:

based on this who should we draft?

 

I don't watch enough college football to have an opinion on that - just on the higher-probability trade-up and draft strategy. 

 

But there's a couple of second-tier FA/backups I have more interest in now.

Edited by Hapless Bills Fan

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I'm not going to tell you to recalculate anything - I will point out the fact that your sample size in the first round sub-groups beyond the top 5 is definitely too small to use for any prediction. 

 

Your 19% value for the 27 guys picked 6-32 is all good, and I think your core points are valid.  I had heard the 50% number before for the top guys.  Pretty scary if you want to trade a bunch to get up there.

 

I really think they have the money to go hard after Cousins or Garrapolo (if SF can't lock him down in time) - assuming they let TT go and maybe Glenn.

 

Seems like a better play and leaves them all 5 picks in rounds 1-3 to build around him and repair holes in defense.

Edited by BobChalmers

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32 minutes ago, BobChalmers said:

I'm not going to tell you to recalculate anything - I will point out the fact that your sample size in the first round sub-groups beyond the top 5 is definitely too small to use for any prediction. 

 

Your 19% value for the 27 guys picked 6-32 is all good, and I think your core points are valid.  I had heard the 50% number before for the top guys.  Pretty scary if you want to trade a bunch to get up there.

 

I really think they have the money to go hard after Cousins or Garrapolo (if SF can't lock him down in time) - assuming they let TT go and maybe Glenn.

 

Seems like a better play and leaves them all 5 picks in rounds 1-3 to build around him and repair holes in defense.

 

I think SF will tag Garoppolo if they need to hold on to him pending further negotiations.  They have the cap space to do it, easy-peasy.

 

I agree, we have the money to go hard after Cousins, and I think it would be the better value vs. expending the draft pick capital to get into the first 2 picks which is where I think you have to go to get better than 50/50 odds.

 

Cousins would also, I think, instantly make this a more attractive destination for FA WR, RB, and OLmen.  It would plausibly become possible to resign Benjamin.

 

Edited by Hapless Bills Fan

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2 hours ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

This has almost become my yearly pre-draft post (like Just Jack's preseason post, only less exciting and more informational)

The source is Pro Football Reference Draft Finder, coped into Excel for better slicing and dicing.  In previous years, I've used the 'eyeball test', this year I used hard numeric cutoffs.
Shout-out to Shady Bills Fan for help with the Excel files.  He's a Right Guy!

 

Looking at the first 5 rounds of QB drafted in prev. 20 years (2017 omitted for insufficient data, and didn't go back further due to arguments about rule changes)

I calculated three statistics I consider important for QB e v a l: completion percentage, YPA, and TD/INT ratio.

My sort criteria were: Greater than 59% completion, Greater than 6.5 YPA, Greater than 1.5 TD/INT (practically speaking, that means if a guy throws 3 TD in a game, he throws 1 and not 2 INTs)

 

Here's what the summarized data look like for success rate in picking a QB who can do these things, by draft round.  1st round broken down further.

image.png.2ed13c6e1ce9975765fa200d546fb068.png

 

Bottom line: even at the top of the 1st round, the odds of getting a good QB are something like 50-50.  At the bottom of the 1st round, it falls to about 20%, which is the same as the 2nd round.  If you play with the criteria a bit, it may rise to 1 out of 3 (30-33%) at the bottom of the 1st round.

I'll include the names of the QB these three criteria sorted below, not sure it will be legible: the bottom line is you can nitpick names and cutoffs, but the "song remains the same" overall.

Surprises to me: criteria excluded 1st round QB Eli Manning, Cutler, Culpepper, Bridgewater, Campbell.  In the later round the surprise exclusion was Schaub (likely be included without his final year).  If you add the criterion of averaging >220 ypg, you exclude Kaepernick and Tannehill

 

The data suggest a couple things.   Not shown, but with 2 exceptions, all the successful high 1st round QB were pick 1 or 2.  Therefore, it may be unwise to mortgage too much of the draft to get to the 1st round 3-5 picks: Go Hard, or stay home.  The success rate in picks 6-10 is no higher than the success rate in the 2nd round.  It rises from pick 11-20, so if we're going to trade up, trading up a few picks may be the value strategy vs trading up to pick 3-10. 

After the 3rd round, it's basically throwing darts.  This is why letting someone else throw the dart, and trying to pluck the bulls eye off the dartboard is a popular choice.

 

If you start writing a response, "You need to look at this that or the other data or recalculate everything with the moon over the formahaut and X set to Malignify", please save us all time and dial 1-800-Bite-Mee - No seriously, check your personal vals, bro.  You're welcome to take and massage the data for yourself.   If you message politely I'll even get you my excel file.

image.thumb.png.67f757ae3b0265b23e5a8648c17ec4a0.png

image.thumb.png.45ad075d645ebff916f6ed70113f4493.png

 

 

Thanks for the post and the data!  

 

What your saying is what I believe over the last 20 years using rough numbers, conversations and thoughts over 20 years and off the top of my head.

 

My point being, off the top of my head, I feel these percentages to find the right QB improved starting about 10 years ago and also continued to improve and/or stay improved since they changed the CBA (which I think Bradford's year was the last of the old CBA).

 

I hope we get our guy this year!  We need to!

 

Good post!  Thanks!

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48 minutes ago, MarkyMannn said:

Really nice analysis Hbf.  Seems half your yes qbs aren't super bowl worthy.  Which really points to the very very low odds of getting the right guy

 

I guess it depends upon your viewpoint of "Superbowl Worthy"?

 

Going back to 2000, the Superbowl quarterbacks include Kerry Collins, Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, Rich Gannon, Jake Delhomme, Donovan McNabb, Matt Hasselback, Rex Grossman, Colin Kaepernick, and Eli Manning, as well as Kurt Warner, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Russ Wilson, Cam Newton, Peyton Manning (once while no longer Peyton Manning), Matt Ryan, and Tom Brady. 

 

So I expect about half the Superbowl QB during the Bills playoff drought would be considered "not super bowl worthy"?  Yet with enough pieces around them and good coaching, they got the team there.

 

Then there are some current QB I consider very good - super bowl worthy if you like - who have not been there (yet) - Rivers and Stafford are the names that come quickest to mind.

 

If you want to find a QB who can truly carry a team on his arm - a Brees, Rodgers, Brady, Warner type - naturally the odds go way down, and paradoxically - so may the odds of reaching the Superbowl if your guy intends to "get paid" as Stafford just did, because it lengthens the odds of being able to put a strong team around him.

 

Perhaps my standards are too low.  The real point I'm trying to make is, even at the top of the first round, the odds of finding a consistent, capable guy are no where near certain.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Hapless Bills Fan

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3 hours ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

This has almost become my yearly pre-draft post (like Just Jack's preseason post, only less exciting and more informational)

The source is Pro Football Reference Draft Finder, coped into Excel for better slicing and dicing.  In previous years, I've used the 'eyeball test', this year I used hard numeric cutoffs.
Shout-out to Shady Bills Fan for help with the Excel files.  He's a Right Guy!

 

Looking at the first 5 rounds of QB drafted in prev. 20 years (2017 omitted for insufficient data, and didn't go back further due to arguments about rule changes)

I calculated three statistics I consider important for QB e v a l: completion percentage, YPA, and TD/INT ratio.

My sort criteria were: Greater than 59% completion, Greater than 6.5 YPA, Greater than 1.5 TD/INT (practically speaking, that means if a guy throws 3 TD in a game, he throws 1 and not 2 INTs)

 

image.png.2ed13c6e1ce9975765fa200d546fb068.png

 

 You lost me on that 1.5 TD/INT ratio part. 

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Just now, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

Say more?

 

 How does 1.5/1 equal 3/1? 

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9 minutes ago, SDS said:

 

 How does 1.5/1 equal 3/1? 

 

Um, didn't say it did? 

 

I used "greater than 1.5/1" as a cut-off because 1.5/1 = 3/2 and 2 INT per game on average over a career makes for hard winning, so the TD/INT ratio must be better.  That's what cut out some arguably good QB like Eli Manning and Jay Cutler as well as some young QB with flashes like Teddy Bridgewater.  I tried to explain - must not have been good.

 

Higher would be better, of course, but then you get into cases where a guy's first or last years skew his numbers and knock out a bunch of QB that most "reasonable fans" would say "wait a sec, doesn't HE belong on the left?"

 

 

 

 

Edited by Hapless Bills Fan

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1 minute ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

Um, didn't say it did? 

 

I used "greater than 1.5/1" as a cut-off because 1.5/1 = 3/2 and 2 INT per game on average over a career makes for hard winning, so the TD/INT ratio must be better.  That's what cut out some arguably good QB like Eli Manning and Jay Cutler as well as some young QB with flashes like Teddy Bridgewater.  I tried to explain - must not have been good.

 

Higher would be better, of course, but then you get into cases where a guy's first or last years skew his numbers and knock out a bunch of QB that most "reasonable fans" would say "wait a sec, doesn't HE belong on the left?"

 

 

 

 

 

 I would say your explanation was confusing. If you want to use 3/1 as a better figure of merit you could always drop some outlier years To account for those early or late career seasons. 

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Here are the stats I would like to know:

 

Percentage of times teams found a franchise Qb in 

 

1) Top 10 draft picks

2) Round 1 - picks 11-32

3) All round 1 picks combined

4) Rounds 2 and 3 combined

5) Rounds 4-7 or undrafted walk ons

 

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1 minute ago, SDS said:

 

 I would say your explanation was confusing. If you want to use 3/1 as a better figure of merit you could always drop some outlier years To account for those early or late career seasons. 

 

Feel free!

 

This was done by pulling QB draft data out of Pro Football Reference's "Draft Finder" into excel.  To pull each QB's stats would be more work than I'm motivated for, leaving aside the question of how one defines "outlier year" consistently.

 

No salesman will call trying to sell my methodology, though when one combines the three parameters I think it gives a pretty good sort.

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All these charts are stupid, I mean I get the math and formulas but this is what scouts are for, they go to the schools, they talk to coaches/loved ones/ I've even heard they find out people that don't like you and ask them about these players. Identify the correct QB because it's your job and bring him to Buffalo dammit.

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7 minutes ago, PolishDave said:

Here are the stats I would like to know:

 

Percentage of times teams found a franchise Qb in 

 

1) Top 10 draft picks

2) Round 1 - picks 11-32

3) All round 1 picks combined

4) Rounds 2 and 3 combined

5) Rounds 4-7 or undrafted walk ons

 

 

Sounds interesting, keep us posted! 

 

1-4 can be derived from the table of data I posted, if you accept my methodology as meaningful.

For example, top 10 would be 14/31 or 45%

 

If you PM I'll send you my Excel, and you can add rounds 6 and 7

I don't know of a good way to pull data on UDFA though.  Maybe someone here does.

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In general I like the premise of the post and always appreciate effort when a person takes the time to carefully create a thread with some good information and planning. 

 

What this information says to me - you’re about as equally likely to secure a great QB beyond the top 5 in all the rest of the Draft combined as you are in the top 5...

 

In my mind that doesn’t mean you trade up, it means you must know within the existing pool beyond the top 5 there are hidden gems. I would take all of those QBs and compile a comprehensive list of all the traits those QBs share in common, narrow down your QB focus to those that possess those specific traits, and see where you land in terms of names and projected round.

 

Count me still on the Rudolph train at 21, but as I’ve said, IF the Bills trade up, it has to be allllllll the way up to 1 or 2....

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Just now, BuffaloBillsGospel said:

All these charts are stupid, I mean I get the math and formulas but this is what scouts are for, they go to the schools, they talk to coaches/loved ones/ I've even heard they find out people that don't like you and ask them about these players. Identify the correct QB because it's your job and bring him to Buffalo dammit.

 

Nice assessment, Gospel, now please confer your great insight concerning the top 20 threads on this board currently.

 

It's just for fun, bro, if you think it's stupid, show us your wit and wisdom by contributing something you deem smart.  If the standard is "don't bother discussing if you're not a professional", this board would go silent fast.

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1 minute ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

Nice assessment, Gospel, now please confer your great insight concerning the top 20 threads on this board currently.

 

It's just for fun, bro, if you think it's stupid, show us your wit and wisdom by contributing something you deem smart.  If the standard is "don't bother discussing if you're not a professional", this board would go silent fast.

 

You started the thread, you should expect a smart ass comment every now and again, I know it's for fun that's why I added my 2 pennies. I don't need charts to know that there is a risk selecting a QB high. How about doing ILB, WR or DE, I'm sure you'd get alot of the same results.

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12 minutes ago, BigBuff423 said:

In general I like the premise of the post and always appreciate effort when a person takes the time to carefully create a thread with some good information and planning. 

 

What this information says to me - you’re about as equally likely to secure a great QB beyond the top 5 in all the rest of the Draft combined as you are in the top 5...

 

In my mind that doesn’t mean you trade up, it means you must know within the existing pool beyond the top 5 there are hidden gems. I would take all of those QBs and compile a comprehensive list of all the traits those QBs share in common, narrow down your QB focus to those that possess those specific traits, and see where you land in terms of names and projected round.

 

Count me still on the Rudolph train at 21, but as I’ve said, IF the Bills trade up, it has to be allllllll the way up to 1 or 2....

 

Thanks for the kind word. 

 

I think that's a reasonable take.  Another way of looking at it is the results may reflect draft patterns...teams that need a QB, may actually tend to get antsy and trade up if they're sitting in the bottom third of the 1st and they suspect someone above them also covets that player...depending upon what it takes, not a bad value.  But "sit tight and do careful scouting" may be the best strategy GIVEN one might not improve the odds too greatly unless you trade all the way up to the first 2 picks.

 

I was motivated to do this by a number of posts with the viewpoint, essentially, going after Cousins would be too costly, but trading up to a top pick would not.

I don't know whether or not Cousins would price himself out of our reach but I do know (and this study reinforces) top picks are far from sure bets.  So if you do trade up, you better be super sure, because you're gonna need a wad of FA cash to replace the cost-effective players you could otherwise draft and play for 4-5 years with those picks.

Edited by Hapless Bills Fan
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1 hour ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

Sounds interesting, keep us posted! 

 

1-4 can be derived from the table of data I posted, if you accept my methodology as meaningful.

For example, top 10 would be 14/31 or 45%

 

If you PM I'll send you my Excel, and you can add rounds 6 and 7

I don't know of a good way to pull data on UDFA though.  Maybe someone here does.

 

So using your criteria and stats posted.....

 

Percentage of times teams found a decent Qb in 

 

1) Top 10 draft picks                                        45%             (teams decided they absolutely MUST have this qb)           

2) Round 1 - picks 11-32                                  18%             (teams decided they want the guy but won't trade up hardcore with first picks for him)

3) All round 1 picks combined                        34%             

4) Rounds 2 and 3 combined                          18%             (teams think guy might make a franchise QB, but serious question marks)

5) Rounds 4-5                                                       8%             (unlikely to become Franchise guy soon but take a shot because he has enough upside chance)

 

 

Fun interpretation:

Based on these odds it makes sense for the Bills to trade down with both of their first round picks so that they have at least 3 first round picks next year.    Odds are they get a guy because 34% each guy drafted.

 

Or:

 

Take both first round QB's this year.   If you don't hit, take one in the first next year.

 

Or

 

Take one first rounder this year.

 

If you don't hit, take one first rounder next year.

 

If you don't hit there, take one first rounder the following year.

 

Whoever came up with the idea of taking a QB in the first every year until you hit on one is a genius.

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Thanks OP for this post.  I thought it was really interesting and none of the numbers are really surprising.

 

I think going the FA route for a QB is a legit option this year as there are actually some good QBs available in FA this year which doesn't happen often.  

 

I also like PolishDave's post about drafting a QB each year.  Realistically you can't draft one high every year, but if they really wanted to, the Bills could draft one in 2018, another one in 2019, and another one in 2021 if the QB drafted in 2018 isn't working out by then.  At that point odds are in your favor you will have found your franchise QB.  And if you wind up with two, then trade one for picks like the Pats always do.  

 

I like that a lot more than giving Losman/Edwards/EJ/next Bills QB 3 years without any sort of back-up plan in place, because then if you're not in the 20% or 50% of teams that drafted the right QB you haven't wasted 3 years and you aren't starting over from scratch afterwards.   (If the bills followed this plan the year after drafting Losman they might have wound up with Rodgers)  For me, the worst parts of the Bills' playoff drought were watching teams with a QB that I thought it was pretty easy to see would never become a franchse QBs (Trent/EJ especially.)  Those years would have been easier to watch if the next guy was already on the team learning and waiting to step in.  

 

I also wouldn't mind seeing the Bills keep trading one of their early draft picks for picks in the following draft every year until they have a franchise QB on the roster so that they always have extra draft capital and can move around the draft board as necessary to draft the right QB until they find one.  

 

I know spending that much draft capital on the QB position could set the team back in the short term, but I would happily take 2-3 years of 5-11/6-10 football if it meant we have a franchise QB for the next 10-15 years after that..  

 

 

 

 

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