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Organizational Success Since 2017


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The file size was too big for one post, so here is the information for the NETDrAV in each round for 2017 and 2018 for each team. I will excluded 2019 for now because it's the least stable, but these give you an idea of how Buffalo did in the specific round compared to their peers. Buffalo is highlighted in yellow in each image. 

Please check out the posts on page 1 for greater detail... thank you! 


563778345_ScreenShot2020-12-03at8_00_08PM.thumb.png.0a60c9ff8b53f91f0bda98810df0eae8.png      895240410_ScreenShot2020-12-03at8_00_19PM.thumb.png.6676099be6f4a843facb0a83bb5c16a9.png

Edited by JGMcD2
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JG, this looks like it took quite a bit of work.  Thanks for making the effort, and agreed Beane has done a good job.  I don’t know how you can combine drafting, trading, and acquiring free agents as it’s so subjective.  Simply, we had one of the hardest schedules in the NFL this year, have played more winning teams than just about anyone, and are still 8-3.


Thats pretty good from an eyeball test.  Seriously, JG, you did a nice job.

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2 minutes ago, Lazy said:

Very Interesting. I'm more of an eyeball test guy but can appreciate numbers. 

Great job!

Eye ball test is useful in some cases, I 100% agree. It is hard to do a full on comparison against the other 31 teams though... at least without it all written down, haha.


Thanks for the kind words!

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On 12/1/2020 at 6:52 PM, JGMcD2 said:

I started to discuss some of this in another thread about what folks consider a successful draft. Nobody really had a great way to measure success in the draft outside of their perception of a player.. I wanted to make an attempt at examining this objectively. Pro Football Reference has their Weighted Approximate Value which assigns a value to a player based on their performance. It's not an all encompassing stat like WAR is in baseball, it definitely has its flaws, but PFR said it's steady to use to measure draft success. I'm going to dive into the results below on the draft, as well as some analysis I have done of the FA signings. Nothing is really over the top, I'm going to take some feedback and try to refine this. I had to do a lot of it by hand in excel and couldn't just scrape everything because different pieces were all over.


I chose 2017 specifically because that is when Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane arrived. Some folks want to argue that Beane shouldn't get credit for that draft and FA, which is perfectly fine. I am in the camp that believes McDermott and Beane are in lockstep, they make up the upper management of the football department, therefore the decisions made since 2017 have been made with certain goals in mind. I don't feel the need to omit 2017 because it was scrambled, it's very clear these two are close and the decisions made were made by McBeane in some way, shape or form starting in 2017. 


"Sometimes, for example if you want to assess a trade or determine the top draft classes of all time, you need a metric that is capable of comparing players across positions and eras. In baseball and basketball, lots of stats have been cooked up to do this, and they can do so with a reasonable degree of precision. In football, no such stat exists. In most cases, people use "starter" or "number of years as a starter" or "number of pro bowls" as the metric when they have to compare across positions.

AV is intended to be an improvement over those metrics, and nothing more. It is not Not NOT an ubermetric whose purpose is to decide once and for all who the best players in NFL history were." - Doug from PFR


The career AV is computed by summing 
100 percent of the AV of his best season,
95 percent of the AV of his next-best season,
90 percent of the AV of his third-best season,
and so on 


You will also see DrAV, which is just the Weighted Career Approximate Value but solely for the team that drafted them, so we won't get credit for Wyatt Teller performing well in CLE because it's not helping the Bills. Using 2019 may be a little premature but that's the case across the board for every team. I omitted 2020 because they don't have those draft values... this will be a fun exercise to conduct even further down the road when we have some more clarity on how McBeane's picks pan out. But to give us an idea of what things look like right now in comparison to the rest of the NFL... Here we go..




If you look at the McBeane drafts (2017-2019) sorted by DrAV you will see that the Bills have been a top 5 drafting team in the NFL since McBeane arrived. The Colts, Ravens, and 49ers are all ranked above us, with New Orleans right below. This lines up fairly well with what a lot of posters have said with those teams being very good drafters, but the Bills are right up there with them. This will obviously fluctuate the longer players play in the NFL, but that also includes them being retained by their drafting team in order to continue to provide value. Based on what I saw we could actually rise because of the great season Josh is having - we're actually top 5 while including Josh's below league average performance in his first two seasons. This could also drop with the inclusion of the 2020 Draft, but as of right now the first 3 McBeane drafts look like they went pretty well when compared to their peers.


I should note that 5 teams should probably be removed from the discussion because their GMs came in after 2017. I'm not including BAL and GB in that number because DeCosta and Gutenkunst were the top lieutenants in each city and are an extension of Newsome and Thompson who are both still heavily involved with their organizations. The teams that should probably be removed to fairly recognize the new GMs that came after 2017 are the NYJ, NYG, WSH, OAK and CLE. Regardless, McBeane was been at the top of the league as of the end of the 2019 season. 


I also dove into free agency, this took a lot longer to put together and could probably use some feedback. My methodology was taking all free agents signed between 2017 and 2019 and applying each player's Weighted Approximate Value to the team once they were signed. I will walk through the chart below to give you a better understanding of what I found.




The far left column shows the team. The next column is the total Weighted Approximate Value that each organization has acquired via free agency since 2017. The Bills are highlighted there and they actually have the most AV acquired via free agency in the entire NFL since 2017, they're the only team over 200 AV. If I were to just add up the AV that has been brought to Buffalo since 2017 the Bills would be far and away the best with 380 with only NO (335) and IND (311) clearing the 300 AV mark. 


I don't necessarily thing that's the best way to break things down though. Each team spent a different amount of money to acquire those players and brought in a different number of players as well. I like to use $/WAR in baseball to see the best player value, so I tried to use something similar here with with $/AV. The Bills are still above average here but they're around 12th in the NFL. The Rams, Seahawks and Patriots pace the NFL in this category, which makes a lot of sense the way the teams have been constructed in recent years. 


The only team that ranks higher than the Bills in both DrAV and $/AV in FA is Indianapolis. New Orleans is very close as well, as they're one spot behind us in DrAV. Overall it looks like some teams are good at one or the other, or just plain bad at both. Nobody outside of Indianapolis, New Orleans and Buffalo has had substantial success in both the draft and FA since 2017. Teams like SEA, LAC and PIT seem to be in the next tier. It's a little bit of validation for some of the top organizations in the NFL.


I think most can agree IND, NO, PIT and SEA are well run. Buffalo is right up there with them, if not better based on this analysis. There are undoubtedly flaws, but this is a little bit closer to being objective then some people just FEELING that certain teams are so much better run than the Bills.


I'm open to thoughts and feedback, feel free to rip me apart... as long as you bring some facts and a thoughtful argument 😀


Interesting project, trying to make an objective comparison of how teams have drafted.   I think WAV is probably as reasonable a metric as any.  I like it better than the fancy pants stuff out of some outfits where you really don’t have transparency about how they’re coming up with their grades or numbers and there are often subjective elements rolled into a pseudo-objective looking number.


I did a thing back in 2017 on likelihood of drafting a quality NFL QB in different rounds and at different positions in the first round.  The first thing I did was try to define “quality NFL QB” in an objective way by looking for simple stats that correlated to winning.  I came up with 3 plus a filter (completion %, ypa, TD/INT ratio, with a filter of yards per game).  Anyway where I’m going is after all that crunching and munching and slicing and dicing, I observed that WAV worked pretty much as well.  🤷‍♂️


I think when the elephant in the room with FA is when you start to bring in long-term cap ramifications.  


At the end of the day, it’s an interesting exercise to but the bottom line comes down to the eyeball test, did the Bills get what they needed and wanted out of that player for their roster needs?  I was getting pretty jittery earlier in the season when it looked as though Harrison Phillips, Edmunds, Epenesa, and Moss might all be strike-outs because it seems pretty clear to me that one reason he moved on from Shaq and Jordan Phillips was not wanting to commit to longer guaranteed contracts - the idea seems to be develop our own guys and pay external FA just long enough to let our drafted guys develop and draft a few more.



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  • 2 weeks later...

I’m not sure how many folks have an Athletic Subscription, but this was a cool article into the Saints process of drafting what many believe is one of the best drafts classes ever in the 2017 Draft. 

Found it relevant to put here because the author uses PFR approximate value to illustrate the success of the Saints 2017 Draft Class. 




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