The positions the NFC East teams tend to draft, with a value adjusted spin

Every draft season, we hear that Andy Reid loves to draft offensive linemen, or that the Giants love collecting defensive ends, but those statements are never accompanied by a comparative look at the rest of the NFL.  Additionally, it’s rare to find a value adjusted look at the positions that are being drafted.  For example, if you watched the play of the Eagles’ linebackers over the last few years, you might be surprised to learn that they have actually drafted 8 linebackers in the last 5 drafts.  Of course, only 1 of the 8 was taken higher than the 4th round, and that player (2012 2nd round pick Mychal Kendricks) is fresh out of college.

So I thought it might be fun to take a different look not only what positions are being drafted by the NFC East teams, but where in the draft they’re being taken.  But first, I wanted to determine what positions the NFL as a whole heavily values on draft day.  For this exercise, I employed the use of the draft value chart.  (Disclaimer: I’m not a huge fan of the draft value chart as it pertains to being the deciding factor on “who won a trade,” but for this exercise in placing a numeric value on every player drafted, I found it useful).  And so for the past 5 hours, I’ve been sorting all 762 players drafted over the past 3 years into position groups, finding the value attributed to their order in which they were taken in the draft via the draft value chart, and adding up the totals.

As a disclaimer, the data isn’t perfect.  For one, I lumped all the LBs into one generic LB category.  That’s because it would have been quadruple the research of figuring out whether or not some 7th round compensatory pick plays ILB or OLB for the Texans.  I have a touch of OCD, but not to that extreme.  Also, some guys that were counted as 4-3 DEs actually play OLB in a 3-4, and some 3-4 OLBs actually play DE in a 4-3, but for the most part, I think that part evened out.  Anyway, the total value of all 762 players came out to be 182,261.  We’ll call those “value points” from here on out.  Here’s how it played out by position:

QB RB FB WR TE OT OG C
21424 12932 234 18960 4968 19098 7434 3201
11.75% 7.10% 0.13% 10.40% 2.73% 10.48% 4.08% 1.76%
DE DT LB CB S K P
22680 24153 17114 20849 8765 127 322
12.44% 13.25% 9.39% 11.44% 4.81% 0.06% 0.18%

Now, for each of the NFC East teams, I set a cutoff that made sense for each team:

  • The Giants were obvious.  Tom Coughlin started in 2004, and while Jerry Reese wasn’t quite the GM yet, he was with the team serving as the Director of Player Personnel.
  • For the Eagles, I went back to 2001, when Tom Heckert and Andy Reid began their reign as the grocery pickers in the wake of Tom Modrak leaving.
  • Choosing the Cowboys’ cutoff was the murkiest decision.  I went with the post Bill Parcells era.  I subscribe to the thinking that Parcells had a level of influence in the war room that Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett do not.  Therefore, the Cowboys’ cutoff is 2007.
  • For the Redskins, it was pointless counting the Vinny Cerrato days, so I only went back as far as 2010 for them.  Unfortunately, that’s a sample size that too small to really draw any conclusions, although I still worked out all the data on them anyway.

Here’s a snapshot of how the NFC East teams compare to the rest of the league:

Offense QB RB FB WR TE OT OG C
NFL average (last 3 years) 11.75% 7.10% 0.13% 10.40% 2.73% 10.48% 4.08% 1.76%
Giants 21.15% 4.95% 0% 14.42% 1.22% 3.23% 3.89% 0.11%
Eagles 4.08% 4.93% 0.16% 14.89% 2.23% 3.45% 10.59% 0.34%
Cowboys 1.04% 12.54% 0.17% 9.53% 3.42% 20.41% 0.82% 0%
Redskins 37.84% 1.85% 0% 3.61% 0.32% 26.43% 4.02% 0.03%
Defense and ST DE DT LB CB S K P
NFL average (last 3 years) 12.44% 13.25% 9.39% 11.44% 4.81% 0.06% 0.18%
Giants 14.05% 8.58% 5.52% 18.14% 4.73% 0% 0.02%
Eagles 18.59% 17.36% 7.72% 9.42% 5.95% 0.28% 0%
Cowboys 2.02% 0% 21.95% 12.00% 1.19% 0.45% 0%
Redskins 0% 7.16% 16.68% 0.17% 0.55% 0% 0%

Much more after the jump…

QB: Rhett Bomar (31), Andre Woodson (12), Eli Manning (3000), TOTAL: 3043 (21.1%)

RB: David Wilson (590), Da’Rel Scott (3), Andre Brown (43), Ahmad Bradshaw (2), Brandon Jacobs (74), TOTAL: 712 (4.9%)

FB: None

WR: Rueben Randle (276), Jerrel Jernigan (180), Hakeem Nicks (640), Ramses Barden (165), Mario Manningham (120), Steve Smith (390), Sinorice Moss (460), Jamaar Taylor (24), TOTAL: 2075 (14.4%)

TE: Adrien Robinson (45), Travis Beckum (100), Kevin Boss (30), TOTAL: 175 (1.2%)

OT: Brandon Mosley (41), Matt McCants (11), James Brewer (60), William Beatty (300), Guy Whimper (43), Drew Strojny (10), TOTAL: 465 (3.2%)

OG: Chris Snee (560), TOTAL: 560 (3.9%)

C: Adam Koets (16), TOTAL: 16 (0.1%)

DE: Jason Pierre-Paul (1050), Adrian Tracy (18), Robert Henderson (12), Mathias Kiwanuka (590), Justin Tuck (220), Eric Moore (17), Reggie Torbor (112), Isaac Hilton (2), TOTAL: 2021 (14%)

DT: Markus Kuhn (2), Marvin Austin (380), Linval Joseph (440), Jay Alford (185), Barry Cofield (48), TOTAL: 1235 (8.6%)

OLB: Jacquian Williams (11), Clint Sintim (450), Bryan Kehl (49), Gerris Wilkinson (116), TOTAL: 626 (4.4%)

ILB: Greg Jones (17), Phillip Dillard (64), Zac DeOssie (62), Jonathan Goff (25), TOTAL: 168 (1.1%)

CB: Jayron Hosley (124), Prince Amukamara (875), DeAndre Wright (11), Stoney Woodson (2), Terrell Thomas (276), Aaron Ross (850), Gerrick McPhearson (2), Corey Webster (470), TOTAL: 2610 (18.1%)

S: Tyler Sash (12), Kenny Phillips (600), Michael Johnson (2), Charlie Peprah (28), Gibril Wilson (38), TOTAL: 680 (4.7%)

K: None

P: Matt Dodge (3), TOTAL: 3 (0.02%)

Total: 14389

Notes on the Giants:

  • Technically, Eli Manning wasn’t drafted by the Giants, but I ignored that piece of trivia.
  • Only 7.23% of the Giants’ “value points” are offensive linemen.  NFL average is 16.32%  I still have no idea idea how they won the Super Bowl with that line.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the Giants don’t place an absurd amount of value on the defensive end position in the draft.  They’re above average, but only not by some crazy number.  They’re at 14.05% compared with the league average of 12.44%. They just happened to hit big on a bunch of the guys they took.
  • The position the Giants DO value, however is CB.  They sit way above the league average of 11.44% at 18.14%.

QB: Nick Foles (150), Mike Kafka (50), Kevin Kolb (540), Andy Hall (17), A.J. Feeley (29), TOTAL: 786 (4.1%)

RB: Bryce Brown (2), Dion Lewis (32), Charles Scott (11), LeSean McCoy (370), Tony Hunt (140), Ryan Moats (205), Bruce Perry (2), Brian Westbrook (136), Correll Buckhalter (52), TOTAL: 950 (4.9%)

FB: Staley Havili (2), Nate Ilaoa (2), Thomas Tapeh (27), TOTAL: 31 (0.2%)

WR: Marvin McNutt (14), Riley Cooper (28), Jeremy Maclin (875), Brandon Gibson (14),  DeSean Jackson (410), Jason Avant (76), Jeremy Bloom (33), Reggie Brown (550), Billy McMullen (120), Freddie Milons (27), Freddie Mitchell (720), TOTAL: 2867 (14.9%)

TE: Clay Harbor (47), Cornelius Ingram (30), Brent Celek (27), L.J. Smth (292), Tony Stewart (33), TOTAL: 429 (2.2%)

OT: Dennis Kelly (30), Fenuki Tupou (28), King Dunlap (2), Winston Justice (510), Todd Herremans (46), Calvin Armstrong (7), Trey Darilek (41), TOTAL: 664 (3.4%)

OG: Brandon Washington (7), Danny Watkins (760), Julian Vandervelde (27), Paul Fanaika (6), Mike McGlynn (76), Mike Gibson (18), Max Jean-Gilles (104), Scott Young (23), Shawn Andrews (1000), Adrian Clarke (2), Jeremy Bridges (17), TOTAL: 2040 (10.6%)

C: Jason Kelce (15), Dominic Furio (2), Scott Peters (48), TOTAL: 65 (0.3%)

DE: Vinny Curry (310), Brandon Graham (1150), Daniel Te’o-Nesheim (160), Ricky Sapp (39), Bryan Smith (190), Victor Abiamiri (330), Trent Cole (33), Jerome McDougal (1050), Jamaal Green (41), Raheem Brock (2), Derrick Burgess (276), TOTAL: 3581 (18.6%)

DT: Fletcher Cox (1200), Jeff Owens (2), Trevor Laws (430), Brodrick Bunkley (1100), LaJuan Ramsey (10), Mike Patterson (600), Keyonta Marshall (2), TOTAL: 3344 (17.4%)

OLB: Mychal Kendricks (440), Brian Rolle (14), Keenan Clayton (52), Moise Fokou (2), Andy Studebaker (10), Chris Gocong (71), Matt McCoy (276), Quinton Caver (350), TOTAL: 1215 (6.3%)

ILB:  Casey Matthews (62), Greg Lloyd (2), Jamar Chaney (3), Joe Mays (11), Stewart Bradley (155), Omar Gaither (24), David Bergeron (2), Tyreo Harrison (12), TOTAL: 271 (1.4%)

CB: Brandon Boykin (49), Curtis Marsh (140), Trevard Lindley (84), Jack Ikegwuonu (41), Rashad Barksdale (11), Matt Ware (145), Dexter Wynn (15), Lito Sheppard (700), Michael Lewis (320), Sheldon Brown (310), TOTAL: 1815 (9.4%)

S: Jaiquawn Jarrett (360), Nate Allen (530), Kurt Coleman (2), Macho Harris (29), Quintin Demps (60), CJ Gaddis (28), Sean Considine (92), J.R. Reed (43), Norman LeJeune (2), TOTAL: 1146 (6%)

K: Alex Henery (54), TOTAL: 54 (0.3%)

P: None

Total: 19258

Notes on the Eagles:

  • The Eagles had a duo of Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan for s long, that they didn’t draft any offensive tackles high for the last decade, with kin of goes against the common thinking of the way Andy Reid picks his players.  However, they did have a higher point % that was more the double the NFL’s for guards.  That is, if you count Shawn Andrews as a guard, which I did.
  • A point value % of 35.95% was allocated to the defensive line, which is a huge number.
  • Like the Giants, the Eagles haven’t valued LB as much as other teams.  That’s due in large part because of their 4-3 scheme. The Eagles and Giants also share a love of wide receivers.
  • Because we went to 2001 with them, the Eagles had the largest sample size to draw from, and as a result, their numbers are probably the closest to the league averages.

QB: Stephen McGee (96), TOTAL: 96 (1%)

RB: DeMarco Murray (235), Felix Jones (780), Tashard Choice (50), TOTAL: 1161 (12.5%)

FB: Shaun Chapas (3), Deon Anderson (13), TOTAL: 16 (0.2%)

WR: Danny Coale (31), Dwayne Harris (21), Dez Bryant (740), Manuel Johnson (2), Isaiah Stanback (88), TOTAL: 882 (9.5%)

TE: James Hanna (17), John Phillips (8), Martellus Bennett (292), TOTAL: 317 (3.4%)

OT: Tyron Smith (1350), Sam Young (20), Robert Brewster (215), James Martin (255), Doug Free (50), TOTAL: 1890 (20.4%)

OG: David Arkin (74), Bill Nagy (2), TOTAL: 76 (0.8%)

C:  None

DE: Tyrone Crawford (185), Sean Lissemore (2), TOTAL: 187 (2%)

DT: None

OLB: Kyle Wilbur (68), Victor Butler (74), Brandon Williams (54), Erik Waldon (25), Anthony Spencer (700), TOTAL: 921 (9.9%)

ILB: Caleb McSurdy (3), Bruce Carter (500), Sean Lee (350), Jason Williams (245), Stephen Hodge (13), TOTAL: 1111 (12%)

CB: Morris Claiborne (1600), Josh Thomas (35), Jamar Wall (13), DeAngelo Smith (35), Mike Mickens (2), Mike Jenkins (720), Orlando Scandrick (35), Courtney Brown (7), Alan Ball (2), TOTAL: 2449 (26.5%)

S: Matt Johnson (39), Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (46), Mike Hamlin (25), TOTAL: 110 (1.1%)

K: David Buehler (22), Nick Folk (20), TOTAL: 42 (0.5%)

P: None

Total: 9258

Notes on the Cowboys:

  • The Cowboys and Eagles QB numbers are low, for obvious reasons.
  • The selection of Tyron Smith in the top 10 (and the resulting very high number on the draft value chart) skews the OT numbers a tad, but they have drafted 5 of them since 2007, which isn’t bad.  It’s the interior OL that is absurdly low.
  • If you thought the Cowboys ignored the OL, look at the DL.  I don’t even know how that’s possible in today’s NFL.
  • Lots ‘o linebackers.

QB: Robert Griffin III (2600), Kirk Cousins (92), TOTAL: 2692 (39.2%)

RB: Alfred Morris (22), Roy Helu (84), Evan Royster (21), TOTAL: 127 (1.8%)

FB: None

WR: Leonard Hankerson (195), Niles Paul (29), Aldrick Robinson (20), Terrence Austin (4), TOTAL: 248 (3.6%)

TE: Dennis Morris (22), TOTAL: 22 (0.3%)

OT: Tom Compton (14), Trent Williams (1800), Selvish Capers (2), TOTAL: 1816 (26.4%)

OG: Josh LeRibeus (235), Adam Gettis (36), Maurice Hurt (5), TOTAL: 276 (4%)

C: Eric Cook (2), TOTAL: 2 (0.03%)

DE: None

DT: Jarvis Jenkins (490), Chris Neild (2), TOTAL: 492 (7.2%)

OLB: Ryan Kerrigan (1000), Markus White (2), TOTAL: 1002 (14.6%)

ILB: Keenan Robinson (56), Perry Riley (88), TOTAL: 144 (2%)

CB: Richard Crawford (6), Brandyn Thompson (6), TOTAL: 12 (0.2%)

S: Jordan Bernstine (5), DeJon Gomes (33), TOTAL: 38 (0.6%)

K: None

P: None

Total: 6871

Notes on the Redskins:

  • As noted above, it’s somewhat pointless in analyzing the Redskins’ draft tendencies on this exercise because of their comparatively small sample size.

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  68. AnotherAndyR says:

    Great job JimmyK! Table 4 of my recent FanPost provides a similar assessment of how much “draft value” the Eagles have invested in each position, Like you, I found a relatively high investment in wide receivers, the offensive line, and the defensive line (ranked 6th, 6th, & 7th respectively).

    My analysis also shows how successful the Eagles have been with their return-per-investment in each position. The Eagles were most successful at drafting TE, RB, & QB (ranked 3rd, 4th, & 8th respectively). If you are interested, I could easily produce a similar table for the other NFC east teams.

    http://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2012/5/20/3031548/eagles-drafts-rank-12th-from-1999-2009

  69. [...] The positions the NFC East teams tend to draft, with a value adjusted spin – Blogging the bEast Share this:DiggEmailSharePrintRelated posts: [...]

  70. Good work. I’ve been banging on the Giants value secondary more than defensive line, especially since Jerry Reese took over drafting responsibilities, for awhile.

    Three first round secondary players out of six drafts .

    I think the belief was that Andy Reid loves Men in the trenches, which bears out with your research.

    1. Anders says:

      Actually people have always said OL, but it is only OGs there can play tackle (Herramans and Andrews been the two best examples) and people there have followed the Eagles draft know what he really likes to draft is DTs.

  71. CarverM says:

    By your calculations, the DE position doesn’t exist for the Redskins.

    1. That’s a re-read for you, Carv.

  72. Tracer Bullet says:

    Look at that pile of mediocrity at safety for the Eagles. Demps must have been a firebreathing shithead to get cut because his physical ability alone should have won him a roster spot.

    1. It’s a shame J.R. Reed got hurt. I think he could have been really good. But you’re right – that list is ugly.

      1. Tracer Bullet says:

        You’re right and I should have excepted Reed. He looked like he would be a fixture.

      2. Sb2bowl says:

        I really like Reed; he was excellent in the return game, and had a few hits when he had the opportunity. I often wonder if it was worth him trying to save his dog; freak accidents happen but that ruined his career.

        1. BigTTech says:

          This is a new one.. What happened to his dog?

          1. I believe he was trying to get away from a pissed off dog, tried to hop a fence, got the back of his knee caught on the top of the fence, and ripped it up pretty good. Severed some sort of crucial artery or something. Very serious injury.

            That situation is right up there with Jason Peters and the roll a bout.

            1. Tracer Bullet says:

              Was it his knee? I always thought he sliced did nerve damage. I remember that he wore a brace on his lower leg when he was trying to come back because he couldn’t pull his foot up.

              1. That’s it! Nerve damage. You’re right.

              2. ICDogg says:

                Peroneal nerve. I had a similar injury, but only pinched the nerve instead of tore it. What it does is prevent you from lifting your foot from the ankle. It just flops down. This is called “foot drop”.

                In my case, I had a sinus infection, didn’t realize how dizzy I was after taking medicine, and fell on my face, also injuring the nerve in my leg.

                I didn’t even realize what happened until the next day when I realized that I couldn’t lift up my foot to drive, other than lifting the whole leg. I got around the driving issue by learning to rock the foot side-to-side, which works just as well once you get used to it.

                I wound up going to a Dr. Wolf who was once the team physician for the Sixers and Flyers. He gave me some options, but the only one that made any sense for me was to just wait it out and see if it got better.

                Two months or so after the original injury, my foot started working again. This was an immediate full recovery, unlike any injury I had ever had before. It was as if it never happened.

                Unfortunately Reed did not share my experience.

            2. Matth313 says:

              Hadn’t heard that story. Eagles don’t have any more problems with dogs with Vick around :)

              Good read overall, though I think the drafting of quarterbacks skewed the numbers. Also I think that the high draft picks are over valued and the mid rounds (2-4) as well as the late first being undervalued. I can’t think of a better way to do it however without plenty more work though so good work.

  73. Kent says:

    Jimmy,

    Regarding the Eagles OT position, you really need to account for Jason Peters Trade. I believe that was for a 1st round pick correct? That should sigificantly change the eagles OT percentage.

    1. Yeah, there are all sorts of factors that will explain why a team didn’t draft a particular position. I agree Peters is a very good example.

      1. Keith Petres says:

        Both of you are right, Peters is an excellent example of why the Eagles don’t seem to value OTs, even though that’s clearly incorrect. And he’s in a pretty straightforward trade for adding it in, but obviously then there are other situations that are much less straightforward. More’s to pity.

        That having been said, this is a fantastic idea. Valuations in the NFL are so subjective it’s always cool to learn about a method that adds objectivity.

    2. TheRealMcCoy says:

      Trades for players/other draft picks for draft picks shouldn’t count in this. If that were the case, you could argue that the Redskins gave up three first round picks and a second round pick’s worth of value for Robert Griffin III. Or, you would have to start putting in all trades, like for DeMecco Ryans.

      Also, this is about the actual draft itself, not the positions of each team being filled. The Eagles didn’t literally draft Jason Peters, the Bills did. It’s not like they lost the history of that draft pick by trading him to us.

      1. Anders says:

        The Bills didnt draft him either, as he was an UDFA. :)

        1. TheRealMcCoy says:

          Ah, good catch. Mistake on my part.

  74. Larry Soprano says:

    I’m interested to see Jerrel Jernigan crack the Giants roster this year at DT, haha.

    Also, not sure if he played DE in college, but Reggie Torbor has always played LB in the NFL.

    Otherwise, nice research.

    1. ct17 says:

      Torbor was a DE at Auburn

  75. TheRealMcCoy says:

    He admits it, there’s a spin on his articles! /sarcasm

    Zero DT’s for the Cowboys is a bit shocking. Ratliff is decent, but I’m not sure if they’re just relying on UDFA’s or FA’s. It’s hard to gauge where exactly teams don’t invest in just through the draft, but you can definitely tell where teams think draft picks are more beneficial and where teams think free agents are better.

    Good stuff.

    1. I should note that the Cowboys did take Josh Brent, a DT, in the supplemental draft at the 3rd round level. So they did draft a DT, just not in the traditional sense.

      1. Switzbeats says:

        Josh Brent was a 7th round supplemental pick. Nice try at yet another criticism of Dallas.

        Cowboys have played a 3-4 the last 7-8 years so of course they draft a lot of LBs.

        Jason Garrett has had significant influence in the draft the last 2 years if you paid attention to any discussion of the Cowboys drafts of the last 2 years. Sadly, Wade Phillips had influence as well which was reflected in the awful 2009 draft

        1. My mistake. You’re right. Had Brent confused with a guy the Skins got in the supplemental draft in the 3rd, Jeremy Jarmon. Wasn’t meant to be a shot at the Cowboys, by the way. Not sure why you’re reading it that way.

          Anyway, I don’t doubt Garrett has some influence, but we all know who’s running that show.

  76. Mark in Louisville says:

    Great article. In the future, if you want to make it a little easier on yourself, I have done spreadsheet template work for Kapadia at MTC for in season stats and the draft. Its the least I can do to payback the hours of productivity lost to reading your posts.

    1. Yeah, that’d be awesome. Thanks!

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