NFL Draft 2013: Five Years Of Draft Data - Does Draft Success Equal Team Success?

This dude is loaning us his New Zealand lake house for our "Camp David" draft data discussion retreat location this weekend. - Gareth Copley

Continuing our series analyzing and discussing five years of NFL draft data from 2008-2012, this weekend's installment focuses on the question of whether draft success correlates with overall team success.

Based on the response received by last week's stat-based, spreadsheet-supported Five Years of Draft Data post (80 comments of relatively civil discourse, including this delicious string)..

Statistics lie and liars statistic.

I hope you get the connection, 'cause I can't take the rejection
I won't deceive you, I just don't believe you.
by stujo4 on Apr 7, 2013 | 2:53 PM

you calling me a statistic-er?

The loquacious Ryan, who hasn't been made available to the media since his hiring, wasn't available for comment.
by Hans Petersen on Apr 7, 2013 | 2:55 PM

You calling me a liar?

Besides I don't statistic, I engineer.


by SaintMerc on Apr 7, 2013 | 2:57 PM

My wife's grandfather was an engineer. Union Pacific.

I hope you get the connection, 'cause I can't take the rejection
I won't deceive you, I just don't believe you.
by stujo4 on Apr 7, 2013 | 3:31 PM

...and an idea that germinated in the thread, I have decided to continue the series for at least one more weekend with a closer look at the correlation (or lack thereof) between drafting success and team success from 2008-2012.

Last week, SaintMerc was nice enough to pop in a revised spreadsheet converting the raw data to percentages, and then sorting it from highest to lowest percentage of draft picks still on each team. I made Merc a halfhearted pledge last week that I wholeheartedly followed through on this week while adding a couple of columns for our further discussion:

say, Merc...thanks!

what's your source on this? I'm prolly going to pretty this up into a full-blown table for next week...

(Key: RSW = regular season wins; PA = playoff appearances)

Team

on team

starters

backups

RSW

PA

Atlanta

78.9%

34.2%

44.7%

56

4

Minnesota

73.7%

34.2%

39.5%

41

3

Tennessee

72.1%

30.2%

41.9%

42

1

Cleveland

70.0%

35.0%

35.0%

23

0

Baltimore

69.2%

35.9%

33.3%

54

5

San Diego

68.8%

25.0%

43.8%

45

2

Arizona

67.6%

32.4%

35.1%

37

2

Houston

67.5%

27.5%

40.0%

45

2

NY Jets

66.7%

25.9%

40.7%

43

2

Detroit

65.8%

39.5%

26.3%

22

0

Oakland

64.7%

29.4%

35.3%

30

0

Green Bay

64.3%

33.3%

31.0%

53

4

Tampa Bay

63.9%

30.6%

33.3%

33

0

N Y Giants

62.2%

16.2%

45.9%

48

2

Kansas City

61.4%

31.8%

29.5%

25

1

Seattle

59.5%

28.6%

31.0%

34

2

Pittsburgh

59.5%

23.8%

35.7%

53

3

New Orleans

59.3%

22.2%

37.0%

52

3

New England

58.3%

16.7%

41.7%

60

4

Jacksonville

58.1%

19.4%

38.7%

27

0

Cincinnati

56.3%

25.0%

31.3%

37

0

Chicago

55.6%

27.8%

27.8%

45

1

Washington

54.8%

19.0%

35.7%

33

1

Miami

53.7%

29.3%

24.4%

38

0

Buffalo

53.5%

23.3%

30.2%

29

0

Denver

52.3%

22.7%

29.5%

41

2

Carolina

51.2%

22.0%

29.3%

35

1

Dallas

50.0%

15.8%

34.2%

42

1

Philadelphia

49.0%

25.5%

23.5%

42

3

Indianapolis

48.9%

26.7%

22.2%

49

4

St. Louis

43.2%

20.5%

22.7%

19

0

San Francisco

41.7%

14.6%

27.1%

45

2

(I apologize for any possible errors in the last two columns - I compiled the RSWs/PAs late last night by hand, jumping off from the TEAM PAGE of pro-football-reference.com.)

Even all prettied up like that, it is still a whole gaggle of numbers in that chart up there, so I broke it down a bit below, clustering teams into Top 5, Mid 5, and Bottom 5 using the total percentages above and adding columns for Super Bowl Appearances (SBA) and Super Bowl Wins (SBW) to provide us with a more full picture of what I'd consider meaningful team success in the NFL:

Team Cluster

RSW

PA

SBA

SBW

Top 5 (Atl, Minn, Tenn, Clev, Bal)

216

13

1

1

Middle 5a (NYG, KC, Sea, Pitt, NO)

212

11

4

3

Middle 5b (KC, Sea, Pitt, NO, NE)

224

13

4

2

Bottom 5 (Dal, Phi, Ind, St.Lo, SF)

197

10

2

0

Since a total of 32 teams does not provide an exact midpoint for the top-middle-bottom clusters, I used two so I wouldn't be accused of cherry-picking...

* * *

OK, now that we've got raw numbers, percentages, more raw numbers, clusters, and some correlative info here, what does all this tell us about draft success and team success?

Seems to me that there's not much difference between the comparative success of the top and the middle levels there, but some drop off between those two levels and the bottom.

What do you think?

As with last week, I implore you to bring reasoned critical analysis/commentary, other statistical breakdowns/suggestions, clever word play, and intelligent responses to the thread below so we can keep this going as long as it's an interesting and viable topic of discussion. I wouldn't even mind a few sharp PB (Peek-A-Boo or "spoiler" function)-utilizing bon mots!

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