Jerry Reese was asked Thursday to evaluate his draft performance over the last three or four years, but the Giants GM passed on the chance, saying it is reporters’ job to do that.
To evaluate Reese’s recent drafts, I’m going to use Pro-Football-Reference.com’s Approximate Value, since it allows us to compare player across all positions. PFR kindly provided a 20-year sample (1993-2012) of drafts and the resulting four-year AV from each draft slot. I divided those AV totals by 80 (20 drafts of four seasons each) and you can see the resulting information in the graph below. If we smooth out the data with a trendline we can get an expected AV for each draft slot.
For example, the first overall pick is expected to produce on average, over 10 AV per year over his first four years. Over the same time period the 32nd pick is expected to produce 4.375 AV per year and the 100th pick should garner 2.316.
Armed with that information, we can compare how much the Giants’ draft picks have produced relative to expectation given where they were picking, and use that information to judge Reese’s recent drafts.
Justin Pugh, for example, was the 19th overall pick in 2013 and therefore would be expected to create 5.317 AV per year over his first four years. His actual per year AV has been 5.75, so he’s played just a tad better than expectation. Despite that, 2013 was not a good draft for Reese, as his picks ended up producing a total of 5.064 AV less than than what was expected, given their draft positions, per year.
Reese made up for it the next year, as his picks outperformed their draft slots by 6.994 AV per year, thanks in large part to Odell Beckham Jr. In 2015 Reese’s class again beat its projection, this time by 2.956 AV per year while the 2016 class fell short so far, producing 3.356 less than expectation in their one year.
If we add up those totals (I used per-year totals in order to not over-weight the older draft classes), we get 1.53 AV per year above expectation, or .382 AV above expectation per year per draft class.
Certainly, this process isn’t perfect. For one thing, it’s slightly unfair to younger classes since the data historical data we are pulling from is the average of four-year AV totals — and presumably players accumulate more AV in, say, their third and fourth years compared to their rookie or sophomore seasons. Second, this method doesn’t factor in whether a particular draft class is weak or strong, which could affect actual expectations.
But those two thoughts aside, it does look like Reese has done an oh-so-slightly above average job of drafting over the last four seasons.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that he’s legitimately an above average drafter, as there’s some evidence that suggests no one, really, may actually be good at drafting.