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Bradford had a lot of surrounding talent in Norman.

Bradford had a lot of surrounding talent in Norman.

Do players get too much credit when teammates make them look good? Take Johnny Manziel. In the last thirty years, no quarterback has had teammates around him drafted so highly. Last year, his left tackle (Luke Joeckel) was the second pick in the draft. This year, his new left tackle (Jake Matthews) was the sixth pick in the draft and his talented wide receiver went immediately after. That’s three top seven picks from his offense in two drafts. Does this means, perhaps, that Manziel was riding those players’ coattails? Or is it Manziel who helped make his teammates look better?

The first round quarterback with the closest comparable surrounding college talent — a left-handed former Florida QB drafted in 2010 — doesn’t appear to be a very promising comparison. Tim Tebow’s top wide receiver was drafted 22nd overall (Percy Harvin) in 2009, and successive linemen Pouncey brothers were drafted in the top 20 the next two years (Maurkice went #18 in 2010 and Mike #15 in 2011).1 Tebow is obviously very different from Manziel, most notably in lacking the important skill for a quarterback of being able to throw a football well. But Tebow may have looked better as a college player in part because of the great talent around him, a situation which may be similar to Manziel.

In general, does having better college teammates cause QBs like Manziel to be overvalued in the draft? Or, do better QBs cause their college teammates to be overdrafted? To check these ideas out, I compared how draft picks performed in their first five years (according to PFR’s Approximate Value) relative to their expected value given their draft position.2 I then compared performance relative to expectation for players who had the benefit of teammates who were drafted in the first round to those who weren’t so lucky. The results are certainly not what I expected: by the end of this post, it might be Bucs fans who worry the most that they overvalued a high pick in the 2014 draft.

Quarterbacks

I first considered the value above expectation (VAE) for quarterbacks drafted in the first three rounds since 1984. It looks like having a lineman drafted in the first round either in the same or subsequent draft has no clear impact on the QB’s VAE. Those QBs who played with first-round linemen do about 1.8 points worse in VAE than QBs (relative to a baseline of 22.2), but this difference isn’t close to being distinguishable from zero.3

Here’s the list of QBs from the first three rounds who had at least one lineman drafted in the first round of the same or subsequent draft.4 The VAE for the last few entries is missing because those players have not finished their first five seasons. Keep in mind that the VAEs cannot be too low for third-round picks like Bobby Hoying, since little was expected of them given their draft position.

QuarterbackYearVAESchoolOL
Boomer Esiason198441.3MarylandRon Solt
Chuck Long1986-18.7IowaMike Haight
Todd Marinovich1991-21.2USCPat Harlow
Matt Blundin1992-19.2VirginiaRay Roberts
Billy Joe Hobert1993-8.4WashingtonLincoln Kennedy
Rick Mirer1993-5.8Notre DameAaron Taylor
Kerry Collins1995-6.8Penn St.Jeff Hartings; Andre Johnson
Todd Collins1995-10MichiganTrezelle Jenkins
Bobby Hoying1996-9.6Ohio St.Orlando Pace
Charlie Batch199814.9East. MichiganL.J. Shelton
Eli Manning20049.5MississippiChris Spencer
Brian Brohm2008-15.7LouisvilleEric Wood
Chad Henne20086.4MichiganJake Long
Matt Ryan200837.9Boston Col.Gosder Cherilus
Sam Bradford20100OklahomaTrent Williams
Tim Tebow20100FloridaMaurkice Pouncey; Mike Pouncey
Andrew Luck20120StanfordDavid DeCastro
Ryan Tannehill20120Texas A&MLuke Joeckel
Russell Wilson20120WisconsinKevin Zeitler; Travis Frederick

There are definitely some classic failures on this list, notably Todd Marinovich, but there are some big successes, too. And, for the more recent QBs, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson will more than balance out Tebow. Overall, there’s little reason to think getting to play with a first-round lineman causes QBs to be overdrafted in general. As a result, Manziel critics may not have much support if they want to point to Matthews and Joeckel as the reason for Manziel’s college success.

But what about the presence of Mike Evans? Does having an elite wide receiver or tight end mean that a QB might be overvalued in the draft? I ran a separate regression looking at whether having a first-round WR/TE predicts a QB to succeed or flop relative to his expectation. Here, there’s more reason to think there might be something going on, but there is still not clear evidence that teammates make the QB. Part of this is just the relatively small number of QBs with first-round WR/TEs in the sample. On average, QBs with first-round WR/TE teammates in college do 6.5 points worse relative to expectation than other QBs. That gap is still indistinguishable from zero, however.5

Below are the QBs since 1984 who had at least one WR/TE teammate in the same or following year drafted in the first round.

QuarterbackYearVAESchoolWR/TE
Vinny Testaverde1987-4.5Miami (FL)Michael Irvin
Tony Sacca1992-17.7Penn St.O.J. McDuffie
Rick Mirer1993-5.8Notre DameIrv Smith
Kerry Collins1995-6.8Penn St.Kyle Brady
Kordell Stewart199519.9ColoradoMichael Westbrook
Bobby Hoying1996-9.6Ohio St.Terry Glenn; Rickey Dudley
Peyton Manning199840.5TennesseeMarcus Nash
Marques Tuiasosopo2001-14.2WashingtonJerramy Stevens
Chris Simms2003-2.3TexasRoy Williams
Matt Schaub200410.9VirginiaHeath Miller
JaMarcus Russell2007-30.5LSUDwayne Bowe; Craig Davis
Sam Bradford20100OklahomaJermaine Gresham
Brandon Weeden20120Oklahoma St.Justin Blackmon
Robert Griffin20120BaylorKendall Wright
Geno Smith20130West VirginiaTavon Austin

The repeats from the earlier list who were blessed with great help both on the line and at WR/TE were Rick Mirer, Kerry Collins and Sam Bradford.6 As you can see, Peyton Manning swings this upwards, but JaMarcus Russell swings it down just as much. Both of those would seem to be anecdotes that fit the story of teammates potentially inflating another player’s perceived value, with the QB inflating the WR (the instantly forgotten Marcus Nash) in Manning’s case and the WR (Dwayne Bowe) perhaps inflating the QB in Russell’s case.

Overall, though, it’s unclear whether WRs in general tend to inflate their QBs, making them overvalued in the draft. The effect size is substantial and just three of the 11 QBs have positive VAE, but it could be driven by random chance given the small sample size.7 Given what I find below for predicting WR success, I suspect that the Manning-Nash example may happen more often than the Russell-Bowe situation.

Wide Receivers

Do great college quarterbacks cause NFL talent evaluators to reach for their wide receiver and tight end teammates? It seems like the answer to this question might be yes. Receivers selected in rounds 1-3 who come from schools with first-round QBs drafted the same or following year do 6.4 points worse relative to expectation from their draft position. Here, we have more data and the results are statistically significant that having a first-round college QB has led to their wide receivers being overvalued in the draft.8 WRs drafted in the first three rounds without a top QB generated an average value in their first five years of 17.6, so the predicted drop in value is down to about 11.2. Having a first round QB thus predicts a WR gets taken a little more than a round too early.9

In fact, from 1984 to 2009, only 20% of the round 1-3 WR/TEs who played with first-round QBs had a positive VAE.

WR/TEYearVAESchoolQB
Jonathan Hayes1985-11.9IowaChuck Long
Flipper Anderson198817.3UCLATroy Aikman
Mike Bellamy1990-16.9IllinoisJeff George
Derek Brown1992-26.7Notre DameRick Mirer
Irv Smith1993-14.9Notre DameRick Mirer
Cory Fleming1994-10.4TennesseeHeath Shuler
Malcolm Floyd1994-7.9Fresno St.Trent Dilfer
Tydus Winans1994-9.8Fresno St.Trent Dilfer
Kyle Brady1995-20.4Penn St.Kerry Collins
Bryan Still1996-10.9Virginia TechJim Druckenmiller
Joey Kent1997-15.7TennesseePeyton Manning
Marcus Nash1998-21.1TennesseePeyton Manning
Patrick Johnson1998-8.7OregonAkili Smith
Kevin Johnson199910.6SyracuseDonovan McNabb
Jabar Gaffney2002-1.1FloridaRex Grossman
Reche Caldwell20022.7FloridaRex Grossman
Taylor Jacobs2003-16.2FloridaRex Grossman
Mike Williams2005-25.8USCMatt Leinart
Anthony Fasano2006-2.3Notre DameBrady Quinn
David Thomas2006-2.5TexasVince Young
Dominique Byrd2006-10.7USCMatt Leinart
Maurice Stovall2006-6.1Notre DameBrady Quinn
Craig Davis2007-15.1LSUJaMarcus Russell
Dwayne Bowe200713.4LSUJaMarcus Russell
Fred Davis2008-2.3USCMark Sanchez
Jordy Nelson200812.8Kansas St.Josh Freeman
Juaquin Iglesias2009-10.1OklahomaSam Bradford
Mohamed Massaquoi2009-2.9GeorgiaMatthew Stafford
Patrick Turner2009-10.4USCMark Sanchez
Percy Harvin200917FloridaTim Tebow
Jermaine Gresham20100OklahomaSam Bradford
Coby Fleener20120StanfordAndrew Luck
Justin Blackmon20120Oklahoma St.Brandon Weeden
Kendall Wright20120BaylorRobert Griffin

And at least one of the successes on this list is an exception that fits the broader idea. Percy Harvin played with a QB who just maybe was a slight reach as a first round pick. It’s hard to think that Tim Tebow made Percy Harvin look good.10 At least based on these results, having a great college QB has caused wide receivers to be drafted much too highly over the last thirty years.

Conclusion

So it seems like Bucs fans might have more to worry about than Browns fans. The evidence is unclear on whether QBs such as Manziel generally become overvalued from playing with first-round receiver talent, although there might be something going on there. But the evidence is much clearer that WRs such as Evans become overvalued from playing with premier college QBs. Perhaps it’s not surprising from what we know about the NFL that there’s a pretty good chance that Manziel’s excellence helped inflate Evans’s value.

Of course, the last example of a 6’5 receiver drafted in the top ten who played with a first-round Heisman-winning QB doesn’t bode well for Evans, either.11 And while Evans will likely still be in the NFL after six years unlike Mike Williams, it is likely that he would have gone lower in the draft if he played with a quarterback not quite so good as Johnny Football.

  1. And he had a talented tight end go in the fourth round in 2010, too. Like Tebow, he is also no longer playing football. Let’s move on. []
  2. I did this by running a regression of a player’s value in the first five years on a fifth-order polynomial in draft position. This is pretty much the same thing as looking at the value a player generates compared to their expected value according to Chase’s chart, except I also control for whether a player went to a major football school. []
  3. The p-value is 0.70 []
  4. All analysis in this post ignores the supplemental draft. []
  5. p = .20 []
  6. All of those first-rounders were actually TEs (Irv Smith, Kyle Brady and Jermaine Gresham, respectively), although Collins also threw to a second-round WR in Bobby Engram. []
  7. Kordell Stewart is one of those three and he did play a little WR in his first few years, too, but almost all of his value was at QB []
  8. The p-value for this effect is .01 []
  9. For wide receivers, I estimate 17.6 as being the expected value generated by about the 46th pick, with 11.2 the expected value generated by the 89th pick []
  10. I’d argue the same for Dwayne Bowe and JaMarcus Russell, but Russell at least was a legitimately excellent passer in 2006 []
  11. The similarities don’t stop there. Mike Williams is listed at 229 lbs and ran a 4.56 40 at the combine. Evans is at 231 and ran a 4.53. And they’re both named Mike. []
{ 39 comments }
  • Kibbles May 28, 2014, 12:59 am

    I wonder why you say that Russell was a “legitimately excellent passer” in 2006 but that Tebow was not a “legitimately excellent passer” from 2007-2009. Tebow left college as the second-highest-rated passer in the history of the sport, behind only fellow Heisman winner Sam Bradford. Russell’s 9.1 Y/A, 9.7 AY/A, 28:8 TD:INT ratio, and 167 passer rating would all be career worsts for Tebow (well, the passer rating would barely edge Tebow’s career worst of 164.2).

    His mechanics were a nightmare, but judging exclusively from the results, Tim Tebow was one of the most “legitimately excellent” passers in college football history.

    Reply
    • Andrew Healy May 28, 2014, 1:43 am

      Well said. All true. But combine Tebow’s stats with his mechanics and we have a reasonable candidate to explain his huge college numbers: his great teammates. The point I was trying to make is that what happens for WRs may also happen for QBs, even though it’s not as clear that it happens in general. I suspect Tebow’s stats were in part a product of his great surrounding talent at Florida. I suspect it for Russell, too, but somewhat less so due to both his not-as-great surrounding talent (no first round linemen; even if one lineman doesn’t seem to make QBs overvalued in general, the package of a group of great teammates might, although we don’t have enough similar cases to know for sure) and his better throwing ability (relative to Tebow).

      Reply
      • A Jones May 28, 2014, 9:25 pm

        First, it was not just Tebow’s passing that helped Harvin. I have no love for Tebow–and it is indisputable that he was a disaster as a professional in the NFL–but he was excellent at both running and passing in college. I have little doubt his excellence at running helped WRs get open, especially someone like Harvin who operated behind the line so much.

        I’m sorry, I like your article, but I must say I have no idea how you could have watched those Florida teams and then come to the conclusion that “It’s hard to think that Tim Tebow made Percy Harvin look good.” There just needs to be a higher precision in your writing. On the face of it, that sentence is utter nonsense, against all tests of numbers and eyeballs.

        Tebow was a good college player. Just like Cade McNown before him. Their failed professional careers are not evidence against their suitability to a very different–much smaller and slower–college game.

        Of course they were both better with better teammates. Everyone is. But Tebow’s stats and abilities were jaw-dropping. Dismissing them in such a complete fashion makes no sense.

        Reply
        • Andrew Healy May 29, 2014, 2:43 am

          Thanks for the comments. You may be right about being a little loose on Tebow. I think it goes without saying, but yes, of course, Tebow was an excellent college player. Great runner, extremely effective passer. And that’s a good point about Tebow’s effectiveness as a runner helping Harvin. I should have been clearer that I was referring to Tebow the passer (who was being evaluated for the draft). Harvin ran more than he caught passes in college. Moreover, it helped Tebow’s stat line to have all those screens he threw to Harvin.

          Anyway, acknowledged that Tebow was a great college player. My main point was to provide some context for why Harvin might look different from the clear majority of WRs who played with first round QBs. In terms of helping a WR maybe look better than he is, it seems reasonable that the other college QBs on the list such as Manning, Leinart, and Collins would, on average, be more capable.

          Reply
  • Joel May 28, 2014, 1:01 am

    Great read! I am curious if wide receivers who played with undrafted (or late round) quarterbacks produced a significantly higher value over expectation?

    Reply
    • Andrew Healy May 29, 2014, 12:12 am

      Thanks, Joel. It basically looks like late round QBs have no impact on how their WRs are valued in the draft. I get an estimate of very close to zero for the impact of a QB drafted in rounds 4-7.

      Reply
  • Andrew Healy May 28, 2014, 1:53 am

    Thanks, Joel. It basically looks like late round QBs have no impact on how their WRs are valued in the draft. I get an estimate of very close to zero for the impact of a QB drafted in rounds 4-7.

    Reply
  • Bryan Frye May 28, 2014, 7:46 am

    I wrote about something tangentially related at my site and posed this question: Aside from Cam Newton, who is the last national championship winning quarterback to have any sustained success in the NFL?

    “Sustained” means Vince Young and Tim Tebow don’t count. I also didn’t count Brady, Brunell, and Aikman due to their backup role on those title teams.

    Reply
    • Odell May 28, 2014, 1:59 pm

      If you count 2003 USC as a national championship winner, Carson Palmer.

      If not, and Brian Griese (1997 Michigan) doesn’t meet your standards for sustained success, Bernie Kosar (1983 Miami).

      Reply
      • Bryan Frye May 28, 2014, 4:13 pm

        Kosar was the guy I came up with. Even if USC was the best team in 2003, it wasn’t “official” or whatever.

        You have to go back to Montana to actually find a HOF quarterback who won a college title. Pretty wild, I think.

        Reply
        • Andrew Healy May 29, 2014, 12:59 am

          That is pretty wild. Interestingly, Montana had an elite target (Ken MacAfee) in the championship year who also might have been overdrafted (7th overall in 1978 draft, career AV of 5 in two seasons, left to become a dentist).

          Reply
  • Steven Macks May 28, 2014, 9:17 am

    I’m curious about the flip side of this question. What about quarterbacks that don’t have first-round teammates in adjacent drafts? How do they perform relative to expected value?

    Reply
    • Andrew Healy May 29, 2014, 1:17 am

      I’m doing this in a regression framework, so I’m comparing players with first-round teammates to those without. Here are the simple mean comparisons for value above expectation:
      QBs (rds 1-3) w/ first-round WR: -3.59 (N=14)
      QBs (rds 1-3) w/out first-round WR: -1.93 (N=107)

      WRs (rds 1-3) w/ first-round QB: -7.58 (N=34)
      WRs (rds 1-3) w/out first-round QB: -1.38 (N=418)

      The gap for QBs is smaller, supporting the idea that we just can’t clearly say there’s something going on there. For WRs, the gap looks just like the regression result pointing towards those WRs being overvalued and WRs without first-round QBs being valued more reasonably.

      Reply
  • Dan May 28, 2014, 11:23 am

    One minor comment. Luke Joekel was drafted one year before Manziel, but your regressions all use same-or-next draft (or I read the descriptions wrong).

    Of course, since that might be the only example in the other direction, I doubt it would change your results, but you are modeling something slightly different from the sample case you based the model on. Back to the first hand, it may not be the only example; looking at the prior year as well may increase the sample space.

    Great work. I love that you’re fitting in here so rapidly as another high-quality researcher.

    Reply
    • Andrew Healy May 29, 2014, 1:29 am

      Thanks for the kind words, Dan. And great point about Joeckel. I think he’s part of the story for Manziel’s very unusual teammate situation, so I thought he was important to discuss, but yes he then gets left out of the regressions. It’s not an obvious call. He would increase the sample size, but I decided it made the most sense to only focus on players who could have helped in the last year before the player entered the draft. I think that best gets at teammates who affected a player’s draft status. It’s definitely not clear-cut, though.

      Reply
  • A Leap at the Wheel May 28, 2014, 11:56 am

    I know you are looking at the top of the draft, but I have a case study at the bottom. In the 2009 draft, Dan Lefevour, the QB out of Central Michigan was getting a lot of draft buzz. His favorite target at Central Michigan? Antonio Brown, who was #2 last year in NFL catches, yard, and WPA.

    http://www.mlive.com/chippewas/index.ssf/2010/04/central_michigan_universitys_d_1.html

    Reply
    • A Leap at the Wheel May 28, 2014, 11:58 am

      Make that 2010 draft, after the 2009 season…

      Reply
      • Andrew Healy May 29, 2014, 1:36 am

        Neat example. The one I thought of from the bottom of the draft was Mike Teel of Rutgers. He threw to 1st-rounder Kenny Britt and 7th-rounder Tiquan Underwood (with Ray Rice drafted the year before). I saw such a small sample of Rutgers football, but it was enough to make me surprised he was drafted.

        Reply
  • Richie May 28, 2014, 1:59 pm

    The Tannehill-Joeckel-Manziel sequence got me thinking if there was something there about a school having 2 QB’s drafted in the first round within 2 years of each other.

    No school has ever had first round QB’s in back-to-back years. Though Notre Dame had 2 QB’s taken in the first round in 1946 (Boley Dancewicz, Johnny Lujack) though I think those were the days when QB was a different sort of position, and I think NFL scouting only consisted of looking at the Notre Dame roster.

    If we just look at modern football (since 1958), there were six times that a school had 2 first-round QB’s within 2 years of each other:

    BYU – Marc Wilson (1980), Jim McMahon (1982) [And if not for the USFL, probably would have had Steve Young in 1984.]
    Houston – Andre Ware (1990), David Klingler (1992)
    California – Kyle Boller (2003), Aaron Rodgers (2005)
    Tulane – Patrick Ramsey (2002), JP Losman (2004)
    Florida State – Ponder (2011), EJ Manuel (2013)
    Texas A&M – Tannehill (2012), Manziel (2014)

    Obviously, the jury is still out on Manuel, Tannehill and Manziel. Ponder is looking like a longshot. Not really enough info to draw any conclusions. Generally, the second QB seems to be a little better.

    In pre-modern times you had the Notre Dame year above, plus Notre Dame had Frank Tripucka and Bob Williams in ’49 and ’51. Then TCU had Sammy Baugh and Davey O’Brien in ’37 and ’39.

    Reply
    • Chase Stuart May 28, 2014, 6:22 pm

      Cool post, Richie. Kind of crazy that it’s happened twice in the last two years and received very little publicity. Also a very interesting mix of schools.

      Re: Lujack, he was drafted even though he had 2 years of college eligibility remaining. So while Dancewicz was drafted i n1946 and played for Boston, Lujack was drafted even though Chicago knew he was going to be at Notre Dame.

      Did you really forget one of our podcasts?!?! http://www.pro-football-reference.com/podcast/episode1.mp3 (skip to 30:00 mark)

      Reply
    • Andrew Healy May 29, 2014, 2:00 am

      Interesting stuff! Kind of an amazing lack of surrounding talent in many of those cases, in contrast to Tannehill/Manziel. Ramsey/Losman stands out and Ware/Klingler even more so. And Tulane’s QB run was a bit longer even. Shaun King was taken in the 2nd round in ’99.

      But I think your list might be missing the best one, by the way: Kosar (1985) and Testaverde (1987). They were both going to be top five picks, sidetracked only by Kosar going into the supplemental draft.

      Reply
      • Richie May 29, 2014, 11:41 am

        sidetracked only by Kosar going into the supplemental draft.

        Database queries will always inevitably sink me.

        Reply
        • Andrew Healy May 29, 2014, 12:09 pm

          Actually went the old-fashioned way on this one (popped to mind), believe it or not. Just adding to your great list!

          Reply
          • Richie May 29, 2014, 12:33 pm

            I forget the exact story of why Kosar went through the supplemental draft. I seem to recall that it had something to do with him wanting to have more control of what team got him? But if that plan failed, Kosar likely would have gone in the 86 draft and then Testaverde would have gone in 87. Presumably Tampa Bay would have still taken Bo Jackson #1 in 86, but Kosar might have gone #2 if he played well in college in 85.

            Then, if we assume that Testaverde would have been just in good in 1986 as a first year starter (because he would have been Kosar’s backup in 85), Testaverde would have gone #1 in 87.

            So Miami could have had a QB drafted #2 overall in 86 and #1 overall in 87.

            Lots of “ifs”.

            Reply
            • Odell May 29, 2014, 1:16 pm

              Then two years later, Steve Walsh went #1 overall in the supplemental draft in 1989 (costing the Cowboys the #1 overall pick in the regular draft 1990).

              Both Kosar and Walsh waited until after the NFL’s filing deadline to declare for the draft so that they’d have more control over where they wound up.

              Reply
              • Richie May 29, 2014, 1:33 pm

                There’s probably an interesting story to be told about the usage, and virtual disappearance, of the supplement draft over the past 30 years.

                I really enjoyed that 1984 supplemental draft story that Chase linked to last week.

                Reply
            • Andrew Healy May 30, 2014, 1:57 am

              I had the same memory of this as Odell. I thought Kosar specifically wanted to play for Cleveland, too (part of why they loved him so much).

              The trade the Browns had to make to get the supplemental pick seems like a fascinating story. Assuming I’ve got everything straight, the Browns gave up their #1 and #3 picks in 1985 along with a 6 in 1986 to switch first round picks with the Bills in ’86. That would grade out as one awful trade under normal circumstances, but if the Browns knew Kosar would get to the supplemental draft (and it seems they knew that was at least where Kosar was going to shoot for), it makes sense since that Bills ’86 #1 (via being the worst record in ’84) gave them first dibs on Kosar in the supplemental.

              Reply
              • Odell May 30, 2014, 9:14 am

                “Assuming I’ve got everything straight, the Browns gave up their #1 and #3 picks in 1985 along with a 6 in 1986 to switch first round picks with the Bills in ’86. ”

                Pretty much right, except the Bills didn’t have to give up their 1986 1st rounder. Making the trade:

                Bills give up:
                1985 Supplemental #1 (which they wouldn’t have used had Kosar not been available)

                Browns give up:
                1985 #1 (Browns originally tried to trade Chip Banks instead, but he refused to report to Buffalo)
                1985 #3
                1986 #1
                1986 #6

                Reply
  • Dave May 28, 2014, 2:27 pm

    In the comments you mentioned that you looked at the impact having a QB drafted in a later round (4-7) had on WR/TE, but what about the opposite? I would expect QBs taken in rounds 1-3 with more WR/TEs and OL drafted to show more of the relationship you’re looking for. It would also increase the size of your dataset (as most QBs drafted in early rounds have at least ONE target or OL that was drafted), possibly leading to more statistically significant conclusions.

    Reply
    • Andrew Healy May 29, 2014, 2:06 am

      Thanks for the suggestion. I just run a regression to give this a check and I get something pretty close to zero. So it doesn’t look like later round draft picks have an impact on a QB’s draft stock. This seems to be the case both for the number of late-round WR/TEs and OL.

      Reply
      • Stuart May 29, 2014, 12:37 pm

        I’m curious if you tried to figure out the overall draft value of the entire offense to go with the QB. That would get at the contribution from the entire offense and not just a few superstars, giving you one common number for all QBs (and distinguishing between high first round and low first round talents).

        Reply
        • Andrew Healy May 30, 2014, 1:35 am

          I haven’t done that yet, but that’s a great idea. I will try to check that out at some point.

          Reply
  • Chase Stuart May 28, 2014, 6:24 pm

    Great post as always, Andrew. Thanks for the contributions.

    Reply
  • Jon May 28, 2014, 9:18 pm

    Andrew, are you on twitter? If not whats the best way to get in touch with you outside this article? Great work here!

    Reply
    • Andrew Healy May 29, 2014, 2:08 am

      Thanks, Jon. I’m not on twitter, but please feel free to e-mail me (ahealy1976 at gmail).

      Reply
  • Michael May 29, 2014, 2:13 pm

    It seems to me you might be missing the effect because sometimes it goes one way and sometimes the other. That is, half the time the QB makes the WR look great and half the time the WR makes the QB look great. That would be missed by this study, right? Perhaps it would be possible to see if they’re below expectations as a pair rather than as individuals.

    Reply
  • Andrew Healy May 30, 2014, 2:25 am

    The study shouldn’t miss this. In the study, I’m estimating the average effect of having a first-round WR/TE for all the QBs from rounds 1-3 (and having a first round QB for all the WR/TEs in rounds 1-3). The effect could be different for round 1 draftees than those from 2-3, but we should be OK on finding the average effect across those players.

    So the idea is that the regression allows for both the QB to potentially be overvalued and/or the WR. I think the pairs are really interesting to think about, but there aren’t that many of them. My setup means they have to be in the draft in the first-round in the same year for both QB and WR/TE to be on each side of the regression.

    Here are the examples from the tables above (only including players who have at least five seasons logged already): Mirer/Smith (ND, ’93), Collins/Brady (Penn St., ’95), Manning/Nash (Tennessee, ’98), and Russell/Bowe (LSU, ’07). At most one of the pair succeeded relative to draft position in each case, but certainly we wouldn’t want to say too much with this sample.

    Reply

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