Grading an NFL team’s draft become a cottage industry among sports fans and pundits. It’s also a hobby for economist Kevin Hassett, who has taken the economic model developed by Thaler and Massey, and graded teams’ drafts for the past two years. The insight of the Thaler/Massey model he writes in a Bloomberg column, is that “because NFL teams all have to operate under a salary cap, a team can only become better than its competitors by having a number of players who perform far better than their salaries would indicate.”
Hassett has used data from five previous drafts to calculate a Thaler-Massey score for each team. He then uses that score to predict whether teams will have a better or worse record in the sixth season. So far, the model has been largely successful (with occasional misses like predicting New England’s 2007 record would fail to match it’s 2006 record.)
So who were the 2008 draft winners? The Kansas City Chiefs, the Baltimore Ravens, and the Atlanta Falcons.
And the 2008 losers? The Minnesota Vikings, the Cleveland Browns and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Thaler-Massey winners and losers match up well with the draft gurus over at Fox Sports who gave Kansas City, Baltimore and Atlanta A grades. The Vikings and the Browns got C and D grades, respectively, while Jacksonville graded out at a B. Over at ESPN, the correlation is mixed. Mel Kiper thought Kansas City again got an A while Baltimore and Atlanta got Bs. Todd McShay wasn’t terribly impressed with Jacksonville or Atlanta’s draft, but liked the Vikings draft.
Tags: NFL draft