Analysis of Shanahan's Draft Tendencies in Denver
The Redskins faithful enter this 2010 offseason with more questions than answers. How will the player's react to all these new coaches? Will we able able to transition to the 3-4 effectively? Is Chris Samuels going to retire? What will be the fate of Jason Campbell? How will we approach free agency with the possibility of an uncapped year looming? Has Clinton's time run out in D.C.?
Perhaps the most compelling question, if not the most important, is what will new head coach Mike Shanahan do on draft day?
Obviously, no one knows for sure at this point (not even Shanahan), given that we're weeks away from the combine, and months away from the draft itself, but regardless, the mock drafting business is alive and booming.
The general consensus amidst these fortune tellers is that the Redskins will take either a QB or an offensive tackle with their first pick, the #4 overall pick in the entire draft. Can't say I disagree, either. So the burning question is, which way will we go?
Although I often mock the mock draft, and consider such acts of blind prediction as little more than an NFL-themed game of Pin The Tail On The Donkey, I decided to play along this time. After all, it's the offseason, what the hell else am I going to do?
I lost my magic 8 Ball last summer, and my local gypsy was fresh out of tea leaves (she blamed it on the weather, guess she didn't see that storm coming), so I needed to rely on the advice my 3rd grade history teacher once told me. The best way to predict the future is to study the past.
In an effort to get a gauge on Shanahan's positional draft tendencies, I analyzed all 111 draft picks he made during his tenure with the Denver Broncos between 1995 and 2008, breaking each pick down by position to see if anything popped out. Hardly an exact science, but it'll have to do until those tarot cards finally show up.
First, let's look at the raw totals by position. And uh, Carlos? You might want to 'pay attention' to this.
Apparently, if you can run fast, you're Shanahan's guy! In terms of quantity, you can clearly see his tendency to draft DBs, WRs and RBs more than any other position.
In terms of the positions we're interested in (QB and OT), neither were particularly popular. In 13 drafts, only six QBs and five OTs were drafted by Shanahan. Not really the compelling statistical argument I was looking for.
Ah, but what about where they were drafted? After all, quality matters more than quantity in this case, especially when talking about the first pick. Curious to see how Shanahan valued certain positions, I assigned each of those draft picks their appropriate point total from Jimmy's Johnson's dreaded Draft Day Chart.
And that exercise proved to be much more interesting.
So although he rarely drafted a tackle, when he did, he drafted one pretty high. On average, he drafted tackles higher on the board than any other position. Quarterbacks, on the other hand, were middle-of-the-road when compared to other positions.
And how does this translate into Jimmy's draft chart?
Looking at that, one could conclude, without a crystal ball, that Mike Shanahan puts more draft value on tackle than any other position. On average, when he drafts a tackle, he's using 470 points (most out of any position), which equates to roughly the 11th pick of the 2nd round. Conversely, he spends only 248 points on average when selecting a quarterback. And where does 248 come in the draft? The 4th pick of the 3rd round. Hmmmm......
Om recently provided us with a nice summary of Nighthawks's "The Shanahan QBs", outlining the QBs that Shanahan drafted or traded for in his career.
While my scope just covers his time at Denver, here are "The Shanahan Tackles":
1995, Jamie Brown, 4th round (121st)
1996, Leslie Ratliffe, 7th round (213th)
2003, George Foster, 1st round (20th)
2007, Ryan Harris, 3rd round (70th)
2008, Ryan Clady, 1st round (12th)
It should also be noted that Jamie Brown was the Broncos 1st pick in that 1995 draft. Not sure what happened to their first 3 picks, maybe Vinny was interning for them at the time.
So, what does all this mean? In all honestly, probably nothing. Each draft is unique, each year presents its own needs and directions, not to mention that every one of those draft picks were the result of the collective minds of many, not just Shanahan. Take into account that Bruce Allen is in the mix as well, and all of this draft history in Denver could be completely irrelevant.
But what fun is that? So instead of rationalizing back to the fact that I have absolutely no clue what's going to happen, I have a better idea.
ASTON'S 2010 REDSKINS MOCK DRAFT
Round 1: Russell Okung, OT
Round 2: Colt McCoy, QB
Round 3: <n/a>
Round 4: Eric Norwood, OLB
Round 5: Jeff Byers, C
Round 6: <n/a>
Round 7: Devin Ross, CB
You heard it here first.