Thursday, May 5, 2011

Grading the NFL draft over the past decade

The football site Coldhardfootballfacts.com has a post up handing out grades to the teams that drafted the best over the past decade. I don't like that they used pro bowl appearances as part of their method. At least part of being elected to the pro bowl has to do with popularity more than it does actual production. But I'm fine with them using pro-football-reference's AV stat. So their rankings seem to be fine.

Not surprisingly the Patriots top their list. And while I don't have a problem with that, it hints at the problem I have with a big position their site takes regarding Tom Brady and the narrative that surrounds Brady in the general sports population. Basically the people at coldhardfootballfacts.com agree with most of the sports media and a lot of fans that Brady is one of the top 10 QBs ever.

The main argument with Brady is that he has won three super bowls. That argument is ridiculous and I have written many an email and posts on their message board trying to get that point across. But putting aside that ridiculous argument for a mintue, don't the facts from this article make it look like he benefits from having the best all around team helping him win all of those super bowls?

He has played with the 2nd most pro bowlers, the most players with a 50+ AV and tied for the most players with a 20+ AV. To be fair, its really difficult to tell whether Brady's good play has affected other players' AV values in a positive manner. But many of the teams on the list have good QBs. So I doubt Brady has helped his players significantly more than others, or at least any more so than Peyton Manning (who chff thinks isn't as good as Brady).

Given that Brady has had the highest amount of good players around him for the past decade, is it any surprise that over that decade the Patriots have appeared in four super bowls and won three of them? I don't think so. And a major part of that is the fact that they had a dominant defense in their first three trips and then an all time dominant offense in their fourth. Brady doesn't really affect those defenses. So I don't see how we can credit him for that. And while he was great in their fourth run, he benefited greatly from a great oline and one of the best WRs (and I think all around players) the game has ever seen.

When you take all of that into account you begin to see why this narrative about Brady being a top 10 all time QB is a bit ridiculous. Yes he has won three super bowls. But his production while doing so has not been the best in the league over that time, arguably not even in the top 5 over that time. And as this article points out, he has had the benefit of playing with the most amount of good players. to be drafted in the decade. So can we please stop placing all the credit for winning on the QB, and specifically on Brady for his TEAM'S success.

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