Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Doug Drinen on NFL draft choices

Doug Drinen has a series of three posts on the Massey/Thaler NFL draft paper, looking at the theoretical consequences of the findings, and comparing them to what actually happened.

Worth reading the whole thing, but here's a quick summary:

-- if you try to predict the sum of a team's next three years' actual wins from the value of its draft choices this year, you get an r-squared of only about .07 (which is an r of about .26). So there is some predictive value, but not much.

-- there "traditional" draft choice values are not (statistically significantly) less predictive of future success than the Massey/Thaler values (which are different because they consider value for money, instead of just bulk value). Even if you ignore the lack of statistical significance, the difference is very small.

-- if you sum all the Massey/Thaler draft pick values for all 32 teams, they are all so close that they're virtually the same. The worst teams (first picks) do get a very slight benefit over the other teams, but it's pretty close to zero.

I previously reviewed the Massey/Thaler paper here.

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At Thursday, April 05, 2007 9:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Author of the linked study here. Unfortunately, I found an error in my calculations. Fortunately, though, only one of the three conclusions cited by Phil is affected and it's not affected much.

In particular, the first part of Phil's second bullet point appears not to be true. I found no evidence that either the NFL pick value chart or the Massey-Thaler draft values are of any use in predicting wins over the next three years. Thus, the second part of the same bullet ("the difference is very small") is still true.

I updated the original post with a link to a slightly more detailed explanation of the error.

At Thursday, April 05, 2007 9:42:00 PM, Blogger Phil Birnbaum said...

Thanks, Doug. I've updated this post ... it should now be correct.


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