20 Years of Drafting, The Best and The Worst

About 6 months ago my father, ever the Chiefs cynic, challenged me to devise a method of grading the drafts for every NFL franchise in order to see how the Chiefs matched up with the other teams. I have been done with the project for some time but wanted to wait for this week for obvious timing purposes. I immediately knew that this would be a fascinating and arduous task that I was most definitely up for. I also chose to only chart the first three rounds of each draft as it would have taken forever to do all 7 rounds (It already took me 15 hours to do this much), and less face it, no NFL GM gets fired for a 7th rounder not panning out. You get fired for drafting the Ryan Leafs and Ki-Jana Carters of the world. The goal was hopefully to see if there was a connection between drafting talent and win percentage/playoff performance.

The time period that I selected was from 1986 to 2006 to get a large chunk of data, but I also didn't want to go any more recent as the jury is still out on a lot of the more recent players. I found a formula from a baseball drafting column that gave a prospected output from each draft position and adjusted it to fit for the NFL. I charted for each team the Average Games Played per player, the Average Career Value (per pro football reference), and the Average Career Value minus the Average Projected Value to determine how well each player/team outperformed the draft position. (Note: I've omitted the Houston Texans as they did not have enough draft history to warrant inclusion.) The following is a summation of my results:

For Average Games played for player drafted:

1. New York Giants 104.16

2. Pittsburgh Steelers 101.62

3. Indianapolis Colts 101.58

4. Seattle Seahawks 100.92

5. Tampa Bay Bucs 100.11

28. Kansas City Chiefs 81.70

31. Washington Redskins 74.52

For Average Career Value per player drafted:

1. Indianapolis Colts 38.79

2. Baltimore Ravens 38.45

3. Pittsburgh Steelers 35.91

4. Seattle Seahawks 33.98

5. Dallas Cowboys 33.12

30. Kansas City Chiefs 25.20

31. Washington Redskins 22.78

The following is how each teams Average Career Value exceed their Expected Performance for each pick:

1. Baltimore Ravens 29.11

2. Pittsburgh Steelers 28.55

3. Indianapolis Colts 27.88

4. Seattle Seahawks 25.10

5. Dallas Cowboys 24.71

27. Kansas City Chiefs 17.22

31. Washington Redskins 13.64

And finally the following is the average of how each team performed in the three previous categories:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers 2.33

1. Indianapolis Colts 2.33

3. Seattle Seahawks 4.00

4. Baltimore Ravens 4.67

5. New York Giants 4.67

30. Kansas City Chiefs 28.33

31. Washington Redskins 31.00

The teams that were in the top ten of the average of these three categories had the following playoff record:

Playoffs: 85-76

Superbowl: 11-7

The teams that were in the bottom ten of the average of these three categories had the following playoff record:

Playoffs: 70-68

Superbowl: 5-9

According to this the chances of you succeeding better in the playoffs aren't much better, but increase dramatically in the Super Bowl if your team is better at drafting.

I also took note of every team's best and worst players (Career Value-Expected Performance):

Our Division's best and worst players are as follows:

Chargers: Ladainian Tomlinson (104.08), Ryan Leaf (-29.69)

Broncos: Trevor Pryce (72.61), Ted Gregory (-8.71)

Raiders: Tim Brown (85.83), John Clay (-6.47)

The Following is the Chiefs five best and worst players:


Tony Gonzalez (94.68)

Will Shields (90.84)

Derrick Thomas (81.70)

Neil Smith (63.31)

Dale Carter (58.07)


Brian Jozwiak (-14.82)

Mike Elkins (-7.85)

Matt Blundin (-7.02)

Trazelle Jenkins (-6.97)

Eddie Freeman (-5.77)

The Best Player drafted in this period would be:

Brett Favre (147.27) followed closely by Ray Lewis (146.29)

The Worst Player drafted during this period would be:

Ki-Jana Carter (-33.28), followed closely by Steve Emtman (-32.28)

So in summary, we all know how important drafting is to building a franchise, and we all know the Chiefs haven't done so great at it, and I believe this data only confirms what we all believed, that they are one of the worst franchises at selecting college talent. The Chiefs won 55.9% of their games during this period, but also turned in a horrific 3-9 playoff record. We've all played the game, What if We Went Back and Re-drafted X Player, and if we had, surely things would have been different. Alas, I found these things interesting and knew they had to be shared.

If you have any questions to how a specific team drafted or what their Best/Worst player might have been please put it in the comment section and I will gladly oblige. Thanks for taking the time. GO CHIEFS!!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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