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Building Through The Draft: Comparing Parcells to rest of league

This is finally the fifth and final installment of my unofficial and unscientific case study examining the idea that it is best to build through the draft. Last time, I put together the final statistics for how the first two rounds of the draft between 2000 and 2005 have broken down based on some predefined categories to group each player in.

As it turned out, 45% of the players drafted in the first two rounds during that time period could be classified as either disappointments or busts. On the flip side, only 15% were stars or superstars. Everybody else fell into the "starter" category - not a bad place to fall in but not overly wonderful, either. And those second round picks that so many teams covet because of the value that can be found ("value" here is being defined as at least a long-term starter at a very reasonable second round contract). But 58% of those players drafted in round two between 2000 and 2005 were not long-term NFL starters. That's not good, folks.

Of course, the obvious point everybody brings up is the fact that Bill Parcells has a better past draft record than some of the other personnel decision makers around the league. So let's see if that's true.

First off, it's important to note that I am not including Bill's time with the Giants. Why? Because he wasn't the man making the personnel decisions. Instead, it was five time NFL Executive of the Year George Young. In his next gig up in New England, Parcells did not have final personnel say, either. As we all know, when Bill left the Patriots he made the famous "if they want you to cook the dinner" comment. So I'm not counting those drafts under Bill's draft stats, either.

So that leaves his time with the Jets, Cowboys, and Dolphins as his only real "final say" personnel jobs. I am leaving out the '09 draft with Miami, too, because it's really too soon to tell which picks were "hits" and which were "misses" - though I think we could make logical guesses as to how they might play out. That means Bill had "final say" in nine NFL Drafts, selecting 20 players in the first two rounds of the draft. Of those picks, 4 (or 20%) became stars or superstars while 7 (or 35%) were disappointments or busts. In the first round alone, Bill had a very impressive track record with 40% being stars or superstars while only one of those ten first round picks were disappointments.

The second round, though, was less than impressive. Of his ten second round selections, 60% were disappointments or busts while the remaining 40% were only starters. None were ever better than that.

Below is a chart with a simple comparison of Bill's nine drafts compared to the rest of the league from 2000 to 2005:

Rounds 1&2
Parcells NFL
Superstar 5% 4%
Star 15% 11%
Starter 45% 39%
Disappointment 20% 23%
Bust 15% 22%
Round 1 Only
Parcells NFL
Superstar 10% 6%
Star 30% 17%
Starter 50% 43%
Disappointment 10% 15%
Bust 0% 18%
Round 2 Only
Parcells NFL
Superstar 0% 2%
Star 0% 6%
Starter 40% 34%
Disappointment 30% 32%
Bust 30% 26%


They say that numbers don't lie. Of course, we all know that they can be manipulated to prove what you want them to prove. So I won't offer up anything from the above figures other than I find them to be very interesting. But I suppose the most important thing to look at is that Parcells has shown to be better than the league average in the first two rounds of the draft. But not that much better.

Maybe you don't agree with how I grouped some of Bill's 20 draft picks. That's fair. So in the spirit of full disclosure, I have listed the picks below along with how I classified them. Notice how some names look like brilliant picks. Others...not so much.

Round 1: James Farrior, LB (Star due to one 1st team All-Pro and two Pro Bowls)
Round 2: Rick Terry, DT (Bust, 29 career games played)

Round 2: Dorian Boose, DE (Bust, 41 career games played)

Round 2: Randy Thomas, G (Starter)

Round 1: Shaun Ellis, DE (Starter); John Abraham, DE (Star, one 1st team All-Pro and three Pro Bowls); Chad Pennington, QB (Starter); Anthony Becht, TE (Starter)

Round 1: Terence Newman, CB (Starter)
Round 2: Al Johnson, C (Disappointment)

Round 2: Julius Jones, RB (Starter); Jacob Rogers, T (Bust, 2 career games played)

Round 1: DeMarcus Ware, LB (Superstar, three 1st team All-Pro and 4 Pro Bowls); Marcus Spears, DE (Starter)
Round 2: Kevin Burnett, LB (Disappointment)

Round 1: Bobby Carpenter, LB (Disappointment)
Round 2: Anthony Fasano, TE (Starter)

Round 1: Jake Long, T (Star)
Round 2: Phillip Merling, DE (Disappointment); Chad Henne, QB (Starter)

Interest list of names, in my opinion. So how do you feel about this? Would it be better to trade away early picks for proven talent - even if it comes with some off-the-field risk? Perhaps a second round pick for a guy like Brandon Marshall?

I open the floor to all of you...