FanPost

Giants' Regional Draft Tendencies

During the interminable lull between the super bowl and free agency I've been thinking a lot about the Giants' recent draft strategy. I've seen some great posts explaining need vs. BPA and positional value, but I haven't really seen any other attempts to analyze JR's draft philosophy. Personally I've had the feeling that in addition to those two considerations, JR puts a lot of stock in a player's college conference. So I went through every draft from 2003-2011* and looked at which conference each drafted player came from. Then I assigned a weighted score to the pick based on which round the player was taken in so I could gauge not just the amount of picks used on a certain conference, but their value. So, for example, taking Clint Sintim from UVA in the 2nd round would be worth 2 points for the ACC, and taking Tyler Sash from Iowa in the 6th would be worth 6 for the Big 10. Average all the scores for each conference, and you get a rough estimate of the value of the picks being used on each one. Oh, and there will be a Tl;dr for those of you with lives outside of draft speculation

*I know JR took over as GM in 2007 but he was obviously a big part of the draft for the few years prior and going back to 2003 accounts for all drafted players on the roster today

Hopefully that all made sense and we can move on to the results. Since 2003, the Giants have drafted 67 players. The general breakdown is as follows (average value corresponds to round value, so lower = better draft pick):

Conference

# Drafted

% of Total

Average Value

ACC

13

20%

3.5

SEC

9

13%

4.9

Big 10

9

13%

4.6

Big 12

6

9%

4.2

Big East

5

8%

3.2

C-USA

5

8%

5.2

Pac-10

4

6%

4.2

Other (minor D-I, D-II)

16

24%

4.6

This confirms what I think is the relatively common knowledge around here that we love the ACC. Also interesting is that we really seem to shy away from drafting players from the Pac-10. Additionally, the Big East and ACC are where, on average, we've used our high draft picks. It's my impression that these two conferences are generally considered to have been the two weakest BCS conferences over the last decade or so. It's possible that JR, staying true to his BPA philosophy, ignores a player's environment and looks purely to talent instead of trying to snag a guy who had success against tough competition, but was playing with a bunch of other future pros. Or, alternately, other GMs are swayed by the success of marquee programs and wind up passing over better talents who toiled in relative obscurity, leaving them to be hoovered up by JR (ideally with the 32nd pick). I was surprised to find that several of the best teams of the past decade--- Florida under Urban Meyer, Ohio St. under Tressel, and Alabama under Saban--- were totally ignored by JR on draft day. Not only that; we actually haven't drafted a single player, in any round, from any of those powerhouse schools in the past 9 years.

All of this information isn't terribly useful if we can't compare it to other teams. Maybe it's a standard thing not to draft Pac-10 players, or to have one conference that you lean on more heavily than others over the years. So I did the same analysis for several other teams to see how their draft breakdowns compare to the Giants. I tried to choose teams that have had relatively intact front offices since 2003, but it's not perfect. The results seemed to indicate that the Giants are unusual in their fixation on the ACC, but not in having a fixation. For example, the Jets love the Big 10 even more than the Giants love the ACC. Almost 1 out of every 4 picks of theirs in the last 9 years has been a Big 10 guy (compared to 1 in 5 for the G-Men and the ACC), and the average value of their Big 10 picks is a 3rd rounder.

The Giants' disdain for the Pac-10 is not something that holds true across the league. The Eagles actually selected more players from the Pac-10 than from any other conference over the last 9 years, as did the Raiders. The Packers and Cardinals both had an average amount of Pac-10 draft picks. So clearly there are some teams that like to take guys from West Coast schools; the Giants just aren't one of them. In fact, the Giants haven't drafted a single player from the Pac-10 since TT in 2008.

Lastly, I wondered if there was a geographical explanation for the Giants' preponderance of ACC picks. Maybe just the fact of our being located in the middle of ACC/Big East country naturally leads to us having better scouting in that area, and that in turn allows us to make under the radar ACC/Big East picks like Jacquain Williams. There are definitely teams that do this; the Colts, for example, have taken almost a THIRD of their players from the Big 10 in the last decade. That's just nuts; the Giants haven't even taken a third of their players from the Big East and ACC combined. So it's certainly possible that the Giants think they have some inside knowledge that allows them to make better-informed decisions on relatively local products, which translates to extra picks from the Eastern seaboard.

Tl;dr: Giants emphasize ACC/Big East picks, ignore Pac-10. Other teams around the league have similar strategies but put their emphasis on different conferences, oftentimes emphasizing the conference they are geographically closest to. Also: small sample size, not randomly chosen, grain of salt.

So what do you guys think? Alternate explanations for the split in conference representation? Reasons JR might favor the ACC? I'm especially interested to hear from those of you who follow the college game closely, since I am more of a casual fan. Give me something to think about during the long dark offseason

FanPosts are written by community members. This is simply a way for community members to express opinions too long to be contained in a comment.

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