The Best Way of Analyzing the New York Giants 2014 NFL Draft- Day 3

Over my previous two posts, I've argued that Giants' fans should look at the Giants' draft similarly to how real estate appraisers value properties. This approach looks at what draft picks NFL teams actually spent on comparable players. Below is an explanation of that approach and my perspective on the Giants' Day 3 selections.

I think this site has some of the most intelligent and insightful analysis of the Giants. As expected, the readers that have commented on my previous two posts have been true to form. I'm eager to hear feedback from the rest of Big Blue View. I hope my analysis helps fans to look at the Giants draft a bit differently, it sure has for me!

Forget draft grades, mock drafts, and big board rankings. These are often subjective evaluations that say more about the ego of the evaluator than the perception of actual NFL decision makers. What makes a particular selection a "great value" or a "reach" often comes down to whether a team selected who the pundit thought they should select. I have often fallen for the "we could’ve drafted player X" trap. However, I have since learned that the best way of analyzing a team’s draft in terms of maximizing value per pick is based on where comparable players ACTUALLY got drafted. Just like appraising real estate, you must look for comparables that were recently SOLD in similar neighborhoods/locations. To analyze value according to mock drafts or grades is like analyzing a house's value based on the listing or asking price. There is often a huge divergence between the perceived value of the seller's listing price and what a buyer (NFL team) is willing to pay. We can never know, immediately after a draft, whether a player picked in the third round was actually a first round talent. What we can definitely know is that a player projected to be a first rounder (listing price) was in fact a later round value (sale price).

Take for example Morgan Moses, a pre-draft pundit favorite that had been consistently mocked in the first round to the Dolphins or the Panthers, but actually got selected in the third round by the Redskins. We know that Morgan Moses did NOT have a first round value because EVERY team drafting passed on him for TWO rounds in favor of other players at his position. This seems like an obvious observation, but it is the most solid ground to start from when analyzing a player’s perceived value. We don’t know if Morgan Moses was in fact a worse value than a third rounder, but as value is determined in other fields, we know that a third round pick is what an actual NFL team was willing to pay for him. Just like at an art auction, there can be the "ugliest" painting up for bid, and everyone in the room can pass on bidding, but it only takes one person to pay $1,000 dollars to make that "ugly" painting a $1,000 dollar painting. So with that framework in mind, I will try to make sense of the New York Giants 2014 draft selections over the course of the next few posts.

Andre Williams

So what do you have to spend to get a big, powerful, every down running back that was highly productive running through gigantic holes but can’t really catch the ball? Maybe, the 29th pick in the second round because that’s where last year’s offensive rookie of the year, Eddie Lacy, was drafted. Lacy’s and Williams’ prospect profiles are very similar. Both are power backs with limited lateral quickness and not used much, if at all, catching the ball. Carlos Hyde who was taken in the second round this year also shares many comparable attributes with Williams. So we know that NFL teams value these types of running backs, in recent years, as early as the second round. The Giants get their model in the fourth.

Bottom line: The Giants paid good value for Andre Williams with the 113th pick overall.

Nat Berhe

Did you like the Rams’ pick of Lamarcus Joyner with the 41st pick overall? Well then you should LOVE the Giants pick of Nat Berhe three rounds later. Both safeties are highly productive tackling machines playing in CB bodies. Ok, obviously level of competition is way different at Florida St. than San Diego St. so that should account for a few rounds differential in value. But then again, Joyner had A LOT more help on defense than Berhe. Of course Joyner could make plays with Tim Jernigan, Telvin Smith, Terrance Brooks, Christian Jones playing alongside him. Four of those players were drafted and Christian Jones was projected to be a mid-round pick. Joyner’s career stats: 128 solo tackles, 10.5 for loss, 6.5 sacks, and 8 ints. Berhe’s career stats: 197 solo tackles!, 12 for loss, 1 sack, and 5 ints. Pretty darn comparable.

Bottom line: The Giants paid good value for Nat Berhe with the 152nd pick overall.

Devon Kennard

Were you one of the Giants fans lusting after Anthony Barr, pass rush specialist from UCLA? I know I was. Well the Vikings spent the 9th overall pick to get the "freakish" Pac-12, tweener, pass rusher, who had the following measurables at the combine: 4.66 40 yd dash, 15 bench press reps, 34.5 inch vert. jump, 119 inch broad jump. Kennard, the Giants’ fifth round Pac-12 tweener, had comparable measurables at the combine: 4.70 40 yd dash, 23 bench press reps!, 30 inch vert. jump, and 113 inch broad jump. Ok, so Barr is more explosive, but 4 rounds worth more explosive? How about productivity? In 2013, Barr had 43 solo tackles, 20 for a loss, and 10 sacks. Playing in the same conference, Kennard had 34 solo tackles, 13 for a loss, and 9 sacks. Pretty similar production; and Barr actually had better help with Cassius Marsh and Jordan Zumwalt both getting drafted. Moreover, Kennard has more experience than Barr while playing more varied positions.

Bottom line: The Giants paid good value for Devon Kennard with the 174th pick overall.

Bennett Jackson

So I’m going to kind of punt on this analysis. All I know is that there have been more bodies drafted at CB over the last several drafts than almost any other position. The NFL is truly a passing league where you can never have enough defensive backs. DBs also tend to make great special teams players (i.e. gunners) with their combination of speed and tackling ability. Thus, on day 3 you see all the teams spending draft picks on no-name CBs in what seems like no particular order. Basically, the approach seems to be get a body, take your pick, whatever flavor/style your scheme prefers (i.e. small, quick, nickel-back, tall, lanky, physical). That being said, you see teams start doing this as early as the third round like the Jets did with McDougle. At least the Giants waited until the 6th round to get their developmental DB/warm body in the secondary.

Bottom line: The Giants paid good value for Bennett Jackson with the 187th pick overall.

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