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Drafting for Success: How Good Are NFL Teams at Identifying Future Productivity at Offensive-Skill Positions in the Draft?

Joshua Pitts and Brent Evans ()

The American Economist, 2019, vol. 64, issue 1, 102-122

Abstract: Employing data on offensive-skill players drafted between 2002 and 2013, we are able to determine if the factors correlated with a player’s productivity in the National Football League (NFL) are the same factors correlated with him being selected earlier in the NFL draft. While our findings affirm many of the strategies employed by NFL teams, the analysis uncovers potential avenues for improving drafting strategy. For instance, our results suggest that teams are overvaluing or undervaluing certain player characteristics on draft day. We also compare the performance of our empirical models with that of NFL teams in their ability to project the future productivity of incoming players. We conclude that the NFL teams most likely to enjoy success moving forward are those that are able to combine traditional player evaluation methods with analytical approaches to player evaluation. JEL Classifications : L83, M51, Z20, Z22

Keywords: NFL draft; NFL productivity; talent evaluation; football; sports economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1177/0569434518812678

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Handle: RePEc:sae:amerec:v:64:y:2019:i:1:p:102-122