As promised, I’ve calculated new positional multipliers for 2014. Obviously, the main purpose of deriving these values is to apply them to our Consensus Ratings. However, before I did that, I wanted to give the Multipliers their own post, because they show slight differences from last year.
As a refresher: The general idea of the multipliers is to properly account for the differing impacts of each position. For example, a QB has a much bigger impact on the game than a Center does. Therefore, all other things being equal, the QB prospect will be of more value than the C prospect. The question is, how do we account for this?
Fortunately, the NFL has a salary cap, which means the league has done our work for us. Since each team has finite resources, the way they distribute their cap space can, in theory, tell us how they value each position. Looking at the league numbers in aggregate, we can get a sense of the default relative value the league places on each position. However, it’s not as easy as just taking an average of every salary at each position.
We’re mostly concerned with the top of the draft (first 3 rounds), where teams are, hopefully, trying to identify and select future starters and stars. Additionally, we have to account for positional scarcity. There are a lot more CB snaps than QB snaps, by virtue of two CBs being on the field for every offensive play. So, here’s what I did:
1) Used Pro Football Focus to determine how many players at each position played at least 50% of their team’s total snaps.
2) I then divided each of those measures by 4. Basically, this tells me how many players are in the top 25% at each position.
3) Then I simply took the average of every cap hit that fell within that measure.
For example, 28 QBs played at least 50% of their team’s offensive snaps last year. Divided by 4, that means 7 QBs comprise the top 25% of starting QBs (roughly speaking). The average of the top 7 QB cap hits this year is $18,407,457.
Pretty straightforward. I did that for each position, then used their relative values to arrive at the PVM values listed below. Next to them are last year’s values, along with the change year-over-year.
The biggest gain in value was at the Center position. The multiplier for Centers, while still relatively small, is 2.87% higher than it was last year. Conversely, both CBs and RBs have seen their values decline somewhat substantially.
Perhaps most interesting is the placement of Safeties. Despite the conventional wisdom being that Safeties are increasing in importance, the values above show they’re actually worth LESS than they were last season.
The top four spots remained the same (QB, DE, DT, WR), but after that, the order shuffled quite a bit. However, note the spread of values between the 2nd highest and the lowest for both years. As you can see, this year there’s a much narrower range. With just two years of data, we can’t draw any substantial conclusions, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on.
Next up, we’ll slap the Consensus Ratings and the PVM values together, along with our Risk factors (which I’m changing slightly), and arrive at our PVM Big Board…finally. Sorry for getting this up so late in the game. Turns out the NFL’s new draft schedule coincides precisely with law school finals.
When you were taking the average cap hit were you excluding anyone still on a rookie deal?
Not explicitly, but given the new draft structure and the prevalence of early extensions, not many made it into the numbers. Took a quick look and it wouldn’t make much of difference to replace them given how little the gap is between those guys and the player that would then make it in.
Good luck with finals – I don’t miss those days (and nights). In all your spare time (ha!), would it be useful/possible to split out a few more distinctions? I’m thinking specifically about the difference between 3-4 and 4-3 DEs and OLBs. It probably doesn’t make sense from the overall view, but from a team-by-team basis (how should team X, a 3-4 2-gap defense, look at this draft versus how team Y, a traditional 4-3 team?). Just a thought.
That’s one of the biggest weaknesses in the analysis. Unfortunately, I don’t know of a good source that breaks it down by position like that. Additionally, since we’re applying it to the draft, we’d need the scouting sources to identify players with similar detail (which they don’t).
This probably fits a 4-3 scheme better than a 3-4, but a lot of players don’t get classified into one position until after they’ve joined a team. Since we don’t know what they’ll play in the NFL, it’s easiest just to rely on their college position. The multipliers are really easy to change though, so if there’s a particular prospect we want to move, that only takes a second (for instance if I’ve got a guy listed at DE but the Eagles would play him at OLB).