Here’s the first fact about evaluating how well an NFL general manager did his job during a NFL Draft: their performance can only really be assessed after yearsallowing us to see the real value each draft pick brought to the team.
Here is the second fact about making these assessments: we do not care. We make an immediate judgment anyway.
Thus, any evaluation of the work Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach did at last weekend’s 2022 selection meeting has to be taken with a big grain of salt – and the only way to do that is to compare the perceived value of the players he acquired to where they were taken.
Sorry… but the ratings of real the value of these players will just have to wait.
Of course, the draft outlook assessments are entirely in the eye of the beholder; provisional ratings vary widely from source to source. This is why, just before the repechage, we published a consensus ranking of the best players available which averages five major lead rankings. This gives us a pretty good idea of how the project might go down.
Then we can estimate the quality of each pick by simply subtracting the overall pick number from the player’s pre-draft ranking. If the result is a positive number, it is a reach. If it’s a negative number, it’s a bargain. Then we can create an average for each team, suggesting how well they found perceived value in the draft.
But because the number of litters and bargains increases dramatically after the third round — a natural consequence of teams having more information about potential projects than outside analysts — we’ll only consider the first three rounds. And since it wouldn’t be fair to judge a team that found bargains with only one or two picks in those rounds against another team that had five picks, we’ll also limit our calculations to teams that had a minimum of three choices in the rounds. 1-3.
Here is what we get.
2022 draft reached
(At least 3 choices in rounds 1-3)
As you can see, the chefs and Baltimore Ravens head of list. Both teams managed to avoid reaching their picks, maximizing the return on their draft capital.
In fact, in each of Kansas City’s five selections in the first three rounds, the team acquired the highest-ranked player then available for the job—and that held true with players selected in the fourth and fifth rounds as well.
In the fourth, Fayetteville State’s Joshua Williams (15th in the table) was the 11th-ranked cornerback. Acquired with the 135th pick, he exited the board 26 picks later than expected. Then in the fifth round, Kentucky’s Darian Kinnard (the eighth guard taken) was seeded fifth in his position — and at the 145th pick, he was taken 75 spots after hold. (We now know that the Chiefs viewed Kinnard as a tackle, but it does not matter. By the 145th selection, 15 tackles were off the board).
So while their assessments were (as always) premature, it’s easy to see why most national writers raved about Kansas City’s draft: With every meaningful pick, the team found perceived value. If you consider that to be a GM’s primary goal in a draft, Veach has really “knocked him out of the park.”
But not everyone agrees that this should be a GM’s main concern. They would say the most important thing is that with each selection, the team takes the best player available to meet their current needs. From this point of view, “winning the draft” by exceeding expectations before the draft takes a back seat. They would say that while it’s certainly important to use draft capital efficiently, it’s more important to have the right players for your team.
Currently, however, it is much more difficult to measure. Still, the Chiefs have used all seven of their most important draft picks on positions of obvious need — and in each case, selected players who could be considered the best available in those positions. While it’s possible to criticize the individual selections Kansas City made over the weekend, there’s little evidence the team ever ignored their needs. or its editorial board.
And quite frankly, that’s not something we’ve always been able to say about each of the previous four projects Veach has done.
Even Veach’s trades – which at times felt pointless or aimed at unsuccessful players – looked solid.
As for the trade used to move up eight spots and take cornerback Trent McDuffie in the first round, Veach has said Washington’s corner was among 18 players the team had identified as being worthy first-round picks. When such a player is available at 21, it’s not unreasonable to make this deal.
Like I noted Saturdaythe trade price (the 29th, 94th and 121st picks) might have seemed high – but Veach later recouped some of that value in a down trade (dropping the 50th pick for picks 54 and 158) with the same team: New England Patriots.
The price Kansas City paid for the first-round trade – equivalent to a sixth-round pick in the Jimmy Johnson and Rich Hill trade value tables, a high second-rounder in the Fitzgerald-Spielberger table and a mid-third in the new John Dixon model based on AV – was a headache at first.
The combination of the two professions, however, paints a somewhat different picture. Then the price Kansas City paid to go up and grab one of their first-round goals (and come back in the fifth round) becomes a late-fifth-round pick in the Johnson model, a sixth at the start of the Hill rankings, a third at the end in the F/S pattern and a first fourth round in the Dixon chart. The price is still high – but not as high as it seemed at first. You have to wonder if the two teams agreed to the whole transaction on Thursday.
After using their second trade to move 13 spots from that newly acquired fifth-round pick (at the cost of their 233rd seventh-round pick), the Chiefs acquired Kinnard — arguably their biggest steal of the draft. If McDuffie and the Kentucky offensive lineman were to become solid starters in Kansas City — which, even at this early stage, really doesn’t seem like an unreasonable expectation — no future analyst is likely to say Veach’s trades come draft day. of 2022 did not work. .
The morning after the draft, it was easy to get excited about how the Kansas City GM had handled it. A few days later, it’s even better. But years from now, we may discover that these optimistic perceptions were terribly, horribly wrong; that’s just the nature of these immediate post-draft evaluations.
Yet, given what we now know, it is also possible that the 2022 draft – which had been widely seen as the one Veach desperately needed nail – can ultimately be considered exactly that: almost perfect.