New draft metric shows Raiders improved drafts over last five years

Justin Edmonds

Judging how well a team drafts can be very subjective and most don't really tell the whole story as to how well a team drafts. So, Tony Villioti of Draftmetrics.com set out to get a better idea of just how well each team has drafted the past decade.

Villioti points out his basis for putting this metric together was to separate perception from reality. This means either strengthening a belief of how well or poor teams draft or to bust a few misconceptions.

The primary factors in the metric are total games started, players active last season, average annual starts, and Pro Bowl bids.

The Raiders are 23rd in the rankings over the past ten years. The fact that they were among the worst is not surprising but the teams below them are interesting. The Broncos (26), Saints (28), and Steelers (29) to name a few. The very worst was the Redskins.

The top ranked team over the past ten years of drafts was a shocker - the Cardinals. The next team up was not a shocker - the 49ers. Then another couple surprises in the Browns and Panthers. The Patriots rounded off the top five. The other two Conference Championship teams - Ravens (7) and Falcons (10) - rounded off the top ten as proof that great teams are built through the draft.

They also did a study of just the past five years. In this metric, the Raiders jumped from 23 to 15 in the rankings. I'm no math whiz but I'm pretty sure that's above average. I'm sure having JaMarcus Russell drafted six years ago helped raise that ranking.

Villioti lets us know what his perception had been prior to his research and he perceived the Raiders' draft ranking over the past five years to be 27 overall. That would go with many of the draft grades I have seen over the years. Picks like Rolando McClain does much for perception and can make it easy to forget the Raiders also got Lamarr Houston and Jared Veldheer in that draft.

AFC West rivals Chargers and Chiefs had two of the best draft classes of the past decade. The Chargers in 2004 and the Chiefs in 2008. The funny thing for the Chargers is since then, they are dead last with the worst ranked drafts. The Chiefs rode the 2008 class to the best ranked drafts in the past five years. No doubt their six Pro Bowlers this year helped that ranking. Didn't do them much good in the 2-14 campaign last season, though.

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