Wednesday, April 27, 2011

NFL Draft: Andy Reid vs Bill Belichick

Going into his thirteenth season, Andy Reid is now the longest tenured head coach in the NFL.  The Eagles were one of the most successful teams from 2000-2010, making 5 NFC Championship game appearances and 1 super bowl appearance.  They are the self proclaimed “gold standard”.  The New England Patriots, who many consider to be the team of the decade, have the second longest tenured head coach in Bill Belichick.  The Patriots from 2000-2010 won three super bowls out of 4 appearances and are considered the actual “gold standard” of the NFL.  A friend of mine brought up the question of comparing Andy Reid and Bill Belichick when it comes to talent evaluation and the NFL draft, so here is what I found out. 

I decided to use the last 6 NFL drafts, 2005-2010, because the average NFL career is only 3 years.  If a player is still on the team after being drafted prior to 2005 the pick is an obvious success.  The problem is there are so few of those picks that it wasn’t worth using in these findings or calculations.  Due to the NFL labor dispute and lack of movement so far in 2011, I used the 2010 rosters as my reference. 

From 2005-2010 the Patriots had a total of 58 draft picks.  Out of those 58, 24 remain on their roster, a 41% success ratio.  Of those 58 selections, 22 what I consider impact picks (Picks in the first three rounds); out of those players 15 remained on the team or 68%. 

On the Eagles side, they also had 58 picks.  Out of those 58, 32 remain on the team, a 55% success ratio.  Out of the Eagles 58 selections, 19 were impact picks and 13 of them are still Eagles players an identical 68% success ratio to the Patriots. 

It’s easy to compare the first three rounds and it should be even easier to find talent in those rounds.  Finding NFL talent becomes more difficult on the back end of the draft.  From 2005-2010 the Patriots had 28 picks in the 5th round or later.  Of those 28 late round picks, 6 players remain on the team for a 21% hit ratio.  In those same draft classes, the Eagles had a total of 25 picks in rounds 5 through 7.  Of those 25 selections, 10 remain on the team or 40%. 

There are other outside factors of course, free agency, talent already on the roster, etc…  This is what I know; Andy Reid built the Eagles from scratch starting in 1999 and made them into a super bowl contender.  Bill Belichick took over a decent New England squad and hit on a diamond in the rough in Tom Brady, who may never have had the opportunity to play if it wasn’t for injury.  Belichick had a future hall of famer on his roster and he had him at third string holding a clipboard. 

Andy Reid has rebuilt the Eagles; almost seamlessly back into a super bowl contender in the last couple of years.  He traded away his franchise QB and took a chance on Michael Vick when no one else would.  In 2005 he traded away a 5th round pick in AJ Feeley for a second rounder and if the labor dispute was settled, he would trade a 2nd rounder in Kevin Kolb for a top ten pick this year.  Bill Belichick is now in the process of revamping the Patriots, still with Tom Brady at the controls, but the Patriots aren’t what they used to be.

Just judging by the numbers it seems as though Andy Reid would be the better talent evaluator.  He selects more NFL talent overall and has a knack for finding late round contributors.  The next 3-5 years will tell who wins out in rebuilding their franchises and having continued success.  Andy Reid takes a lot of slack from Eagles fans and sometimes rightfully so, but the Eagles would not be contenders if it weren’t for him.  He may not have the rings and trophies but it’s not because he hasn’t put the talent on the field. 

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