According to the most recent ESPN Magazine, the Raiders have the worst draft war room in the NFL.
The article list, put together by Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders, uses their own formula for judging how each NFL team judged talent (that is a lot of judging) from 2000-2007. From the formula, they come up with a ranking of every team in the NFL.
Here is what it says:
“For each team’s picks from 2000-2007, we calculaed the Game Started Above Average (GSAA), a weird-science metric that compares the number of starts a player had during his first five seasons to the starts of a baseline player of similar draft value. But we also factored in the draft history, expertise of decision-makers and overall efficiency of every operation to get our 1-32 ranking. Sorry, Oakland!”
Seriously, it says “Sorry, Oakland!” at the end.
While I can’t really argue with the lack of overall success of Raider draft picks during 2000-2007, where this list removes itself from credibility is when they toss in criteria like “draft history, expertise of decision makers and overall efficiency of every operation.” Mainly because those are not exact sciences by any stretch. They are mired in opinion and allow the list to be manipulated to reach any result the author so chooses.
I mean come on; “Draft history”? How do they include that in a study about teamsduring a seven-year span? And even more so, how do they include that and still put the Raiders last? Who has more “history” in this league than Al Davis and the Raiders? Other teams may be comparable but 31 teams would not beat out the Raiders, many on their best day, if you want to talk “history”.
Not only that but not all teams have the same amount of history. Do the newer teams get a pass because they have had less chances to mess up? Or is it the other way around because they have had less chances to get it right? And what about those that inhabit the war rooms? Can you blame a GM for a particular team for the past doings of his predecesors? I feel like I am asking an episode of “Family Guy” to have a story line.
And it gets more ridiculous.
In the little blurb where Schatz gives his reasoning for why the Raiders are dead last, he adds the Raiders are “Guaranteed to make at least one completely head-scratching move in every draft. Can you say JaMarcus Russell (07, RD1)?”
Yeah, the Raider are known for some head-scratchers, that is true– But JaMarcus Russell?! Who the hell is he kidding? As if he and every other analyst and scout wasn’t on the same page in regards to JaMarcus after that Sugar Bowl and the ensuing Pro Day that had them all wetting themselves with dollar signs in their eyes. Sure he is “JaBustus” now but absolutely NO ONE was “scratching their heads” when the Raiders drafted him. What happened here is Schatz wanted to mention Darrius Heyward-Bey but since DHB wasn’t drafted between 2000 and 2007, that would “compromise” his oh-so-scientific and fact based list. Even though, to compromise something, it would suggest that thing would have to have some kind of integrity to begin with. A quality which this list clearly does not possess.
The funniest part about the list is it seems like he started the ranking “system” using actual numbers and then realized that the numbers didn’t come out as he had hoped and yield the results he wanted, so he changed the game. Remember how he said he “calculated the Game Started Above Average (GSAA), a weird-science metric that compares the number of starts a player had during his first five seasons to the starts of a baseline player of similar draft value.”? The problem is, the way the list is comprised, there is absolutely no rhyme or reason for even having the GSAA on there. The numbers are all over the place. For instance he had the Giants as the third best war room with a 3.05 GSAA and the Dolphins in the fourth place slot with a -2.08 (yes that is a negative number).
So basically what this means is the only part of the list actually based on anything resembling a true formula, is completely meaningless. Which is pretty much how I would rate his list.
In case you were curious how the list looks, here it is:
Disclosure: This article in no way is intended to defend Al Davis or the decisions he has made in the past ten years. The results the past seven years speak for themselves. But this list seems way too much like Schatz slash ESPN taking another cheap shot at the Raiders. (and yes, the Detriot Lions were ranked 22nd, just two spots below the Patriots. Make sense out of that)