Popular analytics model says Broncos had worst draft of all 32 NFL teams
Someone has to be last.
Unfortunately in this case, it’s the Denver Broncos. At least according to popular NFL analytics guru Warren Sharp.
Sharp released his NFL Draft rankings for all 32 teams based on “value” — essentially where players were expected to be taken and where they were actually selected. The Broncos came in dead last, with the Chiefs and Raiders both earning top-5 spots.
best value NFL draft classes:
1. Carolina Panthers
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Kansas City Chiefs
4. Las Vegas Raiders
5. Seattle Seahawks
6. New York Jets
7. Baltimore Ravens
8. Arizona Cardinals
9. Philadelpha Eagles
10. Atlanta Falcons
see pic for 1-32 plus methodology pic.twitter.com/JbFjPEWN1Y
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) April 30, 2022
There’s a lot to digest there and Sharp added to that tweet for more context, but two players in particular really hurt Denver’s overall ranking. First, the team selected Montrell Washington in the fifth-round at No. 162 overall. The speedy return man and wide receiver out of Samford wasn’t even ranked among the top-325 players in the draft. The Broncos obviously saw something they liked in Washington, but according to Sharp they overvalued him by at least 163 players.
The other selection that hurt Denver’s score the most was snagging Iowa State’s Eyioma Uwazurike No. 116 overall in the fourth-round. He was ranked as the 190th best player in the draft, so Denver reached by 74 players. Sharp says the Broncos were off by 60 picks on average, in terms of where a player was projected to go and where Denver GM George Paton actually took him.
Could Washington be the answer at returner the Broncos have been seeking since Trindon Holliday left town? Of course. Could Uwazurike be a terror on an already loaded defensive line? You bet. But the point Sharp is making is that the Broncos likely could have drafted both players (and others) later than they actually did. Then again, if Paton was high on both, he obviously felt like he couldn’t wait any longer.
The grades for the Broncos have varied, with PFF giving them a “B+” while ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. gave Denver a “B-.” Kiper was particularly harsh about Denver’s selections after Oklahoma edge rusher Nik Bonitto and UCLA tight end Greg Dulcich, saying there wasn’t “a whole lot” to the class. Sharp’s model at least has some meat to it, while grades are strictly someone’s opinion.
Regardless, this will all sort itself out on the football field the next several years. If Washington, Uwazurike and others turn into contributors for the Broncos, no one is going to remember what an analytics chart said the day after the 2022 NFL Draft.