The Rex Ryan Era Has Drafted Defense - Straightening Out Some Myths

Rex Likes to Draft Offense?

I feel like I've read a better treatment of this, but I can't recall where, so I decided to just gather some numbers and facts to build a picture that could make things clearer. The idea has been floating around lately that there is some kind of deep casual fan misconception about the Jets in the Rex Ryan Era. Despite being a Defensive-minded coach, so the argument goes, the Jets have actually drafted the Offense more heavily than than Defense. The most bold example of this is argument is that the Jets have drafted more than twice the number of Offensive Players than Defensive (something some may be surprised to learn). It looks like this (a nice picture, with nice colors):


Despite this being a little counter-intuitive to the impression many have, it does seem like a pretty odd way of measuring the distribution of draft resources. Anyone knows that drafting 5 lower level players doesn't equal drafting a high first round player. So I thought it would be best to show the distribution of draft pick values over time. I used the Draft Trade Value chart which may be out of date in the views of some, but it does give us a sense of the general value of each pick. Every year a team has x amount of draft value to spend. How they spend that value is a much better picture of where they are placing their resources, not number of players picked. If you bet $5.00 on 10 different horses to win but place $900 dollars on a single horse to win your investment interest is not measurable by the number of bets placed. Using this analogy in the Rex Ryan Era the Jets have placed bigger bets on Defense overall, and have done so in increasing amounts since 2010.

Using the Draft Value chart this is what we come up with. I broke down the data a little in case others find it interesting to see where line drafts and skill draft choices were made:


One can immediately see the trend. Every year after 2009 - when the Jets drafted zero defensive players and made the primary blunders of Sanchez and Greene (and Slauson) all of whom will be no longer on the team in 2014 - they have spent more of their draft value on Defense than on Offense.


Here are the raw numbers in case of transcription error.

The Big Defensive Draft Trend

To bring these trends out I'll break it down a couple of different ways:


(above) If we follow the idea that with whatever draft choices the Jets had in a particular year (a total draft value to spend), they spent a percentage of that in-pocket total on Offense or Defense, we come up with this chart (above). A big distribution of draft day resources, by percentage, have gone to the Defense since 2010.

Or, if we talk about the Net of draft value resources in each year, and lay them across time (treating Offensive value drafting as a negative) we come up with this trend since 2009. This is basically the net value amount spent on Defense, as if total dollars spent (if draft value points were dollars).


Of course the big reason for this discussion is the current state of the Jets. They have a big, stud Defensive Line that owns the run, but they seem somewhat impoverished in pass defense, and their Offense is bottom of the league for the second year in a row with very, very few weapons to speak of and some significant remaining talent issues on the Offensive Line. Perhaps the most interesting Jet history question is whether Rex Ryan, newly come to the Jets in 2009 was instrumental in the draft of Sanchez, Greene and Slauson or not, and then additionally in the trades for WRs. If not we may be seeing the stark increasing influence of Rex Ryan's philosophy. It is also worth while to note that with a new GM in place the Jets drafted Defense with their highest draft value Net in the entire Rex Ryan Era. This team has been going Defense for a while now, and this last year was the peak of it.

We'll end with two pie charts that show the percent of total draft value in the Rex Ryan Era, something to match the pie chart that opened up the post. There are some who would put an emphasis on the draft choices given up in deals for Edwards, Holmes and Tebow. I don't think these are the same kind of decisions as draft day decisions, but I nonetheless incorporate those values in these two charts below. First is the distribution of draft value over the full 5 years of the Rex Ryan Era. Even including the all-offense draft of 2009 still nearly 60% of draft resources have gone to the Defense.


Second (below) is the draft value distribution from 2010 to 2013 because quite honestly this seems to reflect the Rex Ryan philosophy as he has expressed it. It stands to reason that the trend of the last 4 years across two GMs trumps a coach's influence in his first year, though this is only a supposition on my part. The last 4 years have seen approximately 72% of draft day resources have been put into the Defense (currently 12th in the league in DVOA, 1st in run, 20th in pass), while the Offense has received about 28% of draft day resources (currently 31st in the league in DVOA, 31st in pass, 28th in run).


The major draft value resource investments the Offense happened 4 years ago (and 3 if you include WR trades), and those players are mostly no longer with the team. From the whole 2009-10 expenditure (including trades) only Holmes is still making a contribution. It is hard not to see where we have been, and why the team has the profile it does now, in terms of grown talent. The question is: Is it going to change, and if so, who is going to change it.

These are, as usual, hand collected stats and there may be errors.

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