The 2000 draft, like most years, was a bit of a mixed bag but overall a fairly weak class. The two best players, by far, were separated by 100 picks: 9th overall Brian Urlacher and 199th overall Tom Brady. There were a number of high quality players taken in between, including 3 Jets: Shaun Ellis (12th), John Abraham (13th), Julian Peterson (16th), Shaun Alexander (19th), Chad Clifton (44th), Laveraneus Coles (78th) and former All-Pros Adalius Thomas (186th) and Mike Brown (39th). There were also a number of notable (and high profile) flops, especially in the “no-man’s land” of the late 1st round: Sylvester Morris (21st), Chris McIntosh (22nd), Rashard Anderson (23rd) and R.Jay Soward (29th) were all out of the league by the end by the end of 2001 due to injuries or legal problems.
And, like all years, there were a handful of guys taken in the 1st round that you have either forgotten about, never known about or would be otherwise surprised to think of as 1st rounders. Here are a few:
Travis Taylor – WR – 10th overall – Baltimore Ravens
Even those of us who remember Taylor beyond just being vaguely familiar with the name would probably be surprised to learn that he played in 101 career games with 90 starts before washing out of the league in 2007. In no way was he worth a top 10 pick, but as far as 1st round picks go he is probably middle of the road in terms of production. His career best year was 2002 when he had 61 catches for 869 yards and 6 TD’s.
Ron Dayne – RB – 11th overall – New York Giants
Anyone who followed college football or the NFL draft in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s knows how hyped Dayne was. 5’10 and 250+ lbs, he was thought to be a real-life version of Tecmo Bowl’s Christian Okoye and ended up more like a poor man’s real life version of Christian Okoye. In Dayne’s 4 years with the Giants, he averaged a pitiful 3.5 yards per carry, despite getting ample opportunities to establish himself as the #1 guy in New York. He enjoyed a brief late-career resurgence in Houston in 2006-07 and has been mostly forgotten ever since. Despite going 11th overall, the 2000 running back class didn’t offer much after Dayne came off the board. Only Shaun Alexander and Mike Anderson were high quality players. Sammy Morris and Reuben Droughns stuck around awhile as HB/FB hybrids and carved out nice niches for themselves.
Erik Flowers – DE/LB – 26th overall – Buffalo Bills
I didn’t understand it at the time and I still don’t. Flowers had no business going in the top 50, let alone late 1st round. He played just 2 years with the Bills as a failed pass-rusher, bounced around for a few years and was out of the league after 2004.
Trung Canidate – RB – 31st overall – St. Louis Rams
The Rams have had a whole lot of forgettable 1st rounders and Canidate might be the worst of them all, In 3 highly forgettable years with the Rams, he rushed for 495 yards (441 of which came in his 2nd season). He was an Al Davis special – blazing fast but with no real football ability. Reportedly, the Rams had timed him running the 40 yard dash in the 4.2 – 4.3 range pre-draft and thought his speed would be impossible to contain on the (then) Astroturf of the Rams’ dome. Somehow, they swindled the Redskins into giving up a 4th round pick for Canidate. He looked like he might be on the path to realizing his potential, starting 10 games with the Redskins and racking up 600 yards with a respectable 4.2 YPC, However, a fairly severe foot injury and the 2004 acquisition of Clinton Portis ended Canidate’s time in Washington and he never got a chance elsewhere.
This is the first part of a series on Defensive Efficiency Scores. You can find my discussion of Offensive Efficiency Scores (O-SCORE) by clicking here.
How do we measure defensive success? On offense, I measured success by:
Points Per Drive
Yards Per Point
Yards Per Drive
On defense, it’s going to be a pretty similar scoring system – although I expect the weighting of the variables will be slightly different. The first thing to consider is what I call Adjusted Points Per Game Allowed. This is measured by:
[Defensive Points Allowed – Defensive Points Scored]/(Games Played)
Here are the best and worst AdjPPG defenses since 1970:
One thing which will surprise a lot of people is that the 2000 Titans score better with AdjPPG than the historic 2000 Ravens. How is that possible? The Ravens allowed 153 points to Tennessee’s 173, but Tennessee’s defense scored 5 TD’s (30 points) to the Ravens’ 1 TD (6 points). So put another way, the Ravens did more to stop their opponents from scoring, but the Titans’ D did more to positively affect the scoreboard. That said, I’m not sure of too many people – if anyone – who would put the 2000 Titans’ defense ahead of the Ravens that year.
Looking at these numbers, there’s something else which stands out – there are a lot of teams from the 1970’s in the first list and not too many in the second list. While average PPG hasn’t changed all that much over the years (about 2.5 points), it’s enough to make a pretty big difference in this list. A better way to look at it is by taking AdjPPG+, calculated as:
This gives us the ratio of a team’s AdjPPG relative to league average:
Still a lot of teams from the 1970’s, although we see the best teams from the early 2000’s jump up the list a little. Interestingly, there isn’t a single team from the 1990’s on the top 20 list (The 1999 Rams and 1990 Giants are the best of the 90’s in 29th and 30th place, respectively). The 1970 Vikings allowed 63% fewer points than league average, a truly impressive feat which will be almost impossible for anyone to top.
Here’s the worst:
The 1981 Colts are almost in their own class of ineptitude. They allowed 72% more points than the average team. The 1972 Patriots (67%) are a somewhat close 2nd worst but after that you don’t have anyone greater than 60%.
As with the offense, total PPG don’t tell the whole story. The next part of this discussion will look at Defensive Points allowed Per Drive (DPPD).