The Seahawks created quite a stir yesterday with the football world becoming aware of a document they created as a marketing pitch to agents of Undrafted Free Agents. The document, which is chock full of supporting data for the period from 2010-2013, made the case that Seattle is a great landing spot place for Undrafted Free Agent (“UDFAs”).
The depth of the data presented to the agents is particularly interesting to a stats geek like me. Coming from the business world, I have seen an endless number of presentations that show bullet points to sell a product. The Seahawks, though, elected to provide a much more detailed argument that is reasonably objective and does not claim that the Seahawks are tops in everything.
The marketing pitch centers around the fact that UDFAs will receive more of a chance to make an NFL team by signing with Seattle. This is, of course, music to an agent’s ears as that is exactly the opportunity they are seeking.
One potentially interesting by-product of this marketing initiative by the Seahawks is that there will likely be UDFAs standing in line to sign with them. Like everyone else, though, they are bound by the 90-player offseason roster limitation. This could play out as a secondary draft for Seattle where they place even more reliance on scouting reports to decide which of the UDFAs to sign. While I’m sure some variation of this, or similar, data is already in use by most teams, other NFL teams should be worried about the Seahawks taking the offense with player agents.
Following is a summary of the key points in the Seahawks’ document:
• UDFAs have a greater chance of remaining with Seattle for at least one preseason game
– If a UDFA does not play in preseason games they will have a hard time in making an NFL roster, whether it is the team that originally signed them or another team
– The Seahawks had the highest percentage of such players in 2013 but actually were lower than average in 2010, 2011 and 2012
– The Packers were the best over the entire four year period
– The Giants had the lowest percentage in 2012 and were below average in three of the four years
• Seattle has shown that UDFAs can make their roster
– 22% of the 68 UDFAs signed by the Seahawks earned spots on the 53 man roster
– That puts the Seahawks in 8th place
– The Rams are highest with 29%, followed by the Patriots with 28%
-The Titans are lowest with only 7%
• Seattle keeps the best players, no matter how the players were acquired
– The Seahawks are willing to release drafted players in their rookie season and keep UDFAs instead
– Over the past four seasons, the Seahawks have released nine drafted players during their rookie season, tied for second in the NFL
– Washington leads with 10 released draftees
– The Falcons, Ravens and Jaguars each have released only one draftee
• The Seahawks have had more released players claimed by others than any other team
– This recognizes that Seattle has a great reputation around the league for acquiring and developing talent
– This metric is based on players claimed off waivers from each July 1 until the first week of the regular season
– Seattle is tops in the league with 28 claimed players followed by the Patriots with 25
– That is more than double the league average
– Only two players released by the Chiefs have been claimed
• The Seahawks ranked high in UDFAs released ended up playing for other teams
– They are tied for 6th, with six such players over the past four years
– Jaguars are highest with 12 released players seeing action with others
– No players released by the Cardinals played in a regular season game for another team
• The Seahawks are a leading team in using their practice squad to develop players
– The Seahawks had the second highest number of players (behind the Colts) elevated from their practice squad and trailed only the Saints and Giants in games started by those players who were elevated
– Titans had the fewest number of players elevated
– The Packers had the few number of games started by elevated players
There is a lot of data to be digested in the Seahawks’ information and I will continue to work to identify and place in context any conclusions to be drawn.
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