The Urgency Index
Last year, DRAFTMETRICS introduced the Urgency Index (the “Index”). The purpose of the Index is to provide guidance in situations when a team has multiple position needs and is trying to develop a strategy regarding when to address each need.
The concept embodied by the Index is that, when in doubt, a team should first draft the position for which there is the largest disparity between the chances of success from drafting now versus drafting later. The Index is the mechanism by which the differences are measured. The Urgency Index is based on historical information from the 1993 through 2006 drafts and compares the probability of drafting a five-year starter in the Value Group being reviewed with the probability of drafting a five-year starter all in later Value Groups. The formula for the Index is as follows:
• The historic probability of drafting a five-year starter at a particular playing position in a Value Group, divided by
• The historic probability of drafting a five-year starter at that same playing position in all later
Value Groups, times
For example, 64.0% of wide receivers drafted in the first 13 selections have gone on to become five-year starters while 13.0% of wide receivers drafted after that have achieved that status. So the Urgency Index is 492, calculated as 64.0%/13.0%, or 4.92, multiplied by 100.
The following table shows the Index for each playing position in the first six Value Groups. There is no Index for picks 190 and later (Value Group 7) because there are no later draft selections to consider.
A higher Index means that history suggests there is more urgency to draft a player at a given playing position in that Value Group. An index of 100 means that players drafted later have had the exact same level of success as those drafted in the current Value Group. An index of less than 100 indicates that players drafted later have actually had more success than those in the current Value Group. The Index is only used within a Value Group. That is, it is meaningless to compare the Index for selections 1-13 to the Index for selections 14-40 because the numbers are not comparable. The sole purpose of the Index is to allow comparisons WITHIN a Value Group.
As an example of how the Index would be used, consider a team that needs help at both linebacker and wide receiver and is drafting in the top 13 selections. In this example there are equally rated players available at both linebacker and wide receiver. With no other considerations in play, the wide receiver would be selected first because wide receiver has an Index of 492 versus 405 for linebacker. This means there is a greater chance of drafting a linebacker who starts for five years later in the draft than there is for a wide receiver.
The more data points there are, the more meaningful the Index. Quarterback has relatively few data points, so the Index approach may be less meaningful there. Plus, a team should never wait to draft a game changer at quarterback and a team would be unlikely to resort to the Index in that situation anyway.
DRAFTMETRICS recognizes that many factors affect the playing position a team drafts and that the Urgency Index is only one of those. A team’s needs and the availability of talent at the position of needs (your basic supply and demand scenario) weigh most heavily in the equation. DRAFTMETRICS believes, though, that there is a role for the Urgency Index in planning a team’s draft strategy, especially as a tiebreaker when deciding between equally talented players at different positions.