Just like normal people, football teams sometimes make regrettable decisions. The echoed cries of coaches and NFL front offices that lament, “I really wish we ran the ball on 2nd-and1,” are no doubt the swan songs in the pantheon of football lore.
One recent head-scratcher was the Oakland Raiders’ passing over the highly-touted Michael Crabtree and instead selecting Darrius Heyward-Bey in the 2009 NFL Draft. Curiously, perhaps as an attempt to make amends with past mistakes, the Raiders have signed Crabtree to a one-year, $3 million dollar contract to help fill their wide receiving needs. But does this move really take a skeleton out of the Raiders’ closet? Was this the best move they could have made?
It’s pretty obvious that Oakland did not get much production from the wide receiver position, and that’s especially true through the lens of our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric. NEP is our in-house metric for measuring a player’s production. NEP quantifies what a player did and compares it to league-average (or expectation level) production based on on-field variables such as down-and-distance and field position.