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"Running the Numbers": Analyzing Cowboys' Undrafted Free Agents | The DC Times

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Running the Numbers: Analyzing Cowboys’ Undrafted Free Agents

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Jonathan Bales

The latest post in my “Running the Numbers” blog is up at DallasCowboys.com, and it deals with undrafted free agents.  Here’s a preview:

. . .of all undrafted Cowboys since 2000, Romo and Austin are first and second in total approximate value, with Keith Davis, Torrin Tucker, and Phil Costa rounding out the top five. You can see that, outside of Romo and Austin, no other undrafted free agents have made a monumental impact in Big D since 2000. Compare that to the Chargers, who have been absolutely remarkable at acquiring contributions from undrafted players. Tight end Antonio Gates, guard Kris Dielman, linebacker Stephen Cooper, wide receiver Malcom Floyd, and running back Mike Tolbert all signed with San Diego after going undrafted over the last decade.

But how important are undrafted free agents really? It’s tough to tell, but there’s certainly a correlation between finding undrafted talent and winning football games. The top 12 teams in uncovering undrafted talent since 2000, as per total approximate value, have compiled a winning percentage of .567 over that span, compared to just .445 for the bottom 12 squads. With a sample size of 192 games for each team, the 12.2% gap in winning percentage is pretty substantial.

Further, of the top seven teams in winning percentage since the start of the millennium, every single one is in the top 12 in undrafted free agent success rate. That is, really good teams seem to get really good undrafted free agents, and vice versa. It truly appears undrafted free agents are having a more-than-inconsequential impact on NFL games.

Head over to the Cowboys’ website for the full article.

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11 Responses to Running the Numbers: Analyzing Cowboys’ Undrafted Free Agents

  1. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    My Man Johnny Bizzle,

    Nice article over on the mothership. I’ve been blogging on BTB quite a bit now and many of us were discussing the very same thing you bring up – no one (outside of Free) has been picked in the 4th or later round and played well enough for pro bowl consideration since Austin did it in 2006. That was 6 years ago – and Austin was a Parcells prospect (Parcells left in 2006 but his influence is all over that years draft).

    I don’t buy the JG/Phillips drafting ability for unrefined talent – yet. They can spot a stud athlete; but then again, most NFL scouts can. It’s those players who need 3-5 years of development and special teams play before they can turn into beasts (and not just average players).

    Time will tell – nice article again, btw.

  2. Thanks Tyrone. Send over some of your stuff from BTB! I’d like to give it a read.

  3. Mark Watkins says:

    Speaking of Blogging the Boys JB, Tom Ryles wrote an article on there that was posted this morning. He praised your article on dc.com. I wasn’t sure whether you had heard yet, but I thought you might want to take a gander at it.

  4. Hey Mark..just gave it a look. Very nice praise…a bit less critical than the team site I’d say haha.

  5. Mark Watkins says:

    That’s for sure…pretty soon, we’ll be looking back and saying that we knew you when you weren’t so well known.

  6. Mark Watkins says:

    Tyrone gave you a nice plug in the comment section too btw.

  7. Ha! Maybe not since my views aren’t always in line with the norm, although people love to read what they can’t stand too. Either way, I will literally ALWAYS post here.

  8. I saw that..Thanks Tyrone.

  9. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    I try.

    I’m just glad you broke through and will be providing SOUND JUDGEMENT and STATS to back up actual claims. Don’t change, don’t conform, don’t comprimise. Words from you and many others (like Mark, etc.) will bring everyone else’s knowledge up – just don’t let them bring you down.

    That would be so refreshing…and educated fanbase…

  10. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Not sure if this’ll work but here’s a few articles I was able to muster:


    Don’t laugh too hard – I’m working my way to Johnny Blaize status.

  11. I just checked some out and I like them. That’s good stuff, mirrors your comments here. Feel free to submit something to me and I could possibly post it here.

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