How, not who, do the Texans Choose in the NFL Draft?

May 8, 2014

The Houston Texans hold the number 1 overall pick in tonight’s NFL draft. This could be a bit surprising to some, given that Houston won 12 games and their division just a couple of years back. But after an injury-plagued season of frustration, they enter this season with a new head coach, Bill O’Brien, and a gaping hole at quarterback created by the departure of longtime starter Matt Schaub. Unfortunately, this year’s draft doesn’t have a sure-thing quarterback prospect like Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck.

The overall top prospect in the draft is generally considered to be Jadeveon Clowney, the defensive lineman from South Carolina University. But, unfortunately for Houston, he probably wouldn’t fill their hole at QB. The war room in Houston needs to strategically prioritize which players are the best for them, based on the direction the organization wants to take this franchise. They have a couple of options that would probably work, but which one will get them where they want to go?

The Texans could select arguably the best defensive lineman to come out of a college program in years and wait on a quarterback. They could trade back for more draft picks and still get a good amount of value. They could also take a QB with their number 1 overall pick to fill a hole, but potentially overpay for the value. So how do they decide what’s best for them? How do they determine the players that are going to give them the most value and align to their franchise direction? Comparing the stats of a quarterback vs. a defensive lineman is like comparing apples and oranges, definitely not the same.

Decision Lens is helping NFL teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, as well as a number of other teams across the NFL, MLB, and NHL, to do just that. By mixing raw data with expert opinions from coaches and scouts, Decision Lens helps teams prioritize the players that are best for THEM come draft day. With the amount of data that is now collected about players, it is difficult to know where to start. By applying a scientifically-based approach to player selection and defining which criteria are most important to an organization, teams can run various scenarios real-time to see which players rise to the top and which become less desirable. The Chiefs will use Decision Lens to pinpoint good players who may have slipped through the cracks or, conversely, recognize that a player they think is near the top of their list actually has some important flaws.

The draft selection process is forever becoming more scientific and precise, and Decision Lens is and will continue to be an important actor in this transformation. To learn more about how the Chiefs and other teams are using Decision Lens, visit us at Happy draft day!