The Broncos are bringing in Sam Hinkie, the mastermind behind the 76ers rebuild, to act as an analytics consultant to the front office.
The 76ers fired Sam Hinkie before the team turned it around this year. He won’t get the credit he deserves, but the core players and draft capital the team is coasting on now is all credited to him. Now, he gets to take his analytics mind to football, coming in as an analytics consultant for the Broncos.
Now, the NFL hasn’t shown a lot of patience for ‘the process’. Sashi Brown tried it in Cleveland, acquiring as much draft capital as he could, and showing no problem with losing in order to get top picks. The Browns went 1-31 in Brown’s tenure before firing him after two years. People are now excited about the Browns chances this year. They turned the capital Brown acquired as well as the salary cap space he opened up into Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry, Baker Mayfield, and Denzel Ward.
So, the Broncos will go 0-16 for the next four years. So they’ll trade out of the top pick every time. They will build to the future now … a future after Sam Hinkie leaves his role. However, the Broncos could also lead an analytics revolution in football. Hinkie and Daryl Morey did it separately in basketball, and now with room for growth it could happen in football. Analytics growth in football has been slower than in baseball or basketball due to the nature of the game. The football analytics community is small.
Even more so, at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, only one of 30+ panels was on football analytics and one of eight research papers. Bringing in Hinkie puts the Broncos in position to get ahead with football analytics. This is a chance worth taking.