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Author Topic: The odds of draft success through the rounds  (Read 629 times)

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Offline OneTwoSixFive

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The odds of draft success through the rounds
« on: December 10, 2017, 03:23:51 AM »
This is part of a post in the comments section of Cheesehed TV by a poster cauled 'Pauly' who got it from Pro Football. I found the figures to be very interesting.

HISTORIC SUCCESS CHART...
(Only 25% of drafted players became starters)

What the stats tell us about drafting positions by round from 10 years worth of draft data on all positions. The information was taken from Pro Football Reference.
This post has a simple criteria: How many players were drafted by position and round over a 10 year period and what percentage went on to become a starter. The numbers show us the following outline for finding consistent starters.

What we find is that from 2005 until 2014:

2,465 players (non-kickers) were drafted.
629 (( 25%)) of those drafted became starters for at least half of their NFL careers
Of the 2,465 players:
122 were QBs, 207 were RBs, 421 were OL, 143 were TE, 317 were WR, 442 were DL, 303 were LB, and 510 were DB.

1st Round - OL (83%) LB (70%) TE (67%) DB (64%) QB (63%) WR (58%) RB (58%) DL (58%)

2nd Round - OL (70%) LB (55%) TE (50%) WR (49%) DB (46%) QB (27%) DL (26%) RB (25%)

3rd Round - OL (40%) TE (39%) LB (34%) DL (27%) WR (25%) DB (24%) QB (17%) RB (16%)

4th Round - DL (37%) TE (33%) OL (29%) LB (16%) WR(12%) DB (11%) RB (11%) QB (8%)

5th Round - TE (32%) DB (17%) WR (16%) OL (16%) DL (13%) RB (9%) LB (4%) QB (0%)

6th Round - TE (26%) OL (16%) DL (13%) WR (9%) DB (8%) RB (6%) LB (5%) QB (0%)

7th Round - DB (11%) OL (9%) QB (6%) WR (5%) DL (3%) LB (2%) RB (0%) TE (0%)


So what can I extract from this chart ? For starters, taken as a whole, rounds 4/5/6 gives a higher chance of a starter at TE than any other position. In the 2017 draft, TEs Butt, Kittle, Leggett, Sprinkle and Saubert went in round 5, an exceptional year for TEs, granted, but it shows what could be had there.

I also noted the dropoff in quality of the DBs. From rounds 1-4 they drop fast, 64% 46%, 24%, 11%. Strangely they rise in round 5 to 17%. Perhaps the drafting criteria changes there, where GMs switch tactics at that point to take athletically talented but raw players over slightly less athletic players taken in round four who have better college records (D linemen take a similar strange jump in round 4, where the odds are better than in rounds 2/3). If you want a starter at CB as the Packers do, it needs to be in rounds 1 or 2 to have much chance - after that, 24% and 11% are poor odds.

The O line has the best odds of success right through all the rounds. Ted has had excellent results for several years with 4th to 6th round picks there.  Lang, Sitton, Tretter, Linsley, Bakhtiari, are some of his successes.

Linebackers have a better chance of success than DBs early on, but they drop like a stone in later rounds. In the first three rounds, success rate is 70%, 55%, 34%, but then it falls off a cliff to 16%, 4%, 5%. Since the odds of success fall through each round (more or less), you can also assume that the odds at the top of the round are usually slightly better than the given average, and slightly worse at the bottom of the round. Thus Biegel, the Packers 2017 4th round pick (first pick in that round), has a slightly better than 16% chance of being a starter for half his career - a sobering thought.

WRs, another group where (I believe) the Packers need a starter quality pick, follows a path similar to the DBs. DBs have the edge in round one (DB=64%, WR=58%). WRs win round two (49% to 46%), then both groups success rate drops equally fast, in round four the chances of either succeeding are worse than one in eight.

If there is one key thing to take away from this chart, it is that drafting is a very, very difficult business to succeed in. Just look at the success (so far) of two of the Packers rookie RBs this year. Williams and Jones were late 4th and late 5th picks. They look darn good, considering the RB success rate there is  11% and 9%. This chart also highlights how important the early picks are, these are the closest thing to bankers a GM has (though even high picks have a significant bust rate).
« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 03:30:06 AM by OneTwoSixFive »
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Offline RT

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Re: The odds of draft success through the rounds
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2017, 08:09:43 AM »
Good stuff 1265, always good to educate with hard factual numbers. Their is no guarantees that because a player is choosen higher that he will be more successful. It always makes me roll my eyes when fans complain that if only TT would trade up then surely they would get a superstar player. How could TT be so dumb not to see the obvious.

Offline Twain

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Re: The odds of draft success through the rounds
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2017, 08:54:31 AM »
The quality of a team's scouting system, both college and professional, has an enormous impact on the success of the team, yet it is the one part of an organizations that is invisible to the fan base.

Even the first round requires a lot of effort by talented scouts in order to come through with a good pick.
"The trouble ain't that there are too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right."

Offline OneTwoSixFive

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Re: The odds of draft success through the rounds
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2017, 11:30:44 AM »
Trading up is like putting a lot of eggs in one basket. Remember the Clay Matthews trade ? It cost the Packers their second rounder and two third rounders to trade up for Matthews at pick 26, in round one. that is a lot of potential talent sacrificed for one pick. When the pick pans out like it did with the Packers it's ok, but if it fails it really costs you. It costs A LOT to move up, say 20 picks into the bottom of round 1 or top of round 2.

Trading back is a whole different kettle of fish. This year the Packers moved back just four spots (from round one pick 29), which was enough to get an extra 4th round pick (the first pick in that round). Of coursethe more you trade back the less chance you have of getting a difference maker, and all teams need a few of those. I've always thought the Packers have had a strong drafting team, given how other teams want to (and have) poached several Packer guys to GM their own teams. The greatest accolade is when other teams want your guys. Schneider, McKenzie, Dorsey (twice), are now GMs, while Gutekunst and Wolf have had interviews - that suggests high regard.
(ricky) "Personally, I'm putting this in a box, driving a stake through its heart, firing a silver bullet into its (empty) head, nailing it shut, loading it into a rocket and firing it into the sun. "

(Pink Floyd) "Set the controls for the heart of the sun"