NFL Draft Study: Recap of the Success of the Draft Over the Previous 10 Years

Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

A look at the NFL Draft trends over the past 10 years.

By Stephan Harutunian

*Note: Hogs Haven long time member StephanHart, or better known as Stephan Harutunian is the sole writer and researcher of this post and this series. I'm just helping him promote it and get it out there for everyone to see. As you will see this is very well researched and shows a variety of perspectives. Enjoy!

Snapshot: My curiosity on how the Washington Redskins have fared historically in the NFL draft compared to the rest of the league led to a greater general study of the NFL draft. I studied the past 10 drafts (2004-2013) to gather data, show team rankings and comparisons, and note any visible trends. My plan is to break up the results into 4 distinct posts: Post 1 will present the findings of the past 10 NFL draft years in general; Post 2 will show how the Redskins’ 10-year draft results compare with the rest of the NFL; Post 3 will note and comment some of the more interesting Redskins draft stats; Post 4 will reduce the scope of study to more recent years to show how the Redskins draft results are trending in the short-term.

Background: Draft season in the National Football League is an exciting time for all 32 NFL teams and their fans. The slate from the past season is wiped clean and every team goes back to zero. GMs, coaches, and fans alike have their dreams of a championship renewed as they prepare for April’s (now May’s) influx of new talent, hoping their team can achieve the perfect draft, fill all their positions of need, and plot their course toward a Super Bowl.

The NFL Draft is a rare circumstance in U.S. industry. Imagine if the American Medical Association got together each year and allowed each hospital to take turns picking the best young medical school graduates to work and live in their city. Further, imagine if these hospitals had an agreement worked out where they could sign these young doctors to multi-year contracts that paid them a paltry sum relative to veteran doctors with similar, but proven, talents. Seems unimaginable, yet this is exactly what happens in the sports world, specifically the NFL. The very best college football players show off their skills at the combine, interview with teams, and then, almost without exception, are picked by a random team in a random city to sign a 4 to 5 year contract that will pay them an amount of money that is generally significantly smaller than their value to the team that picked them.

This is what makes the draft so valuable to NFL teams: the ability to restock their rosters with young talent for a fraction of the price of their true market value. Yet, some teams take advantage of this opportunity more than their counterparts. I set out asking the following question: How has my team, the Washington Redskins, faired in the NFL draft? This question eventually led to an extensive study of all 32 NFL teams’ drafts over the past 10 years, and the results are very interesting.

Methodology: I chose to study the past 10 years of the NFL Draft (2004-2013) and gathered the following data for each team:

  • Players Drafted

  • The round in which each player was drafted

  • The position played by each player drafted

  • Number of seasons each drafted player played for their drafting team

  • Number of seasons each drafted player played in total in the NFL

This data was then consolidated and broken out to yield all sorts of stats including: Number of draft picks taken, number of draft picks still on their drafting team, number of seasons played per draft pick, number of picks spent on each position, number of picks spent on each round, etc.

I’m excited to present the results to Hogs Haven and answer any questions you might have. These findings are not earth-shattering, but are the cold, hard facts and stats surrounding the past 10 years of the NFL draft.

NFL Draft Stats, 2004-2013: As noted above, this first post covers the statistics of the NFL draft overall from 2004-2013, where there were 2,541individual players selected.

  1. The average team added around 79 new players [79.41] via the draft and has retained around 27 of those players [27.47] on their current roster.

  1. The average draft pick has ended up playing 2.85 seasons for the team that drafted them.

  1. The average draft pick has played 3.88 seasons total in the NFL.

I found it interesting that this number is higher than the 3-year average lifespan usually associated with NFL players.

  1. Teams, on average have, drafted the following number of picks per round over the 10 year period:

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

9.97

9.88

10.75

11.25

11.06

11.75

14.75

These numbers are right on the money where they should be, with teams drafting right around one 1st and 2nd round pick per season, but more 3rd-7th round picks, which accounts for the additional compensatory picks and teams trading back.

5. Teams, on average, have drafted the following number of picks by position over the 10 year period:

QBs

RBs

WRs

TEs

OL

DL

LBs

DBs

K

3.88

7.31

9.88

4.56

13.41

12.72

10.63

15.66

1.38

It is surprising that the average team has drafted fewer than 4 QBs over this 10 year period – I would have expected this number to be higher, considering the importance of the position. Defensive Backs have been the most popular drafted position by far, with Offensive and Defensive linemen coming in a distant 2nd and 3rd.

6. Drafted players have played for their team for the following number of seasons, by round:

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

4.27

3.68

3.18

2.93

2.35

2.05

2.00

These numbers follow a fairly even pattern of decreasing values, and demonstrate how much more valuable picks are in the top half of the draft versus the bottom half when it comes to seasons played for the team that drafted them. This is especially evident for 1st round picks, which tend to play for their team for more than twice as long as 7th round picks, twice as long as 6th round picks, and almost twice as long as 5th round picks.

7. Drafted players have played in the NFL for the following number of seasons, by round:

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

4.99

4.70

4.18

4.00

3.54

3.25

3.00

The numbers for total NFL seasons played are also uniformly decreasing in value, but do not follow the same pattern as the number of seasons played for the drafting team, noted above. 1st round picks are still the most valuable, playing for an average of 5 seasons in the NFL, but 2nd round picks follow close behind with 4.7 seasons. There is a drop-off, and then 3rd and 4th round picks both play around 4 seasons in the NFL on average. There is further drop-off amongst 5th, 6th, and 7th round picks, who play around 3.5, 3.25, and 3.00 seasons respectively in the NFL. Demonstrated most clearly is the value of 1st and 2nd round picks, who stay in the league nearly 2 full seasons more, on average, than 6th and 7th round picks, and stay in the league nearly a full season more, on average, than 3rd, 4th, and 5th round picks.

8. Drafted players have played for their team for the following number of seasons, by position:

QBs

RBs

WRs

TEs

OL

DL

LBs

DBs

K

2.70

2.77

2.88

3.03

3.07

2.83

2.99

2.78

2.79

Fairly even numbers across the board here amongst the various positions. Each one has played for their team for around 3 seasons per pick, though Offensive Linemen, Tight Ends, and Linebackers are the most dependable draft position groups by a slight margin.

9. Drafted players have played in the NFL for the following number of seasons, by position:

QBs

RBs

WRs

TEs

OL

DL

LBs

DBs

K

3.86

3.75

3.75

4.18

4.16

3.87

4.01

3.83

3.30

Similar story here for total NFL seasons. TE’s, OL’s, and LB’s show themselves to be the most dependent draft positions, playing over 4 seasons per pick in the NFL. All other positions have lasted less than 4 seasons, on average, in the NFL, with Kickers representing the least dependable position group in the draft, playing only 3.3 seasons in the NFL per pick.

10. Offensive and Defensive drafted players have played for their team for the following number of seasons, respectively:

Offensive Players

Defensive Players

2.86

2.84

Even numbers exist over the past 10 years between offensive and defensive drafted players. Each averages less than 3 seasons played for the team that drafted them.

11. Offensive and Defensive drafted players have played in the NFL for the following number of seasons, respectively:

Offensive Players

Defensive Players

3.90

3.87

Again, even numbers exist over the past 10 years between offensive and defensive drafted players. Each averages slightly less than 4 seasons played in the NFL.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Hogs Haven

You must be a member of Hogs Haven to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hogs Haven. You should read them.

Join Hogs Haven

You must be a member of Hogs Haven to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hogs Haven. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker