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NFL Draft Success by Round

Discussion in 'Browns Talk' started by Matches, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. Matches

    Matches Eloquently sarcastic

    Oct 13, 2009
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    I posted a similar analysis on the NBA draft in the Cavs area. Taking drafts from 1999-2006 and assigning different "tiers" of NFL success, this chart breaks down how likely any given pick from each round of the draft is to achieve that level of success.

    The tiers are:

    > 8 GP - Simple measure; any player who plays at least 8 NFL games qualifies. All 1st round picks from the time frame qualified.
    CLE Example: Adamchinobe Echemandu, Nick Speegle
    77% of all players drafted between 1999-2006got at least this far.

    JAG - Just Another Guy; players who average at least 2.5 in Weighted Career Approximate Value* (WCAV) per season played, or who have managed an otherwise long career.
    CLE Example: Chaun Thompson, Lewis Sanders
    55% of all players drafted became at least a JAG.

    Depth - Represents below average starters or backups who contributed somewhat. Player must average at least a 4 WCAV per season played, or been a regular starter for more than half of his seasons in the league.
    CLE Example: Tim Couch, Brodney Pool
    28% of all players drafted achieved this tier.

    Good Starter - Represents above average starters. Must either average a 6 WCAV per season played or been a starter for more than 80% of his seasons in the league.
    CLE Example: Gerard Warren, Jeff Faine
    14% of all players drafted became "good starters"

    Upper Tier Starter - Average at least a 6.5 WCAV per season. CLE Example: Kamerion Wimbley, Braylon Edwards
    6% of all players drafted qualified as "upper tier"

    Star - Average at least a 7.25 WCAV per season.
    CLE Example: None. NFL Examples: Frank Gore, Jason Witten, Richard Seymour
    3% of all players drafted became stars by this definition

    Superstar - Average at least a 9.25 WCAV per season.
    CLE Example: None. NFL Examples: Phillip Rivers, Edgerrin James, Ed Reed
    1% of all players drafted became stars by this definition


    The reason I put this together is the same as for the NBA version - to get some perspective. People tend to overrate or have too high expectations for draft picks in both leagues, and data bears this out. I heard a discussion on the radio about how the current Browns regime has done drafting, and they pointed out McCoy in the third round as a possible failure/bust. Folks, a 3rd round pick has only a 25% chance of even becoming a MEDIOCRE starter, and about a 12% chance of becoming someone you feel good about.

    I note that there seems to be good value in the 4th round. There is not a significant dropoff between the 3rd and the 4th in terms of success rate for starters in general. In fact, 4th round picks have been just as likely as 3rd round picks to reach levels of success that are not in the above chart. 3rd and 4th rounders both had a 3% chance of being named to a 1st team All-Pro team, a 7% chance of making it to at least 1 Pro Bowl, and a 25% chance of being a starter in at least half their seasons. That 25% figure is incidentally the average number for all players drafted. This was fairly consistent through all the drafts I looked at: about 25% of all players picked end up being at least a fringe starter.

    And finally, everyone expects their 1st round picks to become stars. They don't. IN the first half of Round 1, picks have about a 30% chance to become that kind of impact player. In the bottom half of the round, it's more like 10%.

    This chart shows the success rate by pick (smoothed out to account for small sample size and whatnot):[​IMG]

    That spike in the early second round shows how lousy teams who are picking early tend to start those second round picks. Also, I note how late in the first round there are unexpected spikes in "Star" and "Good Starter" level players. I read this as showing how players can achieve true success (the orange and blue lines) on successful teams beyond just starting games.

    *More on WCAV. It ain't perfect, but it will do for my purposes. Some guys seemed overrated, some underrated, but this is more about trends than anything. This method also tends to rate more recent players as being better than they are, as old players tend to have their numbers dragged down a bit in the twilight of their careers. This is why I have not gone beyond 2006 just yet. Since it tends to undervalue fullbacks and offensive lineman, I added the alternative marks of seasons as starter or total seasons played to help acknowledge their status as valuable contributors. It also does not rate kickers. I'm okay with that.
    5 people like this.
  2. Sly

    Sly Hoping the next Leap, will be the Leap home.

    Dec 10, 2008
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    I'm just going to go out on a limb and say that stable organizations find the better players and find better players later, than teams like the Browns did in that period of time.
  3. Matches

    Matches Eloquently sarcastic

    Oct 13, 2009
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    If I can find some time I'm hoping to be able to find a way to do a lookup of each team and how much they beat or fall below the benchmarks. It's telling that the Browns in those 8 years never once hit on a star. They made 71 picks and if they had drafted as well as the league average they would have hit on 2. Their total of TWO upper tier starters (Wimbley and Edwards) falls short of the expected number of 4. And they only drafted 6 "good starters", which was 4 fewer than they should have with the amount of picks they had.

    Certainly you don't need fancy stats to know that the Browns drafted terribly during this period, but this shows they succeeded HALF as often as the league average which is comically bad.
  4. Dungong

    Dungong Situational Stopper

    Apr 19, 2005
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    I think it would also be interesting to break this down by position. For example, I think of the QB position as being riskier (more variation) than say a lineman or RB. But maybe its the same risk afterall and there isnt really a safe pick such as O-line.
    1 person likes this.

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