It is critical for long term success in the NFL that a team nails the draft on a consistent basis. Free agency is not sustainable because teams generally overpay for a player with limited upside potential and a limited playing career left. The draft impacts a team's immediate success, as well as years to come.
As the 2014 NFL draft is upon us, we decided to take a look at the different statistics that make up the current class of active NFL players. Looking at first round success, how many players in the NFL were drafted vs undrafted, and the positional make up of each round.
2013 NFL Players by Draft Round
Looking at the 2013 NFL season here were the number of players with at least 1 game played, and where they were drafted:
In other words 69.3% of players in the NFL last season had gone through the draft, I was a little surprised 30.7% were undrafted. Now this isn't a calculation of quality, you'd assume most kickers, long snappers, and special teams guys made up the undrafted count. If you make the minimum threshold 8 games played (half a season), the number of undrafted players drops to 15.4%. But judging round by round, the number of active players does decrease as you get deeper in the draft.
First Round Draft picks by Position
Narrowing down on the first round of the draft, we used the last 10 years to see what positions were drafted the most. For example, an average of 2.8 quarterbacks are taken in the first round, meanwhile on the defensive side the DB and DE positions average 9.4 players per year. Now we take a look at some of the more interesting comparisons for first round and Top 5 picks.
First round draft picks by position (2004-13):
Position breakdown among top 5 picks (2004-13):
|Position||Top 5 Picks||Position||Top 5 Picks|
Position breakdown among first overall picks (2004-13):
It doesn't come as a huge surprise, but over the past 10 NFL drafts the top pick in the draft has been a quarterback a total of 7 times, and 12 QBs selected in the Top 5.
Here are a few other fun facts about the NFL Draft:
- The 2013 draft there was only 1 quarterback taken in the first round (EJ Manuel to the Bills). That's the first time it's happened since 2001 when Michael Vick was drafted.
- This year's draft has 98 underclassmen available, the most ever.
- Only five No. 1 overall picks have gone on to win Rookie of the Year honors (Cam Newton, Sam Bradford, George Rogers, Billy Sims, and Earl Campbell)
- In 1995 there were 15 trades in the first round, the most ever.
- Ryan Succop, kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, is the most recent "Mr Irrelevant" with success in the NFL. Drafted last overall in 2009
For more on NFL draft trends, check out: Which College Has The Most First Round Drafted NFL Players?