Having a good draft is important for all teams, but it is especially important for teams that are rebuilding. For teams in the upcoming draft that face a major decision on who to draft, it is important to know which decisions provide the best results to their team on average.
For example, St. Louis Rams' decision will most likely come down to Justin Blackmon, the wide receiver from Oklahoma State, or another offensive weapon to help them become more explosive.
For the Rams, selecting successful players is their most important goal, but having a player that creates the biggest impact to their team would be especially imperative to them in their rebuilding process.
So what is the definition of a successful player?
A successful player is a player that creates a noticeable impact on the teams that he plays for. A bust is a player that does not create a positive impact on the teams he plays for. An okay player is player that creates an average impact on his team.
From a series of studies it was found that the average success rate of a first round draft pick is roughly 55 percent.
As a skill position, a wide receiver's success rate is one of the hardest to define. A receiver can be at the top one season, then fall well below average for the rest of his career.
Also, wide receivers are for the majority a product of their offensive system. If you look at a wide receiver like Anquan Boldin, it is clear he was a consistent hit with Arizona averaging over 1000 yards per season; however, when he went to the run-first offense of Baltimore his numbers declined, averaging only 800 yards per season.
In the table below, the ratings of the first round wide receivers were determined over the last decade to determine the success rate of wide receivers in the NFL.
|Ted Ginn Jr.||2007||9||Okay|
|Craig "Buster" Davis||2007||30||Bust|
*Note: AJ Green and Julio Jones are clearly hits so far, but beyond that we don’t how their futures will pan out. Baldwin has not played enough downs to clearly define his rating yet.
**Note: It was very difficult to determine their statuses of some players (i.e. Demaryius Thomas). He was widely considered a bust until the game-winning catch in the 2012 Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers. So for this purpose, I considered him an "Okay" player, as "Busts" do not make playoff-winning catches.
Three success calculations are listed below. The first is considering all the wide receivers in the last 10 years. The second is looking at the top half of the draft only over the past decade, because an early first round pick is assumed to have a bigger impact on the team than a later first round draft pick. The third is considering only the past five drafts, to see how recent draft picks have fared in the NFL.
|1) Past 10 Drafts||2) Top Half of Draft||3) Past 5 Drafts|
Despite this overall conclusion, it is interesting to note the increased success rate over the past five drafts. This leaves still more questions to be answered.
As a rebuilding team, it is much more important to have a successful draft than to take an unnecessary risk. Using the past 10 years of data, it can clearly be concluded that drafting a wide receiver is riskier than drafting another position in the NFL.
First, due to this recent increase in success rates, do GMs now understand how to evaluate talent better? Or is it simply a coincidence that the past five years produced more successful wide receivers on average than previous years?
Let me know what you think and I thank you in advance for your comments.
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