The National Football Post’s Draft Trends series resumes today with an in-depth look at the AFC West.
Note: This is a team-by-team study based on NFL draft results from 2001-2010.
Note 2: All positions are courtesy of NFL.com. So for those of you who flipped out last week because Troy Polamalu wasn’t listed as a SS when he was drafted, take a few deep breathes and relax before you let this ruin your day.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (10-6, first in AFC West)
Head Coach: Todd Haley (third season)
2011 Draft Picks: 8 (1.21, 2.23, 3.22, 4.21, 5.4, 5.9, 6.34, 7.20)
Total Selections Since 2001: 79 (38 on offense, 38 on defense, 3 on special teams)
When analyzing the first round picks made by the Kansas City Chiefs since 2001, two things stand out: Defense and the SEC. Six of Kansas City’s last nine first round picks have been spent on defenders while four of those last nine picks have come from the Southeastern Conference (in particular, LSU).
Take note that four of the Chiefs’ last nine first round picks have come within the first six selections.
Kansas City has demonstrated an impressive balance in their selections over the last ten years, drafting 38 players from both the offensive and defensive sides of the football. 17 picks (21.5%) have been dedicated to the defensive line, while a team-high ten draft picks (12.7%) were spent at the wide receiver position.
Here’s how the Chiefs’ selections break down by position since 2001:
1. The Chiefs have selected exactly zero centers since 2001, but have spent two draft picks on kickers and one on a punter.
ICONJamaal Charles was a third round steal back in 2008.
2. 2011 will be Todd Haley’s third draft as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. In both 2009 and 2010, Haley used his first three selections on defenders.
3. Over the last ten years, the Chiefs have drafted just two offensive linemen within the top 100 picks.
4. Since 2001, the Chiefs have drafted more defensive tackles (7) within the top 100 picks than wide receivers (3), running backs (2) and quarterbacks (1) combined.
5. Since 2001, the Chiefs have drafted just two offensive linemen (2010, 2008) prior to the start of the fourth round. From 2001-2007, Kansas City only selected one offensive lineman (2003) prior to the start of the fifth round.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (9-7, second in AFC West)
Head Coach: Norv Turner (fifth season)
2011 Draft Picks: 8 (1.18, 2.18, 2.29, 3.18, 3.25, 6.18, 6.36, 7.31)
Total Selections Since 2001: 76 (40 on offense, 33 on defense, 3 on special teams)
The San Diego Chargers have possessed 11 first round draft picks since 2001, with seven of those choices going towards the defensive side of the football. Upon closer inspection you’ll notice that the Bolts used four of those seven selections on defensive backs. Take note that since 2001, San Diego has not used a first round pick on an offensive lineman.
Here’s how the Chargers’ selections break down by position since 2001:
Since 2001, the Chargers have spent 19.7% of their draft picks on defensive backs (15) and offensive tackles (10). However, as you will notice below, San Diego has spread out their 76 draft picks over a wide variety of positions. Over the last ten years, the Chargers have drafted four or more players from 11 different positions.
1. Since Norv Turner took over as head coach in 2007, the Chargers have drafted just three offensive linemen, only one of which (Louis Vasquez, 2009) was selected prior to the fourth round.
ICONWill 2010 first round pick Ryan Mathews be able to stay healthy this season?
2. With a total of 26 draft picks since taking over in 2007, Norv Turner has used exactly 13 on offensive players and 13 on defensive players. In addition, Turner has targeted defensive backs (7) more than any other position.
3. Despite drafting ten offensive tackles since 2001, the Chargers have only targeted the OT position two times within the top 100 picks.
4. Over the last ten years, the Chargers have drafted just three defensive linemen within the top 100 picks.
5. The Chargers have drafted two or more defensive backs in three of the last four years.
OAKLAND RAIDERS (8-8, third in AFC West)
Head Coach: Hue Jackson (first season)
2011 Draft Picks: 7 (2.16, 3.17, 4.16, 5.17, 6.16, 7.16, 7.38)
Total Selections Since 2001: 79 (38 on offense, 41 on defense)
Two things we know for certain: The Earth revolves around the sun and Al Davis loves speed (the ability to run fast, not the drug). Outside of that, a deeper inspection of Oakland’s recent draft habits reveals that this organization has a penchant for targeting defensive players with their first round picks. Since 2001, Oakland has drafted eight defenders with their 12 first round picks, five of which play somewhere in the secondary.
Since 2001, defensive backs have constituted 22.8% of the Raiders’ overall draft picks. On the offensive side of the football, Oakland has dedicated 13 selections (16.5%) to the wide receiver position. Over the last ten years, this team has actually drafted more wideouts (13) than offensive linemen (11).
Here’s how the Raiders’ selections break down by position since 2001:
1. The Raiders may have drafted 13 wide receivers over the last ten years, but with the exception of Darrius Heyward-Bey (first round, 2009) Oakland has only selected one other wideout prior to the start of the fourth round.
ICONDHB was a bit of a reach back in 2009.
2. Since 2001, the Raiders have drafted four quarterbacks, with three of those signal-callers being selected within the top 100 picks. However, none of those three players (Russell, Walter, Tuiasosopo) remain on the Oakland roster.
3. Of the five tight ends the Raiders have drafted since 2001, four have been selected within the top 100 picks.
4. The Raiders have not selected an offensive lineman within the first two rounds since they drafted Robert Gallery (OT) and Jake Grove (G) back in 2004. During that same time frame, Oakland has selected four defensive backs within the first two rounds.
5. Oakland has selected at least one defensive end in each of the last four drafts.
DENVER BRONCOS (4-12, fourth in AFC West)
Head Coach: John Fox (first season)
2011 Draft Picks: 7 (1.2, 2.4, 2.14, 3.3, 6.21, 6.24, 7.44)
Total Selections Since 2001: 79 (45 on offense, 32 on defense, 2 on special teams)
John Elway and head coach John Fox begin a new era in Denver with the hopes of returning the Broncos organization to their winning ways. The Broncos have used seven of their last 11 first round picks on offensive players, a trend that was even more apparent during former head coach Josh McDaniels’ tenure in Mile High. Take note of how the Broncos have spent their first round picks over the last decade, drafting from virtually every position on the field.
Since 2001, the Broncos have spent 34.2% of their total draft picks on quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. If you’re counting along at home, that’s only five fewer players than the team has taken from the entire defensive side of the football! Take note that Denver has selected more centers (7) and guards (5) than they have linebackers (3).
Here’s how the Broncos’ selections break down by position since 2001:
1. Despite going 0-4 over their final four contests in 2009 while allowing an average of 30.5 points per game, Josh McDaniels and the Broncos used their first five draft picks of the 2010 season on offensive players. Denver didn’t add a defender until they selected cornerback Perrish Cox in the fifth round.
Will Tim Tebow be the starter in 2011?
2. The Broncos have only drafted three linebackers since 2001, with all three of those players getting selected within the top 100 picks.
3. The Broncos have drafted just as many wide receivers (5) within the top 100 picks over the last ten years as they have offensive linemen (5).
4. Of the five defensive tackles the Broncos have selected since 2001, only one has been drafted within the top 100 picks.
5. With the exceptions of 2005 and 2007, the Broncos have drafted at least one wide receiver every year since 2001.
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh
CLICK HERE to check out the AFC East.
CLICK HERE to check out Part I of the AFC North.