Today we resume our Draft Trends series by taking a look at the top two teams from the AFC North: The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens.
Note: This is a team-by-team study based on NFL Draft results from 2001-2010.
CLICK HERE to check out draft trends from the AFC East.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (12-4, first in AFC North)
Head Coach: Mike Tomlin (fifth season)
2011 Draft Picks: 7 (first pick is Round 1, Pick 31)
Total Selections Since 2001: 79 (44 on offense, 35 on defense)
The Steelers have been quite balanced in the first round over the last decade, using six of their ten picks on offensive players with the remaining four selections going to the defensive side of the football. Take note that five of the Steelers’ last ten first round picks (Hampton, Polamalu, Roethlisberger, Miller, Pouncey) have been named to at least one Pro Bowl.
What’s even more impressive is that eight of those ten first round picks are still on the roster.
Since 2001, the Steelers have dedicated 15.2% of their total draft picks to the linebacker position (12) and 13.9% of their selections to the wide receiver position (11). For a team that consistently ranks at the top of the league in total defense, Pittsburgh has used only 44.3% of their draft picks on defenders over the last decade (35).
Here’s how the Steelers’ selections break down by position since 2001:
1. With the exception of Maurkice Pouncey (center, 2010), the Steelers have not drafted an offensive lineman within the first two rounds since 2002 (Kendall Simmons, first round).
ICONWith the exception of Mendenhall, the Steelers usually target running backs in the later rounds.
2. Since 2001, the Steelers have drafted zero defensive ends within the top 100 picks.
3. Since 2001, 17 of Pittsburgh’s 29 draft picks (58.6%) that have come within the top 100 have been spent on linebackers (6), wide receivers (6) and defensive backs (5).
4. Rashard Mendenhall (first round, 2008) is the only running back in the last ten years that the Steelers have drafted prior to the fifth round.
5. The Steelers have selected at least one wide receiver in eight of the last ten drafts.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (12-4, second in AFC North)
Head Coach: John Harbaugh (fourth season)
2011 Draft Picks: 9 (first pick is Round 1, Pick 26)
Total Selections Since 2011: 83 (52 on offense, 31 on defense)
The Ravens have used six of their last nine first round picks on offensive players, a trend that has been kept alive with the hiring of John Harbaugh. Since 2008, Harbaugh has selected quarterback Joe Flacco (Delaware) and offensive tackle Michael Oher (Ole Miss) with his only two first round picks.
Take note that seven of the Ravens’ last nine first round picks are still on the roster.
Since 2001, the Ravens have used 26.5% of their 83 draft picks on wide receivers and running backs. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise when you realize that 62.7% of Baltimore’s selections over the last ten years have been used on offensive players.
Despite using a first round pick on Todd Heap back in 2001, the Ravens have drafted six other tight ends over the last nine years.
Here’s how the Ravens’ selections break down by position since 2001:
1. Of the ten running backs the Ravens have drafted since 2001, only two have been selected within the top 100 picks.
The Ravens have been acquiring wide receiver via free agency as of late.
2. Of the 12 wide receivers the Ravens have drafted since 2001, only one has been selected within the first two rounds (Mark Clayton, 2005).
3. The Ravens have drafted 15 offensive linemen over the past ten years. However, only four of those linemen have been selected within the first two rounds.
4. Head coach John Harbaugh has already selected three tight ends since taking over in 2008, which is tied for the most players at any position. Other positions Harbaugh has drafted three players from include wide receivers, offensive tackles, defensive backs and running backs.
5. Over the past six years, the Ravens have only drafted one defensive tackle (Haloti Ngata, 2006) within the first three rounds.
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