Recent Draft Trends

With the NFL draft commencing on April 30, looked at recent draft trends. Several different aspects of the draft were examined ranging from the number of players drafted by playing position to reviewing players drafted by state. By Playing Position  If you are a close follower of the draft, you will be sitting down in front of your television set with at least one draft guide in front of you to facilitate an instant evaluation of your favorite team’s selections. How far down the listings by position do you have to go before you reach players that are unlikely to be drafted? The following lists the number of players drafted by position in the past five drafts along with the average and range. The most noteworthy takeaway from this table is that some positions have relatively tight ranges (indicating not much variance by year) and others do not. The positions with the tightest ranges are wide receivers, offensive line, defensive tackles and corners. First Round Following the overall look at the draft, we did the same analysis for the first round only. Here are the results. It is no surprise that offensive linemen are the most frequently drafted position in the first round. Running backs have been shut out in the first round in 2013 and 2014. If you believe the experts, though, that is likely to end in 2015. By Conference The one constant in an analysis by conference is that the Southeastern Conference is the leader in four of the five years. This is certainly not a surprise. It is also noteworthy that the Power Five conferences account for about 71% of all draft selections. The Big 12 and Big 10 have both shown declines in players selected from 2010 to 2014. The Mountain West Conference along with minor conferences and colleges picked up most of those declines. By Home State  Players enter the NFL from all over the country. In this section we considered the home state of the player, not where they played college football. The constant in this analysis is that three states (Florida, California and Texas) are the principal producers, though the order may vary by year. The states listed in the following table account for about 60% of all players drafted, with the remainder coming from the remaining 41 states, Canada and other countries. Rookie Starters  There has not been a discernible increase in the number of rookies who achieve starter status (i.e., start eight or more games). In 2005, 47 rookies achieved that status. The number of over the past five years is higher but there is not a continuing trend upwards. In fact, there was a 10% drop in 2014 over 2013. Here are the number of rookie starters in each of the past five draft classes. Follow Tony on Twitter @draftmetrics

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