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    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Best and Worst NFL Draft Teams

    Best And Worst NFL Draft Teams
    Monte Burke, 04.08.09
    How choices played out on the field.


    What's almost as anticipated as the Super Bowl? The annual National Football League Draft.

    This year, it will be held April 25-26 at New York's Radio City Music Hall. That's when all 32 professional teams will select newly eligible players for their rosters. The event has become, in effect, a second season for football fans, who obsess over which teams drafted the best players.

    Here's a thought: Instead of looking at how many draftees make the team's active roster, a better barometer of success might be a survey of the last three years of drafts for all 32 NFL teams. To judge them, we looked at the percentage of players from those three draft classes who were still listed as active members of the team. The results were surprising.

    Topping the list of the best drafting teams: the Houston Texans, who have kept on their current roster an amazing 85% of the players they've drafted in the last three years. The Texans have also produced two All-Pros (linebacker DeMeco Ryans and defensive end Mario Williams). But the Texans' record over the last three years is a less-than-mediocre 22-26.

    The Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants placed second and third, respectively.

    The bottom five will surprise fans most. The worst drafting team in the past three years, holding on to only a little more than half of its drafted players: the New England Patriots. With three Super Bowl wins since 2001, the Patriots are the team of the decade so far. They boast a 39-9 record in the past three years. How have they maintained that excellence? Though saddled with low draft picks, the Patriots have been the masters of picking up useful veteran free agents--players whose contracts have expired, making them eligible to sign with any team--to fill holes in their lineup (see: receivers Randy Moss and Wes Welker).

    Behind the Numbers
    To find the NFL's best and worst teams at drafting, we looked at the last three years of drafts for all 32 NFL teams. To judge the success or failure of the drafting teams, we looked at the percentage of players from those three draft classes who were still listed as active members of the team.

    We gave a little extra weight to players who had made the Associated Press' All-Pro first and second teams--the players deemed as that year's best at their respective positions. Membership in this elite group is difficult to crack for a young player, as many long-tenured veterans make the All-Pro team year after year based only on reputation (take the N.Y. Jets' Alan Faneca).

    Guessing Game
    The NFL draft is all about potential, a stock market of big men in pads and helmets. Despite all of the scouting, speed trials, interviews and intelligence tests that teams require of potential draft picks, there is no surefire way to know if a player just out of college will be able to make it in the NFL.

    The eight-round draft is rife with mistakes on both ends of the spectrum: Ryan Leaf, the first pick of the San Diego Chargers in 1998, turned out to be fool's gold and was out of the NFL within four years. Tom Brady, the three-time Super Bowl winner for the New England Patriots and one of the best quarterbacks of all time, was the 199th player chosen in the 2000 draft, a hidden gem passed over by every NFL team multiple times.

    With skyrocketing rookie contracts, the pressure to get a draft pick right is more acute now than ever. When Jake Long, last year's overall No.1 pick, signed a five-year $57.5 million contract with the Miami Dolphins, he became the highest-paid offensive tackle in the league without ever having played an NFL game.

    How It Works
    To help with competitive balance, the NFL organizes the draft positions in a reverse-record manner. That is, the team with the worst record gets the first draft pick going all the way down to the Super Bowl winner, which drafts 32nd. The Texans, with their poor record over the past three years, have continually had a favorable drafting position (average spot: 12th).

    Successful teams--those with excellent win-loss records--have also succeeded in finding NFL-caliber players. Take the Indianapolis Colts, with a 37-11 record and a Super Bowl title in the 2006 season. The Colts average drafting position: 40.

    The New York Giants, winners of the 2007 season Super Bowl, are another successful franchise. The Giants have held on to 90% of their draft picks from the past three years.

    The Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, two teams who have experienced up-and-down seasons of late, round out the list of best drafters.

    After the Patriots, the next team from the bottom makes more intuitive sense: The lowly St. Louis Rams, who have logged a ghastly 13-35 record in the last three years. Though the Rams' average draft position is 10th, they have retained little more than half of their draftees.
    Third worst is another surprise: the world champion Pittsburgh Steelers, with only 58% of their drafted players still on the team and no All-Pros among them. Like the Patriots, the perennially contending Steelers usually have a low draft spot, but they have fulfilled their needs by finding and developing excellent undrafted rookies over the years, like running back Willie Parker and linebacker James Harrison, the 2008 defensive player of the year.

    Rounding out the bottom five are the Miami Dolphins and the Cincinnati Bengals. The Dolphins had pitiful drafts until guru Bill Parcells stepped in as the de facto head of football operations. Parcells' talent-evaluation skills have turned the team around. The Bengals (19-28-1), by contrast, just can't seem to get out of their ugly rut.

    The bottom line: Drafting NFL-caliber players is very important, but it doesn't necessarily equal success on the field. Finding other strategies to plug the gaps, like the Patriots and Steelers have done, is essential. So don't judge your team's success at the end of draft day. Wait to see how it all plays out--and watch for what your team does to boost draft deficiencies
    Last edited by txramsfan; -04-09-2009 at 09:29 PM.


  2. #2
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    Re: Best and Worst NFL Draft Teams

    We get it Tx you love the draft, you 2 should get a room

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    Re: Best and Worst NFL Draft Teams

    Hey TX
    Until the NFL changes to a Rookie Salary Cap the bad teams won't be helped that much by the draft and could possibly be hurt by a pick 1-5 in the draft.

    TO MUCH MONEY ON UNPROVEN PLAYERS.

  4. #4
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    Re: Best and Worst NFL Draft Teams

    just another thing that makes me wish we were one of those teams that strike gold in undrafted guys.
    hopefully billy d and crew can turn that around.

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    Re: Best and Worst NFL Draft Teams

    the Patriots have been the masters of picking up useful veteran free agents--players whose contracts have expired, making them eligible to sign with any team--to fill holes in their lineup (see: receivers Randy Moss and Wes Welker).
    Didn't they get Randy Moss through a trade and wasn't Wes Welker a restricted free agent?

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    Re: Best and Worst NFL Draft Teams

    It seems to me that this only really gauges how teams do in the second half of the draft, since it's fairly uncommon for a team to release a third round pick or higher within the first three years of their contract.

    It also undermines the significance of drafting successfully prior to that three year period. A team that drafts well over the course of a decade and still has many of their players from before will have less roster spots up for grabs compared to a team that has not drafted well and has a bunch of late round picks filling depth positions for lack of better alternatives.

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    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Best and Worst NFL Draft Teams

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenfleece View Post
    It seems to me that this only really gauges how teams do in the second half of the draft, since it's fairly uncommon for a team to release a third round pick or higher within the first three years of their contract.

    It also undermines the significance of drafting successfully prior to that three year period. A team that drafts well over the course of a decade and still has many of their players from before will have less roster spots up for grabs compared to a team that has not drafted well and has a bunch of late round picks filling depth positions for lack of better alternatives.
    Ok, so about paragraph 1. Who cares if they don't release a player picked in the top 3 rounds after 3 years. What did they do during those 3 years? Boy, sure glad that Joe Klop, Claude Wroten, and Brian Leonard were selected so high. You could almost throw Carriker in there also as someone who really hasn't produced up to their draft position.

    Paragraph 2. Proves my point. Very small amount of the Rams are left after their rookie contracts. Hope the new regime is better, hard to be worse than the old one.

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    Re: Best and Worst NFL Draft Teams

    Relevant to this article: Scott Linehan, Jay Zygmunt

    Irrelevant to the upcoming draft: Scott Linehan, Jay Zygmunt
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Best and Worst NFL Draft Teams

    It's not just Rams driven though HUb. I mainly wanted to post this to show that even though the Steelers and Patriots win Super Bowls, their drafts aren't very good. It's just a reference tool not to totally be St. Louis Rams reference.

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    Re: Best and Worst NFL Draft Teams

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    It's not just Rams driven though HUb. I mainly wanted to post this to show that even though the Steelers and Patriots win Super Bowls, their drafts aren't very good. It's just a reference tool not to totally be St. Louis Rams reference.
    Aren't very good...............by Monte Burks' standard. Personally, I don't think a draft evaluation (which is to say an evaluation of a teams ability to find talent) can not be boiled down to how many are still around.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Best and Worst NFL Draft Teams

    Alright. Man, I think we need a department of measurement anymore with sports.

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    Re: Best and Worst NFL Draft Teams

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    Ok, so about paragraph 1. Who cares if they don't release a player picked in the top 3 rounds after 3 years. What did they do during those 3 years? Boy, sure glad that Joe Klop, Claude Wroten, and Brian Leonard were selected so high. You could almost throw Carriker in there also as someone who really hasn't produced up to their draft position.
    Exactly. The way they're measuring this, you can be a no-talent team, but as long as you're losing with the same idiots you drafted, you're considered a good drafting team.

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    Paragraph 2. Proves my point. Very small amount of the Rams are left after their rookie contracts. Hope the new regime is better, hard to be worse than the old one.
    You won't get an argument from me there. Sometimes it feels like they're grasping at straws out there. We try guys with great physical ability but questionable character like Wroten or Byrd, and we bust. Then we go to the other end of the spectrum to guys who have less extraordinary physical gifts but high character like Leonard or Carriker, and we still bust.

    And I don't know why we keep drafting track guys with limited football experience to play corner. You'd think after the first few times it didn't work, we'd learn. Bartell is the only corner we've drafted who really looks good right now, and he's the one they thought might have to play safety.

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    Re: Best and Worst NFL Draft Teams

    Quote Originally Posted by 39thebeast View Post
    We get it Tx you love the draft, you 2 should get a room
    LOL...well atleast he's passionate

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    txramsfan's Avatar
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    Re: Best and Worst NFL Draft Teams

    Quote Originally Posted by ManofGod View Post
    LOL...well atleast he's passionate
    MOG that was pretty good. I'll give you a rep for that if I can.


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