Draft Expectations by NFL Team

Every NFL team, and its fans, begins draft day with high hopes. The reality is, though, that a team will be very fortunate to ultimately end up with two or three five-year starters out of a draft class.  This year should be no different. Based on history, the 2015 draft class will yield about 54 five-year starters and only four players who will be selected as an All Pro three times or more. Out of those 54 starters, 20 will come from the 32 players selected in the first round with 12 more from the second round. This means that half of the 64 players selected in rounds one and two will be five-year starters. Only about one in ten of the remaining players drafted will go on to achieve five-year starter status. Several factors contribute to a team’s realistic expectations:
  • The number of selections
  • The location of those selections
  • Historical averages
There is a premium on having extra picks in the first two rounds. Both the Browns (trade-down with Bills so Buffalo could take Sammy Watkins) and Saints (Jimmy Graham trade) have extra first round picks. No team has an extra second round selection. Conversely, the Seahawks and the Bills rank near the bottom in terms of expectations, largely due to having no first round picks. The Bills have only six picks, losing two in the trade-up to take Sammy Watkins and adding one 4th round pick by trading Stevie Johnson to the 49ers. Teams can be grouped as follows based on the number of five-year starters they can expect to land. This is highly likely to change on draft day, and maybe before, as teams jockey for position to select a “must have” player, but here is the current summarization. The Seahawks have the most selections in the draft with 11. However, they are minus a first round choice and do not have a selection until the 63rd pick. They added a fourth round selection in the Graham trade and were awarded four compensatory selections (4th and 3 6ths) in addition to their normal complement of seven choices. The Browns have 10 selections with a the aforementioned 1st plus a 4th coming in the Sammy Watkins trade-down plus a 6th round pick in a trade where they surrendered a 2014 7th round choice. The Seahawks have the most selections with 11, but reinforcing the importance of first round choices, rank near the bottom of draft expectations due to their trade for Jimmy Graham. The following table shows NFL teams in order of expected five-year starters. The expectations are rarely expressed as a round number due to the use of averages (kind of like the census average of 2.58 people per household). The abbreviations used in the table are: Follow Tony on Twitter @draftmetrics

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