NFL Draft 2013: Five Years Of Draft Data - Who's Winning?

To succeed in the draft requires a great deal of luck. - James Lang-US PRESSWIRE

In light of recent discussion about the Saints' early round draft success, HansDat brings five years of raw NFL draft data to the table, in a table. And with me setting the table, it's time for you to dine and discuss!! When we're finished, someone else can clear the table and wash the dishes...

We flipped the calendar over to April last week, which usually means it's time to get serious about draft talk. But here at CSC, we got a little serious with our serious draft talk a bit early this year, in a recent post by Dave on the Saints first round draft shortcomings.

As I read that post and the subsequent commentary, a couple of ideas stuck with me: that of building a team through the draft, and which teams are actually good at it. After wrestling with it a bit, I've finally figured out a way to bring a broader, fact-based discussion to this area as a natural continuation of what was begun back on March 27 in such lively fashion.

Using the copy of Lindy's Sports Pro Football Draft magazine I bought last month, I collected some of the raw data on each team's draft history over the last five years (2008-2012), and put it into the charts below, one from each conference. I'm hoping that this will allow us to use a common set of facts (comparing apples to apples, as the metaphor goes) from which to engage in spirited, clever, and insightful debate about how teams do at building through the draft.

Since the Saints are in the NFC, let's start there:

Team

Number of Draft Picks

Total Picks Still on Team

Starters

Backups

Arizona

37

25

12

13

Atlanta

38

30

13

17

Carolina

41

21

9

12

Chicago

36

20

10

10

Dallas

38

19

6

13

Detroit

38

25

15

10

Green Bay

42

27

14

13

Minnesota

38

28

13

15

New Orleans

27

16

6

10

NY Giants

37

23

6

17

Philadelphia

51

25

13

12

St. Louis

44

19

9

10

San Francisco

48

20

7

13

Seattle

42

25

12

13

Tampa Bay

36

23

11

12

Washington

42

23

8

15

And now on to the AFC...

Team

Number of Draft Picks

Total Picks Still on Team

Starters

Backups

Baltimore

39

27

14

13

Buffalo

43

23

10

13

Cincinnati

48

27

12

15

Cleveland

40

28

14

14

Denver

44

23

10

13

Houston

40

27

11

16

Indianapolis

45

22

12

10

Jacksonville

31

18

6

12

Kansas City

44

27

14

13

Miami

41

22

12

10

New England

48

28

8

20

NY Jets

27

18

7

11

Oakland

34

22

10

12

Pittsburgh

42

25

10

15

San Diego

32

22

8

14

Tennessee

43

31

13

18

* * *

Here are a few of my initial, perhaps rather obvious observations (I put my time in making the damn charts this morning, so this is all you get from me right now)...

  • The Saints sit at the absolute bottom of the barrel in regard to players added via the draft, with only 16 players still on the roster from the last five drafts. The Jets and Jaguars are next with 18, followed by the Rams and Cowboys with 19.
  • The Titans are at the top with 31 players added through the draft, followed by the Vikings, Browns, and Patriots with 28.
  • Tops at finding starters in the draft: Lions (15); Ravens, Chiefs, Browns, Packers (14); Titans, Eagles, Vikings, Falcons (13).

* * *

I know this is a wide swath of raw data, but it can at least serve as a logical springboard for an ongoing "building through the draft" debate that I'd love to see carry on throughout the month. I will curate this debate a bit and set us up for the next level of talks next weekend, perhaps with more refined and precise stats based on where the debate takes us and what further questions it raises. (For instance, correlating playoff appearances with the number of players added through the draft, as an index of success. I am open to suggestions, and/or people bringing the stats themselves.)

And another promise from me is that if all goes well with cleverness, fairness, good will, and intelligent discussion, we'll move the next round of talks to "Camp David" for serene and contemplative retreat-like surroundings. But if it gets ugly, I'll turn this car right around and we'll stop at "Camp Jason David" (aka Camp Blood). Believe me, nobody wants that, so please play nicely.

See you in the comment section with clever word play, observations, extrapolations, generalizations, questions, non-personal critiques, jpgs, gifs, you tube links, and whatever else you think will add constructively and intelligently to this discourse.

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