The NFL draft has so many facets to it that it makes for a lot of interesting pieces of information. With seven rounds, at least 32 draft picks per round (unless there is a forfeited pick like the Miami Dolphins this year in the first round) and hundreds of players being drafted each year, there is a huge number of variables.
For the Cleveland Browns, this year’s NFL draft will look similar to last year’s with no first or second-round selections. Last yer, GM Andrew Berry went into the draft with a second-round pick but traded down.
Unlikely what most would believe, drafting is far less successful than one might imagine. In a research study of draft picks between 1996 and 2016, the data is staggering:
And so only about 8% of draft picks are players that really make much of a difference beyond replacement value, and only about 30% see much playing time or make a significant contribution to the team.
The 33rd Team did a study of NFL drafts from 2010 to 2017 when we saw a shift toward more analytical thinking and offense became the focus. The following looks at which players got second contracts and from whom:
As you will note, players were far more likely to sign their second contract with a different team than to stay with the team that drafted them. That a first-round pick was less likely to re-sign with his own team than a third-round pick was to find a new team is staggering.
We know, as we can see in the above chart, that higher draft picks tend to get more chances and are seen in a better light. Often, “top 100 picks” are seen as premium selections in the NFL. An interesting new study takes a look at all current GMs and how they have spent those precious resources:
Someone asked me to do it, so here's the positional allocation chart for top-100 picks, but using the Fitzgerald-Spielberger chart values for each pick to measure investment with premium picks. Might be a tad skewed by high picks but that will happen using values over # of picks pic.twitter.com/kKaXZAa0qG— Arjun Menon (@arjunmenon100) March 28, 2023
Since the numbers might be small, we see that Berry has only spent top 100 picks on offensive players at wide receiver and offensive tackle while every position group on defense has been addressed with picks in the first three rounds.
Berry has only had two first-round picks to work with, due to the Deshaun Watson trade, which accounts for offensive tackle and cornerback being the highest percentages among the groupings.
Given the needs filled in NFL free agency, it will be interesting if the Browns two picks in the top 100 get used on positions that, so far, Berry has not spent top 100 picks on like running back or tight end. With Nick Chubb and David Njoku on the roster, Cleveland hasn’t had strong needs at those positions during Berry’s tenure.
Another piece of interesting information is how much “value” Berry has left himself in the draft because of the Watson trade primarily. Despite having three drafts, he’s had similar value as GMs that have had two or fewer seasons on the job.
In the end, the above chart just gives us more information that some draft devotees (like myself) find very interesting while others may not.