The draft is the NFL’s version of the old game show “Press Your Luck”. As the draft board spins, you can almost hear every coach and GM saying “No Whammy No Whammy No Whammy!” right before they press the button and make their selection. After-all, the draft really just boils down to a crap-shoot. Even with all of the time and energy invested into scouting players and performing due diligence on each prospect, there is an element of luck involved. But, teams that have good pro personnel departments and are more adept at the evaluation process have a better success rate with the draft. So, with the annual lottery just under 6 weeks away, let’s take a look at how the Andy Reid regime has fared.
For the purposes of this exercise, draft picks will be rated as “hit” or “miss”. Success on a draft pick is determined by whether or not the player becomes a stud, solid starter, or role player and is relevant to what round they were drafted. More is expected of higher picks, less is expected for lower picks. If a 1st round pick only becomes a role player, that would be considered a miss. But if you get solid contributions from a 7th round pick, even if only for a couples seasons, that would be considered a hit. For the “hits”, I am listing players taken in any round. For the misses, I am only listing players drafted in the first 3 rounds because they are typically the “money” rounds.
The Hits, by round, from 1999 – 2010 (2010 draft picks are rated only on last year and could change over time):
- 1st Round: QB Donovan McNabb (1999), DT Corey Simon (2000), CB Lito Sheppard (2002), OL Shawn Andrews (2004), DT Mike Patterson (2005), WR Jeremy Maclin (2009)
- 2nd Round: WR Todd Pinkston (2000), G Bobbie Williams (2000), SS Michael Lewis (2002), CB Sheldon Brown (2002), OT Winston Justice (2006), QB Kevin Kolb (2007), WR Desean Jackson (2008), RB Lesean McCoy (2009), S Nate Allen (2010)
- 3rd Round: DE Derrick Burgess (2001), RB Brian Westbrook (2002), LB Stewart Bradley (2007)
- 4th Round: G John Welbourn (1999), SS Damon Moore (1999), RB Correll Buckhalter (2001), S J.R. Reed (2004), OL Todd Herremans (2005), WR Jason Avant (2006), OL Mike McGlynn (2008)
- 5th Round: DE Trent Cole (2005), TE Brent Celek (2007)
- 6th Round: No notable hits in this round
- 7th Round: OL King Dunlap (2008), LB Jamar Chaney (2010), S Kurt Coleman (2010)
The Misses, rounds 1 – 3:
- 1st Round: WR Freddie Mitchell (2001), DE Jerome McDougle (2003), DT Brodrick Bunkley, DE Brandon Graham (2010)
- 2nd Round: LB Barry Gardner (1999), LB Quinton Caver (2001), TE LJ Smith (2003), WR Reggie Brown (2005), LB Matt McCoy (2005), DE Victor Abiamiri (2007), DT Trevor Laws (2008)
- 3rd Round: WR Billy McMullen (2003), CB Matt Ware (2004), RB Ryan Moats (2005), LB Chris Gocong (2006), RB Tony Hunt (2007), DE Bryan Smith (2008), DE Daniel Te’o-Nesheim (2010)
Explanations for a few players that you may consider not a hit or a miss:
Todd Pinkston – Many fans referred to him as “Stinkston” but he was a 4 year starter and played a role in the offense therefore making him a hit.
Bobbie Williams – He wasn’t exactly a hit for the Eagles but he has been starting for the Bengals since 2004.
Winston Justice - Take away that memorably brutal performance against the Giants, I consider him a hit because he has started the past 2 years and has been solid if unspectacular. Though there is a chance he could be replaced as a starter if the Eagles take an OT with their #1 pick this year.
King Dunlap – He’s a hit mainly because he was a 7th round pick, but he has shown he’s a serviceable back up.
Freddie Mitchell – Although an entertaining personality and we’ll always have “4th and 26″, he proved that his mouth was bigger than his game.
Brodrick Bunkley – I consider him a miss because he was the 14th overall pick and just hasn’t played up to the expectations. To this day I wish we could have gotten Haloti Ngata instead.
Brandon Graham – I’m hoping he can recover 100% from his injury and that he flourishes under Jim Washburn, but his rookie season was forgettable.
Results of Reid’s 12 drafts:
105 overall picks, hit on 30 = 28.5% success rate
By “money” round:
1st: 10 picks, 6 hits = 60% success rate
2nd: 16 picks, 9 hits = 56% success rate
3rd: 11 picks, 3 hits = 27% success rate
4th and 5th rounds combined:
35 picks, 9 hits = 26% success rate
6th and 7th rounds combined:
33 picks, 3 hits = 9% success rate
As you can see, Reid’s strongest rounds are 1 and 2, and that’s good because they’re the most important ones to get right. He has only had 2 picks in the top 10 and nailed both of them with McNabb and Simon. Missing on prospects in the top 10 can really set a franchise back for a number of years. He certainly needs to improve in rounds 3 – 5 because you can still get good talent in those rounds if you have good scouting and make good decisions. Any contribution you can get from the 6th and 7th rounds is really a bonus and Reid seems to have gotten lucky on 3 occasions so far. So, how does Reid compare with the rest of the NFL?
To really get a good idea of what the league norm is, we’d have to run these same numbers on every team over the same time span. But that wouldn’t be exactly fair since Reid is one of the few head coaches who have been in the same place during that time. The only coaches we could really compare him to would be Bill Belichick and Jeff Fisher but that wouldn’t exactly be the “norm”. I would gander an educated guess that Reid has about an average/above average success rate in the 1st and 2nd rounds, a below average rate in rounds 3 – 5, and an average rate in rounds 6 – 7.
What can we expect this year? Much will depend on whether or not we trade Kevin Kolb before the draft. If Reid can improve his mid-round picks and not take chances on 3rd round “project players” such as Bryan Smith and Chris Gocong, he should fair rather well. We shall see!