FanPost

2010 – 2021 Draft Positional Analysis using wAV

Disclaimer: This is not a perfect study. wAV is not a perfect metric for evaluating players. It gives some insight into the player's overall value. I know this is fundamentally flawed.

wAV (weighted AV) description: value that represents the career of a player with a single number that scales the AV scores for multiple years. (100% for best year, 90% for next best,... etc.)

In this piece, I looked at the drafts going back as far as 2010 to see the average of how each position performed based on the round they were drafted in. Since wAV was readily available, I used it to measure the overall performance of the player since being drafted. Below is the chart that shows the results. The highlighted red numbers are the round with the biggest drop off to the next round. I also wanted to use each individual position group, but since some are listed as OL or DB, I had to list each individual possibility. Due to these distinctions, some positions have a small sample sizes, so take what you will from them.

Pos

Round

# of Players

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

QB

32.28205

31.6

15.8125

10.52941

2.888889

4.8125

2

141

RB

31

18.42424

18.58065

11.26087

8.878788

7.4

2.555556

258

FB

N/A

N/A

N/A

0

0

1

0

14

WR

26.91111

19.625

16.55769

6.018182

10.29545

5.350877

2.511111

384

TE

16.7

16.85714

11.96667

6.766667

5.791667

3.5

1.090909

169

T

35.63636

22.625

16.48276

13.18182

15.04545

7.28

10.04762

208

G

38.33333

30.5

21.4

9.62069

9.125

6.894737

8.833333

148

C

34.375

26.1

14.45455

20.25

15

19.91667

8.125

70

OL

7.8

8.714286

16.72727

7.333333

3.2

9.181818

2.857143

74

DE

34.82609

19.72414

12.41667

14.16667

7.135135

4.391304

4.285714

270

DT

36.05714

20.53571

13.35556

15.68966

12.35

7.517241

7.666667

228

NT

33

22

N/A

15

23.5

3

2

11

DL

7.333333

1.5

2.75

0.5

1.4

2

4

31

LB

30.39286

26.91667

17.16216

10.74359

9.854167

7.181818

5.333333

278

ILB

28.25

37.25

9.5

14.85714

9.666667

7.4

5.8

34

OLB

28.6

17.08333

17.08333

20.88889

7.428571

4.571429

4.111111

73

CB

20.54167

12.93333

8.576923

5.185185

5.653846

3.517241

2.875

189

DB

32.47222

18.81481

10.55556

9.897436

10.55556

5.432432

6.148936

307

S

21.45455

14.86957

13

9.521739

6.588235

5.727273

6.090909

128

P

N/A

N/A

19

6

8.125

8.75

5.833333

21

K

N/A

0

N/A

8

10

14.8

6

22

LS

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

6

1

2

8

QB

From the past several years, I was surprised to see that QB actually performed well into the second round. The key point to note is that this is an average. Since many of the 1st round QBs fail, I believe this brings the 1st round number down. But it does seem to be a bearable choice to wait until the second round and take a chance there for a QB. Again, this is not a good measure of those QBs actual achievements, but recognizes the fact that they were valuable to their team. I was a little surprised to see that QB was not the #1 biggest AV, since it often gets the most attention. They do, however, have the highest AV in the second round, for whatever that is worth.

RB/FB

I was tempted to wrap these up together, but as stated above, decided to preserve them separately as listed in the draft. RBs can be a useful resource in the 1st round, but they are not the biggest AV either. RB higher than I expected with a decent amount of separation between the first round and the later rounds. This contradicts the idea that RBs are just as good later on. It does show that RBs hold their value just as well if not better in the later rounds than other positions. This is likely the reason to choose an RB later. RB has the highest wAV in the 3rd round.

FB is a small sample size, so it is hard to pull many conclusions from this data set other than FB doesn't seem to be very important to the NFL.

WR and TE

WRs are the best in the first round, to be expected, but have their most significant drop-off after the 3rd round. Surprisingly, they rebound a bit in the 5th round. WR seems like another position that would be nice to get in the 1st round, but teams can bear to wait until day 2 so they can focus on one of the bigger positions.

TE is unique in that there is almost no drop off from round 1 to round 2. Like WR, the biggest drop-off happens following round 3.

T, G, C, and OL

For T, the drop off is immediate. While the second round is not out of consideration, the best value is in the first round. T's have the highest wAV in the 5th (discounting NT due to small sample size) and 7th rounds.

It may come as a surprise that G's have a higher wAV in the first round than T's. I think this must be because T is a more difficult position. G's have the highest wAV in the first round, which is worth noting, but I do not believe that in itself means that it should be the first position to be drafted. The biggest drop-off is after the 3rd round.

C is pretty stable through most of the draft, with the exception of round 1. The biggest drop-off is in round 5 and is also where C beats the other positions in wAV. It seems worth it to wait until later in the draft for this position.

OL is more of a generic label. I guess it is for OL members who have experience at multiple positions and could play in any of them. Oddly enough, they do horribly in this sample. Their best round and biggest drop-off comes in the 3rd round.

DE, DT, NT, and DL

Good DEs are hard to find. Surprisingly, good DTs are also hard to find. DE and DT mirror each other in this analysis with DT being given a slightly higher value. Just like with T and G, this may be because of the level of difficulty/expectations that come with the position that don't let DEs make it as far.

NT and DL do not have a large sample size, though the NT we do see seem to perform pretty well.

LB, ILB, and OLB

LBs are best in the first couple rounds, as they drop off after the 2nd. OLB, specifically have done well into the 4th round where they have the highest wAV of all the positions. ILB doesn't have much data to back it up, but seems to coincide with the general LB's data.

CB, S, and DB

CB, S, and DB all follow a similar track with a big drop off after the first round. CB shows a slightly lower wAV, likely due to the difficulty of the position. Being labeled as a DB tends to do better for your wAV. Perhaps this is due to your willingness/ability to change positions and adapt? In all, the earlier these positions are drafted the better.

P, K, and LS

It's hard to pull too much from this due to the small sample size, but there is a noticeable difference in the P (Bryan Anger) drafted in round 3.

Cowboys 2022 Draft

Here's a comparison of the data above with this year's draft. This isn't a comment on each player's individual abilities, but a look at whether the Cowboys picks followed the trends for when it is good to pick a position.

1st: OT/G -€” Based on the data above, this is a solid pick.

2nd: DE -€” Decent, but not great.

3rd: WR -€” Great spot to draft a decent receiver, when you expect you already have a #1.

4th: TE -€” Meh. Not really the best spot to draft a TE.

5th: OT -€” As good a value as you can ask for at this point.

5th: CB -€” One of the weaker choices

5th: ILB -€” Decent position for a ILB or LB.

5th: DT -€” Besides T, this would be one of the next best positions to get.

6th: LB -€” Another solid, choice.

Again, this is by no means perfect. It is a rough analysis. Use it as you will/deem fit. I think it shows some valuable insight into when it is good to draft different position groups.


Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.