Let's face it. It's been a while since we, as Bears fans, were satisfied with a draft (Or at least as satisfied as any fan can be). The question has been throw around as to whether the Bears will trade down this year from the first round 1 pick they have had since taking Chris Williams in 2008. But should they even be considering it? Follow me to the clearing at the end of the jump and we'll discuss this thought in full. See you there!
When was the last satisfying Bears draft for you? 2010 was actually pretty successful, considering that the Bears had only 5 picks and none until the third round. Major Wright looks decent, Corey Wootton ended the Brett Favre Era and that alone makes him a success, and J'Marcus Webb developed decently on the field as a 7th round rookie who was thrown into the starting job by necessity. Josh Moore is said to be progressing well and will compete for a job after redshirting his rookie season, and even with the Waiver Wire Debacle, I don't believe Dan LeFevour to be a bad choice either (and the Bengals are pretty happy that the Bears thought they would get away with stashing Dan on the practice squad). We got about as much as we could expect from the picks the Bears had going in.
2009 gave us some decent talent in the 4th and 5th rounds, but that's about it from 9 picks. And only DJ Moore, Henry Melton and Johnny Knox are consistent contributors. And the two top picks aren't even in the league any more.
Sure, there have been some other players who contributed: Al Afalava, Kevin Payne, Garrett Wolfe, Josh Beekman, Marcus Harrison and Trumaine McBride. But how many of these players, after looking back, would you be happy to say the Bears drafted if they were on the board this year?
Now, I'm not just writing this to bash Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith. There are plenty of stories out there doing that, and frankly, nobody in the league is drafting without their misses. If your hitting on 50% of your picks, you are doing better than the league's best draft minds.
My point is that while there is talent to be found later in the draft, the best chances to find top talent, percentage wise, still comes the 1st round. Each round after diminishes those chances. Think about this:
Of all players drafted in the last 10 drafts, 205 of them have been elected to the Pro-Bowl. 103 of those (or 50.2%) came out of the first round. Another 42 came from the second round meaning that 70.7% of all pro-bowlers drafted came from the first two rounds. And if you think that's telling, then I have some other math for you to consider.
-318 players were selected in the 1st round of the draft since 2001. That's 12.5% of the players drafted. 103 of them made the pro bowl or 32.4% of them. A first round pick then has a 1 in 3 chance of making the pro bowl.
-319 players were selected in the 2nd round of the draft since 2001. That's 12.5% of the players drafted. 42 of them made the pro bowl or 13.2% of them. A second round pick then has a 1 in 7.6 chance of making the pro bowl.
-343 players were selected in the 3rd round of the draft since 2001. That's 13.4% of the players drafted. 16 of them made the pro bowl or 4.7% of them. A third round pick then has a 1 in 21.3 chance of making the pro bowl.
-361 players were selected in the 4th round of the draft since 2001. That's 14.1% of the players drafted. 19 of them made the pro bowl or 5.3% of them. A fourth round pick then has a 1 in 18.9 chance of making the pro bowl.
-357 players were selected in the 5th round of the draft since 2001. That's 14% of the players drafted. 11 of them made the pro bowl or 3.1% of them. A fifth round pick then has a 1 in 32.3 chance of making the pro bowl.
-383 players were selected in the 6th round of the draft since 2001. That's 15% of the players drafted. 8 of them made the pro bowl or 2.1% of them. A sixth round pick then has a 1 in 47.6 chance of making the pro bowl.
-471 players were selected in the 7th round of the draft since 2001. That's 18.5 % of the players drafted. 6 of them made the pro bowl or 1.3% of them. A seventh round pick then has a 1 in 78.5 chance of making the pro bowl.
_note: all statistics above were calculated using information provided by pro-football-reference.com
Now, I know that this is just a snapshot based on one criteria. Had I the time to (and I may yet) figure out the number of starts per player per round, or to even use the career AV system promoted at pro-football-reference.com to weigh the average player for each round over the past ten years. But with just a few hours to research and do the math, I think this provides a legitimate basis to start the conversation.
I originally thought that the Bears might be wise to trade down. But as I looked over the recent draft history, not just Bears but overall, and as I looked over the above numbers, I am starting to believe that the best option for the Bears is to chose quality over quantity.
Might they have a bit better odds with more picks? Maybe. But I believe even that is up for debate, given the diminishing rate of success of each subsequent round from the 1st. The Bears may have a lot of holes to fill, but they may not get filled with more picks. To the contrary, they may get fewer contributing players by trading down for more choices than they would have had staying where they are.
Stay tuned, as I intend on following this up with another column that takes a more in depth look at statistics based on round.
So, should the Bears trade down or stay where they are? Sound off below, and Bear Down!