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Safe Picks in the NFL Draft

A couple of ESPN's statheads recently put together an article lining out the NFL draft's safest picks by position since 2002. We'll take a closer look at their findings after the jump.

The two criteria they used were durability and postseason achievement - how many of their team's games they participated in and the player's own individual post-season honors, including participation the Super Bowl. Their findings are that since 2002, the safest draft picks are linebackers, tight ends and defensive backs.

Think about that. In a league that focuses on individual quarterbacks, receivers, and running backs (and in our case, offensive and defensive line), the three safest positions in the draft are the back seven of the defense and possibly the most underrated position on the offense.

To measure durability, the two used the percentage of the team's games those first-round picks played in. Linebackers topped the list at 88.1%, tight ends finished third at 85.8% and defensive backs were fourth at 85.7%. (Defensive ends were second, 86.7%.)

To measure postseason value, they used Pro Bowls (least valued), Super Bowls and All-Pro nominations (most valued). Linebackers topped the list with defensive backs and tight ends following at second and third.

What do you think? Does this surprise you? Do you think there's something else they should have considered? Sound off!