Do you like gambling? I certainly don't. I'm more of a "sure thing" kind of guy. I like good odds and stacking the deck to my benefit. Well when it comes to the NFL draft there are no "sure things" and you can't cheat, count cards, stack the deck, etc. However I absolutely believe in observing trends, gathering data on the past, and making the smartest decision possible.
The idea for this exercise started with a notion I had. That notion was this: "With the 3rd pick in the NFL draft, there's no way the Bears can mess this up! We will get a bona-fide star no matter what." Then I looked at the draft history over the last few years.... yikes. SO I decided that this info should be gathered, analyzed and shared. Lets start by looking at the first 3 picks in the NFL draft over the past 11 seasons.
Pro Bowl Players in Italics/Bold
2016 - 1. QB Jared Goff (Rams) 2. QB Carson Wentz (Eagles) 3. DE Joey Bosa (Chargers)
2015 - 1. QB Jameis Winston (Bucs) 2. QB Marcus Mariota (Titans) 3. Dante Fowler Jr. (Jags)
2014 - 1. DE JaDeveon Clowney (Texans) 2. OT Greg Robinson (Rams) 3. QB Blake Bortles (Jags)
2013 - 1. OT Eric Fischer (Chiefts) 2. OT Luke Joeckel (Jags) 3. OLB Dion Jordan (Dolphins)
2012 - 1. QB Andrew Luck (Colts) 2. QB Robert Griffin III (Washington) 3. RB Trent Richardson (Browns)
2011 - 1. QB Cam Newton (Panthers) 2. OLB Von Miller (Broncos) 3. DT Marcel Dareus (Bills)
2010 - 1. QB Sam Bradford (Rams) 2. DT Ndamukong Suh (Lions) 3. DT Gerald McCoy (Bucs)
2009 - 1. QB Matt Stafford (Lions) 2. OT Jason Smith (Rams) 3. DT Tyson Jackson (Chiefs)
2008 - 1. OT Jake Long (Dolphins) DE Chris Long (Rams) 3. QB Matt Ryan (Falcons)
2007 - 1. QB Jamarcus Russell (Raiders) 2. WR Calvin Johnson (Lions) 3. OT Joe Thomas (Browns)
2006 - 1. DE Mario Williams (Texans) 2. RB Reggie Bush (Saints) 3. QB Vince Young (Titans)
TOTALS - QB - 13 Edge - 7 DT - 4 OT - 6 RB - 2 WR - 1
So what kind of info can we glean from this data? Let's have a looksie.
- Overall a top 3 pick has a 55% chance of developing into a Pro Bowl level player. That's way worse than I thought.
- In just the last 11 years, 7 of those players are not even in the league anymore (21%)
- At least 1 QB (13 total) has been taken in the top 3 10 of 11 past drafts (91% odds)
- Of those 13 QBs 7 have gone to at least 1 pro bowl (54% odds). I know Pro Bowls aren't the best measuring stick (Vince Young anyone) but let me ask you this, When was the last time a Bears QB went to the Pro Bowl? I'm waiting....
- Of those 13 QBs the FIRST drafted QB (sample size of 10) 6 of them have gone to Pro Bowl (60%)
- TWO of those QB's have appeared in the Super Bowl, no winners thought (Cam Newton) (Matt Ryan) (15% odds) I blame Tom Brady...
- Of the 7 Edge players, 5 of them have reached a Pro Bowl (72% odds)
- Offensive Tackles 2 of the 6 have made a pro bowl (33%) but 4 of the 6 look to be full out BUST material (66%)
- Defensive Tackle seems to be a safe bet with 3 of the 4 reaching a pro bowl and being elite players (75%) with the other one (Tyson Jackson) on his 3rd NFL team still being a solid NFL player.
- Running Back in the top 3? mmmmm no. (0% pro bowls, 1 mega bust)
- WR in the top 3? I was surprised to see the only top 3 pick being Calvin Johnson. Take a look aroud the league. WR's can be had later in the draft for sure.
SMART plays - FIRST QB off the board (60% odds). Elite defensive Tackle (75% odds). Edge Rusher (72% odds)
DUMB plays - drafting an OT (33%). Drafting a CB or a S (NONE in the past 11 years, even going further than that). Drafting a RB (Jerry Jones got LUCKY with Zeke at #4 last year).
What do you guys think? Any other thoughts? Should I dig even deeper? Let me know in the comments below.