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Draft Uncertainty: A look at Top-10 WR, OL, and DE over the past Thirteen Drafts

I was reading an interesting article this morning on NFL.com about the uncertainty of Wide Receivers drafted in the top-10, and it got me thinking about the certainty, or uncertainty, of the two other positions the Rams could fill with their top-10 pick in the 2014 draft: Offensive Line and Defensive End. This post is not meant to suggest that one position is safer or riskier than another, but simply to inform conversation as we head closer—even if we are still two long months away—to the draft. On to the list…

WR

OL

DE

1999

Torry Holt, StL

David Boston, AZ

None

None

2000

Peter Warrick, CIN

Plaxico Burress, PIT

Travis Taylor, BAL

Chris Samuels, WAS

Courtney Brown, CLE

2001

David Terrell, CHI

Koren Robinson, SEA

Leonard Davis, AZ

Justin Smith, CIN

Andre Carter, SF

Jamal Reynolds, GB

2002

None

Mike Williams, BUF

Bryant McKinnie, MIN

Levi Jones, CIN

Julius Peppers, CAR

2003

Charles Rogers, DET

Andre Johnson, HOU

Jordan Gross, CAR

Kevin Williams, MIN

2004

Larry Fitzgerald, AZ

Roy Williams, DET

Reggie Williams, JAX

Robert Gallery, OAK

None

2005

Braylon Edwards, CLE

Troy Williamson, MIN

Mike Williams, DET

None

None

2006

None

D’Brickashaw Ferguson, NYJ

Mario Williams, HOU

2007

Calvin Johnson, DET

Ted Ginn, MIA

Joe Thomas, CLA

Levi Brown, AZ

Gaines Adams, TB

Jamaal Anderson, ATL

2008

None

Jake Long, MIA

Chris Long, StL

Derrick Harvey, JAX

2009

Darrius Hayward-Bey, OAK

Michael Crabtree, SF

Jason Smith, StL

Andre Smith, CIN

Eugene Monroe, JAX

Tyson Jackson, KC

2010

None

Trent Williams, WAS

Russel Okung, SEA

None

2011

AJ Green, CIN

Julio Jones, ATL

Tyron Smith, DAL

None

* I had to start somewhere so I decided the last draft in which the Rams drafted a viable #1 WR to be a fun starting point.

* Given the common belief that it takes three years for a player to be properly evaluated, I stopped at 2011.

In all, 21 WRs, 17 OTs, and 12 DEs have been drafted in the top-10 over the past 13 drafts. Some or many will disagree with my evaluation of these players’ success, but as far as I see it, the following is the list of players broken down into four categories: Stud, Solid Pro, Role Player, and Bust.

Stud

Solid Pro

Role Player

Bust

WR:

Torry Holt

Andre Johnson

Larry Fitzgerald

Plaxico Burress

Calvin Johnson

AJ Green

Julio Jones

OL:

Chris Samuels

Bryant McKinnie

Jordan Gross

D’Brickashaw Ferguson

Joe Thomas

Jake Long

Trent Williams

Russel Okung

Tyron Smith

DE:

Justin Smith

Julius Peppers

Kevin Williams

Mario Williams

Chris Long

WR:

David Boston

Roy Williams

Braylon Edwards

Michael Crabtree

OL:

Leonard Davis

Levi Jones

Robert Gallery

Eugene Monroe

Andre Smith

DE:

Andre Carter

Gaines Adams

WR:

Peter Warrick

Travis Taylor

Koren Robinson

Mike Williams

Ted Ginn

Darrius Heyward-Bey

OL:

Levi Brown

DE:

Jamaal Anderson

Tyson Jackson

WR:

David Terrell

Charles Rogers

Reggie Williams

Troy Williamson

OL:

Mike Williams

Jason Smith

DE:

Courtney Brown

Jamal Reynolds

Derrick Harvey

Based on my evaluations of player efficacy, there are some important takeaways:

1. Top-10 draft picks are more often studs, than duds.

2. Roughly 50% of WRs drafted in the top-10 become either solid pros or better.

3. Roughly 82% of OL drafted in the top-10 become either solid pros or better.

4. Roughly 58% of DEs drafted in the top-10 become either solid pros or better.

The Rams are drafting in the top-10 for hopefully the last time in a long time—I am still hoping they pick up a 2015 first-round pick—and therefore CANNOT afford to screw this up. The second pick in the draft, whether the Rams stay there or pick up extra picks—refer to previous aside—and move down, is too valuable to a team on the brink of relevance. After the almost-comprehensive debacle that was the 2012 Second Round, Fisher, Snead, and Co. must hit this one out of the park to restore absolute confidence. Go Rams!

What are your takeaways from the above lists? Do they provide any insight?

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