Building Through The Draft: An unofficial case study, part four

Incase you haven't been around here long enough, this is the fourth part of a five part series in which I am just hoping to generate some discussion on the idea that it is best to build through the draft instead of dealing away early draft picks (for the purpose of this study, rounds one and two are being considered "early draft picks") in exchange for proven (but potentially troublesome) veterans.

You can check out the first three parts of the series by clicking here.

This installment is essentially just a wrap up of the first three parts before putting it all together in the final post - at which time I hope you will all see the point behind this.

If you recall, I took a look back at all of the draft picks from 2000 through 2005 and unscientifically classified them into one of five categories based on predefined statistics. The results? Not very encouraging.

Of the 380 players picked in rounds one and two between 2000 and 2005, over 45% of the players chosen were either "disappointments" - as defined by not being long-term starters in the NFL - or "busts." On the opposite side of the spectrum, only 15% of the players chosen in the first two rounds became "stars" or "superstars" - loosely defined as a player who was named a first team All-Pro at least once or was named to more than one Pro Bowl. Meanwhile, 39% of those 380 players drafted landed right in the middle group - "starters."

The final breakdown of all 380 players chosen in rounds one and two are below.

NFL Draft: 2000-2005
Rds 1&2 Rd 1 Only Rd 2 Only
Superstar 4% 6% 2%
Star 11% 17% 6%
Starter 39% 43% 34%
Disappointment 23% 15% 32%
Bust 22% 18% 26%


So here's my question. Since one-third of all first round picks between 2000 and 2005 was either a disappointment or a bust, why do teams find it so hard to part with first round picks in exchange for proven NFL talent?

There are two reasons I can think of. The first is the "hope" that a first round pick brings a franchise. Fans love to get behind a rookie and watch him grow as his career progresses.

But the biggest reason, in my opinion, is the "it won't happen to me" mentality that all NFL front offices possess. I know that the people who make personnel decisions in this league have to be confident in their ability to make these kinds of important decisions. But I don't think that they recognize the risk involved. And when you take a step back and realize that nearly half of the players chosen in the first two rounds between 2000 and 2005 have been disappointments (or worse), it's impossible to sit here and say to me that the risk involved in the draft isn't greater than the potential reward.

However, certain teams seem to have better luck with their draft picks than others. And the final part of this analysis will look at just that. How well have drafts run by Bill Parcells turned out relative to the league average? Stick around and you will soon see the good news...or bad news.

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