As Broncos fans, we've suffered through what feels like an inordinant ammount of weak draft classes over the last dozen years, but was that actually the case? There is no denying that our choices have often failed to live up to expectations or even the lowest acceptable levels, but how do we compare to other teams around the league in this regard? Our good friends at Pro Football Reference recently tried their hand at quantifying the results of the ten NFL Drafts from 1996 to 2005 and I found their conclusions interesting, to say the least. For there methodology and other details, please check out the full article here. I'll go ahead and give you the Broncos' specific tidbits below.
According to their research, Clinton Portis was the 21st best draft pick of that era and Willie Middlebrooks was the 34th worst; those were the only two Denver picks to figure in the top and bottom 35 lists. As a team, we ranked 17th in the league overall, worse than average, but certainly middle of the pack. We were actually 7th when it came to first round draft picks, but only 19th on what was then "the second day" picks that should have built depth and strengthened the special teams. Our best picks were Clinton Portis, Al Wilson and Trevor Pryce, with Willie Middlebrooks, Marcus Nash and Paul Toviessi as the three worst.
I feel as though we really turned the corner with the draft in 2006 and continued our good work since then, so our stats in that regard should improve. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that, as bad as we've been, there are about as many teams that have been worse as opposed to better; that makes me feel better about the potential for wasted opportunities due to bad picks. Does this information surprise you? Is it encouraging or disppointing? Do you even agree with the methodology and/or conclussions? Have it, Broncos fans!