FanPost

Strong and weak draft classes?

Some commentators have said that this year’s draft class is relatively weak, and high first-round picks are not worth their price. Wondering about this, I looked at previous draft classes to see what the year-to-year variation in quality was. It’s less than I thought!

Almost every year, consistently between 7 and 11 first rounders are stars or better. About half a dozen each year are busts. Only 1991 and 92 were worse than this, and those two years’ second rounds were better than normal.

Here’s how I rated the players, looking for first-round quality:
•  Great (defined by at least five pro bowl appearances, or an)
•  Star (at least two pro bowls – more than, Deltha O’Neal and Tory James, two Broncos cornerbacks who made one, but who the Broncos cut)
•  Bust (less than two years as a starter – unless having made a pro bowl, like Detron Smith, who never started for the Broncos but was a great special teamer)

Then I went to www.pro-football-reference.com and looked at each draft class from 1990 through 2002, round by round, to see how many players fell into each category. And I included the fabled 1983 “Elway” class.

Almost every year, consistently between 7 and 11 first rounders are stars or better. About half a dozen each year are busts. Here’s what I saw, year by year, for round 1:

Year        Greats      Stars    Busts
2002        2    6    5
2001        3    7    6
2000        3    5    7
1999        4    5    7
1998        4    3    4
1997        3    6    7
1996        3    6    3
1995        5    5    5
1994        1    7    3
1993        2    6    3
1992        1    3    5
1991        0    4    5
1990        4    3    4
1983        7    6    2

And for round two:

Year        Greats     Stars    Busts
2002        0    3    12   
2001        1    7    7
2000        0    0    6
1999        0    1    13
1998        0    3    7
1997        0    4    12
1996        2    2    13
1995        0    1    13
1994        2    1    13
1993        1    2    6
1992        2    3    11
1991        2    0    12
1990        0    3    7
1983        0    4    8

By round 3, there’s about one “star” a year, and one “great” every two years. Over half are “busts”. And for later rounds, about one “star” a year and one “great” every five years (per round). Most late round selections are busts, as one would expect.

Late Round stars are rare, with no “greats” at all in the fourth round over these years, but otherwise equally distributed all the way out.

1993 was unusual, in that the 7th and 8th rounds yielded four stars and one “great” (Jessie Armistead, 5 pro bowls). Other than that, late-round greats were pretty rare.

The only other great players selected in the 6th round or later in this time frame include Shannon Sharpe in 1990, Michael Bates (the return specialist who made five pro bowls) in 1992, Tom Nalen in 1994, Terrell Davis in 1995 (only three pro bowls, but an MVP), Matt Birk in 1998 and Tom Brady in 2000 (again, only four pro bowls, but an MVP).

Three for the Broncos! Maybe Mr. Hillis will be the latest in that proud string.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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