Water Cooler Quarterbacks: Shades of 2009

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Fans take a look back at the 2009 NFL Draft

The Water Cooler Quarterbacks -- Brian, Jeff, Paul, Tom, Matt, Joey, Mallory, Mike and Scott -- had a rather different sort of discussion this past week. Part of it stemmed from the fact that Joey now has to communicate via long distance since he has moved to a different campus in order to start his student teaching. Part of it stemmed from the fact that the discussion arose from a news article that had nothing to do with any of the teams that the group follows.

It was pointed out in an ESPN report recently that when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released QB Josh Freeman, the Bucs no longer had any of the six players they had drafted in 2009 left on the team. When this was coupled with the emergence of 2009 NFL Draft class member Knowshon Moreno as a dependable runner (195 carries for 841 yards (4.3 yards/carry, 76.5 yards per game) and 6 rushing touchdowns in the last 11 regular season games), the Water Cooler Quarterbacks had their topic for the week.

The question which piqued our curiosity was: How many players picked in the 2009 NFL Draft were still with our favorite (or in the case of our "anti-" team members, the hated) team?

As we looked for answers to that question, we only looked to see if a given player is currently on the active 53-man roster of an NFL team. We did not distinguish between players on the practice squad, on the PUP/IR lists and those who are completely out of the NFL. What we found was a little surprising (at least to us). It should also be noted, that we defined "leaving via free agency" as being those players whose rookie contract had expired and therefore decided to test the free agency market -- as opposed to those who had been released or waived by the drafting team.

Let's start with the team that gave rise to the conversation -- Tampa Bay. What we found was this:

# of picks 6
Still with TB 0
With another team 3 DT Roy Miller (Jac), DB E. J. Biggers (Was), QB Josh Freeman (Min)
Not on active roster 3 DE Kyle Moore, T Xavier Fulton, WR Sammie Stroughter
Left via free agency 2 DT Roy Miller (Jac), DB E. J. Biggers (Was)
Left via trade 0


That's six draft picks. Three are not currently on an NFL team's active roster. Two of the three who are currently on rosters left through free agency.

Now on to the team that we follow. Those teams are: Denver, San Francisco, Dallas, San Diego, Cleveland, Miami, Anti-Raiders, Anti-Patriots, Anti-Steelers.

Denver

# of Picks 10
Still with Den 3 RB Knowshon Moreno, DE Robert Ayers, DB David Bruton
With another team 0
Not on active roster 7 DB Alphonso Smith, DB Darcel McBath, TE Richard Quinn, G Seth Olsen, QB Tom Brandstater, C Blake Schlueter, WR Kenny McKinley
Left via free agency 0
Left via trade 1 DB Alphonso Smith

Denver had ten picks in the 2009 NFL Draft. Three players are currently still with the team. Of the seven who are not: one left via trade, five were either released or waived. Tragically, WR Kenny McKinley died on September 20, 2010.

San Francisco

# of picks 7
Still with SF 1 WR Michael Crabtree
With another team 3 TE Bear Pascoe, DB Curtis Taylor (Ari), DT Ricky Jean-Francois
Not on active roster 3 RB Glen Coffee, LB Scott McKillop, QB Nate Davis
Left via free agency 1 DT Ricky Jean-Francois
Left via trade 0

The 49ers still have one of their seven 2009 picks on the team. Three have found homes on different teams. Three are currently not on an active rosters. One left via free agency.

Dallas

# of picks 12
Still with Dal 1 QB Stephen McGee
With another team 2 LB Victor Butler (NO), TE John Phillips (SD)
Not on active roster 9 LB Jason Williams, T Robert Brewster, DE Brandon WIlliams,DB DeAngelo Smith, DB Michael Hamlin, K David Buehler, DB Stephen Hodge, DB Mike Mickens, WR Manuel Johnson
Left via free agency 2 LB Victor Butler (NO), TE John Phillips (SD)
Left via trade 0

Like San Francisco, Dallas has just a single member of its 2009 draft class still on the team. Two of the remaining eleven are with another team. Both left via free agency. Nine are not currently on an NFL roster.

San Diego

# of picks 8
Still with SD 1 LB Larry English
With another team 3 G Louis Vasquez (Den), DT Vaughn Martin (Mia), G Tyronne Green (NE)
Not on active roster 4 RB Gartrell Johnson, DB Brandon Hughes, LB Kevin Ellison, WR Demetrius Byrd
Left via free agency 3 G Louise Vasquez (Den), DT Vaughn Martin (Mia), G Tyronne Green (NE)
Left via trade 0

San Diego has just one of its 2009 draft class still on the team. Three are playing for different teams. All three left via free agency. Four are not currently with an NFL team.

Cleveland

# of picks 8
Still with Cle 1 C Alex Mack
WIth another team 2 LB Kaluka Maiava (Oak), DB Don Carey (Det)
Not on active roster 5 WR Brian Robiski, WR Mohamed Massaquoi, LB David Veikune,DB Coye Francies, RB James Davis
Left via free agency 1 LB Kaluka Maiava
Left via trade 0

The Browns continue the pattern of just a single 2009 draftee remaining with the team. Two of their eight picks are with other NFL teams -- only one of them left via free agency.

Miami

# of picks 9
Still with Mia 2 WR Brian Hartline, DB Chris Clemons
With another team 3 DB Vontae Davis (Ind), DB Sean Smith (KC), T Andrew Gardner (Hou)
Not on active roster 4 QB Pat White, WR Patrick Turner, TE John Nalbone, LB J. D. Folsom
Left via free agency 1 DB Sean Smith (KC)
Left via trade 0 DB Vontae Davis (Ind)

Out of nine 2009 picks, only two are still with the Dolphins. Three found spots on other teams while four are not on an active roster. One of the players who found a new home did so through free agency while a second one was traded.

Anti-Raiders

# of picks 7
Still with Oak 0
With another team 5 WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (Ind), DB Michael Mitchell (Car), LB Matt Shaughnessy (Ari),WR Louis Murphy (NYG), TE Brandon Myers (NYG)
Not on active roster 2 DE Slade Norris, DE Stryker Sulak
Left via free agency 3 DB Michael Mitchell (Car), LB Matt Shaughnessy (Ari), TE Brandon Myers (NYG)
Left via trade 1 WR Louis Murphy (NYG)

The Raiders have matched the Bucs in lack of retention of the 2009 draft class. Oakland, however, has had almost three times as many players find homes with new teams. Of the five that have landed spots with new teams, three left via free agency and one was traded.

Anti-Patriots

# of picks 12
Still with NE 2 T Sebastian Vollmer, WR Julian Edelman
With another team 4 DB Patrick Chung (Phi), DB Darius Butler (Ind), WR Brandon Tate (Cin), G Rich Ohrnberger (SD)
Not on active roster 6 DT Ron Brace, LB Tyrone McKenzie, T George Bussey, LS Jake Ingram, DT Myron Pryor, DT Darryl Richard
Left via free agency 1 DB Patrick Chung (Phi)
Left via trade 0

New England has retained two of their 2009 draftees. Four are with other teams (but only one left via free agency). Six players have yet to earn a spot with a new team.

Anti-Steelers

# of picks 9
Still with Pit 2 DE Evander Hood, TE David Johnson
With another team 5 C A. Q. Shipley (Bal), RB Frank Summers (Buf), DB Keenan Lewis (NO), WR Mike Wallace (Mia), Kraig Urbik (Buf)
Not on active roster 2 DT Ra'Shon Harris, DB Joe Burnett
Left via free agency 2 DB Keenan Lewis (NO), WR Mike Wallace (Mia)
Left via trade 0

The Steelers have kept two members of their 2009 draft class, while five have moved on to new teams. Of those five, only two left via free agency. Only two of that draft class are currently not on an active roster.

Here's another way to look at the 2009 draft class:

TB Den SF Dal SD Cle Mia Oak NE Pit Total
# of picks 6 10 7 12 8 8 9 7 12 9 88
With drafting team 0 3 1 1 1 1 2 0 2 2 13 (14.8%)
With different team 3 0 3 2 3 2 3 5 4 5 30 (34.1%)
Not on active roster 3 7 3 9 4 5 4 2 6 2 45 (51.1%)


It was somewhat startling to see that over half of the players drafted by these ten teams are not currently on an NFL roster. Many of them did not make past their rookie year. Some moved to one or more different teams before losing their roster spots to other players. It was also startling to see just how few player were resigned -- or chose to resign -- by their drafting team when their rookie contracts expired.

One of the questions that arose as we were talking about this was: "How much of the player movement is a result of the current free agency structure of the NFL?"

Here's how that data broke down:

TB Den SF Dal SD Cle Mia Oak NE Pit Total
With different team 3 0 3 2 3 2 3 5 4 5 30
Left via free agency 2 0 1 1 3 1 1 3 1 2 15 (50.0 %)
Left via trade 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 3 (10.0%)
Picked up after being released/cut/waived 1 0 2 0 0 1 1 1 3 3 12 (40.0%)


You many note a slight difference between this table and the numbers listed above in the table for Denver. This is due to the fact that although DB Alphonso Smith was traded, he is not currently on an active roster and as a result is not included in this table.

Half of the players who landed spots with a new team, did so by going through the league's free agency market. The remaining half is largely made up of players who were cut, released or waived by their teams. With half of the players moving to new teams by "testing the waters of free agency," it is hard to not believe that the free agent structure has a strong influence on whether or not a player stays with his drafting team.

By the same token, with over half of the players from the 2009 draft who are no longer with any NFL franchise, and with less than 15% of the draftees still on the active roster of their drafting team, it could be inferred that, perhaps -- at least for these ten teams, the 2009 NFL draft was not a particularly good one. The question that remains, as one Water Cooler Quarterback put it, "Was it a bad class, or just bad drafting?" With a third of the NFL teams represented, the group was inclined to believe that it was more likely a case of the talent pool of the 2009 class not being particularly deep. As one member of the group remarked, "Damn, that's awful. Hahaha."

Something to think about.

The Water Cooler Quarterbacks wish you a fantastic weekend of football.

Go Broncos!!!!

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