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NFL draft capital spent on offensive linemen from 2012-2016

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Breaking down draft picks used for offensive linemen over the last 5 drafts by team.

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

I've seen a number of comments lately to the effect that Elway hasn't done enough to build up our OL, and/or that he hasn't spent enough draft picks and/or high enough draft picks on offensive linemen, or that he is just bad at drafting offensive linemen.  So I decided to take a look at draft picks used for OL by all 32 teams over the last 5 drafts to get an idea about numbers of OL drafted, and rounds they were drafted in to see where the Broncos stack up.  I'll leave the question of quality of OL picks to people who are more OL savvy than I am.  To get started, I was fortunate enough to find this marvelous internet source which provides lists of draft picks alphabetically by team from 2000-2016.  So I went through the lists from 2012-2016 team by team, writing down all the OL draft picks by round for each year, and then used counting and simple math in an attempt to analyze the data and look for patterns.

If I counted correctly and didn't miss anyone, 217 offensive linemen were drafted between 2012 and 2016 inclusive: 41 in 2016, 47 in 2015, 44 in 2014, 40 in 2013, and 44 in 2012.  Of those 217 offensive linemen, 32 were 1sr round picks, 26 were 2nd round picks, 34 were 3rd round picks, 32 were 4th round picks, 32 were 5th round picks, 30 were 6th round picks, and 31 were 7th round picks.  The average number of offensive line picks per team over those 5 drafts was 6.78125 per team.  The median number was 7.  So if each of the 32 teams had drafted the same numbers of OL and in the same rounds, each team would have drafted about one OL in each of the 7 rounds during those 5 drafts.

Well, the 32 teams did NOT draft the same numbers of OL in the same rounds.  To illustrate that point before I get into the team by team breakdown, I'll just take a quick look at first round OL picks.  9 teams did not draft any OL in the first round: Buffalo, Carolina, DENVER, Green Bay, Houston, New England, NY Jets, Oakland, and Tampa Bay.  7 teams drafted more than one OL in the first round: Arizona (2), Cincinnati (2), Dallas (2), Detroit (3), Miami (2), NY Giants (2) and Tennessee (3).

The fewest OL drafted by any teams over the span of those 5 drafts was 4 by Carolina, Dallas, and Jacksonville.  5 teams drafted 5: Atlanta, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay.  6 teams drafted 6: Chicago, Green Bay, Miami, New York Jets, Oakland, and San Diego.  7 teams drafted 7: Buffalo, Cleveland, DENVER, Houston, New England, NY Giants, and Tennessee.  7 teams drafted 8: Arizona, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Kansas City, Minnesota, and Washington.  1 team drafted 9: Seattle.  And the most OL drafted was 10 by Indianapolis, the LA Rams, and San Francisco.

Now for the team by team breakdown.  For each team I will look at the total number of OL picks and the number by round from 2012-2016 inclusive.  I will also look at the total of OL picks from 2013-2016 inclusive, and how many of those draft picks are still on the team in some capacity (regular roster, IR, other reserve list, or practice squad) in an attempt to determine who is drafting poorly and/or failing to develop OL.  I'll count those are no longer with the team that drafted them as "whiffs."  I am not including 2012 in my "whiff" count since 4 year rookie contracts signed in 2012 expired in 2016, so the players may have left in free agency.

Arizona: 8 total OL drafted: 2 in the first, 3 in the 4th, 2 in the 5th, and 1 in the 7th.  5 were drafted between 2013 and 2016. 4 remain on the team.  1 whiff: 1st round pick Jonathan Cooper.

Atlanta: 5 total OL drafted: 1 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd, 1 in the 6th, and 1 in the 7th.  3 were drafted between 2013 and 2016.  2 remain on the team.  1 whiff: 7th round pick Jake Rodgers.

Baltimore: 8 total OL drafted: 1 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, 2 in the 4th, 3 in the 5th, and 1 in the 6th.  6 were drafted between 2013 and 2016.  5 remain on the team.  1 whiff: 5th round pick Robert Myers.

Buffalo: 7 total OL drafted: 2 in the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd, 2 in the 5th, 1 in the 6th, and 1 in the 7th.  4 were drafted from 2013-2016.  3 remain on the team.  1 whiff: 5th round pick Cyril Richardson.

Carolina: 4 total OL drafted: 1 in the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd, and 2 in the 4th.  3 were drafted from 2013-2016. 2 remain on the team.  i whiff: 4th round pick Edmund Kugbila.

Chicago: 6 total OL drafted: 1 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd, 1 in the 5th, 1 in the 6th, and 1 in the 7th.  all 6 were drafted from 2013-2016.  4 remain on the team.  2 whiffs: 6th round pick Tayo Fabuluje and 5th round pick Jordan Mills.

Cincinnati: 8 total OL drafted: 2 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, 1 in the 4th, 2 in the 5th,and 2 in the 7th.  7 were drafted from 2013-2016. 5 remain on the team.  2 whiffs: 5th round pick tanner Hawkinson and 7th round pick Reid Fragel.

Cleveland: 7 total OL drafted: 1 in the 1st, 2 in the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd, 2 in the 5th, and 1 in the 7th.  5 were drafted from 2013-2016.  4 remain on the team.  1 whiff: 7th round pick Garrett Gilkey.

Dallas: 4 total OL drafted: 2 in the 1st, 1 in the 3rd, and 1 in the 7th. All 4 were drafted from 2013-2016.  3 remain on the team.  1 whiff: 7th round pick Laurence Gibson.

DENVER: 7 total OL drafted: 1 in the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd, 2 in the 4th, 1 in the 5th, and 2 in the 6th. 6 drafted from 2013-2016.  5 remain on the team.  1 whiff: 6th round pick Vinston Painter.  (Of course we all know the Broncos also whiffed on 2012 4th round pick Philip Blake).  Overall the Broncos look pretty average when it comes to number of draft picks they've spent on OL  and the rounds in which they've picked them except for the fact that they are in the minority of teams that have not used a 1st round pick for an OL over the last 5 drafts.

Detroit: 8 total OL drafted: 3 in the 1st, 3 in the 3rd, 1 in the 5th, and 1 in the 7th.  7 were drafted from 2013-2016.  6 remain on the team.  1 whiff: 3rd round pick Travis Swanson.

Green Bay: 6 total OL drafted: 1 in the 2nd, 2 in the 4th, 1 in the 5th, 1 in the 6th, and 1 in the 7th.  5 were drafted from 2013-2016.  4 remain on the team.  1 whiff: 5th round pick Corey Linsley.

Houston: 7 total OL drafted: 2 in the 2nd, 2 in the 3rd, 1 in the 4th, and 2 in the 6th.  4 were drafted from 2013-2016.  3 remain on the team.  1 whiff: 3rd round pick Brennan Williams.

Indianapolis: 10 total OL drafted: 1 in the 1st, 2 in the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd, 1 in the 4th, 1 in the 5th, and 4 in the 7th.  9 were drafted from 2013-2016.  6 remain on the team.  3 whiffs: 7th round pick Ulrick John, 2nd round pick Hugh Thornton, and 4th round pick Khaled Holmes.

Jacksonville: 4 total OL drafted: 1 in the 1st, 2 in the 3rd, and 1 in the 6th.  All 4 were drafted from 2013-2016 and remain on the team.  Zero whiffs.

Kansas City: 8 total OL drafted: 1 in the 1st, 2 in the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd, 1 in the 4th, and 3 in the 6th.  6 were drafted from 2013-2016.  5 remain on the team.  I whiff: 6th round pick Eric Kush.

LA Rams: 10 total OL drafted: 1 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd, 2 in the 4th, 2 in the 5th, 1 in the 6th, and 2 in the 7th.  9 were drafted from 2013-2016.  6 remain on the team.  3 whiffs: 7th round pick Mitchell Van Dyk, 4th round pick Barrett Jones, and 5th round pick Rokevious Watkins.

Miami: 6 total OL drafted: 2 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, 2 in the 3rd, and 1 in the 4th.  5 were drafted from 2013-2016.  2 remain on the team.  3 whiffs: 4th round pick Jamil Douglas, 3rd round pick Billy Turner, and 3rd round pick Dallas Thomas.

Minnesota: 8 total OL drafted: 1 in the 1st, 2 in the 4th, 1 in the 5th, 2 in the 6th, and 2 in the 7th.  7 were drafted from 2013-2016.  2 remain on the team.  5 whiffs: 6th round pick Tyus Thompson, 7th round pick Austin Shepherd, 5th round pick David Yankey, 6th round pick Jeff Baca, and 7th round pickTravis Bond.

New England: 7 total OL drafted: 2 in the 3rd,  3 in the 4th, and 2 in the 6th.  All 7 were drafted from 2013-2016.  5 remain on the team.  2 whiffs: 3rd round pick Bryan Stork, and 6th round pick Joe Halapio.

New Orleans: 5 total OL drafted: 1 in the 1st, 1 in the 3rd, 2 in the 6th, and 1 in the 7th.  3 were drafted from 2013-2016.  2 remain on the team.  1 whiff: 6th round pick Tavon Rooks.

NY Giants: 7 total OL drafted: 2 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, 1 in the 4th, 1 in the 6th, and 2 in the 7th.  5 were drafted from 2013-2016.  4 remain on the team.  1 whiff: 7th round pick Eric Herman.

NY Jets: 6 total OL drafted: 1 in the 3rd, 1 in the 4th, 3 in the 5th, and 1 in the 6th.  5 were drafted from 2013-2016.  3 remain on the team.  2 whiffs: 5th round pick Jarvis Harrison and 5th round pick Oday Aboushi.

Oakland: 6 total OL drafted: 1 in the 2nd, 2 in the 3rd, 1 in the 4th, and 2 in the 7th.  5 were drafted from 2013-2016.  4 remain on the team.  1 whiff: 7th round pick Anthony Morris.

Philadelphia: 5 total OL drafted: 1 in the 1st, 1 in the 3rd, 2 in the 5th, and 1 in the 6th.  3 were drafted from 2013-2016, and all remain on the team.  Zero whiffs.

Pittsburgh: 5 total Ol drafted: 1 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, 1 in the 4th, 1 in the 5th, and 1 in the 7th.  2 were drafted from 2013-2016.  1 remains on the team.  1 whiff: 5th round pick Wesley Johnson.

San Diego: 6 total OL drafted: 1 in the 1st, 2 in the 3rd, 1 in the 5th, and 2 in the 7th.  4 were drafted from 2013-2016, and all 4 remain on the team.  Zero whiffs.

San Francisco: 10 total OL drafted: 1 in the 1st, 2 in the 3rd, 1 in the 4th, 2 in the 5th, 2 in the 6th, and 2 in the 7th.  8 were drafted from 2013-2016.  5 remain on the team.  3 whiffs: 6th round pick Ian Silberman, 3rd round pick Brandon Thomas, and 7th round pick Carter Bykowski.

Seattle: 9 total OL drafted: 1 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd, 2 in the 4th, 2 in the 6th, and 2 in the 7th.  All 9 were drafted from 2013-2016.  5 remain on the team.  4 whiffs: 4th round pick Terry Poole, 6th round pick Garrett Scott, 7th round pick ryan Seymour, and 7th round pick Michael Bowie.

Tampa Bay: 5 total OL drafted: 2 in the 2nd and 3 in the 5th.  All 5 were drafted from 2013-2016.  4 remain on the team.  1 whiff: 5th round pick Kadeem Edwards.

Tennessee: 7 total OL drafted: 3 in the 1st, 1 in the 3rd, 1 in the 4th, and 2 in the 6th.  All 7 were drafted from 2013-2016.  5 remain on the team.  2 whiffs: 3rd round pick Jeremiah Poutasi, and 6th round pick Andy Gallik.

Washington: 8 total OL drafted: 1 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, 2 in the 3rd, 1 in the 4th, 1 in the 5th, 1 in the 6th, and 1 in the 7th. 5 were drafted from 2013-2016.  4 remain on the team.  1 whiff: 7th round pick Austin Reiter.

That's a lot of very dry data, but I hope it provides a clue about  how highly or not so highly the Broncos seem to prioritize drafting OL compared to other teams.At least it's not another QB controversy post.

The data does tend to make me believe that different teams use different strategies when it comes to drafting OL.  Some like Dallas don't tend to draft that many, but they draft them high.  Other teams like Minnesota draft quite a few in the late rounds, but move on from them PDQ if they don't pan out.  The Broncos draft an average number throughout the draft, although they haven't drafted an OL in the 1st round in any of the last 5 drafts, and they seem to stick with most of them for their entire rookie contracts.  Miami seems to have a "special talent" for whiffing on mid-round OL picks.

So, anybody feel like discussing past, present or future Broncos' OL picks?  Or laughing at the records of some of our "rival" teams when it comes to drafting OL?