Daily Archives: April 24th, 2012

From NFL draft to NFL career stats leader

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

National Football League Draft

National Football League Draft (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 2012 NFL Draft is less than three days away. Much of the analysis you see on the draft centers around which teams will take which players and how will each NFL team fill their specific needs.

Here’s a different look back on previous NFL drafts. To pique your interest, see if you can answer this question: When you look at the Top 10 career lists of most TD passes (quarterbacks) and most rushing yards (running backs), which list has more players who first-round draft choices?

Following is a look at six career stats and where in the draft the players in the Top 10 were drafted.

Most Career TD Passes (quarterbacks). Of the players in the Top 10, four players were first-round draft picks (Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, John Elway and Vinny Testaverde; all but Marino were the first pick in the draft). Warren Moon, who ranks seventh on the list, was undrafted out of college and played in the Canadian Football League for six years before he signed with the Houston Oilers. John Unitas, who ranks ninth on the list, was drafted in the ninth round of the NFL Draft. The career leader, Brett Favre, was a second-round pick.

Most Career Rushing Yards (running backs). Of the 10 players in the Top 10, nine of them were first-round picks. The only exception was Curtis Martin, who ranks fourth on the list, who was a third-round selection. None of the Top 10, however, was the first selection in the draft. Three of the Top 10, Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett and Marshall Faulk were the second pick in the draft. Dorsett was actually the second pick behind another running back, Ricky Bell. The career rushing leader, Emmitt Smith, was the 17th overall pick in the first round of the 1990 NFL Draft.

Most Career receptions (receivers). Half of the Top 10 in this category were selected in the first round (Jerry Rice, Tony Gonzalez, Marvin Harrison, Tim Brown and Randy Moss). Brown was the highest pick; he was the sixth selection in the 1988 draft. Cris Carter, who is fourth on the list, was a supplemental draft choice. Andre Reed (No. 10 on the list) and Terrell Owens (No. 6 on the list) were the 86th and 89th picks in their respective drafts. Hines Ward (eighth on the list) was the 92nd pick in the 1998 draft. Rice, the category leader, was the 16th choice in the 1985 NFL Draft.

Most Career Interceptions (defensive player). Only three first-round selections in this list: Rod Woodson (third on the list), Ronnie Lott (seventh on the list) and Dave Brown (eighth on the list). Three players in the Top 10 were undrafted: Emlen Tunnell, Night Train Lane and Emmitt Thomas. Paul Krause, the career leader with 81 interceptions, was a second-round choice. Ken Riley (fifth on the list) was a sixth-round selection; Dick LeBeau (ninth on the list) was a fifth-round pick.

Most sacks (defensive player). Bruce Smith, the category leader, was the first overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft. Other first-round picks in the Top 10 of this stat: Reggie White, Chris Doleman, Lawrence Taylor and Leslie O’Neal. Of the remaining five in the category, John Randle (eighth in sacks) was undrafted. Richard Dent, a Hall of Famer and seventh on this list, was the 203rd player selected in the 1983 draft.

Most career field goals (placekickers). Only six of the Top 10 were even drafted. Of those that were drafted, Jason Hanson, was the highest drafted player; he was a second-round selection of the Detroit Lions in 1992. Morten Anderson, who leads this category, was a fourth-round choice. The four on the list who were not drafted: John Carney, Adam Vinatieri, Nick Lowery and Jan Stenerud.

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