No wide receivers in the draft is not common for the Packers
How about one more article on the recent NFL draft?
In addition to the chatter about how the Green Bay Packers used a first round choice on a QB, the other big news for the team was the fact that they did not select a wide receiver early in the draft… truth is they didn’t select any wide receivers among their 2020 selections.
Most experts had the Packers adding a playmaking receiver in the first couple rounds of the draft. When they didn’t select even one over the three days, a lot of people were surprised.
The last time the Packers did not select a wide receiver in any round of an NFL Draft was in 2012, eight years ago. If we check the team’s drafts from the past 50 years, it was only the ninth time since 1970 that the Pack did not choose a wide receiver in the draft.
Let’s go back to the selection of a wide receiver in the first round, again, an expected move for the Packers this season. In some respects, it should not come as a surprise that they didn’t use their first rounder on a wide receiver. Since 1970, only four times have the Packers chosen a wide receiver in the first round. The last time it happened was in 2002 when Green Bay selected receiver Javon Walker in the first round.
The other first round receivers taken by the Packers in the first round since 1970: Sterling Sharpe, 1988; James Lofton, 1978; and Barry Smith, 1973.
Both Sharpe and Lofton went onto great careers with the Packers. Sharpe had 595 catches with the Packers and ranks second behind Donald Driver’s 743 for most catches by a Green bay wide receiver. Lofton grabbed 530 passes as a Packers and ranks fourth on the wide receiver’s most catches list.
Sharpe, Lofton and Walker are the three Packers wide receivers drafted in the first round that had 150 or more career catches with the team. Of the 19 wide receivers who had 150 or more career catches with the Packers, five were selected in the second round, four were taken in the third round, four were taken in the fourth round or later, and two of the players came to the Packers via a trade or free agency, and one, Don Hutson, who ranks fifth on the list with 488 catches, was with the team before the NFL Draft was ever instituted.
Looking at the 22 NFL wide receivers that have 900 or more career catches, 10 were drafted in the first round, two were chosen in the second round, four were selected in the third round, four were taken in the fourth round, and two of those wide receivers with 900 or more career receptions were undrafted.
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Looking for longevity and durability in the NFL Draft? It will likely come from later round draft choices
The NFL Draft is this coming week and teams are looking to find just the right college players to add to their rosters.
The short-term goal for each NFL team is to have a draft where most if not all these draft choices can make the team and contribute in some way, shape or form. The long-term goal might be to draft a player or two who can become a mainstay for the franchise for years to come and be a player who provides longevity and durability as an NFL player.
You would think that the drafted players who most likely would have long careers in the NFL would be players drafted in the early rounds… those are the best college players, the cream of the crop.
History, however, tells us otherwise. Players drafted in the first round are not always the players who stay in the league a long time and play in triple-digit career games.
To prove my point, I looked at the last several college drafts going back to 2000. I looked at each year’s draft and found which player in that draft played the most career games of those players drafted that year. Here’s an example:
- In the 2000 NFL Draft, defensive end Courtney Brown was the overall number one pick in the draft by the Cleveland Browns. He played a total of 61 games in his NFL career. The player from that draft who played the most career NFL games was punter Shane Lechler who was a fifth round choice (#142 pick overall) of the Oakland Raiders. He played 286 career games in the league.
Before you raise your hand and say, “Sure, kickers drafted are going to last a lot longer in the league than non-kickers,” I’ll admit you’ll have a good point. But that was not the case in every year.
Here are the players from each draft year (2000-2014) who have played in the most career NFL games from their draft class. I have also listed the number of NFL games each number one selection from that year played in his career.
2000: Shane Lechler, punter (5th round, #142 pick), 286 career games
Number One pick: Courtney Brown, 61 career games
2001: Drew Brees, QB (2nd round, #32 pick), 275 career games
Number One pick: Michael Vick, QB, 143 career games
2002: Julius Peppers, defensive end (1st round, #2 pick), 266 career games
Number One pick: David Carr, QB, 94 career games
2003: Jason Whitten, TE (3rd round, #69 pick), 255 career games
Number One pick: Carson Palmer, QB, 182 career games
2004: Larry Fitzgerald, WR (1st round, #3 pick), 250 career games
Number One pick: Eli Manning, QB, 236 career games
2005: Dustin Colquitt, punter (3rd round, #99 pick), 238 career games
Number One pick: Alex Smith, QB, 166 career games
2006: Sam Koch, punter (6th round, #203rd pick), 224 career games
Number One pick: Mario Williams, DE, 158 career games
2007: Mason Crosby, K, (6th round, #193 pick), 208 career games
Number One pick: JaMarcus Russell, QB, 31 career games
2008: Brandon Carr, DB (5th round, #140 pick), 192 career games
Number one pick: Jake Long, tackle, 104 career games
2009: Kevin Huber, punter (5th round, #142 pick)/Thomas Morstead, punter (5th round, #164 pick) each 174 career games
Number one pick: Matthew Stafford, QB, 149 career games
2010: Ndamukong Suh, DT (1st round #2 pick) 158 career games
Number One pick: Sam Bradford, QB, 83 career games
2011: Cameron Jordan, DE (1st round #24 pick), 144 career games
Number One pick: Cam Newton, QB, 125 career games
2012: Mitchell Schwartz, tackle (2nd round #37 pick)/Russell Wilson, QB (3rd round #75 pick)/Demario Davis, LB (3rd round #77 pick) each 128 career games
Number One pick: Andrew Luck, QB, 86 career games
2013: Cordarelle Patterson, WR (1st round #29 pick)/Duron Harmon, DB (3rd round #91 pick) each 111 career games
Number one pick: Eric Fisher, tackle, 102 career games
2014: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, DB (1st round, #21 pick)/Jarvis Landry, WR (2nd round, #63 pick) each 96 career games
Number One pick: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, 75 career games.
If we go to the 2015 draft, there are five players drafted that year who have played in the maximum number of career NFL games since that year, 80. None of those five were drafted in the first round of that ’15 draft.
Even the 2016 draft has a similar result: Nine players drafted in the ’16 draft have played the maximum of 64 career games in their four-year career in the NFL. Of those nine, none were drafted in the first round.
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11 stats you may not know about the Packers last 10 years in the draft
With the NFL Combine ending last week, the start of the free agency period getting ready to launch into frenzy mode, and the NFL Draft less than two months away, the Green Bay Packers off season is in full swing. The draft will take place April 25-27, with the Packers (at this moment) having the 12th, 30th and 44th picks in the draft… among a slew of additional picks in later rounds.
Who, or what type of player, will the Packers select with their picks? It’s anyone’s guess; there’s talk that an edge rusher is a high priority, and another tight end has been talked about with one of the early picks. Help on the offensive line has been discussed, and defensive backs are always a focus for the Packers in the draft.
Let’s take a look at the last 10 years of the NFL draft and 11 interesting stats that you may not know about the Packers draft choices from 2009-18. Will the past draft history of the Packers give us any indication how the team will draft this season?
- In the last 10 drafts, the Packers selected 89 players. Forty-four were defensive players, 43 played on the offensive side of the ball, two were special team players.
- Receivers topped the list of the position most drafted over the past decade by the Pack. There were 18 receivers/tight ends chosen over the past 10 years. Defensive linemen were close behind with 17 choices followed by defensive backs/safeties (14), offensive linemen (14), linebackers (13) and offensive backs (QBs and running backs) with 11.
- The average round where offensive players were selected by the Packers over the past 10 years was 4.53. The average round where defensive players were taken by the Pack over the past 10 years was 3.82.
- Breaking it down by positions, the average defensive back/safety was taken in the 2.9 round, followed by defensive linemen (3.9), offensive linemen (4.4), linebackers (4.7), offensive backfield (4.9) and receivers/tight ends (5.1)
- Twenty of the 44 defensive players (45.5%) selected in the past 10 years were chosen in the first three rounds of the draft. Only nine of the 43 offensive players (20.9%) chosen were selected in the first three rounds of the draft.
- Of the 14 defensive backs/safeties chosen by the Packers in the last 10 years, nine (64.3%) were selected in the first three rounds. Eight of the 17 (47.1%) defensive linemen chosen were picked in the first three rounds of the draft. Twenty-three percent of the 13 linebackers picked were in the first three rounds… 22% of the receivers were chosen in the first three rounds… 21.4% of the offensive linemen were taken in the first three rounds of the draft… 18.2% of the offensive backfield were selected in the first three rounds of the draft.
- Twenty of the 29 players (69%) chosen in the first three rounds of the draft in the last 10 years were defensive players.
- Eight of the 10 players picked in the first round by the Packers since 2009 were defensive players.
- Of the 21 players chosen by the Packers in the first two rounds of the draft in the past 10 years, 15 were defensive players.
- In the last 10 years, the Packers have chosen three players from one position in a draft four times: 2018-three receivers; 2017-three offensive backs; 2014-three receivers; 2012-three defensive linemen.
- The only offensive players chosen by the Pack in the first round over the past 10 years were Derek Sherrod in 2011 and Brian Bulaga in 2010.
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This year’s NFL Draft begins on Thursday. Every team will be looking to fill some spots on their roster with young players… either potential starters or players who can add depth to their team.
Does your team need a playmaker? A defensive specialist? The first round in the draft is always an interesting time when teams try to fill their most immediate need. Some teams, however, seem to have a pattern in how they select that first-round player. Case in point: Since 2007, the New York Jets have made 12 first-round selections, 10 defensive players and only two offensive players. That +8 is the biggest discrepancy of any of the 32 NFL teams.
Let’s look at the last 10 years and see which side of the ball each team has focused on in the first round. There have been 318 players chosen in the first round over the last 10 drafts. A total of 163 of those players (51%) were defensive players while 155 (49%) were offensive players. During that 10-year period, 14 NFL teams have chosen more defensive players than offensive, while there were 12 teams that have chosen more offensive players in the first round than defensive players. Six teams chose the same number of offensive players and defensive players in the first round over the past 10 NFL drafts.
Here’s the breakdown of each team over the last 10 drafts when they have made their first-round selection.
More offensive players than defensive players
Baltimore +2 (5 offensive, 3 defensive)
Chicago +2 (5 and 3)
Cincinnati +1 (6 and 5)
Cleveland +3 (8 and 5)
Dallas +2 (6 and 4)
Detroit +6 (9 and 3)
Indianapolis +4 (6 and 2)
Miami +4 (7 and 3)
Minnesota +2 (7 and 5)
Philadelphia +2 (5 and 3)
Tennessee +6 (8 and 2)
Washington +1 (4 and 3)
More defensive players than offensive players
Atlanta +2 (6 defensive players, 4 offensive players)
Carolina +1 (5 and 4)
Denver +1 (6 and 5)
Green Bay +6 (8 and 2)
Houston +4 (7 and 3)
Kansas City +2 (6 and 4)
New England +6 (7 and 1)
New Orleans +3 (7 and 4)
New York Jets +8 (10 and 2)
Pittsburgh +4 (7 and 3)
San Diego +2 (6 and 4)
San Francisco +1 (7 and 6)
Seattle +1 (4 and 3)
Tampa Bay +2 (6 and 4)
Same number of offensive players and defensive players
Arizona (5 offensive players, 5 defensive players)
Buffalo (5 and 5)
Jacksonville (5 and 5)
Los Angeles Rams (6 and 6)
New York Giants (5 and 5)
Oakland (4 and 4)
The NFL off-season is in full swing… the free agent signing period over the last week has brought about a lot of action as players are finding new teams (and teams are finding new players), and although the NFL Draft is a month away, Mock Drafts are a major topic on NFL, and individual team, websites.
The NFL Draft is one way that teams can change their fortunes in a quick way. Let’s look at one element of the drafting process: Which position players are most often chosen within the first 10 picks of the draft? Is it quarterbacks, the high-profile glamour position that certainly gets a lot of attention? Or, is there another position that is the target of those selecting one of the first 10 college players in the first round?
Well, if you said that QBs are the most frequent position chosen in the Top 10 picks of the NFL Draft, you are wrong! QB’s ranked second, but the most frequent position player chosen in the top 10 picks of the NFL Draft over the past seven years are offensive tackles. In the last seven drafts (2010 to 2016) there were 13 offensive tackles chosen with the top 10 picks in the draft.
Here’s a look at how many players were chosen (by position) with the first 10 picks in the last seven NFL drafts.
Offensive Tackles, 13
Defensive Backs, 10
Wide Receivers, 8
Defensive Ends, 7
Running Backs, 4
Defensive Tackles, 4
Offensive Guards, 2
Tight Ends, 1
Based on the Top 10 picks in the NFL Draft since 2010 (a total of 70 selections), there have been 40 offensive players and 30 defensive players.
Note: At least one offensive tackle has been chosen within the first 10 picks in 11 straight drafts, the longest streak of any of the positions. Linebackers are next; there has been at least one linebacker chosen in the first 10 picks in nine straight drafts.
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