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.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
1,000-yard rushers in the NFL… by age
If you follow the NFL, you probably hear a lot about the need to establish the run game and have a solid defense. It all sounds well and good, but let’s be realistic… today’s game depends more on quarterbacks and receivers than running backs.
NFL runners who reach 1,000 yards for the season are still a well-sought-after milestone in today’s game. In 2019, there were 16 running backs that surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark. If we look back over the past 50 years of the NFL (since 1970), there have been 613 times in those 50 years that a running back had a 1,000-yard season.
(Note: pro-football-reference.com lists a player’s age for the season as the age of that player on December 31 of that year.)
But in looking at the age of these 1,000-yard rushers since 1970, there is a very distinct pattern: Most of these players have been in the 24-26 age range. In fact, 269 of the 613 1,000-yard rushers (43%) since that ’70 season (the first year of the AFL-NFL merger) was either 24, 25 or 26 years of age in that milestone season.
Looking at the 16 players who reached 1,000 yards rushing last season, 14 of the 16 were under the age of 26. The breakdown from last year: 30 years old (1), 29 (1), 25 (4), 24 (4), 23 (3), 22 (2) and 21 (1).
Here’s a look at the age of the 613 players who reached 1,000 yards rushing since 1970.
Age # of runners
In case you were wondering, John Riggins is the oldest running back to have a 1,000-yard rushing season. He did it twice, at 34 years of age and at 35. The 33-year-olds were Frank Gore, Franco Harris and Adrian Peterson.
The twelve 21-year-olds on the list are: Josh Jacobs (2019), Saquon Barkley (2018), Ezekiel Elliott (2016), Todd Gurley (2015), Marshawn Lynch (2007), Clinton Portis (2002), Jamal Lewis (2000), Edgerrin James (1999), Rashan Salaam (1995), Marshall Faulk (1994), Jerome Bettis (1993) and Barry Sanders (1989).
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
Super Bowl scoreboard watching
The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers face off in the Super Bowl this Sunday in Miami.
Will it be a high-scoring game, as many experts are predicting? Will having the lead at halftime of the Super Bowl make a difference? Will it be a close game?
To give some insight to those questions (and potential answers), let’s look at some of the points stats in the previous 53 Super Bowls.
* The team that scores first in the Super Bowl is 36-17 (.679)
* Teams that were scoreless in the first quarter were 15-29 (.341)
* Teams that scored in the first quarter were 38-24 (.613)
* Teams that scored 10 or more points in the first quarter were 11-6 (.647)
* Teams that scored 13 or more points in the first quarter were 7-2 (.778)
* Teams that scored in each of the first two quarters were 32-14 (.696)
* Teams that were scoreless at halftime were 0-13
* Teams that scored 17 or more points in the first half were 20-2 (.909)
* Teams that had the lead at halftime were 39-11 (.780)
GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER
* Teams that scored in each of the first three quarters were 27-7 (.794)
* Teams that had the lead going into the fourth quarter were 41-10 (.804)
* Teams that had a lead of 10 points or more going into the fourth quarter were 29-2 (.935)
* There have been only four teams that were scoreless going into the fourth quarter: Baltimore (1969 Super Bowl), Washington (1973 Super Bowl), Minnesota (1974 and 1975 Super Bowls).
* Both teams scoring 30 or more points in a Super Bowl game has happened only three times: Jan. 21, 1979, Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31; Feb. 3, 2013, Baltimore 34, San Francisco 31; February 4, 2018, Philadelphia 41, New England 33 (the Patriots 33 points is the most points scored by a team that lost the Super Bowl).
* There were six times where the team that won the Super Bowl scored less than 20 points. Four of those six times were in the first 10 Super Bowls. The last time was last year when the Patriots beat the L.A. Rams 13-3. The Pats 13 points was the fewest points scored to win a Super Bowl.
* Teams that scored 30 or more points in a Super Bowl game were 27-3 (.900).
* In the first 10 Super Bowls, the average score was 22.2-9.1 (31.3 average total points scored). In the last 10 Super Bowls, the average score was 30.0-19.6 (49.6 average total points scored).
* Twenty of the 53 previous Super Bowls were decided by one score (eight points or less). Twelve of the 53 previous Super Bowls were decided by 20 points or more.
* Of the 20 Super Bowls decided by eight points or less, 11 of them have happened since 2000 and six have happened since 2010.
* In the last 22 Super Bowls, 13 were decided by less than 10 points.
* The average margin of victory in the first 10 Super Bowls was 13.1. The average margin of victory in the last 10 Super Bowls was 9.8.
* The two teams in the Super Bowl have combined to score 60 or more points in 10 Super Bowls.
* The 16 combined points by the Patriots and Rams in last year’s Super Bowl was the fewest for any Super Bowl game.
* There have been 12 20-point (or more) blowouts in the Super Bowl, the last coming in 2013 when the Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos 43-8. Only three of the last 16 Super Bowls have been decided by 14 or more points.
DID YOU KNOW?
* Since 2000, the New England Patriots have appeared in nine of those 19 Super Bowls, winning six and losing three.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
PACKERSTATS-Game #17-2019 season
Here are some of the numbers that helped define the Packers 28-23 home playoff win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, January 12.
- The Packers upped their record to 5-0 this season in games when they scored 28 or more points. They also saw their record in 2019 go to 14-0 when they keep the opponents under 24 points in a game.
- Green Bay has now won three consecutive home playoff games. The last time they lost a home playoff game was on January 5, 2014, 23-20 to San Francisco.
- The Pack has won four of their last five games against Seattle. Four of their last six games against the Seahawks have been decided by eight points or less.
- The temperature was 23 degrees at game time. Green Bay is 16-6-1 (.717) in home games played below 25 degrees.
- Seattle won the coin toss. The Packers are 6-6 since 2001 in playoff games when they do not win the opening coin toss.
- Green Bay scored first in the game on an Aaron Rodgers-to-Davante Adams pass. They are now 16-8 (.667) in the Super Bowl era (since 1967) in playoff games when they score first in the contest.
- Aaron Jones had a pair of TD runs in the game giving him 21 total TDs for the season. That is one behind Ahman Green’s team record; he scored 22 total TDs in 2003 (regular season and playoffs).
- Preston and Za’Darius Smith became the second set of Packers teammates in team history to each have two or more sacks in a playoff game. Mike Neal (2 sacks) and Nick Perry (2.5 sacks) are the only other Packers pair to have two or more sacks in the same playoff game. They did it January 10, 2016 in the Pack’s 35-18 playoff win over Washington. Green Bay was 5-0 this season when Preston Smith had 1.5 or more sacks in a game; the Pack was 5-0 in 2019 when Za’Darious Smith had two or more sacks in a contest.
- Green Bay had a 21-3 lead at halftime. They have never lost a playoff game where they had a halftime lead of 18 or more points (5-0). The last time the Packers lost any game where they had a lead of 18 points or more at halftime was October 7, 2012 against the Indianapolis Colts. They lost that game 30-27. Ironically, they were leading that game 21-3 at halftime.
- Davante Adams had a pair of TD receptions in the game. It was Adams’ first two-TD playoff game. The Packers are 8-0 in regular season games when Adams has two or more TDs.
- Adams broke the Packers single-game playoff record for most receiving yards in a game. He had 160 yards receiving; one yard more than Jermichael Finley had in a January 10, 2010 playoff game against Arizona. Adams now has three playoff games with 100 or more receiving yards which ties him with Robert Brooks, Antonio Freeman and Greg Jennings for most 100-yard receiving games in the playoffs by a Packer player.
- Adams ended the game with eight catches, 160 receiving yards and two TD receptions. He became the 11th player in NFL playoff history to reach those numbers in a post-season game.
- Green Bay had a 28-17 lead going into the fourth quarter. The last time the Packers lost a game when they had a lead of 10 points or more going into the fourth quarter was October 10, 2010. They led 13-3 going into the fourth quarter of that game and lost the contest 16-13.
- For the 10th time this season, the Pack did not have a turnover in the game. They are 10-0 in those games.
- Aaron Rodgers had a Passer Rating of 113.7 in the game. Green Bay is 7-1 in playoff games when Rodgers has a PR of 100 or higher.
- Of the 17 playoff games that Rodgers has started, the 243 passing yards in yesterday’s game is the 5th lowest of those starts.
- Rodgers did not have an interception in the game. Green Bay is 9-1 in playoff games started by Rodgers when he does not throw an interception. In the eight playoff games where Rodgers has thrown one or more interceptions, Green Bay has a 2-6 record.
- Seattle scored 20 points in the second half. Green Bay is now 29-65-1 (.311) in the Super Bowl era in games when their opponents score 20 or more points in the second half.
- Green Bay converted 9-of-14 third down attempts in the game, 64.3%. That was the highest third down percentage rate in a game since November 28, 2016 when they converted 71.4 of third downs against the Eagles. Since the 2015 season, Green Bay is 17-3 in games when they convert 50% of more of their third down attempts.
- Green Bay has now won six straight games. The Kansas City Chiefs have the longest winning streak of the four teams remaining in the playoffs with seven. Both San Francisco and Tennessee have now won three straight contests.
A Conference Championship Game with two divisional foes? Three chances this year to make it happen
If you are a fan of the NFC North, the NFC West or the AFC South, you may be hoping this weekend that the Conference Championship Games scheduled for Sunday January 19 feature a pair of divisional rivals who will play for a chance to advance to the Super Bowl.
Of the eight teams remaining in this year’s NFL playoffs, there are two teams each from the NFC North (Green Bay and Minnesota), two from the NFC West (San Francisco and Seattle) and two from the AFC South (Houston and Tennessee). And because these divisional foes will not meet in this week’s games, there’s a chance that both Conference Championship Games could feature teams from the same division.
(Note: Of these three potential conference title game matchups between two divisional rivals, Green Bay defeated the Vikings twice in the 2019 regular season; San Francisco and Seattle split their two regular season games; and Houston and Tennessee split their two games this season.)
Divisional rivals facing off in the Conference Championship has happened three times since the NFL went to a four-division format in each conference in 2001. The three times divisional rivals met in the conference title game since 2001:
2008: AFC, Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh
2010: NFC, Chicago vs. Green Bay
2013: NFC, San Francisco vs. Seattle (a repeat this year?)
Let’s take a quick look at these three matchups.
- Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh, 2008: Pittsburgh won the AFC North with a 12-4 record. Baltimore ended the season 11-5. Pittsburgh beat the Ravens twice in the regular season (23-20 and 13-9) and then defeated Baltimore a third time, 23-14, before advancing to the Super Bowl to beat Arizona.
- Chicago vs. Green Bay, 2010: The Bears won the NFC North with an 11-5 record, the Packers were 10-6. The teams split their two regular season games. Green Bay beat the Bears 21-14 in Chicago to advance to the Super Bowl where they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers.
- San Francisco vs. Seattle, 2013: Seattle won the NFC West with a 13-3 record, a game ahead of the 49ers. The teams split two regular season games. Seattle then won the NFC title game 23-17 before a lopsided Super Bowl win over the Denver Broncos.
If we go back to 1970, when the two leagues (AFC and NFC) merged, there were 15 times when two teams from the same division met in the conference title contest.
It’s interesting to note that on only four occasions did a team defeat a division foe twice in the regular season and then defeat them in the conference title game… Miami in 1982 over the Jets; New York Giants in 1986 over the Redskins; Tennessee in 1999 over Jacksonville; and 2008 (noted above) when Pittsburgh beat the Ravens twice in the regular season and then in the ’08 Conference Championship Game
One final note: Only once has a team defeated a divisional foe twice in the regular season and then lost to that team in the conference title game. It happened in 1983 when the Seattle Seahawks beat the Oakland Raiders twice in the ’83 regular season but lost to the Raiders 30-14 in the AFC title game. The Raiders then went on to beat the Redskins 38-9 in the Super Bowl that year.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp