After months of media hype, the NFL draft is over and fans finally have new members of their team to welcome to town.
Expectations for draft picks are high, but are they too high?
Over the course of the next few weeks, "What to Expect" will examine every draft pick from the AFC South in its historical context. Using past performances from similarly drafted players and by examining the way that each team develops certain positions, I will create a realistic baseline by which to judge the performance of each pick.
Readers should be aware that rookies historically perform much, much worse than fan expectations.
Also, keep in mind that I am not saying the player will perform to these expectations, but rather anything better than the results should be considered a successful rookie year, and anything worse would be a disappointment.
These are not predictions. They are baselines.
The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts both spent late-round picks on offensive tackles. Linemen drafted late in the draft often play a variety of positions, so just because Nick Mondek and Justin Anderson were drafted as tackles doesn't mean they'll be playing there.
What can the Colts and Texans expect to get out of their investment? Since 2005, there have been 92 offensive linemen taken in rounds six and seven.
- Thirty-four of the 92 never made an NFL roster. That's an insane bust rate. Just making the team places a lineman in the top two-thirds of all players.
- Twenty-five played at least half the games their rookie year. Twenty-one played fewer than four games. That's 55 players in total who played three games or less (including those who didn't make a roster).
- Five of the players started 14 games or more. Nine started at least eight games. So roughly 11 percent of all draftees in this range start half the games their rookie year.
- Of the hundreds of linemen taken in this range since 1995, only four have made a Pro Bowl. Half of those who make a roster play three years or less. Roughly a third of those who make teams have careers lasting five years or more.
- The best players on the list are guys like Matt Birk and Tom Nalen.
The Colts have recently draft other linemen in this slot. Charlie Johnson was a multi-year starter for the Colts. He was a terrible left tackle, but provided incredible value for his draft position. Jamey Richard was also a late round addition who saw the field sporadically.
Texans fans will remember sixth-round guard Kasey Studdard as a late-round lineman who stuck. Derek Newton, a seventh-round pick, played in 14 games for the Texans last year.
Late-round linemen are just hoping to make the squad. A full third of them won't even do that.
A team taking a lineman late is hoping to get a depth player. If seventh-round tackle can stay in the league five years and maybe start for a season along the way, he's had a good career.
For Mondek and Anderson, a fair expectation is that they make the team and get in four games this season. That would place them squarely in the upper half of their draft slot. Anything beyond that is a bonus.
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