Like the game itself, the NFL draft has its winners and losers. Those organizations that master the process will remain competitive, year after year. Those that do not will be constantly reminded of the mistakes they have made, year after year. Due to the lack of success over their short history, the Houston Texans fall into the latter category.
For hardcore NFL fans, the draft holds all of the allure of a trip to Las Vegas. But instead of putting their own capital at risk, these armchair general managers get to watch how their 32 real-life counterparts play their seven chips.
While the marks in Vegas wager against unbeatable house odds, Rick Smith of the Texans and his fellow talent evaluators have a chance to come out winners if they do their homework. Even though improvements in technology have given them an enormous volume of facts and figures to use in their decision making, no one has come up with the means to quantify human nature.
On the other hand, hindsight can provide some insights. Mike Bostock and some co-workers at The New York Times analyzed the drafts from 1995 to 2012 and discovered 62 percent of the “top performing players in the NFL” were taken in the first ten picks. The success rate jumps to 78 percent for the top No. 1 overall selection.
Bostock et. al. used the approximate value (AV) statistic devised by Pro Football Reference to determine their rankings. What follows will display the AV assigned to each player so it can be compared to the average AV for each round.
The choices for this list were all drafted in the first through third rounds, where the vast majority of starters are selected. The average AV for those rounds are 36 for the first, 23 for the second and 15 for the third. This will illustrate how each player performed relative to his draft position.