Looking at NFL Draft Success Since 2015

I posted a few draft stats online the other day and based on response I decided to add some numbers into a post. I’m a little pressed for time today so I’ll simply do a quick overview of what I have done here using the Jets as an example and add some really brief thoughts. If you have any interest in more breakdowns please let me know and Ill see what I can do later this week. All the data that is presented is based on drafts from 2015 through 2018, so basically it identifies the young players on a team.

The hit rate for a team is simply the percentage of drafted players still on an active NFL roster (includes IR but not players lingering on a practice squad) as of November 17, 2018. For the Jets this was just 64.3%, second lowest in the NFL.

The expected hit rate uses past draft performance for the round to better put into perspective what the odds of making a team should have been for that team’s draft pick mix. This allows a team with a large amount of late round picks to not be penalized for a low “hit rate”. For the Jets the expectation was that 76.4% of their picks should still be on a NFL roster. The success rate then measures the performance above or below the expectation. The Jets remained second worst in the NFL averaging 15.8% less than expected players on a roster.

The percentage still on the team breaks down how many picks that were drafted since 2015 still remain on the team that drafted them. The Jets had 60.7% still on the team which is below the league average but not that much. Teams like the Raiders, Bills, and Browns are essentially drafting for other teams. The expected percentage identifies for their set of picks the percent that should remain on each team while team success identifies the percent above or below the expectation. The Jets at -3.8% would be relatively average which would indicate the team has a high flameout rate but has been able to find spots for their other players.

The playtime categories are player specific not team specific (i.e. the Bills numbers include Bills playing for other teams). The playtime percent is the playtime for each teams set of picks. This includes players not playing such as Christian Hackenberg. The expected percent playtime is what a team should expect from their subset of picks while the performance measure how much above or below average each teams picks have performed.

The Jets are relatively average with a 29.3% playtime which is actually a bit better than expected. How is that possible with such a low hit rate?  The Jets haven’t busted in the first round at all and are right near the top of the NFL in snaps for 1st rounders this year at over 90%. They also have a few guys late in the draft that are playing more than would be expected for late picks. Those numbers offset the disasters that have been rounds 2 to 4 for the team.

Just a few quick thoughts. The teams that are generating better than expected players over the last four years have been the Cowboys, Bills, Colts, Falcons, Chiefs, and Texans. All are over 10% of the expected playtime. Of those teams the Cowboys, Falcons, and Texans are showing a good retention rate while the Colts are average. The Chiefs and Bills have moved players. I’d think you look at those first four teams and say they have the best odds of moving forward in 2019 assuming of course that these are productive snaps and not just snaps because they have no other options. The Cowboys and Colts in particular as both have had a large number of picks so it’s a big number that is hitting while the Texans have been more hit or miss while the Falcons are a smaller number.

The Raiders performance is beyond words. Nearly 32% worse than expected playtime. A horrible retention rate. While Gruden gets a good share of the blame this is a bigger issue than just him. I was surprised to see New England rank as low as they did. They are still finding players that are desireable around the NFL but they aren’t finding guys useful for their system and are either hit by the injury bug or not finding the talent that lives up to the draft status. The Patriots do get more out of low level veterans than any team in the NFL so maybe this should not be that much of a surprise. The Browns have had so many picks and GMs that their numbers should be expected while the Ravens clearly have been hurt by not getting the value they expect from the draft.

Just from glancing at the numbers the teams to be most concerned with are the Bills, Giants, and Titans. They aren’t getting a large volume to offset failures like the Browns and their overall performance is pretty bad.  The other teams in a bad position look to be the Browns, Raiders, and Jets. At least the Browns have a relatively new front office but the other two have been around for awhile.

The table has the data for each team. Clicking on the column header should sort the numbers.

TeamHit RateExpected Hit RateSuccess Rate% on TeamExpected % on TeamTeam Success Rate2018 PlaytimeExpected PlaytimePlaytime Performance