Introducing Our NFL Draft Research Book: A Pre-Screening Offer for NFL Teams & Affiliated Parties

We are excited to announce the debut of a small research book that focuses on the successes and failures in the modern NFL draft:

The Drafting Stage – Creating a Marketplace for NFL Draft Picks

Written by: Brad Spielberger & Jason Fitzgerald 

If you work in/are affiliated with the NFL and are interested in receiving an electronic copy of the book, please email Brad at

The concept for the research was to use NFL salary data to retroactively grade every draft selection from 2011 through 2015 following the conclusion of their rookie contracts, and to use that data to better project the value of each future draft selection. To the best of our knowledge nobody has used this type of metric to value draft selections, as most other papers have dealt with inputs like “years making a pro bowl,” or “games started” to value the contribution and talent level of a draft pick in the NFL. Nothing is more all-encompassing, in our opinion, than the ultimate salary of a player, which should be reflective of every aspect of the player’s game.  

We extended the study to go beyond just the typical “draft pick values” that are usually derived from draft analysis work. In the book we touch on the following: 

  • Assessing every draft pick trade outcome from 2011 to 2015, by round, to determine who was the ultimate “winner and loser” based on the financial outcomes of the trade 
  • Developing Tiers based on a player’s salary to better identify the probabilities of finding a superstar, starter, backup, or replacement level player in the draft based on the draft round and position played 
  • Creating a system to evaluate contracts fairly and independent of position to better illustrate the value that can be found based on position influenced drafting 
  • Examining the success rates and selection rates by position to provide better information on when to strike on a specific position in the draft 
  • Providing some context to the idea of finding “ten-year starters” in the draft through examining the actual outcomes of every draft pick selected during the draft years that were studied  
  • Identifying the typical range and price of free agent talent available to better plan what positions should perhaps be given additional weight in the draft 

Average NFL Draft Picks by Position from 2010-2014

First off, for anyone who wants to be an NFL agent and get certified this year, the date to file is from January 5th to February 5th. The non-refundable application fee is $2500 and the seminar and examination are July 23-24 of 2015 in Washington DC. If you have any more questions, including what the exam consists of, go here.

In my preparation for next year’s draft class, my first one as a certified agent (as long as I pass the test), I’ve come to the realization that an agent needs to understand how positions are drafted on top of where his players are ranked in their position. An agent should understand if the 35th best wide receiver has a chance at getting drafted or the 15th best quarterback.

Past that, if an agent has a lower-risk client who is the 50th best running back, but the agent believes in him and is just hopeful he’ll get into a camp and show teams what he can do there, then it’s good to know that 55 running backs made camps last year. When you’re a young agent going after guys who probably won’t be drafted and many who might not make a team, it’s good to know how many players make NFL camps and make rosters, so that you can figure out if your client is better off going to the Canadian Football League as soon as possible, so that he can get film and continue to improve his game because he’s unlikely to get an NFL opportunity right now.

Personally, I gained a bit of experience as an intern over the years working on getting guys in the AFL and Canada. While you’re not going to make a ton of money, it’s good experience for a younger agent without needing to be certified by the NFLPA.

Below is data I put together from, one of the best resources on the Internet to find draft rankings and a potential NFL Draft prospect’s measurables. Be sure to click on the table, so that you can enlarge it in another tab and see it clearly.

5 Year NFL Draft Average by Position (2010-14)

There are various uses for this from the agent and team side, it allows agents to have a realistic perspective on where their clients are likely to be drafted and for teams it helps them understand how to get value. Great teams like the Patriots that don’t have an immediate team need, sometimes just draft the best player on the board. They also understand that they can find a lot value at certain positions later in the draft. The Seahawks have done a great job getting value in the late rounds and after the draft at the wide receiver and cornerback position the last few years.

I don’t want to go on too long with this because I think the table raises more questions than anything, so I’ll leave you with a few questions I jotted down when compiling this:

  • On average, how many underclassmen enter the draft at each position? And how does that affect the senior classes at each position? If you’re an agent looking at a running back who’s ranked 40th in the senior class, will he still make a camp?
  • How many of those in camp make a roster? At each position?
  • How many undrafted players make a roster at each position each year?
  • Which position has the most players that make it purely as special teamers as rookies?
  • What does all of this say about where teams can find value?

I’ve got quite a few more questions I came up with, but my brain is donezo right now, might revisit this in the morning. And like the wonderful old lady who worked the cash register at URI’s CVS at the top of campus used to say, “you have an excellent!”


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