After dissecting the makeup of the NFL’s rosters as of the opening week of 2014, let’s wrap things by looking at the lasting value of draft position.
- It’s probably no surprise that there are more first-rounders in the league (276) than any other round. That’s about 50 more than there are second-rounders (228). Given how much money first-rounders are making, plus the stigma attached to a team that has to cut a first-rounder, it’s doubtful this will ever change.
- In the old days, the marquee rounds were seen as the first three. However, in recent years, there’s a perception that the pool of likely draft successes actually goes four rounds deep. That’s borne out by the numbers this year. There are at least 200 players drafted in each of the first four rounds still active in the league, and there are actually more fourth-rounders (214) than third-rounders (201). What’s more, the difference between the number of fourth-rounders and second rounders (228) is minimal.
- Speaking in round numbers, each of the first four rounds make up about 10 percent of the league (though first-rounders approach 13 percent), while the final three rounds are about seven percent of the league each.
- Undrafted free agents, as we mentioned a week ago, make up about a third of the league.
- Rounds 5-7 seem far more disposable. What’s especially interesting is that the number of each of the last three rounds still active is about the same. In fact, there are more seventh-rounders active in the league (158) than there are fifth-rounders (154). There are more sixth-rounders than either (164).
- The Browns (36), Saints (37), Bucs (38) and Panthers (38) seem to the teams most open to undrafted free agents. On the other hand, the Falcons and Titans (50 each) put the most weight on drafted players.
- What team drafted the most players still active in the league? It’s the 49ers, and by a wide margin, with 59. The Packers are No. 2 (54). Rounding out the top five, it’s the Steelers (53), Ravens (51) and Texans, Patriots and Seahawks, all tied with 49.
- Who has the least? The Saints and Redskins are tied with bringing in the least amount of talent via draft with 32 each. The Bears have 33 draftees in the league, while the Bills have 34 and the Browns and Colts have 37 each.
Totals as of Sept. 2014
|San Francisco 49ers||59|
|Green Bay Packers||55|
|New England Patriots||50|
|New York Jets||47|
|San Diego Chargers||42|
|St. Louis Rams||41|
|Kansas City Chiefs||40|
|New York Giants||39|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||36|
|New Orleans Saints||31|