After dozens of conversations with scouts and executives around the game, it’s my impression that NFL teams mostly see seventh-round picks as lottery tickets. They’re high reward with low-to-no risk. They don’t usually make the roster for very long anyway, and just as importantly, the media never blames the GM when a seventh-rounder doesn’t pan out.
On the other hand, if you can hit with a seventh-rounder, you’ve done something special. Your scouting department sorted through the hundreds of players seen as undrafted free agents and picked the ones that could really make an impact. For that reason, I thought I’d take a look at the teams whose seventh-rounders have hung around the league most often.
- What’s most interesting is that there’s a runaway winner. The Vikings have 10 seventh-rounders knocking around the league, either on the 53 or on practice squads.
- The Seahawks are in second place with eight. This is interesting to me because, as we’ve seen, Seattle has been one of the most active teams in terms of relying on test scores and triangle numbers on draft day, maybe even more than performance or experience. The fact that eight players drafted in the last round by the ‘Hawks are still in the league tells me more and more teams are trying to copy their model.
- The Raiders, Eagles and Steelers are tied for third with seven players. This is an indication that maybe the Eagles under head coach/GM Chip Kelly did better on draft day than Kelly did coaching his players on the field. It also tells me the Raiders are turning things around under GM Reggie Mackenzie, and those results are starting to show on the field. The Steelers are the Steelers, one of the best franchise in the league for several years now, and their drafting acumen reflects that.
- The Broncos are next with six, and that’s where the numbers get tougher to distill.
- There are seven teams tied with five ‘sevens’ still in the league. They are the Falcons, Bills, Browns, Cowboys, Packers, 49ers and Titans. Of this group, the Cowboys, Packers and Niners have already shown that they know how to draft. The other teams aren’t known as ‘getting it’ on draft day, but maybe they should get more credit.
- That’s the top third of the league. Now let’s take a look at the bottom third. Believe it or not, the Ravens have no seventh-rounders still active in the league. Without doing a lot of research, I don’t know if the team has gotten in the habit of trading its seventh-rounders or if the team has just rolled the dice far too often, but we couldn’t find any active as of the first week of the season. The team didn’t have a seventh-rounder this year.
- The Giants and Buccaneers each have one seventh-rounder in the league, and that’s one reason why both teams, despite having franchise quarterbacks, are still inconsistent at best.
Take a look at the full list here.
|Green Bay Packers||5|
|San Francisco 49ers||5|
|Los Angeles Rams||4|
|New England Patriots||4|
|New York Jets||4|
|New Orleans Saints||3|
|Kansas City Chiefs||2|
|San Diego Chargers||2|
|New York Giants||1|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1|