When one takes a close look at the highest rated players in the NFL, the majority of the players were not 1st Round picks.
This past season, only 36.5% of PFF’s highest graded players (19/52) at each position were 1st rounders.
The results are:
1st Rounders: 19
2nd Rounders: 8
3rd Rounders: 8
4th Rounders: 1
5th Rounders: 6
6th Rounders: 2
2019 PFF All Pro 1st and 2nd Teams:
QB: 1-Russell Wilson (3rd); 2-Lamar Jackson (1st)
RB: 1-Nick Chubb (2nd); 2-Christian McCaffrey (1st)
WR: 1-Chris Godwin (3rd); 2-DeAndre Hopkins (1st)
WR: 1-Michael Thomas (2nd); 2-Mike Evans (1st)
TE: 1-George Kittle (5th); 2-Travis Kelce (3rd)
FLEX: 1-Julio Jones (1st); 2-Austin Ekeler (UCFA)
LT: 1-Ronnie Stanley (1st); 2-Anthony Castonzo (1st)
LG: Quenton Nelson (1st); 2-Joe Thuney (3rd)
C: 1- Jason Kelce (6th); 2-Ryan Jensen (6th)
RG: 1-Brandon Brooks (3rd); 2-Zach Martin (1st)
RT: Ryan Ramczyk (1st); 2-Mitchell Schwartz (2nd)
Edge: 1-T.J. Watt (1st); 2-Calais Campbell (2nd)
Edge: 1-Za’Darius Smith (4th); 2-Joey Bosa (1st)
DI: 1-Aaron Donald (1st); 2-Grady Jarrett (5th)
DI: 1-Cameron Heyward (1st); 2-D.J. Reader (5th)
LB: 1-Eric Hendricks (2nd); 2-Luke Keuchly (1st)
LB: 1-Demario Davis (3rd); 2-Lavonte David (2nd)
CB 1-Richard Sherman (5th); 2-Casey Hayward (2nd)
CB: 1-Stephon Gilmore (1st); 2-Quinton Dunbar (UCFA)
S: 1-Justin Simmons (3rd); 2-Harrison Smith (1st)
S: 1-Anthony Harris (UCFA); 2-Jamal Adams (1st)
FLEX: 1-Marcus Peters (1st); 2-Marcus Williams (2nd)
K: 1-Justin Tucker (UCFA); 2-Josh Lambo (UCFA)
P: 1-Brett Kern (UCFA); 2-J.K. Scott (5th)
K/R: 1-Deonte Harris (UCFA); 2-Andre Roberts (3rd)
ST: 1-J.T. Gray (UCFA); 2-Matthew Slater (5th)
Look at this team of 2019 PFF 1st or 2nd Team All Pros who were not 1st rounders:
QB: Russell Wilson
RB: Nick Chubb
WR: Chris Godwin
WR Michael Thomas
TE: George Kittle
LT: Jason Peters (3rd rated LT—-UCFA)
LG: Joe Thuney
C: Jason Kelce
RG: Brandon Brooks
RT: Mitchell Schwartz
Edge: Calais Campbell
Edge: Za’Darius Smtih
DI: Grady Jarrett
D1: D.J. Reader
LB: Eric Kendricks
LB: Demario Davis
CB: Richard Sherman
CB: Casey Hayward
S: Justin Simmons
S: Anthony Harris
FLEX: Marcus Williams
K: Justin Tucker
P: Brett Kern
K/R: Deonte Harris
ST: J.T. Gray
The reason why I like to take a close look at the draft slots is to remind myself that as important as a team’s 1st round pick is, the odds are greater to pick an All Pro player in the other rounds of the draft, combined with UCFA signings (particularly with regard to STs).
In this year’s case, the odds were 64.5% better.
Interesting fact: 9 of the 19 1st round picks in this group were taken between picks 16-32 in the 1st round: QB Jackson (#32), WR Hopkins (#27), T Castonzo (#22), G Martin (#16); T Ramczyk (#32); Edge Watt (#30), DI Hayward (#31), S Smith (#29), FLEX Peters (#18).
In this case—-the odds of selecting an All Pro in the bottom half of the 1st Round: 47.4%
The data here raises the age-old question of whether a team increases its odds of drafting an All Pro caliber player by trading down in the 1st round or even trading out of the 1st round in order to accumulate as many Day 2 and Day 3 picks as possible.
I have always felt like the first 10-14 picks of the 2nd round of each draft was the “hot spot” of so many recent drafts—-chock-full of potential 1st round talents who will come in with a chip on their shoulders. Here is a sample of some of the 2nd Round picks over the past 6 years:
2014—-DE DeMarcus Lawrence (2017 PFF All Pro), G Joel Bitonio* (2018 PFF All-Pro), QB Derek Carr, OLB Kyle Van Noy, S Lemarcus Joyner (2017 PFF All Pro), C Weston Richburg
2015—-S Landon Collins (2016 PFF All Pro), DT Eddie Goldman, DE/OLB Preston Smith, LB Benardrick McKinney, LB Eric Kendricks (2019 PFF All Pro)
2016—-DT Chris Jones (2018 PFF All Pro), RB Xavien Howard, RB Derrick Henry (2019 AP All Pro), WR Michael Thomas (2018 PFF All Pro), LB Deion Jones (2017 PFF All Pro)
2017—-S Budda Baker (2017 PFF All Pro ST), RB Dalvin Cook, S Marcus Maye, S Marcus Williams (2019 PFF All Pro), TE Gerald Everett
2018—-RB Nick Chubb (2019 PFF All Pro), LB Darius Leonard (2018 AP All Pro), WR Courtland Sutton, T Braden Smith, DE Harold Landry
2019—-WR Deebo Samuel (2019 PFF All Rookie Team), CB Rock Ya-Sin (2019 PFF All Rookie Team), T Cody Ford, T Jawaan Taylor (2019 PFF All Rookie Team) G Dalton Risner (2019 PFF All Rookie Team), C Erik McCoy (2019 PFF All Rookie Team), WR A.J. Brown (2019 PFF All Rookie Team), WR Mecole Hardman (2019 PFW All Rookie Team KR).
Todd McShay of ESPN posted a 2 round mock draft today and here are his projections for picks 33-50 (Round 2):
33. CIN—-Austin Jackson, T, USC
34. IND—-Michael Pittman, WR, USC
35. DET—-Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan
36. NYG—-Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
37. LAC—-Zack Baun, OLB, Wisconsin
38. CAR—-Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
39. MIA—-J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio St.
40. HOU—-Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M
41. CLE—-Grant Delpit, S, LSU
42. JAX—-Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma
43. CHI—-Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio St.
44. IND—-Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
45. TB—-Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
46. DEN—-Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
47. ATL—-Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
48. NYJ—-Marlon Davidson, DE, Auburn
49. PIT—-Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
50. CHI—-Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Question—-if you could trade in all of the Cardinals picks in Rounds 1-4 to pick 3 players from this list, would you do it?
Tough question, isn’t it?
Which 3 players would you pick?
For me, it would be: RB J.K. Dobbins (or Clyde Edwards-Helaire whom McShay has going to the Rams at #52—-please no!), DI Neville Gallimore and S Jeremy Chinn
As it stands now, the Cardinals won’t have a chance at any of those three, unless they trade down and acquire a 2nd round pick.
Now—-we Cardinals’ fans can’t complain because our 2nd round pick was the key pick that sprang the DeAndre Hopkins trade.
But—-you can see why pick #40 in this year’s draft, from Bill O’Brien’s standpoint, is a plum pick.
What would it take, then, for the Cardinals to acquire a 2nd round pick?
- Trade down from #8—-most likely possibilities:
- (a) #8 to MIA for #18, #39, #162;
- (b) #8 to NYJ for #11, #48;
- (c) #8, #72 to CLE for #10, #41;
- (d) #8 to TB for #14, #45, #139;
- (e) #8 to ATL for #16, #47, #134
2. Another possibility would be to trade CB Patrick Peterson for a 2nd round pick—-which appears to be a moot point because the Cardinals have said they want Peterson to retire a Cardinal. However, one thing working in the Cardinals’ favor for trading Peterson is that CB is one of the weakest and thinnest position groups in this draft. Some teams like the Colts, Bucs, Browns, Texans and Jets still have plenty of cap space.
3. The Cardinals could explore the opportunity to move down twice in the 1st round to accurate as many Day 2 picks as possible.
This is what makes the NFL Draft so tantalizing. It’s like a lottery of sorts—-and the more ping pong balls you have, they better your chance is of winning the jackpots.
Steve Keim has already said that if given the right trade offer, he would like to move down.
Do you think it will happen? If you do, then from your perspective, what scenario seems to be the likeliest?