Michael Nania analyzes the success rates of each offensive and defensive position in the second round of the NFL Draft.
As Joe Douglas and the Jets ponder over positional value in preparation for the Draft, it is interesting to look back at the past and examine which positions have yielded the most value at each point of the draft.
After digging through the first round, we move on to a round that has plagued the Jets for quite a long time – the second. I charted the career production of each second round pick from 2010-19 (317 players) to get a sense of how successful draft picks at each position have turned out to be.
Various measures are included with each position, as well as their rank in those measures among all positions, but I decided to rank the groups according to their cumulative “primary starter rate” – the ratio of total seasons accumulated as a team’s primary starter out of possible seasons (all seasons that have passed since a player was drafted).
Which position has proven to be the least fruitful investment during the second round? Let’s start with the most successful positions and work our way towards the worst of the bunch.
Change from first post: the “Edge linebacker” and “Off-ball linebacker” positions will be combined into one “linebacker” position for the ensuing six rounds.
#12 – Guard (65.6% primary starter rate)
Possible seasons: 64
Seasons as primary starter: 42 (65.6% – 1st)
Approximate value: 302 (4.72 per season – 1st)
First-Team All-Pro seasons: 0 (0.0% – 8th)
Pro Bowl seasons: 4 (6.3% – 7th)
First-Team All-Pro players: 0 (0.0% – 8th)
Pro Bowl players: 3 (23.1% – 3rd)
The guard position sees by far the smallest drop-off from round one to round two. First round guards in the 2010s decade have combined for a primary starter rate of 69.3%, which was fifth-best in that round, and the number takes a small dip to 65.6% here in the second round, best of all positions. Guards taken in this round have also seen the best average of approximate value (AV) per season, cementing their status as the best second round position of the decade.
As a sign of the talent decline from the first round to the second, the guard position’s No. 1-ranked average of 4.72 AV per season would rank as the third-worst in round one.
While there is not a true superstar in this crop, it is stacked with solid starters, such as Pro Bowlers Zane Beadles (#45, 2010, Broncos), Joel Bitonio (#35, 2014, Browns), and Cody Whitehair (#56, 2016, Bears). Just one of the 13 picks has failed to log at least one season as a primary starter, a rate of 7.7% that is easily the lowest of the round. That would be Forrest Lamp, who was taken with the 38th pick in the 2017 Draft out of Western Kentucky by the Chargers.