Sunday, April 12, 2009

NFL Draft Averages - OTs

Previous Entries: QBs, RBs, FBs, WRs, TEs

Jake Long was selected first overall in 2008. Could we see another OT selected #1 for the second straight year? There is a high probability of that occurring. Why? Because building the offensive line and specifically having great tackles is a requirement for strong teams. Despite the flashiness of QBs, RBs, and WRs, the games are won and lost in the trenches.

Tackles, especially those that protect a QBs blind side, are hot commodities. Everyone wants one but not everyone has one. The only way to get one is through trade or the draft. Premiere OTs never make it to free agency. It's no surprise then that OT are picked early and often throughout the draft.

The 2009 class has as many as four players that could seal a teams weakness at LT. As many as six could go in round one. Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe are fighting to be the first tackle taken and the winner could go to the Lions at #1, with the next dropping no lower than sixth. All four of the premiere players at the position could be gone before the second half of the first round begins.

The statistics from the last 10 drafts (1999-2008) are below.

Draft trends for OTs (1999-2008).

Over 200 tackles have been drafted over the last 10 years, approximately three per draft round. No less than 15 have been taken in any of the last 10 drafts. The maximum occurred lats year when 28 were selected over the course of the seven rounds, including seven in round one. The first round averages three OTs/year and I guarantee we'll be over that in 2009.

So we have our minimum of 15, which sets the bar for our "will be picked" category. Five more will make it to the "should be picked" threshold, equaling the 10-year average of 20 per draft. An additional eight fill our "borderline" designation bringing us to a total of 28, the maximum taken in the last 10 years. Players ranked 29th or lower are unlikely to be selected.

So what does that look like for the prospects in 2009? Using The Football Expert and NFL Draft Scout rankings, the following players fit into the aforementioned categories.

Will Be Picked

Michael Oher, Ole Miss

Eugene Monroe, Virginia

Andre Smith, Alabama

Jason Smith, Baylor

Eben Britton, Arizona

William Beatty, Connecticut

Jamon Meredith, South Carolina

Phil Loadholt, Oklahoma

Zavier Fulton, Illinois

Troy Kropog, Tulane

Fenuki Tupou, Oregon

Jason Watkins, Florida

Gerald Cadogan, Penn State

Augustus Parrish, Kent State

Ramon Foster, Tennessee

Should Be Picked

Alex Boone, Ohio State

Cornelius Lewis, Tennessee State

T.J. Lang, Eastern Michigan

Eric Vandenheuvel, Wisconsin

Garrett Reynolds, North Carolina


Sebastian Vollmer, Houston

Joel Bell, Furman

Andrew Gardner, Georgia Tech

Lydon Murtha, Nebraska

Robert Brewster, Ball State

Kyle Link, McNeese State

Andrew Hartline, Central Michigan

Ryan McKee, Southern Mississippi


Ryan Stanchek, West Virginia

Jose Valdez, Arkansas

Brandon Pearce, Memphis

Michael Brown, Alabama A&M

MY PREDICTION: We'll see five OTs go in the first round and 26 overall. Three tackles will go in the top 10 and a fourth by pick 16. Three or four will be selected in round two, consistent with the average. This is not as flashy a group as the one from 2008 but it is one of the best classes we've seen in the last decade. It probably rates right behind last year but just in front of 1999 and 2002.

UP NEXT: Later today the OGs will be posted. Then on Tuesday expect to see the last of the OL guys, the centers, followed by the start of defensive profiling.

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