The Effect of Multiple First Round Draft Picks

08/28/2009 § Leave a comment

Every year, a few teams find themselves with multiple first round draft picks through various trades, whether they be past trades or deals struck that day.  I took a look at the 19 teams who made more than one first round selection from 2004-2008, and found that 14 of them finished with a better regular season record the following year.  One team (the 2004 New England Patriots) finished with the same record.  Only four teams (21%) picked more than one player in the first round of the draft and finished the following season with a worse record.

Beyond that, another more intriguing pattern emerged.  On average, the worse a team’s record was in the previous season, the more they improved the following year.  The 14 teams that improved their records averaged only 5 wins in the previous season, while the teams who went backward (or stayed the same) averaged 10 wins.

Using the data from the previous five seasons, I set up a rough scale of expected improvement (or decline) based on the number of wins the previous season.

With this scale, I have projected the regular season records of the four teams who made multiple first round picks in the 2009 draft:

Detroit Lions:  2008 record – 0-16.  Drafted QB Matthew Stafford (1) and TE Brandon Pettigrew (20).  Projected 2009 record: 5-11

Green Bay Packers:  2008 record – 6-10.  Drafted DT B.J. Raji (9) and LB Clay Matthews (26).  Projected 2009 record: 9-7

Buffalo Bills:  2008 record – 7-9.  Drafted DE Aaron Maybin (11) and C Eric Wood (28).  Projected 2009 record: 9-7

Denver Broncos:  2008 record – 8-8.  Drafted RB Knowshon Moreno (12) and LB Robert Ayers (18).  Projected 2009 record: 9-7

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