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How we determine success in a draft.

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It's no secret that we are gearing up for the NFL draft. It seems to be the supply of endless optimism and hope for every team and their chances to make the next year "the" year. While we all hope that the front office will succeed on all 11 picks, that is far from reality. If you look at just the fan's perspective, we expect success on about 50% of our draft picks, which truth be told, may be a bit high.

I posed this question in another thread, but want to bring it forward for the masses to see. How many picks do you expect the Bucs to be successful on in the 2010 draft?

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Lee Caz made an excellent point when I asked this question. His point was, am I asking how many will make the team, or how many will be starters? Truth is, it's a mix of both. I don't expect a 7th rounder to start, but I hope for special teams fodder. So how do we define "success" in a draft? Lets take a quick look.

There are, of course, varying levels of success. We define success for a first rounder as a starter in the first few years, and a solid one at that. We would like to think that each first rounder turns into a Hall of Famer, but that just isn't true. Give me 7-10 years of solid production out of a first rounder, and more than likely we'll be happy. What we don't want is someone who flames out of football in two years, or who ends up being a backup or only a role player. Those types of guys can be taken later. A first rounder has to see the field in the early years and for the money they are paid, put up league average production to be considered a success.

A second and third rounder have a different set of rules we judge them by. We'd all like them to walk in and be a day one starter, but realistically, we're probably looking at a guy who should be making an impact in year two or three. Someone who can be a full time player on their respective side of the ball. Greatness isn't required, but production and stability are. Of course there are guys who pan out right away, but when we start dipping into the middle rounds, I want a guy who can be on the field for 80% of the snaps by year 3. These can be project picks or replacement picks (Ruud to Quarles). Ultimately, these guys have to step on the field and take 50-60% of the snaps to be successful.

In rounds 4-7, you traditionally are looking for depth, special teams, and the occassional wing and a prayer pick. These are guys that are projected to either develop into a fringe starter, provide depth, or lock down special teams. If you get sporadic starter duty and a special teams standout, you walk away a happy fan. To expect a Tom Brady from every 6th rounder is ridiculous, but you can still get value out of these picks. Typically, it's backup lineman to give you some depth and defensive backs/wide receivers to play special teams and maybe sneak on the field as a 4th or 5th DB/WR. If you hit on 50% of these late round picks and get production, that would seem to be successful.

These guidelines, of course, are open for interpretation. Not every first rounder pans out, and there are late rounders that turn into studs. In general though, I think that's a pretty decent (and vague) guide as to what to expect.

Now onto the Bucs. With 11 picks, and 5 in the first 101 (stupid compensatory picks), this is a golden opportunity to fill some of the holes on our roster. But to expect Dominik, or any general manager to hit on all 11 picks is a bit foolish and will leave you disappointed every time. So I pose to you Buc 'Em, how will you define success on draft day. And more specifically, how many picks do you expect the Bucs to be successful on using the guidelines above? Use the poll to vote and feel free to discuss in the comments section.