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Drafting a Pro Bowler is Difficult

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Jim Beankie

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
tl;dr
- Drafting a Pro Bowler is hard, esp in the 2nd round on
- Yes, I know Rings are what count in the end and PB's can be a bit of a popularity contest, but's it's an easy thing to measure.
- NFL 31% Success of drafting a Pro Bowler in 2nd half of the 1st Rnd (17th to end of 1st Rnd)
- Pats 40% (60% '00-'12, 0 for 5 '13-'20)
- NFL 8% Success 17th pick on
- Pats 7.1%
- NFL 6.5% Success 2nd Rd on
- Pats 4.2%

-------

"I know a hole opened up at guard when Shaq Mason was traded to the Bucs, but value matters in the draft, and Strange needs to play at a Pro Bowl level for years to come to justify this selection." - Kiper

After reading that, and after a discussion about consistently drafting in the 2nd half of the 1st round in another thread, I thought, is that really a fair expectation? In this behind the scenes video for the decision to draft Jonathan Taylor for the Colts (Parental Advisory: F'in Irsay's in it), the Dir of Player Personnel had this to say:

"To sit there and say hey this guy's going to be an impact starter / difference maker with your second pick in the second round? That's hitting the lottery."


I was surprised to hear that, and it tells me what a realistic expectation should look like for a second rounder (and beyond).

So, I took data of Pro Bowlers in the 2nd half of the 1st Rnd (17th to end of 1st Rnd), and total Pro Bowlers taken with the 17th pick onward to see what history has shown us during BB's tenure. I chose 2nd half of the 1st Rnd on since ~30% of Hall of Famers were the 16th pick or earlier. BB is 100% successful there (HoF, All Pro, All Pro, Mac... so far). I really hope I got the data/math correct.

Yr | PBs in 2nd half of 1st Rd | PBs 17th pick on | Pats PBs 17th pick on

00: 3 - 17 - 1
01: 7 - 24 - 1
02: 3 - 13 - 0
03: 4 - 27 - 2
04: 4 - 20 - 0
05: 4 - 22 - 1
06: 9 - 31 - 2
07: 9 - 27 - 1
08: 4 - 21 - 1
09: 6 - 22 - 0* (Nuts that JE11 never made the PB)
10: 6 - 29 - 2
11: 4 - 19 - 0
12: 6 - 29 - 0
13: 8 - 26 - 1
14: 5 - 16 - 0* (UDFA MButler PB)
15: 4 - 22 - 0
16: 3 - 23 - 0* (Thuney 2ndTeam All Pro)
17: 4 - 22 - 0
18: 5 - 17 - 0* (UDFA JCJackson PB)
19: 2 - 12 - 1* (UDFA Gunner All Pro)
20: 2 - 7 - 0

NFL:

102 - 4.86 Pro Bowlers per year in 2nd half of 1st Rnd - 30% Success rate (4.86 out of 16)

405 - 19.3 Pro Bowlers per year 17th pick on - ~8% Success rate (19.3 out of ~257-16 total including comps minus 1st 16)
~6.4% 2nd Rd on. (19.3-4.86 over ~257-32)
*Does not include UDFAs

Patriots:

6 of 15 picks 2nd half of 1st Rnd - 40% success

13 total Pro Bowlers out of 182 players drafted 17th pick On - 7.1% success (4.2% 2nd Rd on)

(I'm not even including All-Rookies like Solder and MBrown. From 2000-2012, Pats had a 60% Success rate 2nd Half of 1st Rd. Beyond that 0 - although only 5 picks in 9 years with 3 decent players in MBrown, Michel, and Wynn. Other 2 damaged by injury.)

Interesting to note that the avg number of picks per team over those 21 years is 158 (7*21= 147+compensatory), but BB trades down so much, that's he's amassed ~24 extra picks. It does lower success rate even though it gives them more (the throw it against the wall and see what sticks method).

-----

Based on history, the chances of drafting a Pro Bowler in the 2nd half of the 1st Round is about the same as expecting a good hitter to get a hit in the MLB (30%). The truth of the matter is, BB got on a scalding hot streak for a pinch over a decade (60%) and then ran out of luck. It didn't help that those As$wip3s took away the 2008 and 2016 1st Rnd picks, though. Overall, his success in drafting a Pro Bowler with the 17th pick on is lower than league average (7.1% vs 8%), and if you look at 2nd Rnd and lower, it gets more glaring (6.4% vs 4.2%). From a chance perspective, it'd make sense since they're consistently drafting 10 spots lower in each round, sometimes 15-16 spots, and they keep trading down to get more picks. One would hope, though, that a great GM would overcome that.

Man, N'Keal Harry was such a bad pick (duh), that out of the 10 Pro Bowl picks that followed him, 6 were WRs. It's laughably unlucky. It reminds me of the 3 Bills games this past season. Pats lucked out with only 3 passes then got really unlucky with no punts for 2 straight games (dropped JC Int, 4th down conv, injury discrepancy), even though they were 2nd best in the league in pts allowed.

What to make of all this? Can't say for certain except Pats are below average at drafting Pro Bowlers in the latter half of the 1st round and beyond. Data is incomplete, though - is a Pro Bowl really the best measure? It'd be nice to see how picks end up turning out on a pseudo BGC type of scale (Elite/Impact Starter/Starter/etc.), but that's for someone who's writing a thesis or something.

See y'all in the preseason. Please no one get injured.
 

moosekill

In the Starting Line-Up
75% of statistics are made up. Sadly, Coming up with an arbitrary break at the 1/2 way point invalidates your work for the most part. If a team picks at 18 year after year the odds should be much greater that if you pick 32, yet you lump them together.
 

RxJock1120

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
75% of statistics are made up. Sadly, Coming up with an arbitrary break at the 1/2 way point invalidates your work for the most part. If a team picks at 18 year after year the odds should be much greater that if you pick 32, yet you lump them together.
In order to describe any event(s) statistically there needs to be some categorization/"arbitrary break" incorporated. For example, having a 100 yard receiving game is an arbitrary break. Is having 101 yards better than having 99 yards? Yes of course, but does it make any meaningful difference? Nope.

I thought that the analysis was excellent and really enjoyed reading it.
 

BTTA

He/Him
PatsFans.com Supporter
tl;dr
- Drafting a Pro Bowler is hard, esp in the 2nd round on
- Yes, I know Rings are what count in the end and PB's can be a bit of a popularity contest, but's it's an easy thing to measure.
- NFL 31% Success of drafting a Pro Bowler in 2nd half of the 1st Rnd (17th to end of 1st Rnd)
- Pats 40% (60% '00-'12, 0 for 5 '13-'20)
- NFL 8% Success 17th pick on
- Pats 7.1%
- NFL 6.5% Success 2nd Rd on
- Pats 4.2%

-------

"I know a hole opened up at guard when Shaq Mason was traded to the Bucs, but value matters in the draft, and Strange needs to play at a Pro Bowl level for years to come to justify this selection." - Kiper
If you are going to go to all this effort to do a statistical analysis for us, please leave quotes from Kiper out of it, especially at the front where it tends to define the credibility of everything that follows.
 

upstater1

Pro Bowl Player
Does this count Pro Bowlers who were added as alternates for other teams?

Or just the initial selections?

Because we know Patriots rarely go to the Pro Bowl due to 9 Super Bowls, and a bunch of AFCCGs.
 

holyredeemer

In the Starting Line-Up
tl;dr
- Drafting a Pro Bowler is hard, esp in the 2nd round on
- Yes, I know Rings are what count in the end and PB's can be a bit of a popularity contest, but's it's an easy thing to measure.
- NFL 31% Success of drafting a Pro Bowler in 2nd half of the 1st Rnd (17th to end of 1st Rnd)
- Pats 40% (60% '00-'12, 0 for 5 '13-'20)
- NFL 8% Success 17th pick on
- Pats 7.1%
- NFL 6.5% Success 2nd Rd on
- Pats 4.2%

-------

"I know a hole opened up at guard when Shaq Mason was traded to the Bucs, but value matters in the draft, and Strange needs to play at a Pro Bowl level for years to come to justify this selection." - Kiper

After reading that, and after a discussion about consistently drafting in the 2nd half of the 1st round in another thread, I thought, is that really a fair expectation? In this behind the scenes video for the decision to draft Jonathan Taylor for the Colts (Parental Advisory: F'in Irsay's in it), the Dir of Player Personnel had this to say:

"To sit there and say hey this guy's going to be an impact starter / difference maker with your second pick in the second round? That's hitting the lottery."


I was surprised to hear that, and it tells me what a realistic expectation should look like for a second rounder (and beyond).

So, I took data of Pro Bowlers in the 2nd half of the 1st Rnd (17th to end of 1st Rnd), and total Pro Bowlers taken with the 17th pick onward to see what history has shown us during BB's tenure. I chose 2nd half of the 1st Rnd on since ~30% of Hall of Famers were the 16th pick or earlier. BB is 100% successful there (HoF, All Pro, All Pro, Mac... so far). I really hope I got the data/math correct.

Yr | PBs in 2nd half of 1st Rd | PBs 17th pick on | Pats PBs 17th pick on

00: 3 - 17 - 1
01: 7 - 24 - 1
02: 3 - 13 - 0
03: 4 - 27 - 2
04: 4 - 20 - 0
05: 4 - 22 - 1
06: 9 - 31 - 2
07: 9 - 27 - 1
08: 4 - 21 - 1
09: 6 - 22 - 0* (Nuts that JE11 never made the PB)
10: 6 - 29 - 2
11: 4 - 19 - 0
12: 6 - 29 - 0
13: 8 - 26 - 1
14: 5 - 16 - 0* (UDFA MButler PB)
15: 4 - 22 - 0
16: 3 - 23 - 0* (Thuney 2ndTeam All Pro)
17: 4 - 22 - 0
18: 5 - 17 - 0* (UDFA JCJackson PB)
19: 2 - 12 - 1* (UDFA Gunner All Pro)
20: 2 - 7 - 0

NFL:

102 - 4.86 Pro Bowlers per year in 2nd half of 1st Rnd - 30% Success rate (4.86 out of 16)

405 - 19.3 Pro Bowlers per year 17th pick on - ~8% Success rate (19.3 out of ~257-16 total including comps minus 1st 16)
~6.4% 2nd Rd on. (19.3-4.86 over ~257-32)
*Does not include UDFAs

Patriots:

6 of 15 picks 2nd half of 1st Rnd - 40% success

13 total Pro Bowlers out of 182 players drafted 17th pick On - 7.1% success (4.2% 2nd Rd on)

(I'm not even including All-Rookies like Solder and MBrown. From 2000-2012, Pats had a 60% Success rate 2nd Half of 1st Rd. Beyond that 0 - although only 5 picks in 9 years with 3 decent players in MBrown, Michel, and Wynn. Other 2 damaged by injury.)

Interesting to note that the avg number of picks per team over those 21 years is 158 (7*21= 147+compensatory), but BB trades down so much, that's he's amassed ~24 extra picks. It does lower success rate even though it gives them more (the throw it against the wall and see what sticks method).

-----

Based on history, the chances of drafting a Pro Bowler in the 2nd half of the 1st Round is about the same as expecting a good hitter to get a hit in the MLB (30%). The truth of the matter is, BB got on a scalding hot streak for a pinch over a decade (60%) and then ran out of luck. It didn't help that those As$wip3s took away the 2008 and 2016 1st Rnd picks, though. Overall, his success in drafting a Pro Bowler with the 17th pick on is lower than league average (7.1% vs 8%), and if you look at 2nd Rnd and lower, it gets more glaring (6.4% vs 4.2%). From a chance perspective, it'd make sense since they're consistently drafting 10 spots lower in each round, sometimes 15-16 spots, and they keep trading down to get more picks. One would hope, though, that a great GM would overcome that.

Man, N'Keal Harry was such a bad pick (duh), that out of the 10 Pro Bowl picks that followed him, 6 were WRs. It's laughably unlucky. It reminds me of the 3 Bills games this past season. Pats lucked out with only 3 passes then got really unlucky with no punts for 2 straight games (dropped JC Int, 4th down conv, injury discrepancy), even though they were 2nd best in the league in pts allowed.

What to make of all this? Can't say for certain except Pats are below average at drafting Pro Bowlers in the latter half of the 1st round and beyond. Data is incomplete, though - is a Pro Bowl really the best measure? It'd be nice to see how picks end up turning out on a pseudo BGC type of scale (Elite/Impact Starter/Starter/etc.), but that's for someone who's writing a thesis or something.

See y'all in the preseason. Please no one get injured.
Nice work! Look, I’m not stoked about the picks. I’m not pissed about em either. I like what got you thinking about this though. **** Kiper. Shouldn’t the expectations be the same for every 1st round pick? Why is Strange any different? I just want these guys to come in with attitudes. Bring some edge to the team, along with some athleticism. And when they get on that field, be competitive and look like they belong. PB’s, AP’s, who cares Mr. Kiper?
 

Sam Bam Cunningham

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
The Shaq Mason as an NFL pro bowler is one of the greatest patriots fans myth of our time.
He was a good player, but not pro-bowl level (at least not NFL selected pro-bowl). PFF selections do not count
 

moosekill

In the Starting Line-Up
So in this statistical world, picking at 17 is the same as picking at 32, but picking at 16 is much better than picking at 17, while picking at 1 is the same as picking at 16. Just a waste of time and effort. If you are going to do something do it right. do it pick by pick, just 32 points, then take each of the picks and follow them through.
 

Hyped

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
Great run down @Jim Beankie , but I don't think PB is a good measure. I'd like to see the stat on "All Pros" though...because being a PB'er means you (if a QB) were probably one of the 3-4 best ones in your conference...whereas being an All Pro...you are the best QB in the league by consensus.

For me, it's about having the best 53 man roster...and that is something that the Pats overwhelmingly do well....
 

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