Mock Draft Tips: Acquiring more picks doesn’t necessarily lead to future success

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As part of an occasional series, Fanspeak will offer tips and best practices for its wildly popular and first-of-its-kind On The Clock draft simulator.

Today’s topic: Just because you acquire extra draft picks doesn’t mean you’re going to improve your team in the long-run.

You’ll give us your first four picks for our first-rounder? Sure!

You’ll give us your two third-rounders just to move up in that same round? Sign me up!

Sometimes it’s hard to say “no” to trade offers while playing the Fanspeak On The Clock draft simulator.

You tell yourself there’s logic behind all the trade-downs. After all, the more lottery tickets you buy, the better odds you have at winning, right?

Not necessarily.

Was Miami’s historic draft a success?

Barring additional trades, Miami is set to make draft history.

The team currently has 14 draft picks, which would tie them with the 2016 Cleveland Browns and the 1997 Miami teams for the most picks in a single draft since moving to seven rounds.

For Cleveland, the 2016 draft was a complete disaster, as not a single player from that draft is still on the team, including first-rounder Corey Coleman.

Miami, on the other hand, drafted a future Pro Bowler (Sam Madison) and a future Hall of Famer (Jason Taylor) with two of its first three picks in 1997.

Great haul, right? It depends on how you view draft success.

On the one hand, the team went to the playoffs five of the nine years Taylor and Madison played together in Miami, going 82-62 overall during that stretch.

On the other hand, those playoff appearances ended early, with Miami losing in the divisional round three times and the wild card round twice.

Plus, most of the other players Miami drafted that year did next to nothing professionally, including first-round pick Yatil Green of Miami, whose career was derailed by injuries.


The Bust Factor

After spending months and months reading about and studying all these players, it’s a bit soul-crushing to realize that most of them have little to no impact once drafted.

Take a look at these sobering stats from Pro Football Reference, via a 2017 feature by SB Nation’s Daily Norseman:

  • 16.7 percent of all players did not play for the team that drafted them
  • 37 percent barely saw the field – or didn’t play at all
  • 15.3 percent had underwhelming careers, meaning, they had little to no impact

It’s pretty sobering when you add it all up: Close to 70 percent of all draft picks would be considered “busts.”

Trades are fun, but …

In the end, it doesn’t matter how many picks you wind up with. What matters is the quality of those picks.

And it also depends on what you consider draft success. If finding two All Pro players in a single draft is your definition of a success, then the 1997 Miami draft should go down as one of the team’s best. But if you measure draft success based on how your team fares in the playoffs, then you’d have to consider that same draft as an average one, despite the record-number of picks by Miami.


Jake Rigdon covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak. He can be reached at 

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