TE Success In Relation To Draft Capital


In this next series I'm going to examine positional player success in relation to draft capital, looking position by position over a three year sample size. Attempting to see if certain positions are able to succeed without necessarily having to be high draft picks. I will finishing up offense with tight ends in this edition, a position where success rate in relation to draft capital appears to be considerably less important than any other position. For the sake of building the graphs any player that went un-drafted was given an eighth round draft grade. 

2017 NFL Receiving Yards Leaders

The first bar graph displays the lowest success rate for first round draft picks among all of the offensive positions with a 25% representation in tight end receiving yard leaders. Second round draft selections accounted for 20%, with third rounders leading the way with 30% of the top twenty. There were no fourth round draft picks in the top twenty in 2017, only one fifth rounder or 5%, with twice as many sixth round draft picks accounting for 10%. There were also no tight ends drafted in the seventh round on the leader board. Un-drafted free agents were responsible for 10% of the top twenty receiving yards leaders in 2017.

2016 NFL Receiving Yards Leaders

This next bar graph highlights by far the lowest success rate for first round draft picks with only a 10% representation, well behind the second rounders who provided 25% of the 2016 tight end receiving yards leaders. The third round selections also accounted for 25% of the leader board, with the 16' receiving yards leader among tight ends being the only fourth round draft pick or 5%. There was also only one fifth round representative (5%), with sixth round draft picks making up 15% of the leaders. Once again no seventh rounders were able to make the list, however the un-drafted free agents had a quality showing representing 15% of the top twenty in TE receiving yards in 2016.

2015 NFL Receiving Yards Leaders

The final bar graph (2015) shows similarities to the 2017 graph, in regards to 25% of the tight end receiving yards leaders being drafted in the first round. Second rounders were responsible for 20% and third rounders accounted for 25% of the leader board collectively. There was a 10% fourth round draft pick representation the highest over the three year sample size. All three years I examined there was one fifth rounder making up 5% of the top twenty. In 2015 two sixth round draft picks made the top twenty or 10%, with no seventh rounders once again. Antonio Gates was the only UDFA to be in the top twenty in TE recieving yards in 2015 for a three year low of 5%. 


When it comes to the tight end graphs, there appears to be considerably more success from the mid and late round draft picks than at any other position. First round draft pick tight ends on average account for 20.0% of the top twenty receiving yard leaders over the past three years. Second rounders annually represent an average of 21.7% of the receiving leaders, with third round selections averaging 26.7% with fourths at an abysmal 5.0% of the annual top twenty in receiving yards. Fifth round draft picks only averaged 5.0% annually, between 2015-2017. Sixth rounders accounted for 11.7%. Over the course of my three year sample size not a single seventh rounder made the top twenty for a non existent 0.0% showing. The un-drafted free agents consistently had representatives each season for a 10.0%% average. Draft capital certainly doesn't have the impact on the tight ends success, when compared to the other offensive positions.