WR 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 be moving onto wide receivers in this edition, a position where success rate in relation to draft capital appears to be less crucial 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 a distinct contrast to the quarterbacks where being drafted outside of the first two rounds isn't necessarily a fantasy death sentence. With some similarities to the runningbacks I have examined, in regards to first round draft picks representing roughly one third or 35% of the top twenty in receiving yards in 2017. Second round draft selections accounted for 20%, third rounders 15%, and no fourth round draft picks made the top twenty in receiving yards in 2017. Fifth round draft picks made up 10% of the top twenty, with Antonio Brown being the only sixth rounder for 5%. As was the case with the majority of my research seventh round draft selections were absent from the leader board once again. The un-drafted free agent grouping were well represented with three players accounting for 15% of the 2017 receiving yards leaders. 

2016 NFL Receiving Yards Leaders

The next graph is quite similar to the 2017 graph in regards to first rounders make up 35.0% of the receiving leaders once again. As well as second round draft selections again accounting for 20.0% of the leader board. Third rounders were also the same in 2016 as they were in 2017 with a 15.0% representation. There were no fourth or fifth round draft picks among the receiving yards leaders in this particular year. Sixth rounders doubled there presence on the leader board with 10%, finally a seventh round draft pick made an appearance in 2016 accounting for 5%. UDFA's were once again responsible for 15% of the leaders in receiving yards in 16', the same as they were in 2017.

2015 NFL Receiving Yards Leaders

The final graph really highlights how the first round draft picks dominated the receiving yards leader board with a 60% representation among the top twenty. Two second rounders as well as two third rounders made the receiving leaders in 2015 each accounting for 10%. The first fourth round draft pick in the three year sample size made the top twenty in 15', with no fifth rounders on the list. For the second time in three years Antonio Brown is the only sixth round representative, once again no seventh rounders cracked the receiving yard leaders. Two un-drafted free agents were on the 2015 graph or 10%, the lowest representation for UDFA's over the three years.


There appears to be considerable similarities to the runningback graphs, as far as average percentages per round drafted over the three year sample size. First round draft pick wide receivers on average account for 43.3% or of the top twenty receiving yard leaders over the past three years. Second rounders annually represent an average of 16.7% of the receiving leaders, with third round selections averaging 13.3% with fourths at an abysmal 1.7% of the annual top twenty in receiving yards. Fifth round draft picks only averaged 3.3% annually, between 2015-2017. Sixth rounders accounted for 6.7% thanks to Antonio Brown making his annual appearance. As was the case with RB's only one seventh rounder made the top twenty over the three year sample size for a 1.7% showing. The undrafted free agents consistently had between two and three representatives each season for a 13.3%% average. Draft capital certainly has an impact on the receiving yards leader board annually, as you can see it's not as big of an impact as the quarterback position. The wide out graphs are quite similar to the runningback graphs, when compared side by side.