FanPost

Road to the 2023 NFL Draft: Positional Value Part I

Hey there. Well I'm not good at formatting and forget any HTML I possibly learned so unfortunately I won't have nice tables that I'd like. Either way, I believe this is a simple but effective way to look at the current NFL landscape and determine positional value via practical results.

I'm going to break these up into combinations of positions. We're also going to just exclude QB since that is extremely obvious and has been done. Part one will look at WR/CB, and there will be a subjective aspect that can't be removed so we'll consider the top 15 players at each position to make sure the top guys are included. Order isn't all too relevant.

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WR:

Player | Draft position

1.
Justin Jefferson | 22nd overall pick, 1st round
2. Tyreek Hill | 165th overall pick, 5th round
3. J'Marr Chase | 5th overall pick, 1st round
4. Davante Adams | 53rd overall pick, 2nd round
5. Stefon Diggs | 146th overall pick, 5th round
6. A.J. Brown | 51st overall pick, 2nd round
7. CeeDee Lamb | 17th overall pick, 1st round
8. Cooper Kupp | 69th overall pick, 3rd round
9. Jaylen Waddle | 6th overall pick, 1st round
10. Terry McLaurin | 76th overall pick, 3rd round
11. Mike Evans | 7th overall pick, 1st round
12. D.K. Metcalf | 64th overall pick, 2nd round
13. Garrett Wilson | 10th overall pick, 1st round
14. DeAndre Hopkins | 27th overall pick, 1st round
15. Deebo Samuel | 36th overall pick, 1st round

Honorable Mentions: Chris Olave, Tyler Lockett, Amari Cooper, Tee Higgins, Amon-Ra St. Brown, D.J. Moore, Calvin Ridley, Chris Godwin, etc.

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ADP (average draft position): 50.26

1st rounders: 8
2nd rounders: 3
3rd rounders: 2
4th rounders: 0
5th rounders: 2
6th rounders: 0
7th rounders: 0
UDFAs: 0

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Analysis: Include the honorable mentions up to 20, even the top 30 guys and the same result will occur. The incidence of 1st round picks composing most of the top talent at this position is very high. 8/15. Two players tank the ADP here, Hill and Diggs. Hill fell in the draft for off-field reasons, otherwise was easily a 2nd-3rd round talent if not a 1st. But that happens at other positions as well.

13/15 of the top 15 listed there were in the top 3 rounds. 11/15 in the top 2 rounds. 8/15 in the 1st round. 3/15 were top 10 picks.

Extending this out as mentioned adds 1st rounders such as Cooper, Ridley, Moore, Olave, London potentially to this list. 33rd pick Higgins gets on it eventually. While adding some 2nd-3rds as well. Keeps a similar "slope" here.

Clearly WR is a position of high positional value as seen by recent years of drafts where runs on WRs occur and strings of guys go in the top 5-15 picks, or at least 1st round regularly. Even in 2018, if it isn't the early 1st it's a cluster like Hollywood Brown in the 20s, Harry at 32, Deebo 35, Brown 51, Whiteside in the 2nd, Metcalf tail end of the 2nd.


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CB:

Player | Draft Position

1.
Sauce Gardner | 4th overall pick, 1st round
2. Patrick Surtain II | 9th overall pick, 1st round
3. Jalen Ramsey | 5th overall pick, 1st round
4. Stephon Gilmore | 10th overall pick, 1st round
5. Trevon Diggs | 51st overall pick, 2nd round
6. Jaire Alexander | 18th overall pick, 1st round
7. Darius Slay | 36th overall pick, 2nd round
8. Jamel Dean | 94th overall pick, 3rd round
9. Charvarius Ward | UDFA
10. James Bradberry | 62nd overall pick, 2nd round
11. Jaycee Horn | 8th overall pick, 1st round
12. Marlon Humphrey | 16th overall pick, 1st round
13. Chidobe Awuzie | 60th overall pick, 2nd round
14. Jonathan Jones | UDFA
15. Tredavious White | 27th overall pick, 1st round

Honorable Mentions: A.J. Terrell, Patrick Peterson, Trent McDuffie, Tyson Campbell, Xavien Howard, Jason Verrett, Tariq Woolen, Adoree Jackson, etc.

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ADP (w/o UDFA inclusion): 30.77

ADP
(UDFA counted as "263"): 61.73

1st rounders:
8
2nd rounders: 4
3rd rounders: 1
4th rounders: 0
5th rounders: 0
6th rounders: 0
7th rounders: 0
UDFAs: 2


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Analysis: Not surprising that CB mirrors WR in the positional value. It would seem like it's more valuable given those results but I'd probably argue that WR is actually more valuable and this is random variance. Nonetheless CB clearly is a position teams draft very early and top tier talent usually goes fast.

It's a position, like WR but with even less variables/technique, that relies so heavily on athleticism that it's relatively easy to identify top CB prospects through athleticism and film. 5/15, one third, of the top 15 corners listed are top 10 picks. Again 8/15 like WR are 1st rounders, 12/15 are found in the top 2 rounds, and 13/15 are found in the top 3 rounds.

None are found in round 4-7 currently (let's hope Jack Jones breaks that trend), Tariq Woolen is on track to also break that. The reason why we find two UDFAs here, is because it's a wider blanket and sometimes guys get overlooked hence your JC Jackson, Malcolm Butler (red flags as well), Randall Gay, Jonathan Jones - in NE alone.

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Conclusion on WR/CB:

Well it's extremely clear that these two positions are very high value in today's league. They don't grow on trees. If you want to reliably find top talent you're looking in at least the top 40-60 picks here, and usually the top 15-30.

If QB is the only position worthy of S tier in value, and it is, then WR and CB both justifiably earn a spot in the A tier of positions in terms of value.

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