Hit rate for WRs drafted first-round

daves

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The Athletic has an apropos article today including their analysis of the Hit rate for WRs drafted first-round. Some highlights:
To sort stars, busts and everything in between, I looked at four criteria:
  1. Starts: Was the player good (and healthy) enough to start at least 50 career games?
  2. Production: Did he post two 1,000-yard seasons?
  3. No. 1 option: Has he seen 150-plus targets in any season?
  4. Paid: Did his team pick up his fifth-year option?
Players were sorted into four categories: Superstars hit all four criteria, stars satisfied at least two, a reach hit at least one and busts satisfied none. Anyone with fewer than four seasons saw their numbers projected.

The numbers were worse than I expected:
[Chart: NFL WRs drafted first round: Hit rate since 2011:]

EvaluationHit Rate
Superstar17.5%
Star19.3%
Reach29.8%
Bust33.3%

Drafting a first-round WR is hard, and the hit rate here is historically lower than other positions. There’s a 63 percent chance of drafting a bust or a reach. Think of a reach as a serviceable starter who should’ve been drafted three rounds later, like Tavon Austin (No. 8 in 2013, 21 spots ahead of DeAndre Hopkins) or Mike Williams (No. 7 in 2017).

Your first-round WR typically busts. Out of every three WRs drafted, one has been a bust, like Jalen Reagor, infamously drafted by the Eagles in 2020 at pick No. 21 — one spot ahead of Justin Jefferson.

The odds of landing a superstar are low. Less than one of every five WRs drafted in the first-round hit each criteria. The No. 27 pick in 2013, DeAndre Hopkins, checked every box, as has 2018’s No. 24, D.J. Moore.

The good news? Drafting a WR in the top 10 made teams more likely to at least land a star, like Amari Cooper (No. 4 in 2015).

The bad news? The historical hit rate for a top-10 WR is barely over 50 percent (52.9).

[Chart: NFL WRs drafted top-10: Hit rate since 2011:]

EvaluationHit Rate
Superstar29.4%
Star23.5%
Reach17.6%
Bust29.4%

1. First-round WR talent comes in waves. In 2014, two superstars — Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr. — were drafted first round, together with a star in Brandin Cooks.

In the following three years, thirteen WRs were drafted in the first round. Over half were top-15 picks. This led to zero superstars, eight of the 13 were busts, and only one, Amari Cooper, became a star.

2. Every first-round WR is fighting the odds, even the top-10 picks. With six players at this position worthy of first-round selection this year, the bust/reach rate of 63 percent makes it likely that three or four of them disappoint.
 

Cardiac

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Now this article makes me want to draft. MHJ. I like Odunze but he's not as sure as MHJ, according to many.
 

oaken1

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It can be tough... Some college offenses allow semi talented kids to post gaudy numbers. Whereas a highly talented kid could be stuck at Nowhere U getting thirty targets a season in a wishbone offense. QB accuracy also plays a part...a guy can look really good when every pass is on time and within his catch radius
 

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