While I agree with commenter JCRodriguez that we should be more focused on analyzing an upcoming game or a recently played game as opposed to the waiver claim of a fourth-round draft pick, or the draft in general, the bottom line is the Pittsburgh Steelers are an unstoppable conversation machine. The draft is one topic that will always be active, regardless of what the team’s record is or how well — or poorly — it’s playing.
That said, we’re going to get this all out of our system today and beat you over the head with it all at once. So let’s continue…
We’ve already had our impromptu point-counterpoint style arguments from Ted and Ryan offering two very different views of Kevin Colbert’s fourth-round record in the draft. In a vacuum, it doesn’t look that good with four contributing players out of 11 picks. But when compared to the rest of the NFL and how the Steelers competitors do in the same round, Pittsburgh has managed to get more value out of its picks than all but two teams in the league: Indianapolis and the New York Jets. Obviously, that’s pretty solid.
Ryan pointed out that we were thinking about an expanded look that takes all seven rounds of the Colbert-era (which included the second-most successful decade in the history of the franchise) into account. And here it is. We’re using the same metric that Ryan used in his fourth-round analysis, the Career Approximate Value that comes courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.
This chart shows the Steelers average CarAV by round, where that average ranks when compared to the rest of the NFL, and what the league average is in said round.
|Steelers Draft Success: By Round In Colbert Era
||NFL Avg CarAV
Obviously, as you go deeper into the draft the value of each pick drops, which is demonstrated by the steadily declining league average CarAV. From rounds 1-4 the Steelers are consistently the best in the NFL, before dropping off to average to slightly below average in rounds 5-7. I’d love to go back and compare their track record with Undrafted Free Agents, but that would nearly impossible to track.
I also went ahead and compared the Steelers total drafts (rounds 1-7) to the rest of the league. Not surprisingly, they’re elite.
|NFL Teams Draft Success: Colbert Era
|New York Jets||17.9|
|San Diego Chargers||16.6|
|New York Giants||15.0|
|New Orleans Saints||14.6|
|New England Patriots||13.8|
|Green Bay Packers||12.3|
|San Francisco 49ers||12.2|
|St. Louis Rams||10.7|
|Kansas City Chiefs||9.6|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||8.9|
And there we have it. Despite picking near the back end of the draft for the past decade — because they’re always winning — the Steelers have still been one of the most efficient teams in the NFL and finding players every April. Not hard to see why they’ve been one of the most successful teams on the field over the past decade as well.