NFL Draft 2020 approaching: What we can learn from recent trends

NFL Draft 2020 approaching: What we can learn from recent trends

In less than a week, the 32 NFL teams will take their swings at the 2020 NFL Draft.

This draft has been the most debated and discussed ever because of the current circumstances in the world. The NFL draft is the only thing really going on in the sports world and has provided fans a distraction and something to debate with their friends.

We decided to look at the past five drafts and see if there are any trends to be detected and what those tell us about potential decisions teams face in this year’s draft.

Starting with the 2015 draft, we used Pro Football Reference’s Draft Finder tool to break things down.

In those five drafts, there have been 608 offensive players drafted, 558 defensive players taken and 18 on special teams.

Here is some of what we found:

Position taken the most

Teams have drafted wide receivers more than any other position, a reflection on how important the passing game has become. There have been 159 receivers taken — 17 in the first round, which is the third-most. Cornerback (147) is in second overall and tied for first with 18 first-round picks. Running back (121), defensive tackle (109) and defensive end (105) round out the top five.

Defensive end is tied with cornerback for the most first-round picks taken (18). While quarterback and offensive tackle don’t have high overall numbers, they are tied for fourth, along with defensive tackle, in first-round picks (16).

Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott
Amari Cooper and Dak PrescottAP; Getty Images

Position taken the least

We excluded kickers and punters from this count. Interior offensive linemen take up two of the top five spots. Centers (33) have been taken the least in the past five drafts. They are followed by inside linebackers (34), quarterbacks (56), guards (67) and outside linebackers (69).

The first-round selections fall pretty closely to the overall numbers. The one exception is running back. While the 121 running backs taken are the third-most by position, only nine have been taken in the first round, which is the tied for the fifth-fewest. That backs up the theory most teams now have that running backs can be found in later rounds.

First round or bust

There is always great debate about positional value when it comes to first-round picks. Do you use a first-round pick on a wide receiver or wait until later rounds? Can you find a good edge-rusher outside of the first round?

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