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72 Days Until The Draft

A quick look at the 72nd pick since 1970:

# of players selected: 42

# of 76th overall picks to appear in a game in 2011: 4 – Martez Wilson (2011), Alex Carrington (2010), Terrance Knighton (2009), Leonard Pope (2006)

Average # of seasons appearing in at least 1 game: 5.6

Average # of games played: 71

# of players to appear in at least 100 games: 11

# of players to appear in less than 16 games: 7

Most games played: Henry Thomas (1987), 213

# of Pro Bowlers: 4 – Jeremiah Trotter (1998), Greg Montgomery (1988), Henry Thomas (1987), Kenny King (1979)

Most passes attempted: No #72 pick since 1970 has attempted a pass

Most rushing yards: Kenny King (1979), 2477

Most receptions: Leonard Pope (2006), 102

Most receiving yards: Leonard Pope (2006), 973

Most sacks: Henry Thomas (1987), 93.5

Most interceptions: Jeremiah Castille (1983), 14

Since 2000, the 72nd pick has been fairly fruitless – yielding only 4 players who were starters for at least one season (8+ games started in a year): Terrance Knighton, Leonard Pope, Vince Manuwai and Kendrick Clancy. The only high-end players selected 72nd overall since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger have been long time Eagles LB Jeremiah Trotter and former Vikings & Patriots DT Henry Thomas – both of whom were amongst the best at their position for most of their careers.

Overall, the 72nd pick is a good example as to why it’s a bad idea to expect 3rd round picks to produce much. At that point in the draft, only 28% of the total players selected have come off the board and very few of the remaining selections will be anything more than backups, situational players and special teamers – if they even manage to stay in the league. Every year, after the late summer roster cuts come, fans and media alike bash their local team’s (or rival team’s) drafting as their 3rd and 4th round draftees from the previous few years are sent packing. In reality though, hitting (a serviceable starter or top end situational player) on a 3rd round pick once every 3 years is pretty good.

For example, the Steelers have been amongst the best in the 3rd round since 2000 – nabbing Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, Chris Hope, Max Starks, Matt Spaeth (sort of) and Kendrick Clancy. However, they’ve also missed on Hank Poteat, Trai Essex, Anthony Smith, Willie Reid, Bruce Davis, Kraig Urbik and Keenan Lewis. The Super Bowl Champion New York Giants have hit on Visanthe Shiancoe, Justin Tuck, Mario Manningham, Will James (sort of) but have missed on Ron Dixon, Jeff Hatch, Gerris Wilkerson, Jay Alford, Ramses Barden and Chad Jones.

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