Beyond The Rookie Contract: The 2007 2nd Round Draftees
What does the average draft follower expect from his/her favorite team’s 2nd round draft pick? For most fans, 2nd round picks represent long-term starters and franchise cornerstones. The building blocks of a successful team. After all, they are the 33rd-64th best college players available. You’d think you’d get a guy who could be a high level contributor for years to come. Or even just a guy who can contribute for a reasonable period of time. However, that’s not usually the case.
Most 2nd rounders these days sign 4 year contracts. Therefore, a 2007 draftee would have been signed for the 2007-2010 seasons and eligible for free agency last summer. A look back at the 2007 2nd round gives some much needed (this time of year, especially) perspective on 2nd rounders. Take a look at how the 2007 class looked in their first year after their rookie contracts expired:
1. Of the 32 draftees, only 7 were on their original drafting team’s roster: Eric Weddle (37th, San Diego), Justin Blalock (39th, Atlanta), Drew Stanton (43rd, Detroit), Lamarr Woodley (46th, Pittsburgh), David Harris (47th, New York Jets), Victor Abiamiri (Philadelphia, 57th) and Ryan Kalil (59th, Carolina). Those 7 accounted for 73 games started in 2011. Neither Stanton (backup QB) nor Abiamiri (on Injured Reserve) got into a regular season game. So only 5 guys were still contributing to their original team
2. 5 of the 2nd rounders failed to make a roster in 2011: Arron Sears (35th, Tampa Bay), Dwayne Jarrett (45th, Carolina) Kenny Irons (49th, Cincinnati), Chris J. Henry (Tennessee, 50th), Dan Bazuin (62nd, Chicago). Neither Irons not Bazuin ever played a regular season game in the NFL
3. 15 of the 2007 2nd rounders started more than 8 games in 2011. 12 started 0 games. 5 others started between 1-3 games. Only Paul Posluszny (34th, Buffalo), Blalock, Harris, Eric Wright (53rd, Cleveland), Josh Wilson (55th, Seattle) and Kalil started all 16 games for his team last year.
4. Only 1, Weddle, has been named to an All Pro team. Only Kalil has been named to multiple Pro Bowl teams (3). 5 other players have made the Pro Bowl once: Weddle, Zach Miller (38th, Oakland), Sidney Rice (44th, Minnesota), Woodley and Steve Smith (51st, New York Giants).
It’s safe to say that if you are expecting your team to come up with a long term starter or an impact player in the 2nd round you are setting your expectations too high. While every draft class is different (and 2007 was a weak crop), the results are pretty similar most years: 2nd round picks do not produce long-term starters and high-end players. There are plenty of quality players who are 2nd round picks – Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice and Rob Gronkowski immediately come to mind. But there are also tons of 2nd rounders you quickly forget if they were not your team’s selection. Guys like James Hardy (2008), Cody Brown (2009), Joe Klopfenstein (2006).
In the 2 months between now and the draft, many hours on TV/radio and thousands of words on the internet will be spent discussing the fringe 1st round players and the “solid crop of guys” in the 2nd round. Just remember: in 5 years, you probably won’t remember that a third of these guys were drafted as highly as they were – despite being “borderline 1st rounders” and “high floor” prospects. Guys who would at least “be great special teamers” or “contribute on 3rd down”.