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Posted April 30, 2010
This was the first year in a while that I noticed teams drafting two players from the same position early in the NFL Draft, and it's a strategy I want to talk about, explore and analyze. I find this draft strategy highly intriguing.
First off, I would like to comment I only analyzed teams that "doubled down" (or drafted two players from the same position) within the first four rounds of a draft. Fifth- to seventh-round selections seldom pan out, though we all know as fans how we want to believe they are all pieces to the puzzle. They aren't.
It's important to bring up some research here that I've heard from Charlie Casserly of the NFL Network. He said that first-round draft picks pan out 60 percent of the time, second-round picks pan out 40 percent of the time, third-round picks pan out 30 percent of the time, and fourth-round picks pan out 20 percent of the time.
When I say "pan out" I am referring to a player becoming a starter (according to Casserly).
I think doubling down is a great strategy because if you look at the odds, you just probably aren't going to strike gold in the third and fourth rounds. Therefore, it is very ignorant to rely on these players both in the short and long term.
When you double down, you increase the odds that you hit on one of the two positions. Let's say you draft four positions in the first four rounds (one pick per round): QB, OL, DE, WR. If the OL, DE, or WR doesn't pan out, then you simply don't get any impact at those particular positions that bust.
However, if let's say you draft: QB, OL, OL, WR, then your odds are significantly greater at getting an impact offensive lineman in this draft class.
I analyzed every team's draft and came up with the teams that drafted the same position in the first four rounds twice. However, I excluded Arizona from this list because O'Brien Schofield is seriously injured and likely a candidate for the PUP list, and isn't expect to make any sort of an impact this year.
Here are the teams that doubled down with the round drafted in parentheses:
Oakland-Offensive Tackle: Jared Veldheer (3) and Bruce Campbell (4)
Baltimore-Tight End: Ed Dickson (3) and Dennis Pitta (4)
Pittsburgh-Outside Linebacker: Jason Worilds (2) and Thaddeus Gibson (4)
Jacksonville-Defensive Tackle: Tyson Alualu (1) and D'Anthony Smith (3, Smith was Jacksonville's second pick ? they had no second-rounder)
Philadelphia-Defensive End: Brandon Graham (1) and Daniel Te'o Nesheim (3)
New England-Tight End: Rob Gronkowski (2) and Aaron Hernandez (4)
Carolina-Wide Receiver: Brandon LaFell (3a) and Armanti Edwards (3b)
Tampa Bay-Defensive Tackle: Gerald McCoy (1) and Brian Price (2a)
Tampa Bay-Wide Receiver: Arrelious Benn (2b) and Mike Williams (4)
It remains to be seen how these draft classes pan out, but I'm a fan of doubling down as long as you remain true to your board. As a Draftnik, you simply can't criticize teams for drafting the same positions early on if the team executes value and address positions of great need, such as Tampa Bay did. Value is a concept I would like to educate Draftniks on how to understand with a greater ability.
Ninety percent of my e-mails in regards to mock drafts from fans are all about need. They generally don't care about value. If you really study value and make it a part of your education as a Draftnik, then you will more greatly appreciate NFL Draft strategy, and your ability to analyze how teams think will improve.