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NFL Draft: How Often Do Offensive Tackles Bust?


We believe that offensive tackles are the safest position to draft because that's what the media tells us. The media also tells us that quarterbacks are risky picks, yet as proven in a previous article, defensive tackles bust more than quarterbacks.

So, which is it? Are offensive tackles less risky than other positions, or do they, like defensive tackles, bust frequently under the radar? With the debate going on about Ndamukong Suh or Russell Okung being the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, I felt it was important to look at the hit and bust rates of the offensive tackle position so we can compare it to how the defensive tackles fared.

Below is a chart of all of the offensive tackles selected in the top 16* of each NFL Draft from 1993** to 2009.

* Why top 16? I wanted to cover the top half of the first round, and anything below that gets distorted because it becomes unclear what a bust/hit is.

** Why 1993? I didn't want to go back too far because scouting has really changed. In case you are wondering, there were two key hit offensive tackles chosen in 1992, so this data isn't skewed at all.

Offensive Tackle
Draft No.
Year
Hit, OK or Bust
Comment
Jake Long
1
2008
Hit
Orlando Pace
1
1997
Hit
Jason Smith
2
2009
TBA
Didn't play much last year because of concussion problems.
Robert Gallery
2
2004
Bust
Thriving as a guard, but a bust as a left tackle.
Leonard Davis
2
2001
OK
Tony Boselli
2
1995
Hit
Joe Thomas
3
2007
Hit
Chris Samuels
3
2000
Hit
D'Brickashaw Ferguson
4
2006
Hit
Mike Williams
4
2002
Bust
One of the fattest human beings alive right now.
Jonathan Ogden
4
1996
Hit
Levi Brown
5
2007
Bust
Still early, but he looks lost in pass protection.
Andre Smith
6
2009
TBA
Mr. Man Boobs will probably be a bust, but that's still to be determined.
Walter Jones
6
1997
Hit
Bryant McKinnie
7
2002
Hit
Kyle Turley
7
1998
OK
Eugene Monroe
8
2009
TBA
Jordan Gross
8
2003
Hit
Willie Roaf
8
1993
Hit
Levi Jones
10
2002
Hit
Willie Anderson
10
1996
Hit
William Tra Thomas
11
1998
Hit
Ryan Clady
12
2008
TBA
Looked like a hit after his rookie season, but Josh McDaniels could ruin his career.
Jammal Brown
13
2005
Hit
Brad Hopkins
13
1993
Hit
A 12-year starter and 2-time Pro Bowler for the Titans.
Chris Williams
14
2008
OK
Looked pretty solid toward the end of last season.
Kenyatta Walker
14
2001
Bust
John Tait
14
1999
Hit
Bernard Williams
14
1994
Bust
Out of the league in four years.
Wayne Gandy
15
1994
Hit
Started in the NFL for more than a decade.
Shawn Andrews
16
2004
OK
Hard to call him a bust because he played so well for a few years. Injuries and depression ruined his career.




Using the data from the quarterback and defensive tackle bust article, let's make another nifty chart comparing the amount of hits, busts, OKs and TBAs for each position:

Position
No. of Prospects
Hits
Busts
OKs
TBAs
Quarterbacks
29
13
12
2
2
Defensive Tackles
33
15
15
2
1
Offensive Tackles
31
18
5
3
5


You're reading that right. Since 1993, there have only been five busts at the offensive tackle position in the top 16 picks of the NFL Draft.

Now, let's look at the hit and bust rates for each position (remember, these numbers exclude TBAs because they are neither hits nor busts yet):

Quarterback Hit Rate: 48.2%
Defensive Tackle Hit Rate: 46.9%
Offensive Tackle Hit Rate: 69.2%

Quarterback Bust Rate: 44.4%
Defensive Tackle Bust Rate: 46.9%
Offensive Tackle Bust Rate: 19.2%

Pretty insane, huh? Offensive tackles chosen in the top 16 hit 69.2 percent of the time and bust on just a 19.2-percent clip.

There will always be busts at every position in the NFL Draft. There is no such thing as a guarantee when you're giving 21- and 22-year-olds millions of dollars. But offensive tackles are as close to a guarantee as you're going to get.

Go here to see how this relates to the Lions drafting Ndamukong Suh or Russell Okung.







NFL Draft History Archive:

NFL Draft History
Ten Reasons Why the Detroit Lions Must Draft Russell Okung - 4/5/10
How Often Do Offensive Tackles Bust? - 4/5/10
Are Safeties Worth a Top Five Draft Pick? - 3/27/10
Do Quarterbacks Bust More Than Other Positions? - 2/28/10
Do Defensive Coaches Draft Offensive Players? - 2/15/10
Top Three NFL Draft Pick History - 2/15/10
New Regimes Mean New Quarterbacks - 2/15/10
Andy Reid's NFL Draft History - 2/15/10
NFL Draft Quarterback Busts: How to Spot Them
Linebacker Draft History




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