How does an NFL team know if they’ve had a good draft? How does an NFL team know after the season ends if their draft that year was successful? Is there a way to evaluate if a team made good decisions regarding undrafted free agent signings?
Interesting questions. Are the answers to these questions based on how many first-year make the team? How many rookies start games? How many rookies end the season with the team? How many first-year contribute in key stats, i.e., TDs, yards, sacks, etc.?
Let me throw out a premise to ponder. Let’s look at how many teams had first-year players (drafted players and free agents) who started eight or more games for their team. My hypothesis is that the teams that had more rookies start eight or more games in their first year on the team the better the draft (and free agent signings).
Based on this stat, the New York Jets had the best draft in 2013. Led by second-round QB Geno Smith, who started all 16 games, the Jets had five first-year players who started eight or more games for the Jets, most in the NFL. In addition to Smith, Tommy Bohanon, Dee Milliner, Sheldon Richardson and Brian Winters, all drafted players, started eight or more games for the Jets in 2013.