We looked at defensive tackles selected between 2005 and 2015 adding a second data set of defensive tackles drafted between 2015 and 2018. The defensive tackles Analyzed, if you will, were all selected in rounds three through five. We became curious about defensive tackles selected in the first or second round 2005 through 2018. These types of articles are impossible without profootballreference.com and stathead.com.
Between 2005 and 2015, 74 defensive tackles were drafted in the first or second round. 54 appeared in more than 48 games, covering three NFL seasons. 43 appeared in more than 64 games, covering four NFL seasons. 32 appeared in more than 80 NFL games, covering five NFL seasons.
Three year defensive tackle – 72.9% … Four year defensive tackle – 58% … five year defensive tackle – 43.2%. Basic Math drawing an extremely biased conclusion when drafting a defensive tackle in the first or second round, 72.9% of the time, the draftee plays in 48 NFL games, or, three NFL seasons. This is not analytics.
The conclusion is biased for a number of statistical reasons we don’t divulge into because we are not mathematicians. Recency bias, for example, are Da’Ron Payne, Vita Vea (bitten by injury in 2020), and PJ Hall solid defensive tackles?
These defensive tackles were selected in 2018 with an available pool of games less than our parameters of 48 NFL games covering three seasons. Phil Taylor was drafted in this data set. Was he a successful defensive tackle? How can we measure that success? Did we get run on when Taylor was playing defensive tackle?
Here was the most interesting part of the data set from our point of view.
Seven of the 74 defensive tackles selected played at least two NFL seasons. I’m sure it’s no big secret defensive tackles are a safe draft pick … but this safe? A 90% chance of a two year defensive tackle?
However, perhaps we Expect more from a first or second round defensive tackle. We expect more from Haloti Ngata, Ndamukong Suh, and Linval Joseph. How do we measure expectation value from the expenditure of a first round pick on a defensive tackle? I want to draft all pros who play fifteen seasons. May I see some data besides bench press and three cone?
Finding DTs in 2021 Draft
Since we’ve drafted just three defensive tackles since 2016, my cat says defensive tackle is the second priority behind finding the next Bobby Wagner in the first round. Bobby Wagner is the Roman God of the Middle and Underneath.
How do we find the next Bobby Wagner in the first round? Analytics. We look at the entire process of selecting linebackers. We already feel the model developed to date as a result of examining the entire process of drafting a linebacker has demonstrated some success 2016-2020.
2021 Draft Needs – LB, DT, CB, DT, WR, TE, CB
Draft Needs should be limited to seven at this point because there are seven rounds in the NFL Draft. Identifying defensive tackles in rounds three through five should be priority. We need to do better than Terrance Mitchell next season. Redwine has to get the reps playing single high safety. The injury bug biting one edge of the offensive Triangle (don’t @ me) allows the team to function more as the team was intended to function.
The injury to #13 allows more reps for Rashard Higgins and Donovan Peoples-Jones allowing evaluation and two receiver sets make more sense. Replacing Beckham on the edge with Size will make our triangle better. Higgins in his spot is what we want from a salary cap standpoint and now we have a chance to truly evaluate Higgins in the role we’d like him to play … a #1 receiver with Size.
The invariable variable
Injury in the NFL is an invariable variable. The event will occur. Teams hope to avoid the invariable variable, fans hope for as few injuries as possible, and players hope for the best and work hard for their bodies to be in the kind of shape mitigating injury. NFL players are the best athletes on planet earth don’t @ me.
The devastating injury to our offense is terrible and we wish him speedy recovery and look forward to the day he is part of the offensive playbook.
We must always remain optimistic in spite of injury although the situation in Dallas is concerning. There have been so many injuries and so many backups installed there’s concerns of even more injuries.
The data says NFL players need three to four “warmup” games before engaging in NFL game conditions