An Analysis Of First And Second Round Receiver Value

The Packers need a wide receiver and there’s a great debate as to whether they should take one in the 1st round or wait since this class is so deep.

Historically, the Packers have had success with 2nd round receivers like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams, but are they just an anomaly or is it just a good idea to avoid wide receivers in the 1st round?

We dug deeper to look at the history of 1st and 2nd round receivers to learn more.

From 2005 to 2018, at least one Pro Bowl wide receiver was drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round. In 2019, rookie receiver Mecole Hardman made the Pro Bowl as a returner (though Deebo Samuels, AJ Brown, and DK Metcalf seem capable of continuing the streak)

Over the same 15 year stretch, only 7 drafts featured a Pro Bowl wide receiver taken in the 1st round.

This alone shows that waiting to draft a wide receiver.

To get more analytical, we tried to find some hard numbers and looked for a way to calculate Relative Value and see if it’s worth spending a higher pick.

We took a straightforward approach to gauging Relative Value using two numbers:

  • Weighted Career Approximate Value (CarAV) from Pro-Football-Reference, which is a composite score that shows the general value of a player’s career
  • Pick Position Value from DraftTek’s Trade Value Chart, which is a value assigned to each pick in the draft to gauge relative trade values

To get Relative Value for a player, we simply divided their CarAv by the Pick Position Value from where they were chosen and multiplied the result by 100.

Then we started looking at all the receivers drafted in the first two rounds in 2016 (since it would give us four years of statistical data to draw on) and went back for a decade.

The raw data is at the end of the article, but here’s what we found out about the 10 year window from 2007 to 2016:

  • 8 of the 10 years had a 2nd round receiver with a higher Relative Value than all of the 1st round receivers
  • In the 2 of 10 years that didn’t have a 2nd round pick with a higher Relative Value than all of the 1st round picks, there were only two wide receivers taken in the 2nd round
  • In 3 of the 10 years, a 2nd round pick had a higher total value (this is their total career value, not adjusted for value based on the selection) than all the 1st round picks. That means that about a third of the time, a 2nd round receiver was better than all the 1st round receivers.

You’re always rolling the dice on a draft pick, but wide receivers have historically proven to be poor value in the 1st round.

This isn’t news, though, we learned this when we look at how champions draft.

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Want to learn more about draft value strategy? We’ve got you covered!

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Don’t just watch the draft – understand it and learn why GMs make the moves they do.

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RAW DATA

2016

Player Selection Relative Value
Corey Coleman 15 0.57
Will Fuller 21 2.25
Josh Doctson 22 1.15
Laquon Treadwell 23 0.79
Sterling Shepard 40 4.20
Michael Thomas 47 12.56
Tyler Boyd 55 6.29

 

2015

Player Selection Relative Value
Amari Cooper 4 2.17
Kevin White 7 0.13
DeVante Parker 14 2.09
Nelson Agholor 20 2.47
Breshad Perriman 26 1.57
Phillip Dorsett 29 2.19
Devin Smith 37 0.38
Dorial Green-Beckham 40 1.40

 

2014

Player Selection Relative Value
Sammy Watkins 4 2.00
Mike Evans 7 3.27
Odell Beckham 12 4.08
Brandin Cooks 20 6.00
Kelvin Benjamin 28 3.33
Marqise Lee 39 3.33
Jordan Matthews 42 4.79
Paul Richardson 45 3.11
Davante Adams 53 11.08
Cody Latimer 56 1.76
Allen Robinson 61 11.30
Jarvis Landry 63 15.94

 

 

2013

Player Selection Relative Value
Tavon Austin 8 1.79
DeAndre Hopkins 27 8.68
Cordarrelle Patterson 29 4.06
Justin Hunter 34 1.61
Robert Woods 41 9.18
Aaron Dobson 59 1.94

 

 

2012

Player Selection Relative Value
Justin Blackmon 5 0.53
Michael Floyd 13 2.43
Kendall Wright 20 3.29
A.J. Jenkins 30 0.32
Brian Quick 33 1.90
Stephen Hill 43 0.85
Alshon Jeffery 45 10.89
Ryan Broyles 54 0.83
Rueben Randle 63 7.61

 

2011

Player Selection Relative Value
A.J. Green 4 3.78
Julio Jones 6 5.88
Jonathan Baldwin 26 0.57
Titus Young 44 1.74
Torrey Smith 58 11.88
Greg Little 59 4.19
Randall Cobb 64 21.48

 

2010

Player Selection Value
Demaryius Thomas 22 8.85
Dez Bryant 24 8.24
Dexter McCluster 36 3.89
Arrelious Benn 39 1.57
Golden Tate 60 18.67

 

2009

Player Selection Relative Value
Darrius Heyward-Bey 7 1.47
Michael Crabtree 10 4.08
Jeremy Maclin 19 5.83
Percy Harvin 22 5.51
Hakeem Nicks 29 6.25
Kenny Britt 30 5.65
Brian Robiskie 36 0.56
Mohamed Massaquoi 50 3.00

 

2008

Player Selection Relative Value
Donnie Avery 33 3.62
Devin Thomas 34 0.71
Jordy Nelson 36 13.52
James Hardy 41 0.20
Eddie Royal 42 7.29
Jerome Simpson 46 3.86
DeSean Jackson 49 17.80
Malcolm Kelly 51 0.77
Limas Sweed 53 0.27
Dexter Jackson 58 0.00

 

2007

Player Selection Relative Value
Calvin Johnson 2 3.00
Ted Ginn 9 3.85
Dwayne Bowe 23 6.45
Robert Meachem 27 3.82
Craig Davis 30 1.13
Anthony Gonzalez 32 2.71
Sidney Rice 44 7.17
Dwayne Jarrett 45 0.89
Steve Smith 51 5.90

 

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