FanPost

What are realistic draft expectations for 2013?

I've heard and read comments all over the board regarding what the Niners can and will do with this draft. With 13 picks, we can't be stopped!

It's made me re-ask the question, what is an "A" grade on draft day? Most analysts grade based on meeting needs and/or getting value picks (players they've graded higher than they are drafted).

Paul Kuharsky wrote an ESPN article in 2011 where he quoted Bill Polian (then Colts GM) and Mike Reinfeldt (then Titans GM). They felt that the draft success rate varies but is somewhere around 39%. Apparently the numbers have held true for the last 25 years, and I am assuming recent years are no different. The challenge with this percentage is that both GMs were applying open ended definitions of success, so it makes it hard to understand what the 39% really means.

Another number quoted that was a bit easier to understand is "If you look historically, teams get 2.3 starters per draft." A little easier to interpret. So, how have the Niners done? The starting 2012 roster came from old drafts as follows:

2005 - 2 (Smith, Gore)
2006 - 1 (VD)
2007 - 5 (Willis, Staley, McDonald, Goldson, Tarell Brown)
2008 - 0
2009 - 1 (Crabtree)
2010 - 3 (Davis, Iupati, Bowman)
2011 - 2 (Aldon, Bruce Miller, still lots of future potential starters like Kap, Hunter, etc)

~14 starters over 7 years = 2.0, the rest were acquired via FA or Waivers

BTW, if 2011 yields 2 more starters the number would jump to, you guessed it, 2.3.

Draftmetrics.com uses their own value system, and has developed success rates as follows (per Tony Villiotte):

Probability of Drafting 5-year Starters

Pick RangeProbability
1-13 74.7%
14-40 55.3%
41-66 39.8%
67-86 22.9%
87-149 16.0%
150-189 8.9%
190+ 6.8%

Adding probabilities, the team picking first would have an average haul of 2.2 5yr starters per draft. The team picking 32nd, 1.5 5yr starters per draft.

Using these pick ranges, our 2013 draft looks like this:

Pick RangeProbability Picks Picks (Round) Cumulative Percentage
1-13 74.7%
14-40 55.3% 31, 34 1.31, 2.2 1.106
41-66 39.8% 61 2.29 0.398
67-86 22.9% 74 3.12 0.229
87-149 16.0% 93, 128, 131(comp) 3.31, 4.31, 4.34 0.48
150-189 8.9% 164, 175, 180 5.31, 6.7, 6.12 0.267
190+ 6.8% 237, 246(comp), 252(comp) 7.31, 7.40, 7.46 0.204
Total % 2.684

What does this all mean? Probably nothing, BUT if you combine the historical draft data with the probabilities from draftmetrics.com, all these extra draft picks this year bumps up our probable number of starters from 1.5 to to 2.7.

So, my question, "are we placing too high an expectation on this years upcoming draft based on the number of picks?" 13 seems like a lot, but when you realize 8 of those picks are in the approximate bottom of half of the draft, the odds of them really helping us is low. If you believe draftmetrics numbers, the odds we get a single 5yr starter from those bottom 8 picks is 79%.

Trading those lower picks, either in this draft to move and get the players we want, or into next year where we increase their value, seems like the way to go. Comp picks can't be traded.

Now that I've "pee'd in everyone's cheerios," on the positive side Trent Baalke has really only been running the draft since 2010, and Harbaalke since 2011. In 2010, we had two first round picks, but we did beat the 2.3 average with 3 pro bowl starters today. In 2011, while it's still too early to tell, we could end up with 6 starters from that draft class. 2012, again still too early, but realistically it could yield 2-4 eventual starters.

So, back to my question, "What should we be expecting to get out of this year's draft?"

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.

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