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Patrick Willis leads the 2007 draft class with career AV, though he retired three seasons ago

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Willis was even better than we remember.

The San Francisco 49ers were dealt a huge blow in 2015 when pro-bowl linebacker Patrick Willis announced his retirement. Willis’ retirement was one of many to happen following the exodus of head coach Jim Harbaugh and a majority of his staff. We’re in 2018 and Willis still shows he’s the best, well if you put approximate value into it.

The folks at Pro Football Reference highlighted how the 2007 draft class has done with career approximate value and Willis leads the group at 92. Two points behind him, tied for second are Adrian Peterson and Derrell Revis. There’s a significant dropoff as the next average is at 83 by Joe Thomas. Career AV is calculated by the following accoring to PFR:

The career AV is computed by summing:

100 percent of their AV in their best season.
95 percent of the AV in their next best season
90 percent of the AV of their third best season
And so on.

A few things to keep in mind. A few of these averages could have been offset by players having less than desirable numbers later in their careers from falling off. That said, this is also a class containing wide receiver Calvin Johnson, and the aforementioned Adrian Peterson. There’s some production in this group. While Willis’ retirement may have helped this stat, it’s still amazing that he could keep it at such a high level to be the most productive of the class.