NFL Draft: Analyzing The last Sixteen 16th Picks
By Mike Payton
I love looking up weird stats. If you follow me on Twitter or you’ve followed my work during the season, then you know I’ve always got some weird stats served up for you.
The offseason should be no different. There’s always fun facts to be found somewhere in sports. What we have today is an in-depth look at the 16th pick in the NFL draft over the last 16 years. As you already know, this is exactly where the Detroit Lions will be picking in a little over two months from now. With the knowledge I’ve uncovered, what I hope to do is gauge the uncertain future of the Detroit Lions by looking into the past.
So here’s what we are looking at. Which side of the ball typically gets picked? What position got picked the most? Where did these picks come from? How many went on to become Pro Bowlers? How many won the Super Bowl? And lastly, how many of these teams made the playoffs the same year they picked at 16? Let’s just jump right into it.
Which side of the ball typically gets picked?
Of the last sixteen 16th picks, the majority have been on the defensive side the ball with eleven picks. So if the past is any inclination, the Lions may find themselves bolstering their defense in the first round. There’s no secret the Lions need to shore up their defensive line with the potential losses of Haloti Ngata, Tyrunn Walker and even Jason Jones. The good news here is the most selected position with 16th pick is defensive linemen.
Where do these picks come from
The last 16 picks were spread out quite a bit. Both big schools like Michigan State and little schools like Tennessee State were represented. But one conference stood out above them all. No it wasn’t the SEC, although they did have the second most picks. With four picks, it’s the ACC that rules the 16th pick. So if the Lions select a defensive lineman from the ACC at 16, they probably wind up with Sheldon Rankins of Louisville. Not bad at all.
Pro Bowls and Super Bowls
Now lets see if the 16th pick equates to success. Of the last 16 picks, exactly half of them turned out to be Pro Bowlers at some point in their careers. The latest 16th pick to become a Pro Bowler was Zack Martin of the 2014 draft class. Unfortunately the 16th pick does not seem to translate to championships. Only two Super Bowl winners have come from the 16th pick since 2000.
16th pick and the layoffs
Does the 16th pick equal success that same year? History says that half the time it does. Eight of he last 16 teams to hold the 16th pick wound up going to the playoffs that same year. The most recent team to do it was the Houston Texans this past season. Even more interesting is that two of those eight teams wound up making it to the Super Bowl later that year. Unfortunately both teams lost. If the Lions have a 50% chance of making the playoffs in 2016, I say that’s not all that bad.
The Lions and the 16th pick
The Lions have only had the 16th pick three times in their history. In 1972, 1976 and 1981. The Lions went on to miss the playoffs all three times and all three players did not have the most productive careers. Will the Lions have better luck in 2016?