2011 Draft

Success Rate Of 1st Round Tackles From 1995-2010 Using Approximate Value Method

In this exercise I wanted to take a hard look at the 1st round tackles drafted since 1995 and the success not only through the first five years, but more specifically in years one through three. This is by no means a fail safe measurement stick, but nearly a look at the 1st round tackles using the Approximate Value attached to each player by Pro Football Reference. Instead of explaining the madness behind the AV number in this post, I suggest you read up on it here. In a quick and dirty summation, the Approximate Value (AV) method is an attempt to put a single number on the seasonal value of a player at any position.

I went back and pulled the first round tackles since 1995 and noted their AV number for each of their first 5 years in the league. Now of course the players that have not played 5 years yet, will have no number in that year. Duh! I ran it for 5 years, but was more concerned about years one through three as previously mentioned.

The next task was to identify some sort of baseline of an above average AV for each year. Let\’s face it, truly elite tackles are few and far between. What I did to get what I felt was an acceptable “above average AV” for each year was to take the 3 highest AV numbers in that year and find an average of it first. Then I took 55% of that average number and rounded either up or down to establish an “above average AV”. It is not a perfect baseline number by any means, but a baseline nonetheless using the AV method. As you can see, the “above average AV” for a rookie season is 6, which means that any tackle in year one that scored a 6 or above made what I would consider any immediate impact for the team that drafted them and the contribution was “above average”. Going back to 1995, we see that 28 of the 58 tackles drafted in the first round made, what this exercise would consider, an immediate “above average” contribution to that team in relation to others drafted in the 1st round. That is 48% of all tackles drafted in the first round going back to 1995.

So was Ryan Clady “that good” as a rookie in 2008? His rookie AV number was 13. Well, Clady did finish third in voting behind only Matt Ryan and Chris Johnson for the 2008 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. He was also the only offensive lineman to receive any votes. Was he elite in his rookie year compared to all the other NFL tackles in the league? No, absolutely not, but his AV number does hold some water as far as rookie first round tackles go.

In years 2 through 5, I used the same process in creating an “above average AV”. You can see the number is two whole points higher in the second season as it ended up at 8. 20 of the 52 players were above this number, almost 40%. Also 8 remains the “above average AV” through years 3 through 5, but Orlando Pace really blows the curve despite taking an average of the top 3 like I mentioned above. In reality, 7 might be a more realistic number to judge these players by from 3 and on, but I used 8 instead.

Another thing that stuck out was in years that more than 3 tackles were taken in the 1st round, you sure better be sure the tackle deserves that 1st round grade. There are of course exceptions to every rule, most recently Sam Baker, Duane Brown and Michael Oher for example. Now remember that these guys are measured against other first rounders only, not the entire draft that year.

Relating this now to the Steelers, unless they trade up on draft day this April, I doubt they will have a shot at one the top 3 tackles in the draft this year and questions about the 4th rated tackle on many list, Gabe Carimi, exist as well. Some say he might have to move inside to guard as he may not have the footwork needed to play tackle. Then there is Derek Sherrod, who I even have the Steelers penciled in as taking in the 1st round in my first Steelers mock draft of the year. Since 1995 there have only been 3 drafts where there have been more than 4 tackles taken in the 1st round. Using this exercise, makes you wonder if it is really worth a chance to be the team that takes the 5th. The Steelers might be better served going corner, depending on if a top 3rd or 4th one fall or maybe the best player available left on the board regardless of position.

In closing, there are no hard conclusions you can make from this exercise, but it gives a pretty good snapshot of what has happened with 1st round tackles over the last 16 years using the Approximate Value rating system.

TotalsYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5
Above Average AV #68888
# Players5852453632
# Players = or < AV#2820181211
% # Players = or < AV#48%38%40%33%34%


1995 #PlayerTeamYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Pro Bowls
2Tony BoselliJacksonville Jaguars5111414145
24Korey StringerMinnesota Vikings767991
25Billy MilnerMiami Dolphins61N/AN/AN/A0
29Blake BrockermeyerCarolina Panthers665760
31Trezelle JenkinsKansas City Chiefs001N/AN/A0
1996 #PlayerTeamYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Pro Bowls
4Jonathan OgdenBaltimore Ravens91411111311
10Willie AndersonCincinnati Bengals6107644
27John MichelsGreen Bay Packers63N/AN/AN/A0
29Jamain StephensPittsburgh Steelers141010
30Andre JohnsonWashington Redskins000N/AN/A0
1997 #PlayerTeamYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Pro Bowls
1Orlando PaceSt. Louis Rams461819187
6Walter JonesSeattle Seahawks67107139
19Tarik GlennIndianapolis Colts78101093
30Ross VerbaGreen Bay Packers685860
1998 #PlayerTeamYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Pro Bowls
11William ThomasPhiladelphia Eagles4579123
23Mo CollinsOakland Raiders358240
27Victor RileyKansas City Chiefs878220
1999 #PlayerTeamYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Pro Bowls
14John TaitKansas City Chiefs277980
18Matt StinchcombOakland Raiders513160
21L.J. SheltonArizona Cardinals257650
27Aaron GibsonDetroit Lions420610
2000 #PlayerTeamYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Pro Bowls
3Chris SamuelsWashington Redskins799656
20Stockar McDougleDetroit Lions324660
22Chris McIntoshSeattle Seahawks52N/AN/AN/A0
2001 #PlayerTeamYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Pro Bowls
14Kenyatta WalkerTampa Bay Buccaneers856570
18Jeff BackusDetroit Lions766660
2002 #PlayerTeamYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Pro Bowls
4Mike WilliamsBuffalo Bills7572N/A0
7Bryant McKinnieMinnesota Vikings4911761
10Levi JonesCincinnati Bengals686920
29Marc ColomboChicago Bears2N/A10100
2003 #PlayerTeamYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Pro Bowls
8Jordan GrossCarolina Panthers789662
20George FosterDenver Broncos0910750
26Kwame HarrisSan Francisco 49ers334610
2004 #PlayerTeamYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Pro Bowls
2Robert GalleryOakland Raiders772660
19Vernon CareyMiami Dolphins166790
2005 #PlayerTeamYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Pro Bowls
13Jammal BrownNew Orleans Saints51581262
19Alex BarronSt. Louis Rams686540
2006 #PlayerTeamYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Pro Bowls
4D\’Brickashaw FergusonNew York Jets8689112
2007 #PlayerTeamYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Pro Bowls
3Joe ThomasCleveland Browns10111313N/A4
5Levi BrownArizona Cardinals5985N/A0
28Joe StaleySan Francisco 49ers5744N/A0
2008 #PlayerTeamYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Pro Bowls
1Jake LongMiami Dolphins111313N/AN/A3
12Ryan CladyDenver Broncos13139N/AN/A1
14Chris WilliamsChicago Bears177N/AN/A0
15Branden AlbertKansas City Chiefs556N/AN/A0
17Gosder CherilusDetroit Lions566N/AN/A0
19Jeff OtahCarolina Panthers66N/AN/AN/A0
21Sam BakerAtlanta Falcons388N/AN/A0
26Duane BrownHouston Texans897N/AN/A0
2009 #PlayerTeamYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Pro Bowls
2Jason SmithSt. Louis Rams17N/AN/AN/A0
6Andre SmithCincinnati Bengals12N/AN/AN/A0
8Eugene MonroeJacksonville Jaguars79N/AN/AN/A0
23Michael OherBaltimore Ravens89N/AN/AN/A0
2010 #PlayerTeamYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Pro Bowls
4Trent WilliamsWashington Redskins5N/AN/AN/AN/A0
6Russell OkungSeattle Seahawks4N/AN/AN/AN/A0
11Anthony DavisSan Francisco 49ers8N/AN/AN/AN/A0
23Bryan BulagaGreen Bay Packers6N/AN/AN/AN/A0
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