To BPA or not to BPA … One of the intriguing elements of the 2018 draft is that while QBs are expected to go 1-2-3 – if not 1-2-3-4 – when the actual picking gets underway on the 26th, many analysts consider non-QB prospects like Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, NC State DE Bradley and Notre Dame OF Quenton Nelson as the top overall prospects. So what happened to BPA. Truth is that, at least when it comes to the early picks in the draft, the concept probably never really existed. That kind of showed when we looked at the first three picks in each past ten drafts. That’s 30 players overall and given that there are roughly 10 positional groups – QB, RB, WR, OT, G/C, DE, DT, LB, CB, and S – one would expect that if only the best players came off the board in those picks they would be distributed randomly and that there would have been roughly 3 players taken from each group. Instead the data show that of the 30 players taken with those first three picks in the past decade, 12 – four times the expected number – were QBs, while there were 7 DEs and 5 OTs. In contrast, there has only been 1 RB taken with a top three pick since 2008, while there were no WRs, no corners, no safeties and no interior offensive linemen. Why? Because potentially elite QBs, pass-rushing DEs and OTs are just hard to find later in the draft, even later in the opening round, and if you need one you best not dither!
Interestingly, the distribution evens out considerably when players taken with a top ten pick, although the same positions tend to dominate. Of the 100 players (which should work out to 10 per position if they were selected randomly) selected with a top 10 pick since 2008, 17 were QBs, while there were 16 each at DE and OT. WRs (13) and LBs (11) were also over-represented among top ten picks, while CBs (7), RBs (7), DTs (6), safeties (4) and interior offensive linemen (3) were under-represented. Interestingly, while QBs made up 12 of the 30 players taken with top three picks, they actually made up only 5 of 70 selected between the 4th and 10th picks.