Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Shifts in demand for TE and WR -- late and early rounds.

Question:  The table below has data on the number of tight ends and wide receivers picked in the 1994 and 2014 draft.   There is separate information for the total number of players selected in rounds 1 to 3 and for rounds 4 to 7.   What can we learn from this table about the difference in demand for tight ends and wide receivers in 1994 versus 2014?


Data:   The data below was gleaned from the NFL web site.




Draft Picks for Tight Ends and Wide Receivers 2014 versus 1994
2014
Rounds
Tight Ends
Wide Receivers
Total of Tight Ends and Wide Receivers
Total Picks
1 to 3
7
15
22
100
4 to 7
3
18
21
156
Total
10
33
43
256
1994
Rounds
Tight Ends
Wide Receivers
Total of Tight Ends and Wide Receivers
Total Picks
1 to 3
2
17
19
103
4 to 7
11
8
19
119
Total
13
25
38
222



Note the difference in the total number of players picked in the two drafts.  In 2014, there were 256 players picked in the draft.  In 1994, there were 222 players picked.   I am not sure why this happened.  Anyway, it makes sense to compare picks by position as a percent of total picks rather than just the difference in the total number of picks.


Analysis:   Data on proportion of picks used for the two positions in early versus late rounds is presented below.


 Tight End and Wide Receiver as a
 Percent of Total Picks
2014
Tight Ends
Wide Receivers
1 to 3
0.0700
0.1500
4 to 7
0.0192
0.1154
Total
0.0391
0.1289
1994
Tight Ends
Wide Receivers
1 to 3
0.0194
0.1650
4 to 7
0.0924
0.0672
Total
0.0586
0.1126
Difference
Tight Ends
Wide Receivers
1 to 3
0.0506
-0.0150
4 to 7
-0.0732
0.0482
Total
-0.0195
0.0163



Observations:

The proportion of early-round picks used on tight ends was a lot higher in 2014 than in 1994.

The proportion of early-round picks used on wide receivers was modestly lower in 2014 compared to 1994.

The proportion of late-round picks used in tight ends was a lot lower in 2014 than 1994.

The proportion of late-round picks used on wide receivers was a lot higher in 2014 than in 1994.

Overall Conclusion:  The premium placed on getting a wide receiver has increased over time at least based on the two years studied in this post.   The increased need for wide receiver is depicted by an increase in late-round picks used at this position.

A Footnote:  The median tight-end draft pick and the median wide receiver draft pick in the 2014 NFL draft were 81.5 and 105 respectively.   It would be incorrect and silly to claim that the lower median draft pick for tight ends was proof that tight ends were highly valued.   The higher wider receiver median occurs because there is a lot of late-round interest in wide receivers and little or no late round interest in tight ends. 






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