## Wednesday, August 7, 2019

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

This post uses descriptive statistics to teach about the NFL draft.

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.