Which positions were the most valued in the 2017 Draft? Well, using my draft value chart, it’s very easy to answer such a question:
Note: I grouped special teams as one position: there were zero punters drafted, so the far right column represents the three kickers and one long snapper selected.
The big story of the draft was the amount of cornerbacks selected. Here’s your remarkable draft stat: exactly half of the league’s 32 teams drafted a cornerback in the first three rounds, with the Cowboys and Eagles each drafting two cornerbacks in the first three rounds! A whopping 30 cornerbacks and 26 safeties were drafted overall, or 22% of the 253 draft picks.
Also notable: this was a horrible draft for offensive linemen. Just 9.7% of all draft value was used on offensive linemen in the 2017 Draft, despite the fact that there at least 22.7% of all players on the field on every play are offensive linemen.
Given that there is just one running back (excluding fullbacks) on the field on nearly every play (and sometimes zero), teams spent an awful lot of draft capital on running backs in this draft. Think about it like this: there was 251.4 points of draft capital spent on defensive linemen — that’s defensive ends plus defensive tackles. And that there are 3-4 of those on the field most plays, and defensive linemen are generally considered a premium position. Well, there was 129.2 points of draft value on running backs, despite just one of those on the field. On a per snap basis, it’s clear that no position was valued as highly in 2017 as the running back position. More on this tomorrow, but this was the biggest use of draft capital on running backs since 2008.