In 2017, just 15 of the 352 starts (4.3%) by the New England Patriots came from rookies. Just four rookies produced any points of Approximate Value for the 2017 Patriots: three defensive linemen (Adam Butler, Deatrich Wise Jr., and Eric Lee) combined to just 10 points of AV, with third-string TE Jacob Hollister gaining 1 point. No team got less out of rookies in 2017 than New England, which makes sense given that (a) New England did not have a first or second round pick, (b) the team had just four picks (with only Wise producing AV or a start), and (c) the Patriots had quality starters at most positions throughout the team, leaving few opportunities for rookies to steal playing time.
For the Eagles, rookies didn’t contribute much more. Kicker Jake Elliott, backup CB Rasul Douglas, backup RB Corey Clement, and DE Derek Barnett (the team’s first round pick who played on 41% of snaps) each produced 3 points of AV, the most for any Eagles rookie. Linebackers Joe Walker and Nathan Gerry, and wide receiver Mack Hollins, each had two points of AV, with third-string QB Nate Sudfeld and backup OL Elijah Qualls bringing one point of AV.
Rookies produced only 8% of the AV by all Philadelphia players this year. Yes, every player is valuable, but compared to the rest of the NFL, the Super Bowl participants — again — didn’t get much from rookies.
The table below shows the percentage of team AV that came from rookies for all teams this year. The Saints were the only team in the top 5 that made the playoffs, although the Bills, Jaguars, and Chiefs also saw substantial contributions from rookies.
But as the bottom of the table shows, the best teams in the NFL aren’t made from the most recent draft: they’re made from the drafts two, three, and four years ago.