Saving The Best For Last: Do NFL Players Drafted Later Perform Better?

  • Study showcases the success of a player versus when they were drafted.
  • Research reveals Patrick Mahomes to be the touchdown and passing leader – finally living up to his draft position.
  • PlayPicks reveal that the San Francisco 49ers are the best team at drafting, and their highest performing player was picked 207th overall.

When teams draft new players it’s based on their performance from the previous season – usually picking the players who would bring the most value early in the draft, however, some players are overlooked and chosen late – like Tom Brady who turn out to be among the best in the league.

Playpicks have examined every NFL player to find out which are living up to their draft position and which have turned out to be a wasted pick. By gathering the stats on key positions across the field, we were able to calculate which players who have proved to be the best based on their original draft position. Key statistics were examined relevant to each players position like – yards gained, touchdowns, tackles and compared it to their draft position.

In A League Of Their Own: Success Vs. Draft

  1. Passing Touchdown Leader: Patrick Mahomes is currently the “passing touchdown leader” of the NFL – landing 22 touchdowns – when looking at his 2017 stats he was underperforming due his lack of experience, however, from his 2018 games so far, he’s proving to be an amazing pick for the Chiefs.
  2. Rushing Yards Leader: Currently, Todd Gurley is the “rushing yards leader” of the NFL – covering 686 yards in these 7 weeks. Last season in 2017 his performance was slightly better at 701 yards, like Patrick Mahomes he was a part of the 1st draft and 10th overall – proving to be a brilliant pick for the Las Angeles Rams.
  3. Pass Completion Leader: Kirk Cousins takes the lead when it comes to completed passes, in the past 7 weeks he’s landed 210 completed passes and gained 14 touchdowns. Even though he was a late pick (102nd overall) he as only gotten better with time and has played very well for the Vikings this season.

Highest Performing Teams:

We also looked at each team and looked at how many high performing players they picked to guage which chose the most successful players and what their draft position.


1. San Francisco49ers

2. Chicago Bears

3. New England Patriots

Highest Performing Player

Elvis Dumervil – 126th overall pick

Jordan Howard – 150th overall pick

Tom Brady – 199th overall pick

Some would argue that picking the players that have experience lower the risk of wasting a draft pick. But, from PlayPicks research we were able to see that many players picked later, like Tom Brady, perform at an outstanding level.

Find out who the best draft picks in the NFL are based on position and performance, and uncover which teams made the best choices here.