The perception is the Saints don’t draft well. However, there are many times recently when I run across a former Saints draft choice doing well in the league, and I wondered do the Saints draft well. Or is the perception based on who remains with the team? To put some numbers to my questions, I looked at four teams deemed to draft well–Seattle, Steelers, Green Bay and Ravens. Out of each draft class, I looked to see which drafted player remained with their original team, whether the drafted player remained in the NFL or CFL, and who was out of the league. Placing a percentage on those who still with the original team and in the NFL, I called this percentage NFL (Draft) Efficiency.
Some draft years were better than others for the Saints, but the Saints were not the lowest in NFL Efficiency for any year except for 2014. I ranked highest in blue, then green, then yellow, then bright blue, and lowest in pink.
Next, I summarized drafted players with their original team by year and took a percentage of this total for each draft year. Of the teams evaluated, the Saints have the youngest roster at present.
As expected, we can see Green Bay (40), Ravens (33), Steelers (31), and Seattle (29) rely mainly on the draft to build their teams; whereas the Saints have relied heavily on free agency and the draft somewhat to build the team. Although many of the Saints drafted players are not still on the team, they are still in the league. The Saints actually have the highest percentage of all teams evaluated of players who remain in the league. Their lower number of draft choices has required them to be more efficient, and they have relied on undrafted free agents.
Do the Saints draft well? Yes, they do. But an argument could be made to develop and retain more players.
Happy 2016 Drafting!!