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NFL Player Development – 2014

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College Football Player Development

Recruiting: NFL Draftee Ratios

A consistent topic in college football circles is player development.  Who is good, who is bad and it’s impact on the game. In my world of the CFBMatrix, talent is king and therefore, if a team is great at recruiting or developing NFL level talent, they are going to be getting an edge in winning football games.

I feel that a guy getting a draft grade is an amazing athlete.  To actually get drafted as well? Wow! That happens for only the best of the best of the best. Remember, approximately 10% of five stars get to the NFL and less than 1% of three stars. Before you start spouting off about how bad recruiting rankings project keep in mind it, like recruiting classes, is a numbers game.


Another MatrixCast with Dave: Player Development Article


When I look at this chart and see that eight of the top 10 recruits hold eight of the top 10 spots for most draft picks, I would say that recruiting ranking and profiling is doing a pretty good job. The two teams in the top 10 of recruiting but not draft numbers are Michigan and Texas.

There is a bunch of draft information in this chart for you to process and find what makes you happy. I have used the draft period of 2005-2014 and, because of the three year delay to early entry into the NFL draft, the corresponding recruiting cycles of 2002-2011.

If you want pure numbers of draftees that is columns four and five. (ex. Wisconsin has had 42 picks which ranks them #10). The second column ranks teams by their ratio of draft rank to recruiting rank.  This one works well for the teams that recruit outside the top 10. Those inside the top 10 get wacky ratios (ex. it makes Texas #78 in player development).

My favorite is simply the difference in draftee rank and recruiting rank.  It still gives some weird rankings (ex. UConn at #3 and single draftee Duke at #69).  For most programs, there is not much that separates the teams, but in my opinion there are a few clear good and bad exceptions. In either case it is not perfect, but a starting point in a conversation about player development through the eyes of the CFBMatrix.

Side bar note: Michigan is the only top 10 recruiter from 2002-2011 that did not make a national title game appearance this century and is also not in the top ten of total NFL draftees from the corresponding period of 2005-2014.

NFL Draftee Development 2014



  1. James

    September 30, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    It would be interesting to see how the rankings would fluctuate if you assigned values to when players were picked. As a wisconsin alum it is cool to see them on top of this list but the majority of our picks in recent years have been mid to late round guys, would probably drop slightly with more weight placed on 1st, 2nd,3rd rounders etc, or even top 5, 10…

    • Ken

      April 30, 2015 at 8:02 am

      what do you consider recent years? 2011, 2012, 2013 WI had at least 1 player drafted in the 1st and 2nd round and a few 3rd rounders sprinkled in. 2014 had no 1st or 2nd round picks but had 2 3rd draft picks from WI.

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