Including the last three drafts, the Saints have the best pretty-okay-or-better player hit rate in the NFL. Not including the last three drafts, the Saints still have the best pretty-okay-or-better player hit rate in the NFL. The median 2003-2011 hit rate was 29.1 percent, and the Saints beat that mark by quite a lot.The Saints have the best odds in the NFL of coming away from a draft with one (maybe two) of the very small number of available players who are even worth a damn in the first place. That's the good news.
In so many words, a third or so of NFL draft picks turn into players who are pretty okay or better, and the Saints rank first.
Then there is some further discussion about what that good news statistic might or might not mean. I'm not exactly on board with the B&G company policy of drafting a bunch of defensive players but that's a different post. This one is very good, regardless. I'll let you read through it.
But then comes the bad news.
Since 2003, 496 of 3028 NFL rookies have started at least ten games. That’s 16 percent. The percentage of players who start fewer than ten games but contribute otherwise is higher. For example, 33 percent of NFL rookies have appeared in all 16 games of their first season, in some role or another, a number that approaches the Saints’ overall draft hit rate under Mickey Loomis.The Saints are trying to get a lot better real fast before Drew Brees retires. We know he thinks that's going to be another nine years from now but, realistically, it's probably three at the most. Drew Brees this year is about as old as Ken Stabler was when he became the Saints' quarterback. There isn't a lot of time left.
The Saints have about a one in three shot per draft pick of finding the immediate contributors for the 2015 season that they need.
With that in mind, the chances of getting a lot better real fast by drafting players are pretty slim. You're probably not going to find even one who becomes a starter. You're definitely not going to find anyone who immediately turns your whole defense around.. if we assume this is the goal. (I'm not convinced of this but, again, that's another post.)
So rather than pull nine raffle tickets for a chance at getting probably 3 "pretty okay" players two or three years from now, why not just trade them all for nine Parys Haralsons now? No need to take a flier on a potential superstar nobody has time to develop.