Since 1996, here is how the league stacks up by the average draft value:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (16.37)

2. Indianapolis Colts (15.27)

3. Green Bay Packers (14.86)

4. Baltimore Ravens (14.71)

5. New England Patriots (14.71)

6. Carolina Panthers (14.31)

7. Jacksonville Jaguars (13.75)

8. Philadelphia Eagles (13.39)

9. New York Jets (13.32)

10. San Diego Chargers (13.18)

11. Cincinnati Bengals (13.13)

12. New Orleans Saints (13.05)

13. Seattle Seahawks (12.92)

14. Minnesota Vikings (12.91)

15. Chicago Bears (12.73)

16. Miami Dolphins (12.69)

17. Dallas Cowboys (12.62)

18. New York Giants (12.53)

19. Atlanta Falcons (12.47)

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12.44)

21. Arizona Cardinals (12.3)

22. Denver Broncos (12.1)

23. Houston Texans (11.96)

24. Kansas City Chiefs (11.71)

25. Washington Redskins (11.7)

26. Tennessee Titans (11.55)

27. San Francisco 49ers (11.29)

28. Detroit Lions (11.1)

29. St. Louis Rams (10.85)

30. Buffalo Bills (10.79)

31. Oakland Raiders (10.66)

32. Cleveland Browns (9.55)

The

X
Average draft position
X
Draft rank, 1996–2016
X
Best draft class before 2012

Surprised? Deflated? Demanding to know where these numbers come from? Average draft position is the average of all first round picks. Draft rank is the rank of this team's average draft value compared to all other teams. Best class is the year that this team had the highest average draft value. The years 2012 through 2015 are excluded because the players in those drafts have not had enough time to accumulate value.

This piece uses a metric called draft value, created by the math gurus at ProFootballReference.com. It weighs factors such as games started, individual stats, team performance and all-pro honors.

It’s a way to compare players at different positions and to show their value to the teams that chose them. (Here's the nitty-gritty.)

This measure isn't perfect. Playoffs aren’t included, for instance, and some skills don't show up in statistics. Longevity counts, so newer players don't have high numbers yet. But if you combine the values of all players a team chooses, you get a snapshot of whether that teams drafts well or … not so much.

If you want to revel in your team’s brilliance (or wallow in its futility), dive in. Spoiler alert: It isn't pretty for the Browns.

Here is a look at every pick the have made since 1996, along with each player's draft value. Hover over each box for more details.

Average draft value

’96
’97
’98
’99
’00
’01
’02
’03
’04
’05
’06
’07
’08
’09
’10
’11
’12
’13
’14
’15
Note: The Houston Texans were an expansion team in 2002. The Tennessee Titans were the Houston Oilers until the 1997 season, so the Oilers' 1996 picks have been attributed to Tennessee.
Note: The Cleveland Browns franchise was inactive between 1996 and 1999.
Note: The Tennessee Titans were the Houston Oilers until the 1997 season. Houston's picks in 1996 have been attributed to Tennessee.

Everyone gets buyer’s remorse

Even the best-drafting teams make picks they’d like to have back. The Patriots took DB Chris Canty over Ronde Barber in 1997. The Steelers took WR Troy Edwards over Donald Driver in 1999. And of course, there are the 2000 QB picks that will forever haunt the Jets, 49ers, Ravens, Saints and Browns, who chose … drum roll, please … Chad Pennington, Giovanni Carmazzi, Chris Redmond, Tee Martin, Marc Bulger and Spurgeon Wynn, respectively, while taking a pass on Tom Brady.

Some of the best players that the left on the table:Remorse is based on other available picks at the same position in the same draft. For every pick a team made, we compared the career value of other players of that position who were still available. We used career value to calculate instead of draft value in order to more equally compare players' careers. We ranked each set of "regrets" by largest difference and showed the top four.

Most drafted players don’t measure up

The simple math of the NFL is that a big chunk of players chosen in the draft never make an impact for their new team. Of the more than 5,000 players drafted since 1996, one in six never played for the teams that chose them. However, that also includes players immediately traded before their first seasons (see: Eli Manning and Philip Rivers). The average draft value is 12.7, but more than a third of players scored 4.0 or less, meaning they contributed little or nothing to the team that picked them. With that in mind, we can divide players into some broad categories.

Here's how the picks since 1996 have turned out:

1st
round
Picks within round
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th

Roll over highlighted dots to see each player's value to the team that drafted him:

Legendary
Great
Good
Average
Poor
Useless

X
Didn't play
Were immediately traded or didn't make the cut
X
Useless
Rarely — or never — saw the field
X
Poor
Had underwhelming careers
X
Average
Decent choices, but nothing special
X
Good
Solid, bread-and-butter players
X
Great
Worthy of telling the grandkids about
X
Legendary
You'll see these guys in the Hall of Fame

Here’s a look at that breakdown for all players drafted by every team since 1996.Categories were defined to be relatively equal in size, centered around the NFL average (12.7). Remember, those who never played for the teams that selected them have no draft value number — not even a zero — so you won’t see players such as Eli Manning (career value of 104) or Philip Rivers (121) anywhere.

Draft value distribution of all picks since 1996

37%

Useless

(draft value 0–4)

Ryan Leaf (0)

Ryan Mallett (0)

AJ Jenkins (0)

David Pollack (3)

17

0

11

5

80

35

Each line is a player.

Line height is draft value.

Players are sorted by value.

15.3%

Poor

(5–10)

JaMarcus Russell (6)

Cedric Benson (9)

17

0

11

5

80

35

10.5%

Average

(10–17)

Matt Leinart (12)

Beanie Wells (14)

17

0

11

5

80

35

12.3%

Good

(18–35)

Michael Clayton (22)

Carlos Rogers (23)

C.J. Spiller (32)

17

0

11

5

80

35

6.9%

Great

(36–80)

A.J. Hawk (56)

Dez Bryant (50)

Vonn Miller (58)

17

0

11

5

80

35

1%

Legendary

(More than 80)

Tom Brady, Ray Lewis (160)

Peyton Manning (144)

Marvin Harrison (124)

Brian Urlacher (118)

17

0

11

5

80

35

Both ends of the spectrum

1%

Legendary

(Draft value more than 80)

16.7%

Didn’t play for their draft team

(no score)

Tom Brady, Ray Lewis (160)

Eli Manning and Philip Rivers were part of a draft-day trade in 2004;

Maurice Clarett

Eric Crouch

Peyton Manning (144)

Marvin Harrison (124)

Brian Urlacher (118)

Everbody else

37%

Useless

(draft value of 0–4)

15.3%

Poor

(5–10)

12.3%

Good

(18–35)

6.9%

Great

(36–80)

10.5%

Average

(11–17)

Ryan Leaf (0)

JaMarcus

Russell (6)

Matt Leinart

(12)

Michael

Clayton

(22)

A.J.

Hawk

(56)

Ryan Mallett (0)

AJ Jenkins (0)

Beanie Wells

(14)

Cedric

Benson (9)

David Pollack (3)

Carlos Rogers

(23)

Dez

Bryant

(50)

C.J. Spiller

(32)

Vonn

Miller

(58)

NFL

average

(12.7)

Each line is a player.

Line height is draft value.

Players are sorted by value.

17

0

11

5

80

35

Draft value

37%

Useless

(draft value of 0–4)

15.3%

Poor

(5–10)

12.3%

Good

(18–35)

16.7%

of players drafted,

1996-2015

Didn’t play for

their draft team

6.9%

Great

(36–80)

1%

Legendary

(More than 80)

10.5%

Average

(11–17)

Tom Brady, Ray Lewis (160)

Ryan Leaf (0)

JaMarcus

Russell (6)

Matt Leinart

(12)

Michael

Clayton

(22)

A.J.

Hawk

(56)

Ryan Mallett (0)

Peyton Manning (144)

AJ Jenkins (0)

Eli Manning and Philip Rivers were part of a draft-day trade in 2004;

Maurice Clarett

Eric Crouch

Beanie Wells

(14)

Cedric

Benson (9)

David Pollack (3)

Carlos Rogers

(23)

Dez

Bryant

(50)

Marvin Harrison (124)

Brian Urlacher (118)

C.J. Spiller

(32)

Orlando Pace (103)

Vonn

Miller

(58)

Adrian Peterson (88)

JJ Watt (81)

NFL

average

(12.7)

Each line is a player.

Line height is draft value.

Players are sorted by value.

17

0

11

5

80

35

Draft value

Some positions are better bets

Every team has different needs to try to fill in each year's draft. Here are the positions of players chosen by the since 1996.

Number of players drafted by position and round ProFootballReference lists every player's position, but the site is not always consistent. For example, some players are listed as cornerbacks while others are listed as defensive backs. The Post's John Harris recategorized every pick into more representative positions.

Offense
Defense
Spec.
RD.
QB
RB
WR
TE
T
G
C
DE
DT
OLB
LB
CB
S
P/K
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Total

As you might expect, first-round picks tended to be more successful than average. However, if you calculate by position, offensive linemen were generally better than average even when taken late in the draft. The reason is their versatility, according to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper.

“If you draft a left tackle, you can move him to right tackle and if you have to, you can move him to guard,” Kiper said. “Whereas if you draft a quarterback, he’s either a quarterback or he’s gone.”

Average draft value by position and round

Offense
Defense
Spec.
RD.
QB
RB
WR
TE
T
G
C
DE
DT
OLB
LB
CB
S
P/K
Avg.
1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
30.1
2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
18.1
3
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
12.4
4
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
9.6
5
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6.6
6
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5.4
7
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4.9

Average value based on round and position

Sure enough, look at the middle-round picks at each position and you see that offensive linemen, especially tackles and centers, generally outperform picks at other positions.

The chart below shows the median value for players at each position since 1996.For each position, quartiles were calculated and plotted as a box-and-whisker plot. It also shows how truly exceptional the best-performing picks were.

Range of values at each position

Offense

The middle 50% of all picks

are within this range

Min.

Med.

C

T. McClure (74)

Max.

O. Pace (103)

T

G

A. Faneca (99)

WR

M. Harrison (124)

RB

L. Tomlinson (121)

QB

T. Brady (160)

TE

T. Gonzalez (75)

Defense

DE

J. Taylor (112)

LB

R. Lewis (160)

DT

K. Williams (95)

S

E. Reed (103)

CB

R. Barber (111)

OLB

C. Greenway (62)

Spec.

P/K

S. Janikowski (38)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

160

Draft value

Offense

The middle 50% of all picks

are within this range

Min.

Med.

Center

Todd McClure (74)

Max.

Orlando Pace (103)

Tackle

Guard

Alan Faneca (99)

Wide receiver

Marvin Harrison (124)

Running back

LaDainian Tomlinson (121)

Quarterback

Tom Brady (160)

Tight end

Tony Gonzalez (75)

Defense

Defensive End

Jason Taylor (112)

Linebacker

Ray Lewis (160)

Defensive tackle

Kevin Williams (95)

Safety

Ed Reed (103)

Cornerback

Ronde Barber (111)

Outside linebacker

Chad Greenway (62)

Spec.

Punter/Kicker

Sebastian Janikowski (38)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

160

Draft value

Offense

The middle 50% of all picks

are within this range

Max.

Min.

Median

Center

Todd McClure (74)

Orlando Pace (103)

Tackle

Guard

Alan Faneca (99)

Wide receiver

Marvin Harrison (124)

Running back

LaDainian Tomlinson (121)

Quarterback

Tom Brady (160)

Tight end

Tony Gonzalez (75)

Defense

Defensive End

Jason Taylor (112)

Linebacker

Ray Lewis (160)

Defensive tackle

Kevin Williams (95)

Safety

Ed Reed (103)

Cornerback

Ronde Barber (111)

Outside linebacker

Chad Greenway (62)

Spec.

Punter/Kicker

Sebastian Janikowski (38)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

160

Draft value

Passing fancy changed the game

Recent history explains the popularity of certain picks. The NFL’s evolution toward more passing and less running began with the introduction of the West Coast offense in the 1980s, and it has reached new extremes with recent rules changes that protect passers and receivers. So it makes sense that high-risk, high-reward quarterbacks and reliable tackles who protect them are taken highest in the draft.

It also make sense that the hottest defensive picks are certain strong, speedy defensive ends and outside linebackers (a.k.a. edge rushers) whose job is to disrupt those pass-happy offenses.

Some of those edge rushers have been draft-day steals, according to Kiper, such as Jared Allen and Elvis Dumervil (fourth round) and Michael Bennett and Pernell McPhee (sixth round).

Highest picks by position on both sides of the ball For the purposes of this chart, edge rushers were split out from defensive ends or outside linebackers and treated as their own position.