I took a look at the 2012 ProBowl rosters (starters, backups & alternates) since that is a good collection, more or less, of who the best players are in the NFL.
Then I looked up what rounds each of these players were drafted in.
Then I compared the Positions vs. the Rounds to determine what success each position has by round.
The primary objective of this exercise is with Cincy having 2 first round picks....what does it make sense to take in round 1?
Position, and % of pro-bowlers from this position drafted in round 1:
Oh, I eliminated FB because they were both UFA’s, and I didn’t want to put them as RB because the RB #’s were already low enough.
LB...77% (so 77% of the “elite” LB’s are taken in the 1st round)
OL...46% (OG + C)
S...33% (so only 33% of the elite Safeties are taken in round 1)
* I was surprised that LB is the most successful position from round 1 in that 77% of all the “elite” LB’s came from the first round. Maybe Keith Rivers didn’t get the memo?
* LB, QB, OT, CB were all above the 70% threshold, which seems to imply that if you want a stud at one of these positions, your best bet is to take one in round 1. The Bengals need a CB in 2012, so it makes sense to take one in round 1 (as opposed to waiting).
* To all the Mark Barron lovers, it appears that only 33% of the “elite” safeties are coming from round 1. Meaning that you’re twice as likely to find a stud safety after round 1 than you are in round 1.
* I found it interesting that only 33% of the best RB’s were taken in round 1. What made it more interesting is the DeCastro vs. Richardson debate in that an equal or higher # of RB’s are taken over interior o-linemen in round 1, but the RB’s only have a 33% representation in the pro-bowl, while the o-linement have a 46% representation, indicating that a round 1 drafted interior lineman is much more likely to pan out to be a stud whereas a round 1 RB is more of a risk.
Looking at round 2 representation at the pro-bowl:
So my conclusion is that (generally) if the Bengals are looking for a safety or running back, they are better off waiting until round 2 (or later), as the round 1 success rates of those positions in round 1 isn’t very good. But if they are looking for a corner, linebacker, o-lineman or d-lineman, they are better off taking that player in round 1, as those have a higher chance of being elite.