It goes without saying that the NFL Draft is far from an exact science, but Will Brinson with CBS Sports may have narrowed down a few draft picks that have proven to be more successful than others.
Brinson and staff accumulated data from 2002 through 2013 using Pro-Football-Reference's Career Approximate Value (AV). The way of calculating a player's AV goes as follows:
100% of the player's best season, plus 95% of his 2nd-best season, plus 90% of his 3rd-best season, plus 85% of his 4th-best season, ....
The biggest peak of AV since 2002 was the 11th overall pick, followed by the 24th overall pick.
Yes, the 24th pick - the very pick that the Bengals are selecting in the 2014 NFL Draft. Since 2002, the Bengals selected from that position once. In 2006, the Bengals selected Jonathan Joseph.
Why is the 24th pick so successful? There are numerous possibilities, and many could be chalked up to being purely coincidence. However, it's difficult to deny that there is a lot of great talent here:
The biggest outlier is the Packers taking Aaron Rodgers (88 CarAV). But the Ravens got Ed Reed (107), the Rams got Steven Jackson (70), the Colts got Dallas Clark (51), the Titans got Chris Johnson (63), the Bengals got Johnathan Joseph (49), the Cowboys got Dez Bryant (36) and the Saints got Cameron Jordan (26).
What's even more interesting is the fact that no team has repeated the 24th pick since 2002 - a year chosen because that's when the Houston Texans entered the league - so the Bengals will be the first to get another shot at the sweet spot.
The Bengals are in a position to draft at a spot that has been fairly consistent in value, and that's not even considering the fact that the 24th overall pick comes with a much lower price tag at just under $16 million less than the first overall pick.
Perhaps it's luck. Perhaps it's coincidence. Regardless, the numbers suggest that the Bengals couldn't be in a better position in terms of both talent value and financial investment. Time will tell, of course, but it's simply another reason to get excited for another successful draft for Cincinnati.