Draft history says earlier isn’t always better.
The Chicago Bears should think about draft history when considering OJ Howard at #3 in the 2017 NFL Draft.
First round vs. Second round
In the last twenty NFL Drafts, the tight end position has been selected 20 times in the first round and 33 times in the 2nd round.
The biggest names of the first round are Greg Olsen (1.31), Vernon Davis (1.6), Dallas Clark (1.24), Jeremy Shockey (1.14), and Tony Gonzalez (1.13). Big names of the second round are Hunter Henry (2.4), Zach Ertz (2.3), Kyle Rudolph (2.11), Rob Gronkowski (2.10), Martellus Bennett (2.30), and Zach Miller (2.6).
The difference is between the players in the two rounds is arguable.
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Top ten tight ends
In the last twenty years, only three tight ends have been drafted in the top ten.
- Eric Ebron – 2014 – Pick 1.10
- Vernon Davis – 2006 – Pick 1.6
- Kellen Winslow Jr. – 2004 – Pick 1.6
That trio is not exactly a ringing endorsement for selecting a tight end with a top ten pick. Ebron is an average tight end for the pass-happy Lions. With the departure of Calvin Johnson, it’s likely Ebron’s stats are a little inflated for the 2016 season. As for Davis and Winslow Jr., both were mercurial to say the least. Winslow Jr. ran into trouble and injuries at both Cleveland and Tampa Bay, not to mention his famous motorcycle accident. Davis, on the other hand, is the inspiration for then 49er head coach Mike Singletary’s famous “winners” speech.
Outside the past 20 years, the picture for 1st round tight ends doesn’t get much prettier. The search for a first round tight end worthy of a top ten pick takes Bears’ fans all the way back to 1961, and a guy who ended up being instrumental to the team’s history: Mike Ditka (1.5).
Finding another Ditka is unlikely, and TE at #3 makes little sense.