With the 2018 NFL Draft knocking at the door, the NFC South is about to see a bunch more talent enter in its gates, and instantly hate each other.
It’s the tried-and-true tradition of the division — mutual antagonism. Ah, it breathes life into the soul, doesn’t it?
But, in this ever-quest of NFC South supremacy, which team has done the best job of drafting in the decade? Well, we’ve got answers.
Gabe Gonzalez over at Rise Up Reader has tracked the draft retention rates of all four NFC South teams post-2010, and the results are quite interesting, and tell you a lot of why the division has gone the way it has over the decade.
Here’s how it breaks down: the New Orleans Saints are first in the division with 42.86% of their picks retained, and the Carolina Panthers are last with 37.74%. As for our Atlanta Falcons? They clock in at 41.18%.
Here are some of Gonzalez’s tidbits he found in his studies:
New Orleans faced several bad drafts pre-2015, with three (3!) classes that have zero players on the current roster. However, their drafts have been spot-on since 2015, resulting in their current success.
Tampa Bay has had pretty average drafts for the past eight years. Apart from 2017, they don’t have a single draft retention above 75%, but only have three drafts below 40%.
Carolina has been more successful drafting in recent years, but their younger roster has yet to make a deep playoff run since their Super Bowl appearance.
Dan Quinn completely turned around the team in a few short years. In his three drafts, 15 of the 19 players are still on the roster. The cut players were two 7th round picks that didn’t shape out, Jalen Collins, who performed well for Atlanta in his brief time here, and Brian Hill.
Atlanta might’ve been first on this list if not for that abominable 2012 draft that saw zero draft picks stick around on the roster past a certain point. It’s always important to remember the team gave up their 2012 first to get Julio Jones, so some of that draft did go to somewhere, but everything else was a wash, and part of why the team took a nosedive in 2013 and 2014.
We’ll see how the 2018 draft does to tip the percentages one way or the other as time goes on, and check back here in a couple of years to see who reigns supreme over the division when the decade is all said and done.