Rookies versus Consistency – 2021

Bob Lung presents the facts and figures on why drafting Rookies can be can very RISKY in the early rounds! You can follow or respond to him on Twitter at @bob_lung.

The one question that I get asked every year is “Why don’t you include rookies in your consistency analysis?” My answer has always been “They’re too inconsistent.” Or “College talent doesn’t always equate to NFL talent.” That normally leads to “Well, what about Odell Beckham, Jr. or LeVeon Bell or Saquon Barkley?” Good point.

So, I decided to back up my theory with facts. I accumulated the number of draft choices at the offensive positions (QB, RB, WR and TE) since 2010. For the past 12 years, there have been 476 of these players drafted in the first four rounds. I did only the first four rounds since that’s where most of the NFL starters come from. Yes, there are the Tom Brady’s of the world that are drafted in Round 6, but those are few and far between.

The breakdown of the positions and rounds are as follows:

 

Rd 1

Rd 2

Rd 3

Rd 4

Total

QB

34

11

13

18

76

RB

17

32

29

47

125

WR

40

50

49

52

191

TE

9

19

27

29

84

Total

100

112

118

146

476


Next, I accumulated all the rookies who exceeded a 60% Clutch Rating (how consistent the player was during the season) and played more than 10 games in their rookie season since 2010. 

 

90% - 100%

80% - 89%

70% - 79%

60% - 69%

Total

QB

0

1

1

5

7

RB

3

4

8

5

20

WR

1

2

2

8

13

TE

0

0

1

1

2

Total

4

7

12

19

42


As you can see above, since 2010, only 42 TOTAL rookies have ever exceeded a 60% Clutch Rating in their rookie season. Around 74% of those players had a Clutch Rating between 60-79%, while only 26% were over an 80% Clutch Rating. In summary, it’s even rarer that a rookie has a Clutch Rating over 90% in his first season. Let’s look at the breakdown by position.

 

90% - 100%

80% - 89%

70% - 79%

60% - 69%

Total

QB

 

 

 

 

9.21%

RB

 

 

 

 

16.00%

WR

 

 

 

 

6.81%

TE

 

 

 

 

2.38%

Total

0.84%

1.47%

2.52%

3.99%

8.82%


The chart shows less than one percent of all position players drafted in the past 12 years have earned a Clutch Rating over 90% in their rookie season. The other Clutch Rating categories don’t show much success either with success ratings between 1.47% and 3.99%. In total, approximately 8.8% of all rookies since 2010 have earned over a 60% Clutch Rating.

If you’re wondering, who were these 42 rookies, who earned over a 60% Clutch Rating in their first season, then you’re in luck! We’ll start with the quarterbacks. Remember, only seven quarterbacks out of the 76 (9.21%), drafted in the first four rounds since 2010, have earned over 60% Clutch Rating. Robert Griffin and Marcus Mariota both earned a 67% Clutch Rating while Cam Newton had an extraordinary 81% in 2011, Dak Prescott earned a 75% Clutch Rating in in 2016, Baker Mayfield with a 64% rating in 2018 and Kyler Murray sucked in with a 63% rating in 2019.

In 2020, we added one more. Justin Herbert ended the season with a 67% Clutch Rating to make this honorable list. Herbert started the season RED-HOT with seven Clutch Games out of his first nine as a starter. However, the defenses caught up to him and he only earned two Clutch Games over the last six games. So, can count on him for 60-65% consistency in 2020. If Austin Ekeler and the rest of the offense stays healthy, I like Herbert to maintain that consistency in 2021.

Rd

Pick

Team

Name

Year

CR

1

1

CAR

Cam Newton

2011

81%

4

135

DAL

Dak Prescott

2016

75%

1

2

WAS

Robert Griffin

2012

67%

1

2

TEN

Marcus Mariota

2015

67%

1

6

LAC

Justin Herbert

2020

67%

1

1

CLE

Baker Mayfield

2018

64%

1

1

ARI

Kyler Murray

2019

63%


The running backs lead all positions with 20 rookies having exceeded the 60% Clutch Rating. This equated to 16% of all the drafted running backs since 2010. Of those 20, only three exceeded a 90% Clutch Rating and they were LeVeon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley.

While it’s rare enough to earn the consistency as a rookie to even make this list, it’s even rarer when three rookie running backs earn over 70% consistency in their first season. However, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, D’Andre Swift and Jonathan Taylor all three did that in 2020. And all three look primed to not miss a beat in 2021 as the bell-cow back on their respective offenses.

Rd

Pick

Team

Name

Year

CR

1

2

NYG

Saquon Barkley

2018

94%

1

4

DAL

Ezekiel Elliott

2016

93%

2

48

PIT

Le'Veon Bell

2013

92%

2

61

GNB

Eddie Lacy

2013

87%

1

4

JAX

Leonard Fournette

2017

85%

3

67

NO

Alvin Kamara

2017

81%

1

31

TAM

Doug Martin

2012

81%

1

32

KC

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

2020

77%

2

35

DET

D'Andre Swift

2020

77%

1

10

STL

Todd Gurley

2015

77%

6

173

WAS

Alfred Morris

2012

75%

2

36

JAX

T.J. Yeldon

2015

75%

1

3

CLE

Trent Richardson

2012

73%

5

155

BUF

Karlos Williams

2015

73%

2

41

IND

Jonathan Taylor

2020

73%

1

8

CAR

Christian McCaffrey

2017

69%

3

86

KC

Kareem Hunt

2017

69%

2

37

CIN

Giovani Bernard

2013

69%

5

160

STL

Zac Stacy

2013

64%

1

24

OAK

Josh Jacobs

2019

62%


The wide receivers are second in total rookies over 60% with 13. This equated to only 6.81% of all the drafted wide receivers since 2010. However, the biggest difference between the wide receivers and running backs is the success AFTER their rookie season. Almost all these receivers have had continued success after their consistent rookie season and remain as some of the top receivers heading into 2020. DK Metcalf is a perfect example of that after his excellent rookie seasons in 2019.

The 2020 season was a huge year for first round wide receivers picked in the NFL draft! There were 13 receivers picked in the first two rounds! However, that didn’t mean there were necessarily more rookie receivers over 60% consistent in 2020. There are only two out of the 18 total receivers drafted in the first four rounds that earned the elusive 60% consistency. They were Brandon Aiyuk (67%) and Justin Jefferson (63%). I believe Jefferson has a much better choice of continuing his consistency as he is the #2 receiver alongside Adam Thielen in Minnesota, while Aiyuk benefitted greatly from Deebo Samuel’s absence in the 49ers offense.

Rd

Pick

Team

Name

Year

CR

1

12

NYG

Odell Beckham

2014

92%

2

47

NOR

Michael Thomas

2016

80%

1

4

CIN

A.J. Green

2011

80%

1

6

ATL

Julio Jones

2011

75%

3

76

SDG

Keenan Allen

2013

71%

2

64

SEA

DK Metcalf

2019

69%

1

25

SF

Brandon Aiyuk

2020

67%

2

62

PIT

JuJu Smith-Schuster

2017

64%

1

22

MIN

Justin Jefferson

2020

63%

3

69

LAR

Cooper Kupp

2017

60%

1

7

TAM

Mike Evans

2014

60%

2

61

JAX

Allen Robinson

2014

60%

2

36

SF

Deebo Samuel

2019

60%


No position is more difficult to earn a 60% Clutch Rate in their rookie year than tight ends. Since 2010, only Jordan Reed and Evan Engram have earned over a 60% Clutch Rating in their rookie season. That’s right. No Rob Gronkowski (38%), Jimmy Graham (55%), Julius Thomas (0%); Zach Ertz (58%) or Travis Kelce (0%). 2020 was no different as ZERO tight ends exceeded the mark. This year was PITIFUL for tight ends, as the highest rookie was Cole Kmet with a meager 19% consistency rating.

Rd

Pick

Team

Name

Year

CR

1

23

NYG

Evan Engram

2017

73%

3

85

WAS

Jordan Reed

2013

67%


The facts show what many Fantasy owners already know, drafting rookies early is risky. 2020 was better than most seasons with six rookies over the coveted 60% Clutch Rating. The second highest since 2010 outside of seven in 2017. This did increased the chance of drafting a rookie, who earns over a 60% Clutch Rating, from 8.4% to 8.8%. Your chance of drafting a rookie who earns over an 80% Clutch Rating is still less than 3%. Let’s be honest, you want the players that you draft in the first two rounds of your Fantasy draft to have an 80% Clutch Rating or higher. So, who would you draft? A proven veteran or a rookie? The facts above have already answered the question for you.

Dynasty Trade Calculator

BGFS Daily Fantasy Blast

Sign up for a free Daily Fantasy Blast from the experts at Big Guy Fantasy Sports! Don't miss out on the best analysis in the business! Where Fantasy gets REAL!

captcha 

Site Login

Expert Leagues

replica rolex watches uk