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Managing expectations: What does success look like in the third round?

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NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday I posted the first in a series of articles that will look at the success rates of players taken in various round of the NFL draft over the course of several decades. Today we will add in the data for third round picks, along with the contract amounts for players drafted in the third round.

Without beating around the bush, here is the table with the success rates based on the exact same criteria as used in the first post in the series.

The first thing that jumps out in the third round is that the bust rate has jumped considerably - all the way up to over two out of three, while the number of high level players found in the third round has dipped considerably as well. Yes, there are third round gems that can be found, like the occasional Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara this past season, but history says that of C.J. Prosise, Nick Vannett, Rees Odhiambo, Shaquill Griffin, Delano Hill, Nazair Jones and Amara Darboh, only two are likely to become contributors over the course of their careers.

Obviously the book is not closed on the careers of any of those players, however, and luckily they are inexpensive because third round picks are not paid much under the rookie wage scale. In particular, here is what a sampling of players taken in the third round make in comparison to the same picks in the first and second round.

I haven’t started getting into the differences in guarantees between the various rounds, as I will get into the basics of those once we’ve worked through all seven rounds of the draft, but let me just make clear - there are massive differences that go far beyond just the monetary amounts.

In any case, so far we have looked at what expectations should be for both Day 1 and Day 2 of the draft, and Friday and Saturday we’ll dig into what kind of expectations should be placed on Day 3 picks.