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Managing Expectations: What can the Seahawks expect from its fifth round pick?

Cincinnati Bengals v Seattle Seahawks

The first round of the draft arrives in a week, and so with the schedule having been announced and free agency more than a month old, it is now time for teams to fill out their roster through the draft. Regular readers are aware that the Managing Expectations series started last spring with general expectations for the draft based on draft round, and this week we are working through each of the four draft picks the Seattle Seahawks hold individually in order to evaluate what might be expected from each pick.

As of writing the Seahawks hold four picks in the 2019 draft, and those selections are:

  • Pick 21 in the first round,
  • Pick 84 in the third round,
  • Pick 124 in the fourth round and
  • Pick 159 in the fifth round.

I started off the 2019 version of this series by looking at how the current management team of Pete Carroll and John Schneider have performed relative to the NFL at large during their tenure in the Pacific Northwest, and then moved to looking at each selection individually. I started with the Seahawks first round pick on Monday, looked at the expectations for the team’s third round pick on Tuesday and then Wednesday took a quick look at what the team might expect from its fourth round pick. Obviously, that leaves just the fifth round selection left to look at.

Just as a reminder for the methodology, the data is pulled from 31 years of draft data, with the data set including the three picks prior to the specific pick being analyzed, as well as the three picks after. That gives a sample size of 217 players, the overwhelming majority of whom have concluded their careers. For pick 159, it is similar to some of the other picks in that it has changed rounds over time. Specifically, in the early years of the sample period it fell in the latter portion of the sixth round, however, due to the combination of expansion and the creation of comp picks in the mid 90s, it is now located in the fifth round. Thus, for consistency sake, I have focused on the overall pick number rather than the pick number within a specific round of the draft.

Jumping right into the data, here are the expected outcomes laid out in table format.

Distrbution of Career AVs for players selected 156 through 162 in the NFL draft

Career AV Number
Career AV Number
130-139 0
120-129 0
110-119 0
100-109 0
90-99 2
80-89 0
70-79 2
60-69 6
50-59 3
40-49 8
30-39 9
20-29 21
10-19 23
0-9 143

That distribution shows that it is certainly hard to find good players later in the draft, and the chart forms of the data only work to visualize exactly how hard that is. First the distribution of this data by bucket.

And then staying consistent and using the same mortality style chart I have used in the other articles this week.

So, in summary, it’s hard - very hard - to find contributors later in the draft. Yes, the Seahawks have found players like Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor in the fifth round of the draft, but they are certainly the exception, not the rule. Since 1967 there have been 1,627 players selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, and of those 1,627 only 16 of them have made the Pro Bowl four or more times. Sherman and Chancellor represent two of those 16.

Thus, while fans can certainly hold out hope that the Hawks can draft and develop a late round superstar, it will require catching lightning in a bottle for a third time.