It’s draft night 2012 and millions of NFL fans are eagerly waiting to see which future superstars their teams will grab. High draft picks will be branded as franchise saviors for all the teams who had a rough 2011. Using ESPN stats and information, this infographic from Infographic World provides a detailed history of the NFL draft and how it came to be. It highlights some of the best draft picks and when they were taken, both round and year. Although many superstars are taken in the opening round, many are not, and the importance of making good selection in the later rounds is often understated.
Of note is the change in the rookie salary cap rule that was instituted last year. Rookies can still make big money, but the $78,000,000 that Sam Bradford received in 2010 was absolutely ridiculous. One of my biggest criticisms of the NFL draft system has been the overcompensation of unproven rookies, so it is pleasing to see that issue at least closer to resolved.
Matt Yglesias has posted some thoughts about draft positions and pay. He argues, correctly I believe, that in some cases swapping the top pick in the first round for a slightly lower pick straight up can actually make strategic sense due to the absurdity we have seen in rookie contracts.