Analytics Study: Can Birds Defy History At 30th Overall Again?
On Thursday night, the 88th annual NFL Draft kicks off with first-round selections.
The Eagles are scheduled to pick 10th and 30th.
On Tuesday, we took an analytical look at the team’s history of picking 10th overall, the overall success of NFL players drafted 10th overall, and the success or failures of specific positions drafted at 1oth overall crossed with prospects the Eagles would be likely to select at No. 1o given their draft philosophy and recent historical tendencies in attempt to predict the position, prospect and success rate of the Eagles’ pick at 10.
In this story, we cover the 30th overall pick history, viewed from the same analytical lens as the 10th pick based on team draft history, league draft history, and overall success rate.
Eagles Picking 30th Overall History
The Eagles have picked 30th overall twice in team history, but only as recently as 1988.
When picking at 30, the Eagles drafted one offensive player and one defensive player. Savitsky played just two seasons of football. Eric Allen, however, made six Pro Bowls and was twice named All Pro second team.
Some prospects the Eagles likely will consider are Northwestern pass rusher Adetomiwa “Tomi” Adebawore, Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks, and – as seen on the Inside The Birds NFL First Round Mock Draft – Pittsburgh defensive tackle Calijah Kancey.
30th Overall Pick In Super Bowl Era
The 30th pick has been nearly 58% offense, per the chart below, with only a 24.2-percent success clip.
This chart breaks down the frequency of offensive positions taken at 30th overall, with running back leading the way and center being the least-selected position.
Probability Of Success For Eagles 30th Pick-Offense
In the Super Bowl Era, nine running backs were selected 30th: Jim Berelsen (1972), Greg Pruitt (1973), Jimmy DuBose (1976), Johnny Davis (1978), Marion Barber Jr. (1981), Reggie Cobb (1990), Kevin Jones (2004), Joseph Addai (2006), and Jahvid Best (2010).
Three weren’t complete busts, with none of these players are Hall of Famers, and only Pruitt achieved a All-Pro nod (second team). Barber and Addai each made a Pro Bowl but neither played more than seven seasons.
History isn’t favorable for a club going running back at 30.
Possible Selection: Jahmyr Gibbs (Alabama)
It’s possible the Eagles select the best guard available at 30. This would makes sense as Isaac Seumalo walked in free agency, making guard a need.
In the Super Bowl Era, three guards have been selected: Steve Corbett (1974), Brad Edleman (1982), and Kendall Simmons (2002). Edelman was the only one to make a Pro Bowl.
History isn’t favorable for a club selecting guard at 30.
Possible Selection: O’Cyrus Torrence (Florida)
In the Super Bowl Era, four tight ends were selected 30th: Dan Ross (1979), Reggie Johnson (1991), Heath Miller (2005), and Dustin Keller (2008).
Miller played 11 seasons for the Steelers, won two Super Bowls, made two Pro Bowls, and finished with more than 6,500 receiving yards and 45 touchdowns. Ross made a Pro Bowl in his seven seasons. The success rate for this position is 50%.
The outlook is certainly more favorable for tight end than guard and running back.
Possible Selection: Dalton Kincaid (Utah) or Michael Mayer (Notre Dame)
Probability Of Success For Eagles 30th Pick-Defense
The 30th pick has historically been 42.1% defense, per the below chart, with about a 32 % success rate.
This next chart breaks down the frequency of defensive positions taken 30th, with cornerback leading the way and safety and defensive tackle tied for the least-selected position.
Probability Of Success For Eagles 30th Pick-Defense
In the Super Bowl Era, 10 corners were selected at 30: Willie Teal (1980), Isaac Holt (1985), Brian Davis (1987), Eric Allen (1988), Steve Israel (1992), Carlton Gray (1993), Sammy Davis (2003), Mike Hughes (2018), Deandre Baker (2019), and Noah Igbinoghene (2020).
Allen, an Eagles Hall of Fame player, was the lone success.
Although history doesn’t favor cornerback at 30, the Eagles can claim the only standout. Perhaps, history repeats itself Thursday night.
Possible Selection: Deonte Banks (Maryland).
In the Super Bowl Era, two defensive tackles have been selected 30th: Louis Kelcher (1975) and Vernon Butler (2016).
Kelcher made four All Pros (two first team, two second) while Butler has been a practice squad player.
The success rate at defensive tackle, albeit a small sample size, is 50%, and those appear to be the best odds on defense.
Possible Selection: Calijah Kancey (Pitt), Tomi Adebawore (Northwestern)*
*Tomi is a hybrid defensive lineman, but projects to be an interior defensive lineman, especially if drafted by the Eagles.
Should Eagles Trade Down?
The Eagles under Howie Roseman have frequently made trades throughout the draft, but out of 87 selections by the NFL throughout the years, nine involved a trade – slightly more than 10%.
If history is a guide, the Eagles have a nearly 70% chance of missing on a player if they stick at 30. Additionally, in the Super Bowl Era, teams that trade up to 30 miss at an 89% clip, which illustrates the overall major drop in hit rate once the draft get past the top 15 or 20 prospects.
What the Eagles Should Do?
The Eagles should take the best player available, although if history were a guide, they’d benefit more from selecting a tight end (Kincaid, Mayer) or defensive tackle (Kancey, Adebawore).
The Eagles typically fortify the trenches, making Kancey or Adebawore consistent with their philosophy. Either would make an immediate impact on the Eagles’ defensive line rotation.
Kancey might be viewed a the better prospect, but Adebawore is more versatile.
– Sam Finkel is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com who focuses on analytics.
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