NFC West: Tony Palmer


The San Francisco 49ers have gone for quality over quantity in trying to build a big, powerful offensive line.

The team has drafted seven offensive linemen since 2005, one below the NFL average. But the 49ers selected a league-high three of the seven in the first round and a league-high five of them in the first two rounds.

That jumped out right away when sizing up NFC West offensive linemen from the 2005-2010 draft classes for the latest "adventures in drafting" installment.

The Arizona Cardinals have taken a different approach, using a division-low one first-round selection for the offensive line since 2005. Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Oakland, San Diego, Tennessee, Dallas, Minnesota and the New York Giants have selected no first-round offensive linemen during that span.

The charts break out NFC West selections by general draft position, with a column showing how many starts each has made for his original team. I am using the term "not active" loosely to describe players who haven't been on rosters during the regular season recently.

Italics reveal what teams might have been thinking as they entered various stages of the draft.

We should find 10-year starters with Pro Bowl potential, most often at tackle ...

Every offensive lineman selected among the top 50 or so choices should contribute and hopefully start ...

The most athletic prospects are gone by now, but tough guys still have value ...

These guys have question marks, obvious limitations or both, but we'll still get some starts from them ...

Anyone seen the Seahawks or 49ers lately?

What are our numbers on the line again? Let's get another one here.
Draft-chart value retention rates, 2004-2007
Draft ARI SF STL SEA NFL Avg.
2007 .905 .977 .757 1.000 .897
2006 .971 .933 .032 .998 .832
2005 .641 .980 .916 .865 .477
2004 .946 .244 .769 .132 .377
Totals .873 .851 .570 .687 .678

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


If the Rams no longer acknowledged their 2006 draft class, would that mean it never existed? As the team seeks ways to conserve resources, will it omit from future media guides all references to the ill-fated class?

In looking for ways to assess the carnage, I compared draft-choice retention percentages for NFC West teams to NFL averages. All draft choices are not valued equally, however, so I chose to look beyond simply how many players remained on their original teams from various draft classes.

Instead, I used the draft-value trading chart to assign values for each choice exercised from the 2004 through 2007 drafts. I then totaled values associated with players who remained on their original teams. By dividing this total by values for all choices each team exercised, I arrived at a retention percentage for those four drafts.
Round Overall 2006 Rams Pick Point Value for Pick Still on Team?
1 15 Tye Hill
1,050 No
2 46 Joe Klopfenstein
440 No
3 68 Claude Wroten
250 No
3 77 Jon Alston
205 No
3 93 Dominique Byrd
128 No
4 113 Victor Adeyanju
68 Yes
5 144 Marques Hagans
34 No
7 221 Tim McGarigle
4 No
7 242 Mark Setterstrom
1.2 Yes
7 243 Tony Palmer
1.1 No

The results show up in the second chart. The Rams, after parting with early 2006 choices Tye Hill and Joe Klopfenstein to comply with the 75-man roster limit, retained only 3.2 percent of their original draft investment for 2006.

That was easily the lowest figure in the league for the 2006 draft (Denver was next at 21.2 percent). Hill was the 15th overall choice, worth 1,055 points on the value chart. Klopfenstein was the 46th choice, valued at 440 points.

Overall, the Rams used 2006 picks worth 2,181.3 points on the draft-value chart. They have 69.2 points remaining on their original investment -- the combined draft-day value of No. 113 overall choice Victor Adeyanju (68 points) and No. 242 overall choice Mark Setterstrom (1.2 points).

The league-wide totals will shift as teams trim rosters, but there's no getting around the futility of that draft for the Rams. It's also worth noting that the players were only partly at fault. Failures at the organizational level complicated some of those players' efforts to succeed.

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