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Recruiting Rankings Impact, Part Two

Recruiting Rankings Impact, Part Two

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In the first part of this series, I did a deep dive into the rosters of the two super bowl participants. With the Patriots win, my theory that recruiting rankings aren’t predictive of future NFL success looks a little stronger. In this second part of the series, I will delve into the NFL all-pro rosters to further build my case.

First Team Offense:

  1. Patrick Mahomes, 3*

  2. Todd Gurley, 4*

  3. Tyreek Hill, 4*

  4. Travis Kelce, 2*

  5. Michael Thomas, 3*

  6. Deandre Hopkins, 4*

  7. David Bakhtiari, 2*

  8. Mitchell Schwartz, 3*

  9. Quenton Nelson, 4*

  10. Zack Martin, 4*

  11. Jason Kelce, unranked.

The First Team Offense is split almost down the middle. There are five 4* recruits in the mix along with six 3* or less. This tells me that it may be easier to identify special traits in offensive skills players more easily at a younger age than other positions.

First Team Defense:

  1. JJ Watt, 2*

  2. Khalil Mack, 2*

  3. Aaron Donald, 3*

  4. Fletcher Cox, 4*

  5. Luke Kuechly, 3*

  6. Bobby Wagner, 2*

  7. Darius Leonard, unranked

  8. Kyle Fuller, 3*

  9. Stephon Gilmore, 4*

  10. Eddie Jackson, 3*

  11. Desmond King, 3*

  12. Derwin James, 5*

The tide really starts to turn in my favor with the first team defense. Nine out of the twelve players are 3* and below, including a staggering four prospects that were two stars or lower coming out of highschool. It would appear that it’s much harder to predict how defensive players will fare at the next level compared to offensive players.

high school

Second Team Offense:

  1. Drew Brees, unranked at a time where recruiting rankings were scarce.

  2. Ezekiel Elliot, 4*

  3. Christian McCaffery, 4*

  4. George Kittle, 3*

  5. Julio Jones, 5*

  6. Duane Brown, 3*

  7. Terron Armstead, unranked.

  8. Ryan Ramczyk, unranked.

  9. Joel Bitonio, 2*

  10. Marshal Yanda, 3*

  11. Maurkice Pouncey, 4*

Once again, three out of the four skill position players were highly rated recruits, with Drew Brees being excluded due to lack of recruiting rankings at the time. There is a sentiment among scouts that offensive lineman is the toughest position with which to predict future success. That notion stands to reason here as four out of the five linemen were lower ranked recruits, including two unranked players.

Second Team Defense:

  1. Von Miller, 3*

  2. Cameron Jordan, 3*

  3. Myles Garrett, 5*

  4. Danielle Hunter, 4*

  5. Chris Jones, 5*

  6. CJ Mosley, 4*

  7. Leighton Vander-Esch, unranked.

  8. Byron Jones, 3*

  9. Xavien Howard, 2*

  10. Jamal Adams, 5*

  11. Harrison Smith, 3*

Much like the First Team Offense, the Second Team Defense is almost an even split. The defensive line, in particular, boasts two former five-star prospects, making it the highest ranked position group out of the four.

In summation, these numbers once again bolster my theory that recruiting rankings are not a reliable source of data to help predict future success for players. Numbers don’t lie, and in total there are only seventeen 4-5* prospects and twenty-eight 3* or lower. My third and final part of this series will be made after the NFL draft, where I will look into all 32 first round draft picks to find out once in for all if stars really matter.

-By: Russell Muhs

Jerome Jones
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