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The picks of the litter are the first-round NFL draft choices? Not necessarily. You will be surprised to find out they aren’t the dominant group when it comes to breaking down NFL rosters as the 2021 season openers approach. (Stats via Spotrac.)
Round 1: 263
Trevor Lawrence was the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL draft. He is one of 263 players to be chosen in the opening round on a roster. That’s a lot. However, when you see the numbers that follow, you realize how much of a crapshoot the selection process is.
Round 2: 223
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A slight drop from first-rounders, which is to be expected. The lower you go in the NFL draft, the less chance there figures to be for sticking around. Still, that is a solid representation. A few receivers fill this bill nicely: Davante Adams, Michael Thomas, and Jarvis Landry.
Round 3: 226
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The fever chart takes a turn as third-rounders are dotting rosters more than the players taken a round ahead of them. Interesting to see how this is a deviation from the form you would expect. Russell Wilson is a great example of what you can find in this round. Oh, and digging into the history books, remember one Joe Montana went to the 49ers in this round.
Round 4: 184
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It becomes tougher and tougher to stick as the names get called. The fourth-rounders follow a pattern we would have expected when it comes to talent maintaining pro football careers. One fourth-rounder who has done great is Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
Round 5: 146
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The bottom half of the draft sees the numbers continue to fall when it comes to sticking in the league. How about a George Kittle, or a Stefon Diggs? Now that is finding treasure.
Round 6: 138
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Tom Brady, everyone. The biggest and best example, likely in history, of a player to pop from this round and still continuing his NFL career. The plummet continues as the lower picks tend to have to find other options than pro football.
Round 7: 94
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Tough spot to stick. You have to have an exceptional camp, and a little bit of luck—where you’re able to overcome the process completely overlooking your excellent ability. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a perfect example.
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The absolute shocker. Scouts must not be doing a great job, right? Maybe not, because the pool of players who are undrafted, from year to year, feels like it has to be so much larger than those actually chosen. So. while these are the long shots, there are far more of them than those who actually get calls from teams during the three-day process. Marquez Callaway of the Saints is a great example. Related: Ranking all 32 NFL teams at the quarterback position