Next week, 253 players will hear their names called over the course of three days in the 2017 NFL Draft.
An interactive visualization created by a team of researchers in the Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Interactive Computing traces the ebb and flow of a given franchise's success within its colors.
Explore the visualization and check out some highlights from a few teams below.
See the original story on this visualization here.
- The team slid to 6-10 in 2016 after a Super Bowl appearance the season before, but the visualization gives an indication as to why the Panthers’ stay in the cellar may be short lived. While it is incredibly rare to find players who stick around for a long time in the league on the same team, the Panthers stand out for doing just that. They have two players from the 2007 draft, Ryan Kalil and Charles Johnson. They are the only team to have multiple players from that draft still on their roster. They also have one each from 2008 and 2009 (Jonathan Stewart and Captain Munnerlyn).
- The Panthers did strike out in 2010, with none of their picks remaining active in the NFL, but show promise, having found consistent contributors in the majority of the first two rounds from 2011-16.
New Orleans Saints
- None of their 2012 nor 2014 draft picks remain on the roster. In 2012, they had traded their first-rounder the year before for the rights to the 2011 28th pick (RB Mark Ingram) and lost their second-rounder as punishment for the Bountygate scandal. This lack of depth may contribute to the team’s overall inconsistency (they have won just seven games in four of the past five seasons).
- They have had more of a commitment to building through the draft the past two years, taking nine players in 2015, eight of which are still on the roster. They took just five in 2016, but three in the first two rounds.
- The visualization shows an active transition in the Cowboys’ institutional philosophy. In past seasons, the team did not shy away from a splashy trade, such as the one that sent its 2009 first-, third-, and sixth-round selections to the Detroit Lions for WR Roy Williams. That trade was considered a major bust and the team went without first- or second-round picks in that draft. Out of 12 players taken in 2009, only two started more than two games for the team. Overall, the Cowboys went without either a first-, second-, or third-round pick in 2007-10 and 2012.
- In recent years, as the visualization shows, the team has built through the draft, finding starters in the first, third, fourth, and sixth rounds in 2016, the first, second and fourth rounds in 2014, and the first and third rounds in 2013.
- Not a single Chicago draft pick from 2007-12 is currently on the team’s roster. It has just one player, first-rounder Kyle Long, left from its 2013 draft. Given that track record in selecting players, it is understandable why it went from Super Bowl runner-up in 2006 to making the playoffs just once (2010) from 2007-16. With the exception of 11-win and 10-win seasons in 2010 and 2012, respectively, the team has averaged 6.6 wins during that span.
- The Bears had their lowest win total since the strike-shortened 1982 season in 2016 with a 3-13 record, but there is reason to hope better days lie ahead. The team has found 18 players in the draft that have made the active roster over the past three years, including CB Will Fuller (2014), LB Leonard Floyd (2016), and RB Jordan Howard (2016).
- The team very nearly struck out on its draft choices from 2007-13, with only two players, Joe Haden and Joe Thomas, remaining on the roster. But the team’s complete overhaul and new commitment to building through the draft is illustrated vividly in the visualization by the number of picks over the past two seasons. They had 13 picks in the first five rounds in 2016 and seven in the first four rounds in 2015. All but one of those players maintains the green icon, indicating their presence on the Cleveland roster.
- The Browns have a long and bitter history with the quarterback position in the draft. That fact stands out clearly here, as five quarterbacks were drafted from 2007-16 with only 2016 third-round pick Cody Kessler remaining on the roster. This included three first-round picks – Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden, and Johnny Manziel. Two of those, Quinn and Manziel, are no longer active in the NFL.
Los Angeles Rams
- The Rams have eight straight first-round picks, from 2011-16, on their current roster, demonstrating strong success early in the draft. Those players – DE Robert Quinn, DT Michael Brockers, LB Alec Ogletree, WR Tavon Austin, DT Aaron Donald, OT Greg Robinson, RB Todd Gurley, and QB Jared Goff – form the nucleus of a team they hope will be competitive in the near future.
- The Oakland Raiders, who went 12-4 last season, have built out of the draft almost entirely in the past three seasons. Only one player, RB Taiwon Jones (2011), remains on roster from any draft between 2007-2013. Contrast that to the 19 (out of 25 total picks) that are currently on roster from 2014-16. With such a young nucleus, including QB Derek Carr, WR Amari Cooper and LB Khalil Mack, the team appears poised for future success.