Rookie Games and Starts by Round Selected
Below is a breakdown of the number of draft picks and average games active and started by rookies in each round they were selected over Andy Reid’s first 21 NFL drafts as a head coach.
- 1st – 16 picks – 12.3 games active, 6.3 games started
- 2nd – 25 picks – 12.2 games active, 5.1 games started
- 3rd – 23 picks – 10.1 games active, 3.3 games started
- 4th – 31 picks – 8.6 games active, 2.0 games started*
- 5th – 25 picks – 6.8 games active, 1.4 games started
- 6th – 33 picks – 4.8 games active, 1.6 games started
- 7th – 22 picks – 6.5 games active, 1.5 games started
(*The 2.0 games started includes 16 games for kicker Alex Henery. If you take him out the 4th round games started average drops to 1.5.)
So this provides us with a generic guide to how often rookies have played for Andy Reid based on when they were drafted. You can see that Reid’s reputation of not playing rookies a lot is warranted, as even his first round picks have averaged only about 6 starts in their rookie season. It is also interesting to note that if you take out the games “started” by kicker Alex Henery, there is almost no difference in the average number of games started by 4th through 7th round picks.
In fact, in 21 years of drafts, Reid has only had five players drafted in the 4th round or later start double digit games as rookies (if you don’t count Henery). Those five players were tight end Jed Weaver in 1999, center Jason Kelce in 2011, linebacker Brian Rolle in 2011, tackle Dennis Kelly in 2012, and guard Zach Fulton in 2014.
Third round picks have started more games on average, but the number of full-time starters as rookies in the third round is also incredibly low. In 21 season only three third round picks have started double digit games. Those were guard Doug Brzezinski in 1999, running back Kareem Hunt in 2017, and defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi in 2018.
So historically speaking, any player drafted by Andy Reid in the third round or later has just a 6% chance of starting double digit games their rookie season. I don’t have the time or energy to go through every other NFL head coach’s use of rookies, but I’m guessing that 6% is probably on the low end of the league average.
So now that we have the big picture, let’s take a look at K.C.’s six draft picks individually and see what Reid’s use of rookies could predict for this year’s class.