Since launching the C2C website, one of the main data points the team collected is C2C ADP. As we’ve grown and hopefully the format has as well, access to information has never been more prominent. Along with the developing in-depth strategies, there is bound to be more change coming. Below, we’ll look at how 12 months has affected ADP draft trends through the first 15 rounds and how drafters are becoming sharper over time.

Drafts Skew Younger

A new hallmark strategy I’ve adopted and espoused is the idea that the mystery box pick is not only not a mystery box but holds the most upside. What I mean by this is that there’s no such thing as a mystery box. There are hundreds if not thousands of data points on incoming freshmen each year. More importantly, the recruiting team at C2C is quantifying even more than what’s readily available (stats, tape, public evaluations, etc.).

Alternatively, when a player steps onto the field, that’s the single most important data point up to that point so when we have some idea (second and third+ year players) who they are and how they’ve adapted. Some succeed and others fall flat on their face. But with that data point, we have an idea of how to evaluate a player’s outcomes.

With younger players, they haven’t had the chance to fail yet. It’s a weird way to phrase it but think about it as driving a new car off the dealership lot. The second it leaves; it depreciates in value. Obviously, not all players depreciate, and a good chunk outperforms expectation but the general idea is freshman/players haven’t had a chance to lose value, and oftentimes, they don’t lose value year over year. This is showing up in ADP.

Mock Year3rd+ Year2nd Year1st YearTotal
Mock draft data comparing year over year change in player experience and draft positions.

Despite having only two years of ADP data, the year-over-year trend is remarkable. Upperclassmen (3 or more years of experience) are being selected 14% less in the top 15 rounds of drafts. With 180 players in the top 15 rounds, that means ~25 fewer upperclassmen are being selected compared to last year. It still makes up the highest category at 47% but that’s more than two rounds of players that are younger being eliminated from the likely draft pool.

The biggest increase is in the number of second-year players being drafted, up 8% over 2021, people are selecting breakout freshmen and players who we haven’t seen play yet. Rarely does this group include players who struggled last year. Incoming freshmen are also going at a higher rate, making up 25% of these selections.

Positional Breakdown is Relatively Unchanged

Despite the significant change in eligibility breakdown, the same positions are being picked in the top 15 rounds year over year. As far as draft trends go, this result surprised me due to the proliferation of the late-round quarterback strategy in C2C leagues. My expectation was that the quarterback position would be going more infrequently compared to last year.

Mock YearQBRBTEWRTotal
Mock draft data comparing year over year change positional breakdown.

The only change, and it’s comparatively insignificant, is a higher percentage of wide receivers are being selected in 2022 than in last year’s drafts. I think there’s a good argument to be made that the strong incoming freshman class is driving that.

Matrix of draft data comparing the year-over-year change in eligibility and positional breakdown.

Breaking this data down into a matrix provides a little more insight. For example, third-year running backs are going almost 9% less of the time compared to 2021’s ADP. The overall distribution for running backs is lower too, at 5% less than in 2021. We know that older players are fading more this offseason, but most of that seems to be happening at the running back position. Logically, this makes sense. An older running back who has failed to produce is no longer being propped up due to his recruiting pedigree the same way they may have been in the past. Again, this is part of having more access to information, making drafters smarter.

Despite fewer running backs going in drafts, more are going as first or second-year players. This plays into our ‘drafters are going younger’ strategy. This will be an interesting data point in year three of collecting ADP draft trends as this is also a very strong running back class so we’ll see how much of this we can chalk up to variance. It’s also clear that despite the relatively unchanged overall positional breakdown, drafters are still going younger at quarterback and receiver as well.

Final Takeaway

Drafters are getting smarter and aren’t holding onto priors at the same rate. Last year, Campus2Canton launched trying to expand the format through more information and access to resources. Campus2Canton is growing. Likewise, the format is as well and with that, the community is getting sharper. Over time I expect a lot of these same trends to continue. Drafters are starting to recognize the upside of drafting younger players while making the correct transitions within positional groups. However, we’ll revisit these draft trends in a year to see what is sticky.

The format is fun and it’s still in its infancy. The growing amount of information from around the industry is only making it better.

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