The 10 Best Draft Classes in NFL History
There have been many great draft classes in recent years. Some have produced a few really good players while others have contained at least one, maybe even two superstars.
Until recently, though, it's been hard to compare the value of one draft class to another. Today, we are able to do that based on Pro-Football-Reference's yearly draft totals, approximate value (AV) and career approximate value (CarAV).
For those of you unfamiliar, AV is a single number attached to every player since 1960. Its intent is to compare player seasons across positions, seasons and eras. The same goes for CarAV, which is computed by combining 100% of a player's best season (by AV), 95% of a player's second-best season, 90% of his third-best and so on and so forth. The point of this process is to more accurately weigh peak player seasons over those seasons we would simply call "compiler" seasons.
Using AV and the draft numbers available to us, we can easily decipher which classes have been most productive. The total AV of a class tells us the overall value of its players' combined seasons. In addition to this, we'll consider the number of players with a career AV of at least 100 so as to reward classes for their superstar (even Hall of Fame) talent at the top. The best class will first have the most 100-plus CarAV players, with ties broken by total AV.
Before we get into it, the last thing you should know is that we made the cutoff at the 2006 class because -- in pursuit of fairness -- we want to have at least 10 years to consider for each draft class.
Without anything further, let's count down the 10 best classes, starting with number 10.