Weíve written before about STATSí New York Life Protection Index ó the first known measure of an offensive linemanís impact in pass protection.
The creative people at STATS have broken it down even further.
Since 2006, more than 60 percent of the teams that drafted an offensive lineman in the first round and had him start at least 10 games as a rookie increased their NYLPI significantly, with 64 percent of those teams registering double-digit improvements. That would include the 2010 Green Bay Packers, who picked Bryan Bulaga with their first-round pick (No. 23 overall) and started him the final 12 regular-season games plus the playoffs.
With Bulaga starting the majority of the games, the Packers improved their protection index by a measure of 13.9 points.
STATS suggests that teams that pick an offensive lineman in the first round and play him significantly that first year see an immediate return on their investment. So perhaps the fact that GM Ted Thompson used his first-r0und pick (No. 32 overall) last night on Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod will mean another big improvement for the O-line.
Go to http://newyorklife.stats.com/nfldraft/draft.asp?type=protection&year=2011 to see how the recent first-round offensive line picks have helped their teams.