A Comprehensive Look at the 2018 NFL Draft with AthleteTypes

The 2018 NFL Draft is officially in the books, and 254 young men have had their lives changed after hearing their name called in Arlington, Texas.

Of those 254 draft picks, 248 players selected in the 2018 NFL Draft are in the AthleteTypes TAP database. That means that nearly 98 percent of all players selected from the 2018 NFL Draft are in the AthleteTypes database, including 100 percent of players taken in the first five rounds, not to mention the hundreds of undrafted players who also took the TAP assessment.

So, what are some things we can gather from the latest NFL Draft?

A look at the data:


As you look through the three pie charts above, you begin to notice a few key points worth evaluating from the data.

One of these key trends is the fact that the Knight athlete type has become more prominent in the NFL, based on the numbers from the 2014 and 2018 NFL Drafts when compared to the historical data. While there is no clear reason for this change, we can surmise that the rise in Knights in recent years could be a generational trend, brought about through evolutions in culture over the last two decades.

On the other hand, we can see that over this same time period, the Rocket athlete typehas decreased in its frequency. Where Rockets represented 14 percent of all players from 1999-2013, that number fell to 11 percent of players drafted in 2014, and even lower to just seven percent in 2018. Much like the rise of the Knight athlete type in recent years, a generational change, brought about by culture trends changing over this time period could have resulted in the drop in Rockets entering the NFL.

What about the Quarterbacks?

Let’s take a look at what the numbers say about the most important position on the football field. Keep in mind that there were only twelve QBs selected in the 2018 NFL draft, so these percentages obviously won’t speak to any major trends, but it is always interesting to dive into the mental makeup of NFL quarterbacks.

Look through the charts below to see the Athlete Type distribution of historical quarterback data, followed by a look at the 2018 NFL Draft:


There were no quarterbacks with the Engineer mindset selected during this year’s NFL Draft, and Engineers have only made up about three percent of all NFL quarterbacks in our historical data. That doesn’t mean Engineers cannot be elite-level NFL quarterbacks, as a guy like Aaron Rodgers has proven that someone with the Engineer mindset can be an elite-level NFL signal caller.

Nearly 30 percent of quarterbacks in our historical data were Rockets, and by comparison only one Rocket quarterback was selected during the 2018 NFL Draft. There was also four Eagle QBs selected this year, good for 31 percent of the drafted quarterbacks in 2018.

Mindset Indicators

Mindset indicators are measured for every person who takes the TAP assessment. When taking the NFL averages for Mental Toughness and Competitive Desire and comparing them to the averages from the 2018 Draft class as well as the averages for the QBs drafted in 2018, there are a couple of interesting things to take note of:

  1. As a whole, the 2018 Draft class falls in line with the NFL averages in terms of Mental Toughness, but surges ahead just a tad in terms of Competitive Desire as a group.
  2. The quarterbacks selected (again, the sample size is small) scored about six points lower on average than the NFL average in Mental Toughness.
  3.  This drop in Mental Toughness is in contrast to the sharp difference in drafted QBs Competitive Desire compared to their average NFL peer.

The Mental Toughness in QBs being slightly lower than the NFL average and the Competitive Desire of drafted QBs being much higher than the NFL average could be the result of younger QBs beginning to compete in skills camps and challenges like the Elite 11, morphing their mindset from being revolved around Mental Toughness and more around competition, which would explain the Competitive Desire spike. The 12-person sample is obviously too small to generalize too heavily in this area though.

Further Analysis

After looking at the athlete types of the quarterbacks, there are obviously still many more positions left to fill, so here is a look at some more in-depth positional breakdowns from the 2018 NFL Draft:


These two charts represent the 241 offensive and defensive players selected in the 2018 NFL Draft who had taken the TAP assessment, (there were 7 special teams players drafted who took the TAP, but they were not included into the data set for these two charts) 120 offensive players and 121 defensive players make up the population for the two charts which represent the Athlete Type distribution for all offensive players, and all defensive players.

The distributions for both offensive and defensive players came out to be relatively the same, with the only noticeable differences being a larger number of Engineers and Knights on the defensive side of the ball in this year’s draft class, whereas the offensive side of the ball saw slightly more Musketeers and Trailblazers.

Positional Breakdowns

Here’s a look at the Athlete Type distributions for offensive and defensive linemen who got selected during the 2018 NFL Draft:


Defensive lineman had the highest percentage of Engineers drafted. There were 13 Engineer’s drafted in total, and five of them were defensive linemen. Also, compared to offensive linemen, there was a larger amount of defensive linemen with Knight mentalities.

On the other hand, there were nearly double the amount of Ice and Trailblazer offensive linemen as there were defensive linemen, and there was also many more Musketeer offensive linemen than defensive linemen.


The offensive skill player group includes all running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends. The defensive skill player group includes all cornerbacks, safeties, and linebackers.

Both groups exhibited large portions of Knights and Eagles with relatively the same amounts of EngineersMavericks, and Musketeers.

The biggest difference can be found when looking at the Rockets and Ice athlete types. Only one percent of offensive skill position players who got drafted in 2018 were Rockets, whereas nine percent of all defensive skill position players were Rockets. This eight percent gap was the largest difference of any athlete type between these two groups. The second biggest disparity was the Trailblazer athlete type, where seven percent more offensive skill players (25 percent) fell then their defensive counterparts (18 percent).

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2018-08-17T20:05:08+00:00 Athletes, Coaches, College, Football, Professional|