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For NFL, Does a High Draft Pick Mean Higher Player Marketability
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For NFL, Does a High Draft Pick Mean Higher Player Marketability

Those players passed over for the NFL draft’s coveted top spot shouldn’t be too disappointed. A look at the Nielsen/E-Poll N-Scores of the No. 1 draft picks from the past decade—as well as a review of the top 10 N-Scores of current NFL players—found that draft position rarely translates into long-term marketability. The N-Score evaluates name, image awareness, appeal and attributes such as sincerity, approachability, experience and influence to determine a player’s endorsement potential.

While first round picks like 1998’s top choice Peyton Manning and 2004’s top pick Eli Manning (with N-Scores of 262 and 105) rank among the most marketable players, they are the exceptions to the rule. Eight of the top picks from the past decade have an N-Score less than 20, while others receive no recognition when it comes to their brand. Meanwhile, Tom Brady, one of the most marketable players with an N-Score of 131, was a sixth round draft pick for the New England Patriots.

N-Scores for Top NFL Draft Picks
Draft Year Player Team N-Score -National
2000 Courtney Brown Cleveland Browns n/a
2001 Michael Vick Atlanta Falcons 25
2002 David Carr Houston Texans n/a
2003 Carson Palmer Cincinnati Bengals 15
2004 Eli Manning San Diego Chargers 105
2005 Alex Smith San Francisco 49ers 2
2006 Mario Williams Houston Texans 6
2007 JaMarcus Russell Oakland Raiders 5
2008 Jake Long Miami Dolphins n/a
2009 Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions 10
2010 Sam Bradford St. Louis Rams 21
Source: The Nielsen Company

Top Ten N-Scores of Current NFL Players
RANK Player Draft Year Team N-Score -National Draft Position
1 Peyton Manning 1998 Indianapolis Colts 262 #1
2 Drew Brees 2001 San Diego Chargers 166 #32
3 Troy Polamalu 2003 Pittsburgh Steelers 165 #16
4 Donovan McNabb 1999 Philadelphia Eagles 153 #2
5 Tom Brady 2000 New England Patriots 131 #199
6 Aaron Rodgers 2005 Green Bay Packers 119 #24
7 Eli Manning 2004 San Diego Chargers 105 #1
8 Mike Wallace 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers 100 #84
9 LaDainian Tomlinson 2001 San Diego Chargers 57 #5
10 Charles Woodson 1998 Oakland Raiders 51 #4
Source: The Nielsen Company

“As with most things, the Manning brothers are standouts—it’s rare that first draft picks achieve their level of marketability,” said Stephen Master, VP Nielsen Sports. “It takes a lot more than early buzz to yield the long-term benefits—and dollars—of endorsements. Endorsement potential over the course of a career is the product of a sustained presence in the public eye rather than a flash of early on-the-field promise.”