Submission Date


Document Type



Business & Economics


Jennifer VanGilder

Committee Member

Scott King

Committee Member

Sheryl Goodman

Department Chair

Jennifer VanGilder

Project Description

This research explores the NFL draft's dynamics, investigating potential biases in player selection. Despite stars like Tyreek Hill and Antonio Brown emerging from small D1 institutions in the later draft rounds, a bias towards Power 5 conference players persists, particularly with wide receivers. Drawing from NFL draft data (2016-2020), this research finds that not only does there seem to be a premium placed on Power 5 receivers, but Southeastern Conference (SEC) linebackers as well. Quarterbacks were also evaluated in this research but revealed little information about what factors influence their draft position. The discrepancy of what influences a player’s draft position versus what influences their success in the NFL raises questions that this paper seeks to examine. Through behavioral economics, the study aims to unveil underlying biases and promote fairer, more informed draft strategies for NFL teams.


Data sets are included as supplemental files.

Linebackers Data.xls (88 kB)
Linebackers Data Set

WRC2.xlsx (46 kB)
Wide Receivers Data Set

Quarterbacks.xlsx (26 kB)
Quarterbacks Data Set