Just did some quick research with the 1994 draft. I chose '94 because A) it was the first year of the seven round format and B) it is very likely that the list of pro bowlers from that draft doesn't ever change...considering it's doubtful that many players will make the pro bowl for the first time coming into their 15th year.
Anyway, the results:
Total # of pro bowlers: 29
Undrafted pro bowlers: 5
Lowest picked pro bowler: 2 (Marshall Faulk)
Highest picked pro bowler: 218 (Tom Nalen)
Mean and median don't include the undrafted players of course, but I don't think that's a very significant measure of anything to be honest. Here's a breakdown of the pro-bowlers by round:
Round 1: 34%
Round 2: 21%
Round 3: 3%
Round 4: 0
Round 5: 7%
Round 6: 7%
Round 7: 10%
There was a significant drop off after the midway point of round 2. After Larry Allen was drafted at 46, only 9 pro bowlers were selected in the remaining 176 picks.
CONCLUSION: After the initial pool of hot prospects, which in this draft must have been about 50, the draft is an absolute crapshoot in terms of finding pro-bowl quality talent. What intrigues me about this mini-study is that the number of pro bowlers per round actually increased after round 4, and that the undrafted players were the third most prolific pool. It's hard to judge the quality of picks in these later rounds since I don't have more data such as career length or # of starts...but it MIGHT say one thing: late round "project" players (character risks, position changes, small schoolers...etc) are more likely to be home runs than mid-round "safe" picks.
That was fun :)
[ Edited by alam on Aug 17, 2009 at 20:58:00 ]