Establishing (Realistic) Expectations for Austin Booker

| July 10th, 2024

The Bears have three rookies with a chance to play meaningful roles on offense or defense this year, so I want to take some time this week to look at what history can tell us about what to expect for those players, both in their rookie seasons and in their careers. We started with QB Caleb Williams, looked yesterday at WR Rome Odunze, and today we’ll end the series with a look at DE Austin Booker.

The Setup

Booker was drafted in round 5 this year, so to look at historical comparisons I examined all 29 defensive ends selected in round 5 over the last 10 drafts. Full data set can be seen here.

Some might argue that Booker was projected as a 3rd round pick before the draft (he was 85th on the Consensus Big Board), so he should not be compared to typical 5th rounders, but Arif Hasan, who runs the Consensus Big Board, has found that “steals” – players who are drafted appreciably later than their pre-draft media projection – end up performing more in line with their draft slot than their media projected slot, so comparing him to other 5th round picks is still a valid approach.

Rookie Performance

With that in mind, let’s examine how these 29 defensive ends performed as rookies.

Overall, defensive ends drafted in the 5th round didn’t do much; their average stat line was 202 snaps, 12.5 tackles, and 1.5 sacks. Of course, there was a wide fluctuation of outcomes among 29 players, so the table below breaks them up into groups based on how many snaps they played.

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