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Highly drafted DT tandems

B.J. Raji and Ron Brace will very likely become the 6th pair of DTs drafted from the same college, the same year, both in the first two rounds over the last 15 years. A quote in Colts Homer's Ron Brace profile and a comment by TRDean got me thinking about whether a highly drafted teammate effects how a DT performs in the NFL. Here are the 5 DT pairs drafted together in the first two rounds.

Draft College Player1 Pick# Starts/Season Player2 Pick# Starts/Season
2007 Tennessee Justin Harrell #16 1 Turk McBride #54 5
2005 USC Mike Patterson #31 14 Shaun Cody #37 3
2003 Penn State Jimmy Kennedy #12 5 Anthony Adams #57 8
2002 Tennessee John Henderson #9 16 (2PBs) Albert Haynesworth #15 11 (2PBs, 2APs)
2001 Texas Casey Hampton #19 13 (4PBs) Shaun Rodgers #61 14 (3PBs)


The first two times it worked out great. Both DTs were Pro Bowl caliber performers. Since then the pairs have produced 4 busts, a mediocre DT and one very good one. The sample is very small and there are as many unqualified successess as total failures, so I don't think there is much to be pulled from just the pairs success.

Over the last 8 drafts 26 DTs have been drafted in the first two rounds that weren't part of a highly drafted tandem. Half of those DTs have been starters for less than half of their NFL careers, They combined for 6 All Pro selections and 14 Pro Bowls. Scaling the tandems up to a sample of 26 would give them 29 Pro Bowls and 5 All Pros, with half of the DTs not starting more than half of their careers.

It's still a small sample 10 vs 26, but DT tandems have a idential bust rate (defining bust as a top 64 pick starting less than half of his career) with a higher ceiling (double the Pro Bowls, similar All Pros).