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27 Apr 2007

Rating Mel Kiper

Guest column by David Cohen

How do you evaluate an evaluator? Here's one attempt at creating a scouting report on Mel Kiper, perhaps the best known of all the NFL draft gurus.

Every year, there's a ton of material published that examines the players in the current draft class, some of which will be proved to be dead on and some of it dead wrong. Few ever stop to examine how the so-called experts fared.

It is possible, particularly from the distance of a few years, to analyze the analysts. Kiper, for instance, leaves a paper trail every year, in the form of his annual Draft Report, a book-length publication chock full of useful facts and opinions. He grades hundreds and hundreds of players and ranks them, both by position and how they fit in overall.

Evaluating the work of Kiper and other experts isn't necessarily easy. As a draft guru, Kiper's opinions often align with the work of other experts -- and those in the NFL making the actual selections. Last year, for instance, he listed Reggie Bush No. 1 overall, but so did many others. One can't give him special credit for doing so, but neither does he deserve criticism for going along with everyone else.

There are certain times, however, when Kiper has bucked the consensus, and those times deserve special attention when looking at how he has fared. In 1990, for instance, he gave QB Jeff George a middle-round grade. George was picked No. 1 overall, but he rarely played like a first-rounder. Clearly, Kiper had that one pegged.

To get a better sense of how Kiper has done, one has to move beyond isolated cases. In his annual Draft Report, Kiper always includes two lists -- one for overrated players and one for underrated players. In some cases, his opinion ends up reflecting the consensus on a player (some of those listed as underrated have actually been picked in the first round), but the lists as a whole do provide an opportunity to see when and how Kiper has separated himself from the pack.

Here's a look at Kiper's overrated and underrated selections. The analysis starts with the 2004 draft class (it's too early to evaluate 2005 and 2006) and goes back to 1993, when he started listing 10 or more players in each category. By necessity, it singles out some of his best and worst selections rather than examining each and every player on this list.

On balance, Kiper appears to be neither a genius at spotting talent nor the hapless clown that some of his detractors portray him to be. He's had a good number of hits, but he's also been completely wrong about his fair share of players over the years.

2004

Kiper's Overrated List (18 players): The most prominent player on this list was RB Chris Perry, a first-rounder for the Bengals who has accomplished little. Kiper was off, however, about DE Jared Allen and WR Samie Parker, two fourth-rounders who have made their mark with the Chiefs.

Kiper's Underrated List (18 players): Sitting there at the top of his list, staring down hard, is RB Maurice Clarett, whose career was a self-inflicted disaster. It was understood at the time that Clarett was a talented player with a problematic personality; Kiper chose to see talent triumphing over trouble and it did not. RB Tatum Bell and FB Mike Karney have become solid pros, but it is hard to argue that WR Michael Jenkins and DT Junior Siavii deserved to be high draft choices.

2003

Overrated (22): Kiper was on target with QB Kyle Boller, QB Chris Simms and WR Tyrone Calico, none of whom has excelled. On the other hand, DL Cory Redding looks like a pretty good third-round pick for the Lions, and DL Ian Scott helped the Bears get to the Super Bowl.

Underrated (22): QB Byron Leftwich was a first-rounder and his career has been less than spectacular. Fellow QB Seneca Wallace has yet to show much. Kiper was 180 degrees off about DE Michael Haynes, a first-rounder who never made an impact with the Bears, but he was dead-on about two players who have turned into standouts, WR Anquan Boldin and DB Asante Samuel. Both of them have established themselves as among the best at their positions.

2002

Overrated (35): Not a great year for Kiper: Alex Brown certainly didn't belong on this list, and fellow defensive lineman Charles Grant found himself named New Orleans' franchise player. With the likes of DT Larry Tripplett, LB Scott Fujita, and others, it's easy to find several players on this long list who proved Kiper wrong.

Underrated (34): Joey Harrington was on this list for some reason, presumably to demonstrate that Kiper thought he was every bit as good as fellow QB David Carr (not on the list). Neither of them has performed with much distinction. OG Kendall Simmons and TE Jerramy Stevens both ended up being first-rounders and have had far better careers than either quarterback. On the other hand, DB Mike Rumph was another first-round disappointment. This list does have its standouts, including OC LaCharles Bentley and DE Aaron Kampmann.

2001

Overrated (29): Rams first-round pick Ryan Pickett was indeed something of a disappointment on the defensive line, but two of Kiper's other selections, Derrick Burgess and Marcus Stroud, have played in Pro Bowls and seem to be threats to be picked for more. RB Rudi Johnson has also been a Pro Bowler. On the other hand, QB Mike McMahon no longer seems a threat to prove Kiper wrong.

Underrated (29): Kiper shouldn't get too much credit for singling out DL Casey Hampton or WR Reggie Wayne, both of whom ended up being fine first-round picks, but calling attention to WR Chad Johnson and WR Steve Smith does make him look pretty astute. LB Kendrell Bell was an outstanding player before getting hurt, and DB Anthony Henry led the league in interceptions as a rookie. This list included some other notables, including defensive linemen Kris Jenkins and Shaun Rogers.

2000

Overrated (30): This wasn't one of Kiper's better years. "Overrated" running back Mike Anderson became a surprise star in Denver, and WR Laveranues Coles has more than 500 career receptions. Also making this list: OL Chad Clifton, LB Na'il Diggs and LB Mark Simoneau.

Underrated (30): QB Chad Pennington was a favorite of Kiper's, and he came back strong from injury last year to answer many of his critics. Kiper also singled out QB Joe Hamilton, but not Tom Brady, one of the greatest draft sleepers ever. There are few other prominent names on this list, though DB Tyrone Carter did help win a Super Bowl for the Steelers.

1999

Overrated (30): His career seems to have collapsed around him, but before it even started QB Daunte Culpepper was criticized by Kiper, who found him to be a lesser prospect than Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb and (ouch!) Akili Smith. Most of the other names on this list proved to be rather inconsequential, though Mike Rucker has been a key player on Carolina's defensive line for years.

Underrated (30): DE Lamar King was a first-round flop in Seattle, but Kiper unearthed two nuggets at linebacker: Mike Peterson and Warrick Holdman. Defensive linemen Aaron Smith, Kelly Gregg and Montae Reagor remain NFL contributors.

1998

Overrated (30): He thought much too little of RB Ahman Green and CB Samari Rolle, though Kiper was pretty much dead on with WR Marcus Nash, a notable first-round flop.

Underrated (30): RB John Avery was on the underrated list, but then ended up as a first-round flop. Making Kiper look better: DB Patrick Surtain and a number of linemen and linebackers who have had decent careers, including OC John Wade and OT Jason Fabini.

1997

Overrated (30): Of the 30 names, one jumps out and grabs your attention: CB Ronde Barber was a third-rounder and has played like a top 10 pick. Otherwise, Kiper's evaluation is hard to quibble with.

Underrated (30): DB Darren Sharper proved to be a superb second-rounder for the Packers, and this list also includes some decent linemen, including OG Dan Neil and OC Ryan Tucker. None of the skill players he listed (QB Chuck Clement? RB Calvin Branch? WR Macey Brooks?) did much of anything.

1996

Overrated (30): Kiper had three tremendous misfires in this group: RB Stephen Davis, LB Tedy Bruschi and LB Donnie Edwards. All have had careers worthy of first-rounders, though none of them were. TE Jay Riemersma and DB Reggie Tongue also have had solid careers. Overall, Kiper has had better years.

Underrated (30): He listed WR Eric Moulds as underrated, though Moulds ended up being selected in the first round (and played like a top choice). Kiper also named RB Karim Abdul-Jabbar and ranked him as a potential first-rounder; the Dolphins picked him in the third round and he didn't do badly by them. Kiper's most astute selections: DT La'Roi Glover, a fifth-round steal, and OC Casey Wiegmann, who anchored an outstanding line for the Chiefs for several seasons.

1995

Overrated (25): DL Travis Hall made this list, but was actually a terrific sixth-rounder for the Falcons. TE Pete Mitchell had a solid career with the Jaguars, and WR Tyrone Davis also was around for years.

Underrated (25): Kiper looks brilliant for singling out RB Curtis Martin, a future Hall of Famer picked in the third round by New England, who also snagged LB Ted Johnson off Kiper's underrated list. TE David Sloan and DL Gary Walker also deserve mention, and QB Kelly Holcomb remains in the NFL. FB Cory Schlesinger has been a fine player, but Kiper did not list Terrell Davis, a tremendous bargain in the sixth round.

1994

Overrated (19): Most of these players didn't amount to much, but RB Dorsey Levens, a fifth-round pick, actually turned out to be vastly underrated, and DL Tyoka Jackson had a long, productive career.

Underrated (25): Kiper scored one bull's-eye with WR Isaac Bruce, a true star discovered in the second round. DT Tim Bowens also made the list, though he was actually not underrated, getting picked in the first round. RB Lamar Smith had some fine years, and DL Chad Bratzke had a decent career as well. Jay Walker, his sleeper at quarterback, never got anywhere.

1993

Overrated (10): Kiper pegged QB Rick Mirer exactly, and RB Robert Smith had an up-and-down career, but TE Tony McGee gave the Bengals nine quality years and QB Trent Green turned out to be one of the great gems of this draft.

Underrated (10): FB Lorenzo Neal was a fourth-round steal, and DB Ray Buchanan stuck around long enough to pick off 47 passes.

David Cohen is a former sports editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and author of Rugged and Enduring, a book on the Eagles.

Posted by: Guest on 27 Apr 2007

130 comments, Last at 18 Feb 2010, 11:52pm by Mandingo

Comments

1
by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 9:58am

So, in short, no matter how much homework one does, nor how spectacular one's hair is, the draft is a complete crap shoot.

2
by Mark (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 10:29am

Seems that way.

3
by ptfe (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 10:32am

In some sense, it feels like this exercise would be better with stats to back it up. Once the individual DVOA info is compiled for the last few years, this could be a good way to grade draft boards -- maybe something like an average DVOA after 3+ years in the league for each of the players (not sure how you'd treat players who flunk out).

As it stands, it's a collection of subjective evaluations of players based on name recognition, Super Bowl attendance, and Pro Bowl selection, none of which is a great measure of a player's worth. And it's no big surprise that, with hundreds of players in each draft, a guy can pick 40-70 each year, label some "underrated" and others "overrated", and end up nailing some and being wildly off on others. As we used to say for the physics GRE, the point is to beat the monkey score -- the expected score for guessing on each question.

4
by Theo, Holland (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 10:37am

A monkey throwing darts...

5
by 18to88_com (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 10:42am

Nice article, and yes, more stats (such as a % of players that Kiper missed on), would have helped. I hate the draft, honestly, becuase it's the number one week for people talking out of their butt without ever being accountable after the fact for being right or wrong. Kiper being chief culprit. He gets to ream GMs every year when they are wrong, but NEVER has to take the heat for missing on tons of players. He's not good enough to be a GM, but he gets to be a critic? The whole thing bores me. My team, the Colts, will draft players this week, and I will have never heard of almost any of them. Will they be good? I hope so, but all the analysis in the world won't make is so. If Kiper loves the Colts draft, does that make it a good one? Nope.

6
by Gus (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 10:54am

So basically the answer is "Mel Kiper is not good enough at his job to put up with an ESPN telecast and his obvious cadences." Okay, cool.

7
by Gus (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 10:55am

I, on the other hand, am not a good enough typer to read. That supposed to be "obnoxious" not "obvious." I don't think a cadence can really be obvious.

8
by John (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 10:57am

Well, it looks to me like Kiper is about as accurate as a coin flip. That sounds like a hapless clown to me.

9
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 11:13am

The Huddle Report, linked in my name, scores the final Top 100s and Mock Drafts of many experts. Kiper is consistently very good. But Rick Gosselin most often rocks it at the top.

10
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 11:22am

#6: Did you really need this article to tell you that?

I like these kind of hindsight evaluation articles, but it's tough to tell anything systematic about a group of 40-60 players when only 10 are mentioned. As mentioned, some stats would make this article better, otherwise you could just cherry-pick examples to support whatever point you want.

Kiper isn't any smarter than the average bear, but I give him props for inventing the field of draftology and making a career out of it... I wish I could do that.

11
by Craig (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 11:33am

The performance of players also depends on the quality of the team they get drafted onto as well as the team's coaching philosophy and style of play. It really makes it difficult at best to rate the so-called gurus.

12
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 11:41am

I like Kiper for both pragmatic and sentimental reasons. It wouldn't be the NFL Draft without him. He's a bit quieter than he used to be, but he was the one guy that wasn't afraid to toss an critical opinion out there.

Growing up I had a deal with my parents- if my grades were OK and I was generally well-behaved, I got one "day off" during the school year to watch the NFL Draft, which ESPN broadcast on a Tuesday morning. That was 25 years ago, and Kiper was a big part of the show.

13
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 11:44am

Everybody knows 'nuthin.

14
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 11:49am

I disagree with this article. You cite the 18-30 Overrated/Underrated players and then show how he was wrong ( and right) on a couple guys.

Just because a player is good and labeled ( overrated), doesn't mean Kiper was neccisarily wrong. What if he labeled David Carr "overrated". Sure, he isn't a complete flop, but he wasn't worth the top pick in the draft.

Of course the guy isn't god, nobody is, but Kiper Jr. is the bell weather in draf. If he isn't "good" then show me the handful of guys that are better than him. Show me the guy who doesn't make mistakes. Show me the guy who is better than a crap shoot picker.

Most of the Peter Kings and Pete Priscos of the world probably just piggyback his knowledge anyway which "creates" those popular opinions.

Show me some other draftologists who already have rankings for NEXT years picks?

It also depends on injuries, character, and just plain luck. Show me the guy who said that Maurice Claruett would get pulled over having guns, machettes and other weapons in his car in connection with the mafia. Some of these things you just can't predict. There are probabilities involved, and I think Kiper does a damn good job. Of course he's not always right, but it's not like there is a room full of guys better than him.

15
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 11:50am

And Dante Fumbelpepper hasn't looked very good when he hasn't had Randy Moss to throw to. Much of the success/failure can be attributed to what team the guy goes to.

16
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 11:55am

I will say this, as far as Robert Smith having an "up and down career"; yes, he was injury plagued in the first half of his career, but he still ended up with 8000 yards from scrimmage in eight years, and 4.8 yards per carry. Even for a guy drafted in the middle of the first round, that ain't too shabby.

Actually, Smith presents a decent example of how injuries affect guys' careers. Until somebody demonstrates that they predict injuries for players as a whole, with more accuracy than flipping a coin, examples of "gurus" being "right" or "wrong", because some guy tore up his knee should just be tossed out.

17
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 11:58am

One thing I disagree with is the writer saying in an offhand way that a player can't be underrated if he goes in the first round- Eric Moulds and Reggie Wayne were cited as examples. But one could argue that they should have gone much higher in the first round, and thus were actually underrated.

It's not my intent to nitpick, though. I enjoyed the article and I'm glad it was posted here.

18
by Rob McNair (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 11:59am

I only bought Kiper's Draft Preview once, and didn't find it all that great, purely in terms of readability.

I've found Pro Football Weekly's Draft Preview and scouting reports very accurate (particularly when looking back with hindsight). They were even better when the late Joel Buschbaum was around, but his replacement, Nolan Nawrocki, is also very good.

They are ranked #3 on Blue Star Dude's link to The Huddle Report.

19
by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:03pm

Does anyone know of a way to watch the ESPN draft coverage from the UK? (This seemed a good a place as any to ask)

20
by SGT Ben (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:05pm

It's apparent that the "experts" are guys who have gotten lucky or done somewhat decent on a consistent basis. Unfortunatley, the draft is always going to be a crapshoot. I don't care how good Gaines Adams was in College...he'll never make it as a DE on the Colts. It doesn't suit their style of play. Finding a coach/gm who can pick players that fit their system is tough when you've been in a system for less than 3 years. Guys like Bill Polian look like draft geniuses...but that's because they've been able to incorporate the same offense for years...and Tony Dungy has been running the same defense for years. By having 1 system in place for a substantial amount of time, you are able to draft well and really make an accurate grade on boom/bust players. Teams that switch coaching staffs make all draft putniks dumb. Because with each new Coach comes a new philosophy with players who don't match the new philosophy. I think Mel does as good a job as anyone can do in his position. We all "know" that WR's going to the Lions or QBs going to the Browns are going to do bad. No matter how good they were in college. We also "know" that nearly an HB that Denver picks is going to be a good one.

21
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:05pm

Chris, I'm not ripping Kiper, but in terms of predicting who will be a good player, what evidence exists that Kiper does "a damned good job"?

The guy puts in an enormous amount of time, and he is large repository of data, and he can be entertaining, in his own way. If that is what is meant by doing "a damned good job", fine. As far as being above average in picking out who will end up being a good NFL player, however, I see no evidence of it. Again, I'm not ripping him; I think the number of people who are markedly above average in this regard is very, very, small.

22
by What (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:11pm

Maybe it would've been better if you compared Kiper's picks of underrated and overrated to different positions. For example, he might be good at picking OL but below average choosing DB's.

23
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:12pm

SGT Ben makes an excellent point about the value of stability, and why owners who are quick with the pink slip are nearly always going to be bad owners. Of course, an owner can be too slow with the pink slip as well, but I think Lions' fans can look back now at the Wayne Fontes era with fondness. There is no explanation for Matt Millen, however.

24
by gleebergloben (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:14pm

the draft is like picking stocks: you can spot trends, but in the end, it's a roll of the dice.

25
by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:23pm

#9: That just tells you how well they predict who is going to where and when. It doesn't tell you how well those players actually do in the future. Kind of a big difference.

26
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:24pm

21- Kiper's job is to inform and entertain. He's good at it.

24- I have to disagree. The Patriots consistently draft well, the Lions consistently draft poorly. Of course player development comes into play, but some teams do a far better job than others when identifying talent.

27
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:25pm

The one thing about Kiper is that at least his board and opinions on players is public knowlege and he can be held somewhat accountable (to the public).
NFL GMs are held very accountable too, but there is a lot less info coming from teams. I like the idea from either Badger1000 or Will Allen that NFL GMs submit their draft boards to the league as a public service.

The one problem I have with the NFL draft is the amount of group-think that goes on with respect to picks. I remember back a couple years ago when everyone loved JJ Arrington... what the heck happened?

How many Hall of Famers were top 5 draft picks? Emmitt Smith as the 17th pick in 1990... 17th!

The reason Tom Brady was a 6th round pick was because most teams had him graded out that way. If there was some team that took him in the 4th round they would've been crucified for reaching. I'm reading some grades on the 2004 draft (AskTheCommish) and Olshanksky, Kaeding, Hardwick were all considered reaches at the time.

Now I know there is a bit of gamesmanship and guess work as to "Will he be available 32 picks later"... but you have to think that the "general consensus" is factored into team's draft boards. So if they have Prospect X graded in the 3rd round, and consensus is the 6th... he might get moved up to the 5th on a team's board.

28
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:28pm

... and if a lot of people on here are saying, "draft is a roll of the dice", than why do the Redskins get crucified for trading away draft picks all the time?

The NFL has done a great job at hyping up this day, but drafting a player in round 1, 2, or 3 does not guarantee success...

Anyways. I'm packing right now... draft day is one of the best days to move, because you really don't miss anything by spending 4 hours doing so.

29
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:32pm

Again, I’m not ripping him; I think the number of people who are markedly above average in this regard is very, very, small.

There's a slight difference here: "overrated/underrated" comparisons are much like betting against the line, rather than straight up. You're competing against consensus knowledge. There, I think the number of people that can beat that is very small. But consensus knowedge is pretty good. But I guess that's what you meant by "above average." (And those people probably work for NFL teams.)

30
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:34pm

… and if a lot of people on here are saying, “draft is a roll of the dice�, than why do the Redskins get crucified for trading away draft picks all the time?

Free agency's just as much a roll of the dice. As the Redskins found out last year (and the Falcons as well). Free agency dice rolling's a lot more expensive, though.

The NFL has done a great job at hyping up this day, but drafting a player in round 1, 2, or 3 does not guarantee success…

Nothing guarantees success. Drafting a player in round 1, though, gives more success than in round 2, round 2 more than round 3, etc.

Yeah, it's dice, but it's weighted dice.

31
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:38pm

Precisely, Pat. A guy who was consistently beating the consensus in regards to drafting for a $100 million- plus NFL payroll/roster would be worth a very, very, large sum of money to an NFL owner.

32
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:43pm

It really helps, though, when a team can stock their roster with productive players who were drafted on the 2nd day. I think this is where coaching staff quality and stability really pays off.

33
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:44pm

Will- slightly off topic, but are you as down on Levi Brown as you were during the season?

34
by David Cohen (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:44pm

I'm David Cohen, the author. I appreciate everyone's comments. At some point, when I figure out a way to account for the fact that Mel Kiper doesn't regard all the players on these lists as equally underrated or overrated, I'd like to do a more scientific study. I should point out that regardless of what I wrote, I do regard Kiper's annual draft book as an enormously valuable resource. And fun to look at.

35
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:46pm

Sgt- Stability is worth oh so much.
24- I guess Warren Buffet realizing a 23% average gain over the past 25 years means he's the luckiest guy in the world.
27- Why would GMs want to submit boards to the public as a "service"? A lot more bad can come out of that than good. So should coaches submit game plans after games? Should Aaron Brooks have to defend why he threw that stupid pick 6? Sure it would be entertaining for us, but with hindsight, the public would eat these GMs alive and that is NOT what they want.
29- That's right, it's like betting against the spread. David Carr is not a bad player, but "overrated" to be the top pick in the draft.

You have to give Kiper Jr. credit for being the FIRST. I don't know any other major public figure who gives more info and earlier. Kiper is the trend setter, and people coattail off of his original draft rankings with a few tweeks. There is a lot to be said for going FIRST in the predictions.

36
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:52pm

kevin11, I don't remember saying anything about Levi Brown. Maybe it was our resident Nittany Lion fan, pat.

I seldom have realy strong views of college players in regards to the draft, because I don't watch enough college football. My only moderately forceful notions (I won't even call them beliefs) this year are that the 1st round qb prospects last year were better, that Adrian Peterson's injury history makes me nervous, and Amobi Okoye is very intriguing.

37
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 12:58pm

Chris, lighten up. The suggestion referred to in #27 was made jokingly. No, I don't expect gms to expose themselves to ridicule. I just would like to know, for instance, which Vikings coaching and front office personnel strongly favored taking Williamson and James in the 2005 first round, and whether anyone in the organization lobbied for, say, Merriman or Ware in the number seven slot, and Matt Jones later in the first round.

38
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 1:04pm

#33: It was me. And yes, I am. It's tough to say how he'll do in the NFL, though. Brown's flaws are simple: his decision making's poor. He'll hold blocks for too long, too short, he'll block the wrong guy, etc. I rarely saw him physically overmatched, though. It's tough to say how much of that is correctable. But I wouldn't be surprised if he struggled this year, but in the next few years turned out to be a great pick. I also wouldn't be surprised if he turned out to be Robert Gallery #2.

39
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 1:07pm

Thanks, Pat. And sorry for the mixup. :)

40
by Terry (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 1:18pm

35: You have a definite point regarding Warren Buffett.

The question is, is there a Warren Buffett of the NFL Draft? I wouldn't say there's anyone close. Maybe Bill Polian, if you count offense only, Peyton Manning effect aside.

41
by Marko (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 1:21pm

I like Mel. You have to give props to a guy who forged a great career out of the NFL Draft. Whatever your opinion of him as a talent evaluator, it's hard to dispute that he is highly entertaining. Who can forget when Mel ripped the Jets in 1989 for drafting DE/LB Jeff Lageman 14th overall? Mel said, "It's obvious to me right now that the Jets just don't understand what the draft's all about"? That was great TV.

And how about his classic confrontation with Bill Tobin in 1994, when the Colts passed on QB Trent Dilfer to take LB Trev Alberts 5th overall? Mel ripped the Colts, saying (among other things), "That's why the Colts are picking second every year in the draft, not battling for the Super Bowl like other clubs in the National Football League."

Tobin later responded, "who in the hell is Mel Kiper, anyway? I mean, here's a guy who criticizes everybody, whoever they take. He's got the answers to who you should take, to who you shouldn't take. . . . In my knowledge of him, he's never even put on a jockstrap, he's never been a player, he's never been a coach, he's never been a scout, he's never been an administrator, and all of a sudden, he's an expert. . . . Mel Kiper has no more credentials to do what he's doing than my neighbor, and my neighbor's a postman and he doesn't even have season tickets to the NFL."

Kiper later responded to this rant by saying, "I'm secure in my position. Obviously, Bill Tobin's not very secure in his position. . . . You cannot go with Jim Harbaugh and pass up Trent Dilfer. That's why the Colts are the laughingstock of the league year in and year out."

That incident was probably the most memorable in the history of the draft. We never would have seen it but for Mel.

42
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 1:24pm

Not to be overly critical but I found this to be of very little help in establishing Kiper's credibility as an expert. It was interesting but not particularly enlightening. I think the approach wasn't right. Given that there are no absolute measures of success for this type of thing any analysis, I think, has to be comparative. I think a comparison vs. other 'experts' or vs. the specific teams or even vs. the league in total would be possible, though probably extremely time consuming. Probably too time consuming for what the subject is really worth.

I'll add my voice to the chorus on the value of continuity in NFL coaching/GM situations. Continuously changing coaching philosophies will inevitably lead to poor results. When replacing a coach I would almost always err on the side of waiting too long rather than pulling the plug too soon.

43
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 1:39pm

I loved that incident too, marko. The irony, of course, was that while Alberts was a completely blown pick, it's not like Trent Dilfer was worthy of that slot, either. To rephrase from above, almost nobody knows anything.

44
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 1:47pm

"To rephrase from above, almost nobody knows anything."

Tobin's postman being an obvious exception. Any postman that's living in the same neighborhood as an NFL GM has got to know something.

45
by Marko (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 1:57pm

I completely agree, Will - drafting Alberts was a mistake, but not drafting Dilfer wasn't. Another irony is that perhaps the Colts' failure in the 1994 draft helped put them in position to fail miserably in 1997, which allowed them to end up with the #1 pick in 1998 and draft Peyton Manning. Of course, Bill Tobin wasn't around to benefit from that draft pick.

46
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 1:58pm

Either that, mawbrew, or Tobin was even dumber than Kiper insinuated. Hmmmmmm.

47
by justanothersteve (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 2:02pm

#40 - Not since Ron Wolf retired. Traded for Favre after not being able to draft him previous year. Also drafted Hasselbeck, Brunnell, and Aaron Brooks at QB. Picked up Pro Bowlers like Chmura, Levens, and Donald Driver in late rounds.

48
by M (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 2:05pm

I'm really intrigued to see the analogies made to stock market performance here. Given how much work is done out there by independent analysts and teams, I wonder if some team could do OK if they took the index fund approach. Basicly this would mean watching what everyone else says, creating a "consensus" draft value list. Then based on this, they could have strategies on maybe a few players who they believe will be around at each point (increasing each round), such that if the player they initially projected would be there wasn't they wouldn't be stunned into a stupor like many teams are (Vikings anyone?). While this wouldn't make sense for a team that obviously has their scouting $h!t together, for a team that doesn't have a lot of scouting resources it could work better than some of the recent strategies (Lions & Raiders - here's lookin' at you!).

49
by M (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 2:09pm

Note: Maybe this is what already happens by many teams using the same or similar scouting services. I'm more interested in seeing others' ideas than anything else.

50
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 2:13pm

Re: the Kiper v Tobin situation...

Kiper's overall point was that there are some positions that are easier to fill than others, and I happen to agree with him. Trev Alberts simply didn't have the same UPSIDE (I love that word) to turn the Colts then-disasterous franchise around than Dilfer did.

I was saying the same thing 364 days ago when the Raiders passed on Matt Lienart in favor of a safety, and the Lions passed in favor of a linebacker.

51
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 2:20pm

Yeah, I was shocked to see Leinert fall as far as he did. No, he isn't an obvious multiple all-pro qb, but he seemed to be a very safe pick, meaning unlikely to bust out completely, at the most important position. Passing on him to draft a safety or a linebacker with an extensive concussion history just semed bizarre to me.

52
by witless chum (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 2:45pm

"I will say this, as far as Robert Smith having an “up and down career�; yes, he was injury plagued in the first half of his career, but he still ended up with 8000 yards from scrimmage in eight years, and 4.8 yards per carry. Even for a guy drafted in the middle of the first round, that ain’t too shabby."

I've liked the few times I've seen him on ESPN and quoted places. I was thinking of reading his book. Anyone here read it?

53
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 2:51pm

48- I disagree with the index fund approach. Who do they coattail. Who'se advice? The popular media can usually be traced back to a few people ( Mel Kiper is one of them). If you said that Mel Kiper, Pete Prisco and Peter King all have Jemarus Russell as the top QB, it is really Kipers opinion, with King and Prisco coattailing Kiper and the few bell weathers.

I always thought John Butler was a very good GM.

54
by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 2:57pm

Marko,
What a great bit of Colts lore that I had forgotten! (I kind of liked Tobin) I love the Kiper response that the rest of you passed on: "You can't go with Jim Harbaugh," who, in his captain comeback suit the next year got Indy within one Hail Mary of the SB. The slacker.

And that postman living next to the NFL GM... he was an early investor with Warren "Lucky AND Good" Buffett, and just did his postal gig for fun and to relax. (I love tying multiple comments together.)

55
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 3:06pm

#35, 40, 48: It is much easier to make gigantic returns investing if you have lots of money to invest. I don't care how smart or lucky I could be, there is simply no way I could make 23% per year over 25 years, because I don't have the capital. There are investment opportunities available to people like Warren Buffet and George Soros that most of us just don't have.

I don't think that top investors like Buffett are good analogies for draftniks, because I don't see any way that one draftnik would have vastly superior resources and opportunities compared to the others.

56
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 3:12pm

No no no, somebody said that it's all an unpredictable crap shoot, just like the stock market.

Buffet isn't a speculator, he is in invester. He isn't always right, but the guy can be the market ( average) for half a century. It would be like flipping a coin landing on heads every single time. Either he is an astronomically lucky guy, or there is SKILL involved.

The 23% gain has nothing to do with how much money you have. A 23% return on 100K is the same 23% percent return on a million bucks. It is actually HARDER to do with more money, because when your working with hundreds of billions of dollars, you can only buy bigger companies ( smaller companies won't even make a dent to your return). So in effect, his choices are more limited to the very biggest, than they are to you and I.

57
by calbuzz (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 3:16pm

#48 - Isn't this what the Cardinals have done the last few years? Everyone is so excited by the Cards draft that the team is expected to win the division every year.

58
by M (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 3:16pm

Chris, I have read quite a few of your posts, and I am not surprised you disagree with it. Have you ever heard of the term "Meta-analysis"? I don't hear about it as much as the mid-90's, but the concept is simple, and is likely used commonly anyways, often unintentionally. For example, aggregating the results of 10 moderately flawed statistically insignficant studies can be combined into to create a slightly flawed statistically significant result. A similar concept not related to statistics is "Model Averaging". Plus, another beauty of it is actually understanding where players are likely to go in the draft, instead of being shocked when "your guy" is off the board. So who do you piggyback off of? Well, let's see - everything perhaps? It's not just garbage in, garbage out - there is some analysis and data scrubbing. Some data points (Raiders & Lions) would be thrown out as being non-indicative of the "consensus". If the draft is a crap-shoot anyway - as many on this site have iterated, wouldn't it stand to reason that the consensus would be just as reliable a source as a team's internal data? ESPECIALLY if you are a team that hasn't had a great track record? Maybe Mel Kiper sets the consensus in motion initially (January 10), but by mid-April he becomes one of many "data points". Lastly, it can be a critical counterpoint to any analysis a team does on its own. After all, aren't there people out there who overrate their own skills and think they are smarter than anyone else? That wouldn't by chance accurately describe any particular person who regularly posts on here, would it?

59
by M (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 3:24pm

#57 - Good point. That does kind of seem to be the case. But at the same time, the "index strategy" isn't supposed to be done with any thinking. A person who is young will do quite well with a stock index strategy, but it would be kind of asinine to not put some of that money into more safe/conservative instruments once you get to age 65. Dennis Green loved picking the best available player - but it often seemed those picks were skewed toward glamour-position players. He sucked at the meat-and-potatoes positions.

60
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 3:24pm

Perhaps I'm being overly literal, but I can't see how anyone can call the draft a "crapshoot". Would anyone here seriously suggest a team save money by ditching their college scouts? I wouldn't think so.

61
by M (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 3:26pm

The work "with" in the phrase "supposed to be done with any thinking" should be "without". Otherwise my argument pretty much destroys itself.

62
by M (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 3:36pm

#60 - No one should do that. However, it seems interesting that indexing is considered the best way to invest unless you have tons of resources available for analysis, often where a 10 bp change in return could be worth $50 million over a year. But my suggestion to apply it in draft strategies, even as merely a critical "self-check" against your own analysis, is viewed as the stupidest thing since Crystal Pepsi(tm). It seems to explain why so many losing coaches & GM's remain so confident in their own abilities, even when 5+ years of data would suggest otherwise. Perhaps going "with the grain" as a draft strategy is more "against the grain" than I thought.

63
by Independent George (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 3:36pm

#35 - the point is, though, that Mel Kiper isn't Warren Buffet. He's Jim Cramer. Indisputably knowledgeable, but not quite the guru he's made out to be. The better comparison to Warren Buffet would be Andy Reid.

64
by bronc6 (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 3:40pm

weak article.

65
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 3:44pm

58- Mel Kiper might be A data point, but he impacts the other data points. If Kiper Jr. was real high on say Chris Leak ( national championship QB) from early on, ( and put him in the first or second round) maybe the Pete Priscos and Peter Kings of the world would have Leak in in the top couple rounds as well ( although I believe most of the scouts do their own homework). It isn't unfathomable that a NC QB would go in the early rounds.

What about that FO artcile released last week where they cited an example of a coach who liked a bad prospects tape who got mixed in with the top guys? He just "assumed" the guy was good because his tape was mixed in there with the other studs.

So my question is which opinions do you blend? How many Mel Kiper Jrs. are there that you can mix their opinions with? I like the idea of spending the 100K on the scouting service ( not neccesarily for your own purposes), but just to get a gauge of the "market value" other teams might place on a guy.

My team might think Jermarcus Russell is an even bigger Byron Leftwhich, but if we know that other people like him, we can use that information to profit through trade.

My point is that there isn't a lot of original quality opinions out there to mesh to form your index mutual fund.

66
by SJM (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 3:46pm

Re: The Huddle Report

It appears that the rankings and ratings for each prognosticator are based only on how closely each mock draft aligned with the actual draft, not on how accurate the prognosticators were in predicting success and failure of players.

This seems to me like a fun but largely pointless exercise.

67
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 3:46pm

63- Mel Kiper has hair... Jim Cramer doesn't. I don't know many who consider Kramerica a guru.

68
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 3:47pm

66- exactly. Who cares if you know that the Texans will take Mario Willions first or Reggie Bush...

The important question is " are they right in doing so".

69
by Steve (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 3:51pm

#10 nailed it. "I give him props for inventing the field of draftology and making a career out of it…" Is Kiper's goal to be the best or to get paid? He's surely getting paid and getting a lot of mention here. That's my marketing / career management take on this discussion.

Is he better than the actual drafters? My stats answer is (as many have said), "need more data."

Now, the Football Fan answer for me: Is he better at this than I am? Yup. Am I glad someone is doing what he does? Yup. Otherwise I wouldn't have anything to entertain me between the Super Bowl and football preseason (except March Madness).

70
by Independent George (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 3:55pm

#67 - You dare question Kramerica?!!

71
by M (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 4:07pm

#65 - Consider me surprised at your response, and your points are well-taken. Perhaps this approach is already being used quite a bit already for the purposes you stated. The index strategy is more theoretical than practical, anyway. Furthermore, a team's own scouting reports are always another source of info that wouldn't be there if a team blindly fired all of the scouts.

72
by hooper (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 4:10pm

2000
Overrated (30): ... “Overrated� running back Mike Anderson became a surprise star in Denver, ...

It's not exactly everyday you see "overrated", "running back", and "Denver" used in the same sentence.

Of course, I also mean without "Clarett"

73
by NY expat (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 4:12pm

re: 55

I think you can still compare the people with mega-resources. The guy who heads Yale University's fund has gotten a lot of acclaim not because he's beating the man-on-the-street, but because he's beating, among others, the guy who heads Harvard's fund :).

To try to formalize it more, you could try to do a weighted counting of how many playing years the draft experts' rankings of players would yield. I think you'd want the actual rankings vs. the simulated draft, which has to balance picking the best player available with predicting what teams will do. [The Huddle Report BlueStarDude linked to rates the draftniks on how many of their top 100 picks were picked in the top 100 of the draft, which means that if you had been smart enough to leave Ryan Leaf out of your top 100 picks, that would have counted against you. I think it's still interesting, but doesn't measure how well the draft turned out.]

For the index fund idea, I think an index fund would be more like waiting until after the draft and then placing (weighted) bets on whether the drafted players make their teams' rosters, make the Pro Bowl, or whatever.

That said, you could still try to use the "wisdom of the crowd" by just averaging the ratings of the different experts.

74
by Drew (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 4:12pm

The draft is a roll of the dice in the sense of no one being correct all the time, or even more than 50% of the time (the majority of picks don't pan out). But is is not completely random, like dice are. A GM is more like a baseball player. If he hits .333, he is very good, and if he hits .200, he is bad.

75
by Phil (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 4:15pm

HELLLLLLLLLLOOOOO!!

76
by Phil (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 4:16pm

Sorry,
That was in response to post #70

77
by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 4:21pm

48:

Problems:

Admitting that you don't know any more than the aggregate opinions of sportswriters would get you fired. The whole point of having scouts is that you theoretically have an analytical advantage.

There are no measures of performance of this metric. Why follow an index if it trends down or even; why even consider it if you can't tell where it goes or has been? If there is no good way to measure r, you're better off casting bones.

This theory is based on an assumption that sportswriters/commentors know anything...read a Peter King column or listen to an Eskin broadcast and weep.

78
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 4:31pm

but if Scott Pioli has a higher batting average and more home runs ( Tom Brady is a homerun), then how is it a crap shoot? Some people are obviously more skilled than others.

Also, just because we can't correctly predict the good from the bad, doesn't mean it can't be done. Billy Beane 50 years ago might have been considered "lucky". I really doubt that at this point NFL general managers have all information that is humanly possible to them to predict success. How long ago was the Stats + Comp. Pct. QB evaluation system developed?

79
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 4:34pm

77- Peter King was on the Dan Patrick show today... A lot of people ( myself included belive that the Falcons will use thair ammo and trade up to the #2 spot for Calvin Johnson). This is not an original PK thought, but he said he wants to follow the Lions this weekend.

So then Dan Patrick asks him point blank, " do you think the Lions will make a trade with another team". Peter King responds, " I don't know, it's so hard to tell, they just might, but who knows, maybe not".

80
by Nathan (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 4:45pm

Mel Kiper looks a lot like Quentin Tarantino.

81
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 4:47pm

OK, people need to stop throwing out Brady as evidence that Scott Pioli is a genius. Not to comment on whether Pioli is a very good GM or not, but if he knew Brady was a stud then he wouldn't have waited until the 6th round to take him. In my opinion, Pioli is both lucky and good.

82
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 4:48pm

#80: ...and Quentin Tarantino looks like the poster child for FAS.

83
by Eddo (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 4:49pm

Chris, I don't mean to harp on your points, because you make some good ones, but using PK and Prisco as reasons to not use the aggregate opinion is, in my opinion, off-base. King and Prisco are two totally different data points than Kiper would be. Kiper rates prospects; King and Prisco predict draft order. There is a big difference.
Do King and Prisco use Kiper's ratings when making mock drafts? Sure. But, in general, King and Prisco are not judging each prospect in the entire draft, like Kiper is. This is why you'll see Kiper's "Big Board" or whatever; it is his ranking of all players, not the order he thinks they'll be taken.

84
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 5:26pm

Eddo- I guess in a sense, but when they make comments like " Calvin Johnson is a sure thing, he's randy moss without the attitude etc." then they are in effect "evaluating" the prospects.

When Pete does his mock draft, he doesn't just list 32 names, he puts a caption next to them. Even today, he wrote a column called " who SHOULD they take". This is not him predicting the final outcome, but Pety offering his own analysis. "1. Oakland: Brady Quinn - They need a Quarterback. He's the best quarterback. It's that simple".

So how many Mel Kiper type guys are there out there? I was throughly impressed by Rob Rang, but how many more geniuinly scouted opinions are out there nationally ( not internally because other teams obviously won't open up their books on the guys).

I'd also like to comment that you actually need the coaches tape to get a good evaluation on many of the players. The backs/receivers and back 7 on defense are pretty much out of the screen on a normally televised game. You need that overhead coaches tape to even WATCH these guys play. The Mek Kipers and Mike Mayocks have access to this tape, but I don't and I am guessing you don't either.

85
by Eddo (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 5:45pm

84 (Chris): Still, to properly use Kiper as a data point, you can't use King, Prisco, and the like for the reason you've touched ono: they're influenced by Kiper and other true draft "experts." Just as you wouldn't use average joes to predict market trends.

86
by DB (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 5:46pm

RE #81 : Unless Pioli's SO good that he knew Brady would still be available in the 6th, despite having hall-of-fame potential.

Remember, ideally, you'd take all of your guys as low as possible, just before someone else took them. Why waste a 4th rounder on a hall-of-famer, when he'll still be there in the 6th?

87
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 5:55pm

#86: True to a point, but if I know that there is a player at the most important position on the field that will develop into an above-average starter, much less a hall of famer, I would be sure to take him a couple rounds early.

Knowing what we know now, even if you were SURE you were the only one who held such a high opinion of Brady, wouldn't you at least take him in the 2nd or 3rd round? I think it would be worth the difference between a first day pick and a 6th rounder just to mitigate the risk of some crazy team pulling a Quincy Carter and taking him several rounds before anyone thought. Therefore, it's safe to conclude that Pioli didn't have a good idea what a steal he was getting.

88
by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 6:06pm

Chris, I have your back on the investment issues. Too many data points out there indicating it's more common to get large % rtns on smaller amounts. Multiple reasons.

Regarding Mel as a guy, man, what a sweet deal. He invented an entire field where he could do what he wants, he's the de-factor guru (right or wrong, because there are too many variables for anyone to always be right) and he gets paid pretty well, I'll assume to do it. Damn, can I create a field that suite me right now: I want to be paid $1M per year to drnk wine, read, watch football, and make furniture. Who'll pay me? I admire what Mel has done for himself and face it, he entertains a lot of folks. I get queasy when I see him, personally. Can Donald Trump give him some hair advice?

Back to comparing this to the stock market, please keep in mind that draft evaluators look at maybe 500 players, maybe more and HAVE to give opinions (akin to buying the stock) on at least 100 of them, probably more. EVERY YEAR. Well, crap, no fund manager or Wizard of Wall Street out there is expected to do that kind of broad volume. Even Soros, Buffett, et al. They have hit home runs on a much smaller number of deals and if they HAD to invest their whole wad in 100-200 each year like draft prognosticators do, they'd find themselves falling back closer to the mean pretty quickly.

And in the real world, a great (and big) investor may take a 5% stake in a company and see it do well, or put his own people on the board and have some more control. He sees a 30% gain that year. He can then double down on the same stock. BUT... A draft guy can't still keep picking Peyton Manning as the top QB year after year, even if he is the best year over year. A stock guy can do that.

Summation: Easier to seem like a genius at picking stocks than rating a draft. You can pick the ten best out of thousands, where as a draft picker, you have to pick many more prospects. And we all know how hard picking stocks can be. So props to the guys who actually draft well. And thank you, Mr. Irsay, for hiring Bill Polian.

89
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 6:29pm

Therefore, it’s safe to conclude that Pioli didn’t have a good idea what a steal he was getting.

That, of course, plus the fact that he's actually said that if he had known how Brady was going to turn out, he wouldn't've waited. Heck, he's said that he waited too long in any case.

90
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 6:38pm

81- I don't think the Patriots staff identified Brady as a Hall Of Famer before the draft. But they WERE the team that identified him as a player that had potential.

Look at it this way- all 30 teams decided that Brady wasn't even worth a fifth round pick. But it was the Patriots that ultimately grabbed him, and now have three championships to show for it.

91
by Tom (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 7:16pm

Hasn't Pioli said that they had Brady rated much higher than a 6th rounder, but they had so many other needs and already had a good QB, that they waited to take him?

Jerry Angelo for the Bears has done an excellent job drafting, especially if you discount his first one (which could be put down to inexperience).

92
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 7:24pm

I wish I'd mentioned this earlier...I've been ordering Kiper's book since 1988, and back then if you called and placed an order with a credit card, you'd give the order directly to Mel. Of course, that meant that once a year I'd pick his brain about the draft and the NFL in general.

Mel was an AWESOME guy, and I'd be willing to bet he still is.

93
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 7:48pm

Hasn’t Pioli said that they had Brady rated much higher than a 6th rounder, but they had so many other needs and already had a good QB, that they waited to take him?

He said they had him rated as a 5th rounder, but waited a round to take him. Supposedly he keeps a picture of Brady and the 5th round pick on his desk to remind himself how close he came to screwing up.

94
by mactbone (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 8:32pm

Re Continuity:
Continuity is dumb if you have Mark Hatley, Mike McCaskey and Dick Jauron in charge. There are bad personell evaluators and bad coaches, what's the point in "sticking with them" for the sake of continuity?

Re 80:
Austin Croshere is Quentin Tarantino's taller clone.

Re 91:
JA is very good at identifying defensive players that fit the cover-2. He's really bad at drafting anything else.

95
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 8:50pm

Why the lack of comments on his hair? You know why I have manlove for Mel... I love to see him get worked up about the draft. I guess the Year Eli was #1, he was talking about the Elway trade and getting all worked up... " It should have NEVER happened", his mouth is flicking his words out and he's real passionate about his football.

96
by NF (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 9:42pm

What would be interesting to do is to take the last 12 years of first-day draft picks, come up with a standard for judging whether offensive skill positions were sucessful, use pro bowls for all the rest, find the average sucess rate per round, and calculate how much teams exceed or are behind the average percentage sucess or failure rate by round.

97
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Fri, 04/27/2007 - 10:47pm

RE: 66, and Chris -

But the point of a mock draft isn't to project who the best players are at each available pick. It's to predict what teams will take which player at what spot. Saying whether the Texans took the right player or not is for after the picks--the dreaded draft report card. There's a reason that several GMs have admitted to paying at least some attention to "the mocks" and it's not for scouting acumen. There's truth to be found as to what players and what positions other teams are considering.

There's a problem with the "top 100" as NYexpat points out. The draft gurus should call it the "first 100" or something. It would be nice to see them put themselves a little more at stake and say who SHOULD BE the first 100, but that's not the game. And no matter the rules, the draft prognosticator's game is more fun than it is significant.

98
by Jason Mulgrew aka The Mul Dawg aka Lord J Rocka (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 1:00am

re: 8

Of course Kiper sucks. He's not a psychic. Sorry, I'm drunk.

99
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 1:55am

But the point of a mock draft isn’t to project who the best players are at each available pick. It’s to predict what teams will take which player at what spot.

I have to disagree. The mock draft is what it is...entertainment value. We read them and imagine watching THAT draft unfold before our eyes in anticipation of the real one.

100
by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 2:14am

Jamarcus Russell black John Elway. Raiders going to zone blocking scheme, good personal on line. Have best WR core in league. Just need good QB with arm. Rusell’s arm best in league as soon as he steps on field in his 1st game. Raiders going to be force to reckon with. Defense already top.5

Ryan Kahlil Raiders pick in round 2. Knows zone blocking. Good at it. Raiders like.

101
by Ryan C (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 2:23am

re: 100

What in the hell is that?!!!!?

102
by Ryan C (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 2:26am

My take on Kiper is that he knows the players and can comment on them in length. This is good and that's why he has a job.
He projects some players perfectly and he misses the boat on others. This makes him no different than the people who actually make the selections.

103
by Moe (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 5:20am

#19 Karl Cuba

Re: Watching draft from the UK. Or anything on TV from any remote location.

The answer is a Slingbox. Go to slingmedia.com

Great system that I use all the time. But if you don't already have one it won't help you for today.

104
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 8:41am

"Of course Kiper sucks. He’s not a psychic. Sorry, I’m drunk."
- Jason Mulgrew aka The Mul Dawg aka Lord J Rocka

Wisest comment here.

105
by Oily Harry (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 10:38am

re: 95

His hair is wild.

106
by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 11:06am

ESPN.com reporting Raiders to draft Jamarcus Russell 6'5" 260 4.85 QB LSU. You heard it here first. Raiders win AFC eWst in 2007. Go 11-5.

107
by JasonK (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 6:13pm

High-point of the draft so far:

During a commercial break after Kiper had been talking a bit, my girlfriend, who had been walking through the rook, says to me, "Who's that guy who looks like Chandler from Friends?"

High-larious.

108
by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 7:19pm

Watch raiders draft Ryan Kahlil C 6'2 299 4.96 USC with 33 pick. Raiders back on track to commitment to excellence. Al Davis making last big push to Super Bowl win #4.

109
by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 7:45pm

raiders made trade with Cardinals. Fell Kahlil can slide a few more picks. Raiders cntinue to impress.

110
by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 8:04pm

Radiers draft Zach Miller 6'4 255 4.72 TE Arizona State. Kahill smokescreen. Raiders wanted Miller all along. Organization continues to impress. Super Bowl run starts today.

111
by C Watt (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 10:43pm

I think people get too caught up in grading Kiper's predictions. Look at the number of first-round busts every year; even NFL personnel professionals are just making educated guesses. Kiper's real asset that he brings to ESPN's telecast is simply his research. He may not know who's gonna pan out in the pros any better than you or I, but he can give you 30 seconds of talking points on every single guy in the draft at the drop of a hat.
Plus, most people who put together mock drafts do so for the first round. Before the draft even starts, Kiper will sit there and talk about who's taking who in the fourth and fifth rounds.
Hey, I find Kiper's presence on camera a little annoying too, but I back the guy. Think for a minute about how much information he's able to recall off the top of his head, and how much work goes into being able to do that.

112
by Oily Harry (not verified) :: Sat, 04/28/2007 - 11:22pm

This whole Raiderjoe thing is comical, sad, and mesmerizing.

113
by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sun, 04/29/2007 - 12:39am

Raiders made out like bandits. Quentin Moses- great sacker. Johnny Lee Higgins- great deep threat. Will be on receivg end of many deep throws from Russell. Russell to Higgins to be like Clayton to Marino,.

Alsoo picked up Mike Williams for undernesath possesion receptions,.

114
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Sun, 04/29/2007 - 11:19am

Raiders offense will score more touchdowns than last year.

115
by stan (not verified) :: Sun, 04/29/2007 - 7:07pm

Didn't have time to read all the posts, but I wanted to make a distinction between a reporter and a talent evaluator. I have always considered Kiper a reporter. He talks to lots of scouts, coaches and front office types(and probably agents) to get a feel for the league consensus on prospects. He tries to adjust what he hears for the certain knowledge that a lot of those folks are trying to spin him like crazy. I suspect he has certain sources that he really values for their opinions.

When he talks about a player, he always sounds like he's regurgitating someone else's soundbite (a coach or scout).

I don't get the impression that he really is a serious talent evaluator. That is, I don't think he has the skill of an exerienced coach or scout. He's a reporter -- an information accumulator and processor who is trying to sift through a bunch of opinions.

As for the over-rated/under-rated list, you would have to: a) establish where the conventional wisdom has a player rated, b) whether his career (adjusted for injury) was better or worse than the CW rating. The evaluation of his career would require some standard rating for a player at a particular position drafted in a particular spot. What should we expect of a RB picked with the 112th pick?

Note, it wouldn't matter where he was actually drafted. The over/under on rating is where the CW had him. If everyone had a player rated as a 3d rounder, but one stupid team picked him in the first round and he met the career expectation of a 3d rounder, he wasn't over-rated (except by the team that chose him).

116
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 04/30/2007 - 10:05am

What the Hell were the Eagles thinking! You've got to be freaking kidding me!

117
by Eddo (not verified) :: Mon, 04/30/2007 - 1:46pm

113: Russell to Higgins to be like Clayton to Marino
Sorry, just couldn't pass this comment up, not with all those NFL films highlights of Mark Clayton throwing spirals to Dan Marino running through my head...

118
by Yakuza Rich (not verified) :: Mon, 04/30/2007 - 2:47pm

I don't think the draft is a complete crap shoot, in fact...far from it. There are teams that are notorious for drafting poorly each year. And there are teams that are known to draft well just about every year. I find it hard to believe that the bad teams just happen to be unlucky all of the time and the good teams happen to get lucky all of the time.

119
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 04/30/2007 - 5:21pm

118- It could also be due to the situations.

Going to play for Bill Parcells and his coaching staff, isn't the same as going to play for Sam Wyche and his coaching staff.

120
by David (not verified) :: Mon, 04/30/2007 - 7:01pm

Indeed. A lot of times, I think, when two players who looked similar on draft day turn out to have vastly different pro careers, it's as much because one went to a team that's much better at coaching rookies into effective pros as because he had a higher innate "upside."

121
by gleebergloben (not verified) :: Mon, 04/30/2007 - 8:06pm

everyone, including Kiper, is lauding the Pats for their fantastic draft, and while on paper, it looks good, the signing of Moss can be a disaster. a number of 'experts' said that Parcells would tame T.O., and the only thing that the Pats can be commended for is that the they get an extra first rounder next year. Let's start giving grades to this year's draft in two years or so.

122
by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Mon, 04/30/2007 - 8:26pm

I say to gibe grades in 3 years from now. Time will tell, but my gut says Randy Moss to be negative in Pates clubhouse. Raiders made bad trade to get Moss in first place. Maybe worst trade in team history. team not known for making bad trades.
Raiders screwed Pates over in Doug Gabriel trade. Will history repeat itself? I hope not because Gabriel is back with the Raiders. I don't want Moss back with raiders.

123
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 05/01/2007 - 9:52am

A guy like Robert Meachum is benefited so much by going to Naw Awlans to play for Peyton in that Saints offensive machine.

124
by J.B. (not verified) :: Tue, 05/01/2007 - 3:04pm

In terms of measuring the aptitude of people like Mel Kiper, have you considered reviewing the post draft grades. This grading exercise seems completely ridiculous. I would think this would provide ample content for measuring his stance on players and his views on teams overall performance.

125
by Tim Couch (not verified) :: Tue, 05/01/2007 - 4:59pm

My prediction: Brady Quinn is benched for Charlie Frye come Week 7. Out of the league at the end of the 2007 season. Washing my car for chump change and oggling my hot-ass wife by June 2008.

126
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 05/01/2007 - 8:51pm

Anyways. I’m packing right now… draft day is one of the best days to move, because you really don’t miss anything by spending 4 hours doing so.

You don't miss anything on draft day?

127
by ThinkQuick (not verified) :: Mon, 05/07/2007 - 11:10pm

If nothing else, he seems good at predicting undervalued WRs. Who was on that list for 2005/2006?

128
by jimmy (not verified) :: Sun, 05/20/2007 - 9:48am

You rate him on the over and under lists? You should also list how he rated the player,(ie) 1st-7th round. He still gives them a round grade and lists if the player does this or that he could turn into a good pro or a bad one. Yes the draft is a crap shoot, but he does his home work pretty good. Alot of people will follow his lists when making there own.

129
by Draft Addict (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 11:45pm

Kiper is as sharp as his hair-do. I think he enjoys sinking some prospects just to prove he can. Louisville QB Brian Brohm dropping to the 2nd round is a good example.
Being an ESPN analyst who's still selling subscriptions to his reports on the side is a no-no also.

130
by Mandingo (not verified) :: Thu, 02/18/2010 - 11:52pm

In the famous words of Bill Tobin "who the hell is Mel Kiper"?