2012 NFL Draft Report Card Report

2012 NFL Draft Report Card Report
2012 NFL Draft Report Card Report
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Guest column by Mike Ridley

Is there anything more enjoyable than assessing the folly of kneejerk reactions? The NFL draft concluded less than a week ago, yet the internet is already filled with draft report cards. As per tradition at Football Outsiders, we’ve gathered data from the most prestigious of those who dare to judge so quickly (Previous NFL Draft Report Card Reports may be viewed by clicking here: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2004.). We’ve compiled and analyzed this data to find out who passed (and failed) the eye test of those analysts, who will undoubtedly issue re-writes of their draft grades in the spring of 2015.

For those looking for what Football Outsiders has to say about the draft, check back sometime in March, 2018. We believe that to accurately judge a draft class, six years of data needs to be in to assess things properly. To paraphrase Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, issuing verdicts this early would be like handing out grades on the first day of class.

This year, we pulled the grades from nine NFL writers and draft analysts:

Note that for Nate Davis’ "report card," he actually ranked the teams 1-32 rather than assigning letter grades (A, B, C, etc). To turn these rankings into letter grades for our exercise, I found the average of the eight other analysts total grades (approximately a "B-"), then found out what grades would make this average (10 of every grade "A+" through "D+" and two "D" grades), then assigned them to Davis’ rankings. Is this an imperfect science? Yes, but it should work for what we’re trying to accomplish.

Highest Draft Grades

1. Cincinnati Bengals
GPA: 4.11
Highest Grade: A+ (Prisco, Iyer, Burke, Davis (3))
Lowest Grade: A- (Kiper)
Comments: Not one analyst had the Bengals lower than an A-, even the ever-fickle Jason Cole. Prisco loves all ten picks, saying the Mohamed Sanu pick was the most questionable because he’s not a burner. Burke sees the possibility for the first nine picks to be starters. May the Bungals forever be gone!

2. Pittsburgh Steelers
GPA: 3.78
Highest Grade: A+ (Czarnecki, Davis (1))
Lowest Grade: B (Kiper)
Comments: Czarnecki and Davis praised the selections of David DeCastro and Mike Adams to shore up a leaky offensive line for the Steelers. They also see Alameda Ta’amu as the heir apparent to Casey Hampton. Kiper raved about the DeCastro pick, but was a little more apprehensive about Adams' impact. He also doesn't thinks Ta’amu isn’t special, but can fill in as a missing piece.

3. Indianapolis Colts
GPA: 3.41
Highest Grade: A+ (Wesseling)
Lowest Grade: B (Rang, Cole)
Comments: Besides the obvious pick of Andrew Luck, Wesseling loved the additional offensive firepower Indy added in Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. He sees T.Y. Hilton as an immediate contributor, especially on special teams, while projecting Josh Chapman as the nose tackle of the future. Rang agreed with the offensive choices but thought that there should’ve been a more concerted effort to help ease the transition into the 3-4 defense. Cole, meanwhile, wasn’t as bullish on Hilton and feels Robert Griffin, although the riskier pick, will have a better career than Luck when all is said and done.

4. Philadelphia Eagles
GPA: 3.63
Highest Grade: A (Kiper, Rang, Iyer)
Lowest Grade: B (Czarnecki)
Comments: Kiper seemed to love the Eagles draft. He thought they perfectly filled their needs with high-value picks, especially being able to grab Fletcher Cox at the twelve spot when he was projected to be long gone. He and Rang also thought Mychal Kendricks is the perfect linebacker for their system. Czarnecki echoed all of these points but was less than thrilled with the selection of Arizona’s Nick Foles and his "cement feet," noting Andy Reid’s addiction to drafting quarterbackss.

5. New England*
GPA: 3.41
Highest Grade: A (Iyer, Czarnecki, Cole, Davis (4))
Lowest Grade: B- (Kiper, Prisco, Burke)
Comments: This grade seems completely based on the Patriots trading up to acquire both Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower in the first round. All four analysts who gave A’s focused almost solely on these two players. Kiper liked the other picks the Pats made, but thought that most (Tavon Wilson in particular) were taken too early. Prisco and Burke also seemed to reflect Kiper’s sentiments on Wilson, with Burke claiming he has the potential to be a "total flub."

*New England tied with Tampa Bay for fifth place, but New England won the tie-breaker with the highest low grade.

Lowest Draft Grades

32. New Orleans Saints
GPA: 1.04
Highest Grade: C- (Kiper, Iyer, Davis (27))
Lowest Grade: F (Prisco, Cole)
Comments: The Saints weren’t exactly playing with a full deck to begin with thanks to the BountyGate punishments and the Mark Ingram trade last year. Kiper thinks Akiem Hicks is a nice sleeper, but thought there should’ve been some focus on defense. Prisco didn’t think quite as highly of Hicks, simply referring to him as a "defensive tackle from Canada."

31. Oakland Raiders
GPA: 1.41
Highest Grade: B- (Rang)
Lowest Grade: D (Prisco, Iyer, Czarnecki, Wesseling)
Comments: Rang praised the efforts by new GM Reggie McKenzie, saying he picked up four potential impact players in the draft, including Juron Criner. Prisco also liked the picks of Criner and Tony Bergstrom, but panned using this year’s third-round pick on Terrelle Pryor in the Supplemental Draft last year. Czarnecki was less optimistic about the impact that everybody but Criner and Bergstrom could make.

30. Seattle Seahawks
GPA: 1.89
Highest Grade: B (Czarnecki)
Lowest Grade: D- (Cole)
Comments: Although referring to the picks as shockers, Czarnecki didn’t have a problem with the Bruce Irvin/Bobby Wagner/Russell Wilson trifecta, as he sees talent in all of them. Cole was much less optimistic about Irvin and Wilson. He thinks Irvin, although having vast potential, is too much of a risk and was reached for too high in the draft, noting that several GMs didn’t have a first-round grade on him. As for Wilson, he essentially said he’ll be lucky to be Seneca Wallace. Enough said.

T-29. Denver Broncos
GPA: 1.93
Highest Grade: B- (Czarnecki)
Lowest Grade: D (Burke, Davis (32))
Comments: Czarnecki didn’t really agree with taking Brock Osweiler in the second round, as he’s considered to be more of a developmental project, but he saw a lot of value and impact in the later rounds. Burke and Davis both agreed with Czarnecki on Osweiler’s draft spot, but saw less help from the rest of the class. They both would’ve preferred a more polished prospect such as Jerel Worthy or Devon Still.

T-29. New York Jets
GPA: 1.93
Highest Grade: B- (Wesseling)
Lowest Grade: D+ (Burke)
Comments: The pick of Quinton Coples impressed Wesseling and he sees Stephen Hill and Demario Davis as potential rookie starters if they’re able to refine their skills. He didn’t feel the rest of picks offered much value. Burke sees Coples as a huge gamble due to his uninspired senior season and wasn’t pleased by the lack of offensive line help the Jets desperately needed.

Greatest Variation in Draft Grades

1. Chicago Bears
GPA: 2.33
Standard Deviation: .76
Highest Grade: A- (Iyer)
Lowest Grade: D+ (Davis (30))
Comments: The difference in opinion was mainly caused by Shea McClellin and Alshon Jeffery. They are a pair of rather divisive prospects due to McClellin being a "late riser" and Jeffery falling off in his senior season.

2. Seattle Seahawks
GPA: 1.89
Standard Deviation: .75
Highest Grade: B (Czarnecki)
Lowest Grade: D- (Cole)
Comments: As already discussed, Irvin and Wilson are going to offer some pretty polarizing opinions. Time will tell if Irvin turns out to be the next Jared Allen (off-field issues led to Allen attending Idaho State and being a fourth-round pick) or a defensive version of Lawrence Phillips. Wilson may have to master the drop-kick, a la Doug Flutie, if his height, or lack thereof, proves to be too much of an impediment.

3. St. Louis Rams
GPA: 3.00
Standard Deviation: .71
Highest Grade: A (Czarnecki)
Lowest Grade: C (Rang, Iyer)
Comments: Czarnecki loved that the Rams turned the second overall pick into a cornucopia of later picks after trading with both Washington and Dallas. Iyer thought that the Rams failed to give help to Sam Bradford in the form of a quality receiver or offensive lineman. Rang didn’t like the gamble on Michael Brockers or that most of the Rams picks seem to have "character issues."

4. Dallas Cowboys
GPA: 3.11
Standard Deviation: .69
Highest Grade: A+ (Iyer)
Lowest Grade: C (Rang)
Comments: This is one of the more perplexing differences as Iyer and Rang both praised the top Cowboys picks (Morris Claiborne and Tyrone Crawford) and neither had anything negative to say. Rang must’ve simply valued the Cowboys picks lower than Iyer in terms of quality and value.

5. New York Giants
GPA: 3.26
Standard Deviation: .68
Highest Grade: A+ (Davis)
Lowest Grade: C+ (Kiper, Cole)
Comments: Davis ranked the Giants second on his list, claiming that the Giants not only were able to fill their needs, but they did it with the best player available each time. Kiper thinks that David Wilson is the only legitimate player, with the other picks merely being helpful pieces. Cole liked the picks of Wilson, Rueben Randle, and Jayron Hosley, but must’ve thought the other four weren’t anything to get too excited about.

Overall Grades

Here’s a breakdown of how each team was graded:

2012 NFL Draft Grades
Team High Grade Low Grade Average GPA Std. Dev. Grade Rank Std. Dev. Rank
Arizona B+ (Three tied) C+ (Prisco, Davis) 2.92 0.40 15 29
Atlanta B+ (Iyer) C- (Silva) 2.19 0.50 26 20
Baltimore A- (Ayer, Davis) C+ (Cole) 3.11 0.44 10 26
Buffalo B+ (Prisco, Burke) C (Iyer) 2.85 0.44 17 25
Carolina A- (Iyer, Burke) C (Silva) 3.03 0.54 13 18
Chicago A- (Iyer) D+ (Davis) 2.33 0.76 23 1
Cincinnati A+ (Four tied) A- (Kiper) 4.11 0.24 1 32
Cleveland A- (Iyer) C- (Prisco) 2.55 0.67 20 6
Dallas A+ (Iyer) C (Ramg) 3.11 0.69 10 4
Denver B- (Czarnecki) D (Burke, Davis) 1.93 0.57 29 15
Team High Grade Low Grade Average GPA Std. Dev. Grade Rank Std. Dev. Rank
Detroit B+ (Silva) D+ (Davis) 2.56 0.60 20 13
Green Bay A (Iyer, Davis) B (Five tied) 3.33 0.44 7 26
Houston B (Four tied) C- (Davis) 2.52 0.53 21 19
Indianapolis A+ (Wesseling) B (Rang, Cole) 3.70 0.46 3 24
Jacksonville B- (Prisco) D (Wesseling) 1.96 0.49 27 21
Kansas City B+ (Czarnecki) C- (Cole) 2.33 0.55 23 16
Miami B+ (Prisco, Cole) C- (Rang) 2.63 0.61 18 12
Minnesota A (Burke) C+ (Silva) 3.11 0.47 10 22
New England A (Four Tied) B- (Three Tied) 3.41 0.62 5 11
New Orleans C- (Three tied) F (Prisco, Cole) 1.04 0.66 32 8
New York Giants A+ (Davis) C+ (Kiper, Cole) 3.26 0.68 8 5
New York Jets B- (Wesseling) D+ (Burke) 1.93 0.36 29 30
Team High Grade Low Grade Average GPA Std. Dev. Grade Rank Std. Dev. Rank
Oakland B- (Rang) D (Five tied) 1.41 0.60 31 14
Philadelphia A (Three tied) B (Czarnecki) 3.63 0.35 4 31
Pittsburgh A+ (Czarnecki, Davis) B (Kiper) 3.78 0.44 2 26
San Diego A (Iyer, Burke) C (Cole) 3.26 0.64 8 9
San Francisco B (Iyer, Cole) D (Burke) 2.19 0.63 26 10
Seattle B (Czarnecki) D- (Cole) 1.89 0.75 30 2
St. Louis A (Czarnecki) C (Rang) 3.00 0.71 14 3
Tampa Bay A (three tied) C (Cole) 3.41 0.66 5 7
Tennessee B- (Four tied) D (Davis) 2.26 0.55 24 17
Washington A- (Czarnecki, Silva) C+ (Kiper) 2.93 0.47 15 23
Total -- -- 2.74 0.55

Grading the Graders

2012 NFL Draft Grades
Grader High Grade Low Grade Average GPA Std. Dev.
Mel Kiper, ESPN A (Philadelphia, Tampa) C- (Three tied) 2.64 0.63
Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com A (Philadelphia, Cincinnati) D (New Orleans) 2.66 0.76
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports A+ (Cincinnati) F (New Orleans) 2.67 0.90
Vinny Iyer, Sporting News A+ (Cincinnati, Dallas) D (Oakland, Seattle) 3.01 0.96
John Czarnecki, Fox Sports A+ (Pittsburgh) D (New Orleans, Oakland) 2.80 0.83
Wesseling/Silva, RotoWorld A+ (Indianapolis) D (3 teams) 2.90 0.89
Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated A+ (Cincinnati) D (Denver, San Francisco) 2.74 0.91
Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports A (Cincinnati, New England) F (New Orleans) 2.52 0.943
Nate Davis, USA Today* A+ (Three tied) D (Denver, Tennessee) 2.72 1.04
*-Numbers represent converted grades

College of Idaho graduate Mike Ridley is an accountant by day and Football Outsiders intern by night. His lifelong goal is to get tweeted by Bill Simmons.


121 comments, Last at 17 Mar 2013, 11:11pm

#1 by Joseph // May 02, 2012 - 12:12pm

As a Saints fan, here's where I think that the "experts" harshly grade teams who don't have the full complement of picks for different reasons. If you put Ingram with this draft class (which he "actually" was), then how do you give the Saints an F? I wasn't crazy about the trade up last year, and still don't think it was wise. But good grief, an F seems ridiculous. Same with the Raiders' grades, and somewhat for ATL's grade.

Points: 0

#2 by Tim Wilson // May 02, 2012 - 12:20pm

Ok, but you can't count Ingram as part of both last year's class and this year's. Even if you give up two picks to get a guy, you still only get one player.

Points: 0

#4 by Thomas_beardown // May 02, 2012 - 12:23pm

Ingram was in the last class. The Saints made their last draft strong in exchange for making this weaker.

This isn't an offseason acquisitions grade, it's simply a grade of the quality of players that were selected this year and how well they will fit the team.

There are plenty of other reasons to think these grades are stupid or useless, but on this issue I think they do it right.

Points: 0

#6 by ATL Fan (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 12:27pm

I agree. ATL didn't have a sexy draft but if the big uglies turn out decent then I would say the draft was better than a 2.1 gpa.

Additionally, it seems the teams with the top 5 picks (STL, IND) generally have the best grades year in and year out while the playoff teams (NYG, NO) generally suffer. Yet, NYG and NO are consistently in the playoffs. I don't think the talking heads fully take into account the fact that winning teams go into the draft with far less ammunition.

Points: 0

#8 by Thomas_beardown // May 02, 2012 - 12:33pm

"I don't think the talking heads fully take into account the fact that winning teams go into the draft with far less ammunition."

Why should they? Does having less picks or lower picks make the draft better? The point here is solely to measure the quality of the players picked in this draft. It is not to measure how good a team will be in the next season.

Points: 0

#81 by jebmak // May 06, 2012 - 11:27am

I would argue that the point is to measure how well a team did with what they have.

If a team only had a sixth and a seventh round pick during a draft, and they come out of it with two solid starters, I would give them a higher grade than some team with a full compliment of picks, that ended up with three solid starters.

Points: 0

#84 by Jerry // May 06, 2012 - 4:31pm

Yeah, but projecting sixth and seventh round picks to be solid starters right after the draft is really difficult/foolish.

Points: 0

#95 by jebmak // May 06, 2012 - 9:49pm

Well, projecting anything at that point is pretty much pointless. I think we all agree on that. I"m just saying that if you *are* going to do it...

Points: 0

#85 by Thomas_beardown // May 06, 2012 - 5:18pm

I guess you can do that, but I think it's stupid because the team with 3 solid starters is still going to be better.

Points: 0

#88 by BaronFoobarstein // May 06, 2012 - 7:04pm

Well that's fine, but it's not what you're trying to judge. If you're judging a place kicker do you go by raw FG% or do you consider how far his attempts were as well? The former gives some idea, but adjusting for the external variables makes the latter a better method. Same goes for judging a draft. You have to consider what the FO had to deal with going in.

Points: 0

#92 by Thomas_beardown // May 06, 2012 - 8:44pm

Retrospectively to gauge how well a front office drafts, sure. But these predictions, you just want to see how much it's going to help a team.

Points: 0

#96 by jebmak // May 06, 2012 - 9:51pm

And I'm looking for the opposite. It's an agree to disagree situation.

Points: 0

#98 by Arkaein // May 07, 2012 - 1:37pm

What we really need are two stats.

A stat I'd like to call Draft Value Over Average could be used to rate drafting efficiency, looking at each pick and how good or bad it is relative to other teams picking in similar situations. This would allow teams with few selections a chance to shine by maximizing the value of their picks.

A second stat, which I'm calling Drafting Young Athletes to Replacing aging veterans would judge each team based on the total value of all players added to each team through the draft, and would be an indicator of how much a given team is likely to improve in future years based on a single draft.

I think that if someone developed these stats and built a website around them, they'd really have something.

Points: 0

#9 by sundown (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 12:51pm

Of course the teams with the very top picks tend to get better grades...they're drafting the better players, after all. I agree it can get monotonous to see that every year, but how would you grade the Colts' draft? Dock them for having the top pick? And winning teams don't always get the shaft because the Pats and Steelers got some of the very best grades this year.

Points: 0

#14 by RichC (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 1:53pm

"Of course the teams with the very top picks tend to get better grades...they're drafting the better players, after all"

I'd argue that outside of the first round, this isn't true at all.

If it were, we wouldn't keep seeing teams like NE and Pitt and GB and NYG at the end of the round, and teams like Cleveland at the beginning.

Points: 0

#21 by sundown (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 2:36pm

The reason you keep seeing teams like Cleveland drafting at the beginning is that they're a poorly run organization and have been for years. That's an overall team problem, not just a draft issue.

But unless the draft order is altered via trades, a crappy team will get first shot at the best available every round. That will lead to better draft grades assuming their player evaluation is similar to the experts giving out the draft grades. That doesn't even mean guys pan out, just that their guess was similar to the draft experts.

Points: 0

#28 by chemical burn // May 02, 2012 - 3:51pm

Only, as this study shows, it's not leading to better draft grades for these teams. Which seems, like, fairly relevant.

Points: 0

#32 by MJK // May 02, 2012 - 4:51pm

But unless the draft order is altered via trades, a crappy team will get first shot at the best available every round.

Not exactly. You're treating the rounds as discrete events, which would be appropriate if they were different player pools (i.e. for the first round the 32 best players in the draft were eligible, and teams could only pick from those 32, and so forth), but this isn't the case. The draft is really continuous.

The top pick of round 2 is only one pick behind the bottom pick of round 1, and once you get out of the top 5 picks or so (if even there), there's not much difference between a pick and a pick a few picks later.

So the "good" teams (picking at the end of the 1st) and the crappy teams (picking at the top of the 2nd) have essentially equivalent picks. Same goes for the end of the 2nd/top of the 3rd, and so forth.

The difference between a good team and a crappy team's draft (barring trades) is that one extra pick...the good team's extra pick is Mr. Irrelevant, while the crappy team's extra pick is the 1st overall. Granted that's a big difference, but it's only one player.

Points: 0

#35 by Kyle D. (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 5:17pm

Nobody gets an extra pick. Picking 31 spots before Mr. Irrelevant is still pretty irrelevant but there's a huge difference between picking 1 compared to 32 in the first round.

Points: 0

#49 by Mr Shush // May 03, 2012 - 5:29am

What he's saying is that the Giants' #1 and the Colts' #2 are essentially equivalent. The best way of comparing the picks those teams have (leaving out trades and compensatory picks) is to say they have pretty much the same picks except that the Colts have #1 overall instead of the Giants' #240 or whatever.

Points: 0

#58 by MJK // May 03, 2012 - 1:33pm

Yes, exactly. I think Kyle D. was misunderstanding. I'm not saying anyone has "extra picks" (bad choice of words on my part).

Barring trades, the best team in the league and the worst each get 7 picks. The best team's #1 pick is pretty much equal in value to the worst team's #2 pick, and likewise for the best team's #2 and the worst team's #3, and so forth. So six of the picks are essentially equivalent.

The only difference is the #1 overall versus the last pick overall.

Points: 0

#76 by nat // May 04, 2012 - 1:04pm

It's a nifty analysis. The difference between worst and best draft position is a little less than one of Cam Newton, Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford, Jake Long, JaMarcus Russell, Mario Williams ... Peyton Manning ... Andrew Luck ...

That's not a small difference, but it's just one player. And you still have to pay him when his rookie contract runs out.

All the other draft positions are worth somewhere in between. Moving from last pick to the middle of the draft is worth about a third round pick, perhaps. The "Suck for Luck" sweepstakes was "fought" over at most eight positions in the draft - the equivalent of upgrading one pick by about 2 rounds in the draft, or getting an extra fifth round pick.

Of course it's not that linear. But it still gives a rough idea of the value of draft position.

Points: 0

#23 by BaronFoobarstein // May 02, 2012 - 2:41pm

I don't think that holds up. If you're giving a team a draft grade you're considering where they draft. It's (perceived obtained value) / (expected value). So sure, a team with higher picks gets first shot at better players and should therefore get more value from the draft, but you divide that right out because you expected them to get more value.

Points: 0

#25 by Kyle D. (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 2:52pm

Agreed that would be a good way to do it. But if expected value was playing much of a role the worst grades would be be more than just a list of teams that were short on high-round picks.

I think most graders just look if the team picked players they liked and addressed weaknesses. Hit on those two things and it's a good grade.

Points: 0

#71 by Whatev // May 04, 2012 - 4:50am

Isn't that exactly the complaint? That it should be done that way but isn't?

Points: 0

#26 by Thomas_beardown // May 02, 2012 - 3:02pm

Why do that though? No one cares about doing better than expected given X starting draft picks. They care about total value gained because that's what actually matters in the end.

If a team only had 3 7th round picks, and one of them turned into a rotation playing in the secondary and a special teams play they would have done enormously better than expected, but it's hardly going to affect the quality of the team at all.

Points: 0

#31 by BaronFoobarstein // May 02, 2012 - 4:41pm

I think grading a draft and predicting season to season changes in success are different things. I can see where you might want to ask how much you can expect a given draft class to contribute, but that's a different task.

Points: 0

#13 by chemical burn // May 02, 2012 - 1:45pm

Also, please note that 3 of the Top 5 "best draft" teams this year are consistent playoff contenders with low-round picks and one borderline playoff contender. Colts have also been playoff regulars for years, however that factors into the concept. If anything, consistent contenders like the Pats & Steelers get good draft grades regardless of what they do because it is assumed that they are teams being well-managed.

(Also labeling a team that has made the playoffs 6 times in the last 10 years and twice in the past 4 as "consistently" in the playoffs seems pretty weak - especially in comparison to teams like the Patriots, Colts and Steelers who only missed it once or twice this decade.

Points: 0

#43 by justanothersteve // May 02, 2012 - 8:59pm

You can also go further down and find the Packers, Giants, and Ravens in the top 10.

Points: 0

#106 by R (not verified) // May 07, 2012 - 3:50pm

"If you put Ingram with this draft class (which he "actually" was)"

No he "actually" wasn't.

Points: 0

#3 by John (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 12:21pm

Bleacher Report ran grades, but the lowest grade was B-. I'm fairly convinced the author has no idea how grading systems work. "Everybody's a winner!"

Points: 0

#10 by sundown (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 12:55pm

That's my biggest gripe is that some of graders think everybody did just great. Not only does that make no sense in terms of "grading" but it makes for really boring reading as no fan is going to get all worked up over their team "only" getting a B.

Points: 0

#12 by johonny (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 1:19pm

I disagree. Most ratings are based on how an NFL team is expected to operate. Did the team pick value with each pick, did they make trades that trade value charts show were not getting robbed, did they take players that mostly had good character, etc. Basically most grades of B say the team operated like an NFL team would. Most A's come from the luck of getting lots of picks early in the draft. The fact almost every team is viewed by writers as operating per normal is in fact not that exciting, then again most sports writers before the draft would tell you draft grades are generally not that exciting because sans Al Davis so few teams do non-typical things. Most teams will pick college players that look like they might transition to the pro-game well. Injuries, coaching staffs and players attitudes will tell you 3 years from now how teams really did.

Points: 0

#36 by Theo // May 02, 2012 - 5:45pm

I have to defend B/R here. B/R knows that the average/median knowledge of a football fan is... average.
Their business model is not to provide intelligent analysis and insightful articles.
Their core business is to give their advertisers readers and page views. Advertisers love page views.
You get viewers by grading drafts "hey kids, want a quick easy way to know who drafted who and if they did well?? Click here." and other dumb articles "top 10 QBs of todays NFL (totally graded on passing yards, TDs, INTs and intangibles)"
To keep viewers, you got to keep them coming back. Fans love it when you talk good things about their team.
"This guy is right because he thinks [my home team] did well because [nonsense reason] [chat accepted spelling and poor grammar].
You are judging a fish on how well it can climb a tree.

Points: 0

#39 by BaronFoobarstein // May 02, 2012 - 6:27pm

Okay, Einstein, are you saying that A. testudineus is not the best fish ever?

Points: 0

#41 by Theo // May 02, 2012 - 6:54pm

Nice one. That fish just didn't get the memo.
Straight from B/R:
My top 5 of best fish ever. Do sharks blast away all other fish?

5: Angler fish. I mean look at them. Oh you can't, he lives in the dark.
4: the Killer Whale. Ok, technically not a fish, but still very impressive, eats whales and sharks for breakfast.
3: the Whale Shark. Get this... it's the largest shark and it eats plankton!
2: Opistognathidae/Jawfish. These are mouth brooders.
1: Megalodon. This extinct beast was 16 metres (52 ft) long. Imagine a bus. With teeth. Angry.

Points: 0

#51 by Fizzman // May 03, 2012 - 8:56am

4: the Killer Whale...

... AND I just read in my son's world record book that they are also the longest-lived mammals (90 years)! Dang.

Points: 0

#61 by BaronFoobarstein // May 03, 2012 - 2:51pm

90 is possible but rare for a killer whale, kind of like for a human. Bowhead whales can live 200 years in rare cases.

Points: 0

#82 by jebmak // May 06, 2012 - 11:37am

That is a long-ass time.

Also thanks for the testudineus knowledge.

Points: 0

#56 by Steve in WI // May 03, 2012 - 11:46am

My gut is that it's ridiculous to say that no team did worse than B-, but depending on what you want the grades to mean it could theoretically be valid. If you're grading on a semi-objective scale rather than comparatively against other teams, it's possible that every team in the NFL had a solid B- or better draft. (I think it's an unlikely outcome, but it's possible).

Points: 0

#57 by Thomas_beardown // May 03, 2012 - 12:09pm

The question becomes what are you grading? Are you trying to assess the quality of players that each team drafted? If so, probably 10 teams or less deserve a B. Or, are you just grading whether a team filled what you though it's weak spots were? In that case, I think it's likely that ever team would have a B or better.

Points: 0

#11 by sundown (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 1:00pm

I think it's rather interesting that the Broncos got dinged for the Osweiler pick because of questions over him being a project. What I found most questionable was the fact that by signing Manning they basically announced they're planning on making the Super Bowl in the next couple years but then spent a pick on a guy who won't help them do that.

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#17 by Jimmy // May 02, 2012 - 2:11pm

Agreed, it would be expecting a bit much of Osweiler to push Peyton Manning.

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#37 by Kyle D. (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 5:53pm

I wonder if the "project" comments weren't meant along the lines of "why draft somebody who won't help you for several years?" as opposed to saying the pick would have been fine if only it had been a more NFL-ready qb. I think that can be read both ways.

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#67 by armchair journ… // May 04, 2012 - 12:20am

i think the thrust of the critique is "way too high for a project pick," and a general dislike of the chosen project... most of what i saw before the draft didn't like him as a pro-prospect.


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#38 by Sifter // May 02, 2012 - 6:00pm

Compare it to the Eagles who are in a similarish situation. Spent a lot of cash last year in FA, presumably 'making a run' at a SB win. Eagles also took a QB (Foles) early this year who won't play. That's arguably worse too, since Vick is younger than Peyton (more injury prone though, I'll admit) and should have longer til retirement. Not many bagging the Eagles for Foles, but plenty bagging the Broncos for Osweiler. I just think the whole 'priming for a run at the title' thing is a bit overrated generally. Why weren't Denver trading up like crazy, spending future picks etc. if they REALLY wanted to win now?

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#44 by justanothersteve // May 02, 2012 - 9:04pm

I honestly think Foles was a panic pick after missing out on Russell Wilson. I'm not sure which pick between Foles, Osweiler, or Cousins I'd consider the worst QB pick.

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#86 by Dean // May 06, 2012 - 6:57pm

The problem with that is that given Andy Reid's history and what we know about his draft process via interviews over the years, if he likes a player, he moves up and takes him, or he waits for the player to fall. If he misses out on a player, he trades down. He's never been one to say "we need position X in round Y" and just take the top guy at that position. ESPECIALLY at QB. He drafts guys he thinks he can mould into a successful QB. Part of why his track record is so highly regarded is that while the successes have maybe been mixed, the failures have been few and far between. As far as QBs that were flat-out busts, has there been any other than Andy Hall?

If Reid picked Foles, it's because he liked Foles. It had nothing whatsoever to do with Wilson. He may have also liked Wilson, but that wouldn't affect Foles at all. It's simply not how he does business.

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#102 by chemical burn // May 07, 2012 - 2:29pm

I just want Lewin to write something about the pick - his LCF forecast for Foles was huge, not far behind Andrew Luck. His blurb on the forecast boiled down to "hey, it looks like Foles would be a great pick and a huge steal, but I really don't think he's going to go in first 3 rounds, so it doesn't matter because this system assumes GM's will weed marginal prospects out."

And then he goes late-ish in the third round to an organization with a solid history of developing QB's... which means... ?

LCF has me feeling like I should start assuming he's Vick's heir apparent, but the write-up is reads like "hey, don't get your hopes up, he's not going in the first 3 rounds, so this forecast doesn't matter - really, forget I said anything, he probably won't be any good."

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#103 by Dean // May 07, 2012 - 2:53pm

I'd forgotten that was Foles.

The only other guy I can recall getting a similar writeup was Tavarris Jackson. If I recall right, the forecast hated Jackson anyway, so it's not quite the best corollary.

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#104 by chemical burn // May 07, 2012 - 3:10pm

It's one of the many things that frustrates me about the LCF - it definitely needs a second update after the draft when we KNOW whether guys went in the first 3 rounds. Also, kinda cool to discuss who went waaaay to high (Tannenhill & Weeden), who might be a steal and the contexts of the pick - like that Foles won't be expected to start for at least another year and probably not for another 2 years.

I mean, LCF seems to think Foles is one of the Top 20 prospects of all time (I think?) so that seems worth discussing. With Foles, all of the scouting reports are so negative - he sounds like a less mobile (!) Byron Leftwich. Plus, there's so many prospects getting huge projections this year that looking closer feels like it would be worth the time...

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#105 by Thomas_beardown // May 07, 2012 - 3:43pm

Isn't "of all time" pretty small when talking about the LCF? Like less than 20 years?

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#107 by Jerry // May 07, 2012 - 4:50pm

First, I don't think Dave Lewin is involved with the LCF anymore. IIRC, he's working for an NBA team and Aaron is now running and tweaking the algorithm.

Second, I think the LCF was designed more to show which highly-rated prospects are likely to fail. The third-round cutoff is a recognition that there are QBs whose numbers would suggest success far beyond their actual ability. The idea that scouts would weed them out makes sense, but if some are starting to be drafted above the cutoff, possibly because some teams take the LCF seriously, we'll have to see whether those numbers hold up.

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#109 by chemical burn // May 07, 2012 - 5:03pm

Yeah, but doesn't expanded it to the third round go against what you're saying? I mean, intuitively your logic seems sound... but then tweaks to the LFC moved it in the opposite direction and expanded the pool of talent in consideration. I certainly agree that LCF has been more likely to discover which QB's will bomb than succeed (although that's not explicitly the intent of its design), but again I think considering the picks in light of the actual team they ended up with becomes intriguing - Cleveland clearly has a history of destroying worthwhile prospects (or ones with potential according to LCF) but the Eagles have a history of getting the most out of their QB's. Certainly, I'd love to hear someone who has studied it more closely and has access to the actual numbers involved to give their opinion...

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#110 by Jerry // May 07, 2012 - 5:29pm

I assume (rightly or wrongly) that when Aaron was putting together the current LCF, he found that it worked for the third round as well. If that turns out not to be the case, maybe it'll go back to two rounds in subsequent iterations.

If there's a good algorithm for matching prospects with teams, its developer can expect to see serious money. Until one becomes public, we'll have to live with the anecdotal knowledge that some teams identify and develop quarterbacks (and/or other players) better than others.

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#111 by chemical burn // May 07, 2012 - 5:38pm

Oh, sure, I agree completely - I'm just saying I'd like some anecdotal observations from professionals with access to the numbers their system employs. With Foles, they wrote a blurb about his nice projection that suggested we ignore the projection. A little follow-up would be nice. For example, do they stand by it? Because they sure don't seem to want to. Also, it'd be cool to hear more about the other 3 prospects in the draft that LCF think will be 3 of the best QB's in quite some time.

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#50 by Mr Shush // May 03, 2012 - 5:41am

It wouldn't completely surprise me if Vick turned out to have fewer years left as a viable NFL starter than Peyton.

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#15 by RichC (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 2:00pm

". Kiper liked the other picks the Pats made, but thought that most (Tavon Wilson in particular) were taken too early. "

I don't know too much about Tavon Wilson, but it seems like every time someone says that the Patriots drafted a guy way too early, he turns out pretty good.

The last one (Vollmer) people were complaining should have been a 6th or 7th round pick, and was a good starting LT/RT his rookie year. McCourty was supposedly a "special teams only guy".

The Patriots don't use the same scouting service as Kiper uses. Of course their rankings are going to be a bit different.

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#18 by Karl Cuba // May 02, 2012 - 2:14pm

The thing is that everyone was flummoxed by the Wilson pick, none of the scouting services had him at anything close to a second round grade (as far as I know, I haven't checked them all, there's only so much dreck you can read).

Bequette was also seen as a reach by the pundit consensus. Does this mean that the pundits are right and the Pats botched the picks? No, we'll have to wait and see but it does seem to me that the high grades for the Pats seem to be more about them having two first round picks and grabbing Dennard late in the show, after a talented player punched his way down the draft. There's probably also some reticence to give the best coach in the game a low mark.

Of course draft grades are a silly exercise, simply an attempt to bring early gratification for a fan base that will have to wait five years to really comprehend what just happened.

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#19 by Karl Cuba // May 02, 2012 - 2:31pm

The more I think about the niners' draft the less happy I am about it. There's been a lot of talking about an envelope that was supposedly sealed with AJ Jenkins' name in it but I really think that they wanted Bruce Irvin and it was the pass rusher that Baalke was referring to when he said there was one player they were after and they expected him to be there at number 30. Sam Lam reports that Jenkins was the 49ers' prime target for the second round and it's quite well documented that they were talking to the Vikings about trading down. Baalke said afterwards that they decided not to make the trade but it seems more likely that the Vikings preferred to move up higher for the same price and so dealt with the Ravens and the niners were left at the altar. The guy they really wanted was long gone and they couldn't find a trade partner so they took a guy who was probably a reach.

I quite like Jenkins having looked at some of his footage, he's quick with good hands and adjusts to the ball beautifully in a passing game that was virtually non-existent apart from him. It's hard to be that unhappy with LaMichael James, his ten minute long highlight reels are fun to watch. The niners padded out the lower rounds with a bunch of medical risks that could look like steals if they can get them on the field.

I'd have been much happier if they had leapt up to grab DeCastro when he fell, they should have dealt with the Lions, and then they could have grabbed Randle with their second round pick.

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#64 by bravehoptoad // May 03, 2012 - 4:41pm

They were never going to get Irvin at 30, and they couldn't have gotten Jenkins any later than they did, so if that's the guy they wanted, they played it perfectly.

I was on the edge of my seat hoping Fleener would drop to 30...and he did! I was bouncing around the room! ...and they didn't take him. Instead of this brainy muscled chunk of Stanford tight end, they picked this little slip of of a guy with a dorky smile who can't get off the line against the press. My reaction can be summed up succinctly: ???

I'm confused by the LaMichael James pick. He might have been the BPA, but was he better relative to what we already have (Kendall Hunter)? Wasn't there some other spot on the roster that could have used a bigger relative upgrade?

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#65 by Karl Cuba // May 03, 2012 - 5:56pm

I really, really didn't want Fleener. He might go on to be great, I don't care. In an NFL offense there will be a receiver who is designated to run a route on a given passing play so if you have Fleener, who couldn't block a girl scout, then you have to ask the the most talented 49er, Vernon Davis, to block. I'd rather have the receiver but I'm not sure that the guys we've taken will all make the active roster.

The draft doesn't make sense given the niners' roster.

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#20 by palmer2755 (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 2:35pm

This was a well put together article! Good Job Mr. Ridley.

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#22 by Backup Quarter… (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 2:41pm

Great post. Agree with Cincinnati #1 wholeheartedly, as well as Cleveland, Seattle, and Jacksonville for the most part. I am more with Kiper on the Pats -- Tavon Wilson especially seemed to be a huge reach. It was our worst pick of the draft:




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#62 by RichC (not verified) // May 03, 2012 - 3:08pm

" It was our worst pick of the draft:"

Thats impossible to know though, and thats the whole point. If hes a starter at some point, its a perfectly good pick.

You're assuming the pundits have perfect knowledge, and the Patriots don't have any. BB thought Wilson was worth a 2. Could he be wrong? Of course. Could he be right? Of course.

There's only so far you can go with game theory. Its entirely possible the Patriots could have waited and picked Wilson later, but its entirely possible that he would have been gone a couple picks later. We just don't know.

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#63 by BaronFoobarstein // May 03, 2012 - 3:29pm

So we make the best judgments we can with the data we have in full knowledge of their imperfections.

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#74 by Hurt Bones // May 04, 2012 - 11:29am

"If hes a starter at some point, its a perfectly good pick."

Of course we can't know what he will do, but a player at 48 can generally be expected to start quite a few games. The average 3rd round pick starts 25% of the games over five years. "a perfectly good pick" at #48 should probably be a starter for at least 4 seasons. I don't have an opinion either way about Wilson, just an opinion about reasonable expectations about for any player chosen at 48.

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#24 by Myk (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 2:48pm

Find it funny when a team like Pittsburgh gets credit for drafting a player higher up on a draft board. Did Pittsburgh do anything special other then watch multiple other teams decide that DeCasto isn't worth a higher pick?

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#27 by wr (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 3:44pm

Beyond applying the ancient principle of not looking a gift horse
in the mouth, no.

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#30 by alsep73 // May 02, 2012 - 4:16pm

Sometimes, the guy who falls farther than expected makes a lot of teams look stupid (Aaron Rodgers, even someone like Warren Sapp), but other times, they fall for a reason. As a Giants fan, I remember how excited I was when William Joseph was unexpectedly there in the mid-20s. Turns out everyone else was right to be skeptical of the guy.

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#68 by BucNasty // May 04, 2012 - 1:56am

Not really the same. It's widely assumed that people weren't passing on DeCastro because they were worried about his play, they passed because they didn't want to spend their first pick on a guard. He was still the first player at his position to come off the board. It seems like more of a testament to how little NFL front offices value guards than some sort of red flag on the player himself.

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#70 by BaronFoobarstein // May 04, 2012 - 4:10am

That's likely true, but it amounts to the same thing. Maybe most teams passed on DeCastro because they thought he sucked, or maybe they passed because they place less value on guards. Either way, they passed and DeCastro "fell." Either way each decision to take someone else over him may one day be shown to have been wise or unwise.

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#75 by Hurt Bones // May 04, 2012 - 11:40am

I agree. From all accounts the Ravens were hoping either DeCastro, Zeitler, or Hightower would survive until 29. With very little caps space and the need to fill the roster with some depth to replace free agents, they couldn't afford to give up picks to trade up. If they had extra picks, I think they might have.

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#87 by Dean // May 06, 2012 - 6:59pm

I give them credit for being patient and not trading up to get their guy. Likewise, regardless of what happens to Tannihill, credit the Dolphins for not getting suckered into trading up for taking him.

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#89 by LionInAZ // May 06, 2012 - 8:13pm

That's a pretty low standard, considering where they picked, and who went ahead of them.

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#97 by jebmak // May 06, 2012 - 9:54pm

Well, if you want to give the Dolphins credit, setting a low standard is the only way.

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#29 by nath // May 02, 2012 - 4:13pm

So the two lowest-rated teams are the two without first- or second-round picks? And the highest-rated team had five picks in the first three rounds?

Shouldn't these grades attempt to evaluate the jobs teams did with the picks they had, not just where their picks were and how many they had?

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#34 by MJK // May 02, 2012 - 5:08pm

It depends. Are your grade meant to evaluate how well the team's personnel department works, or are they meant to evaluate how much a given draft will impact a team's future play on the field. Two different things.

In 2007, the Patriots had a terrible draft from the second standpoint...not a single player from that draft is still on the team, and of all the players taken that year, only one (Brandon Meriweather) ever got on the field for any appreciable snaps.

But from a front office evaluation standpoint, it looks much better. They traded a 1st rounder to get a 1st rounder the following year and a 4th rounder, which they traded to Oakland for Randy Moss. They traded their 2nd and 7th rounder for Wes Welker. And they traded a 3rd rounder for a 3rd rounder the following year, plus a 7th. So they actually got Brandon Meriweather, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and an extra 1st and 3rd rounder in 2008 (which turned into Jerod Mayo, Shawn Crable, and some 2009 picks). Given how poorly the 2007 draft turned out with picks actually taken, for many teams including the Patriots, it seems like trading out of it to acquire the impact players they needed to make a historic run was the smart thing to do.

I think these grades tend to run more the former way, though, evaluating how much a draft is likely to help a team on the field, without trying to make judgements about how smart the front office was that made it. Although this isn't consistent with the panning of teams that make unusual selections...

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#47 by nath // May 03, 2012 - 4:26am

"I think these grades tend to run more the former way"

I think the evidence at hand suggests they run the latter way, when they ought to run the former way. I mean, what good is an evaluation if it only tells you information you already know? I want to know if my team maximized the opportunities it did have. This was basically "the more and higher picks you have, the higher your evaluation," which says nothing about the front offices' ability to use those selections well.

I like what Bill Barnwell did on Grantland this week-- he took ten teams each that did or didn't address their obvious needs through the draft, regardless of how many picks they had or whether or not he personally liked the players they chose to do it.

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#33 by AD (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 5:01pm

Some notable players for the highest & lowest rated team according to this report through the years...


Roy Williams WR
DeMarcus Ware LB
Marcus Spears DE
Chris Canty DE
Jay Ratliff DT
Matt Leinart QB
Deuce Lutui OL
Leonard Pope TE
Joe Thomas OL
Brady Quinn QB
Eric Wright CB
Glenn Dorsey DT
Branden Albert OL
Brandon Flowers CB
Russell Okung OL
Earl Thomas S
Golden Tate WR
Kam Chancellor S
Nick Fairley DT
Titus Young WR
Mikel LeShoure RB


Jared Allen DE
Domonique Foxworth CB
Chris Myers OL
Rocky McIntosh LB
LaRon Landry S
Chris Johnson RB
Kedric Golston DT
Jordan Palmer QB
Reed Doughty S
Darrius Heyward-Bey WR
Louis Murphy WR
Tyson Alualu DT
Deji Karim RB
James Carpenter OL
Cary Williams CB

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#40 by R Johnston (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 6:38pm

Wow. Cleveland's draft was severely overrated. Lighting three picks on fire to move up to 3 from 4 to pick a running back who wasn't even going to be picked at 3 earns an F all on its own, and blowing another first round pick on a 28 year old quarterback caps the grade at an F no matter what happened in the rest of the draft.

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#42 by Splattered // May 02, 2012 - 8:34pm

The Bengals have the highest average draft grade in the history of FO doing this.

As a Bengals fan, I am cautiously excited, and really confused.

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#45 by Alex K (not verified) // May 02, 2012 - 9:18pm

I'm wondering if maybe the ownership was less involved this year? This draft reeks of someone telling Mike Brown that it took place next week and then knocking him out and locking him in a closet.

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#55 by Aaron Brooks G… // May 03, 2012 - 11:11am

They're still drafting convicts, so it seems Brown is still in the loop somehow.

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#46 by elmaned (not verified) // May 03, 2012 - 3:29am

Unless coaching was a factor..

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#48 by That Man (not verified) // May 03, 2012 - 5:19am

The 49ers Draft didn't get much attention from anybody except Peter King. They addressed the biggest flaw in their team, explosive playmakers on offense, with their first two picks, improved the depth on the O line, and stocked themselves with the most picks (likely 13) in next years draft. Not a bad weekend.

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#69 by BucNasty // May 04, 2012 - 2:09am

Mostly I can't help but wonder if they would have been better off just giving up their first round pick to sign Mike Wallace away from the Steelers instead of taking A.J. Jenkins.

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#73 by Karl Cuba // May 04, 2012 - 10:50am

That was always a long shot and was never going to happen after Wallace said he wanted to be paid like Larry Fitzgerald.

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#90 by LionInAZ // May 06, 2012 - 8:21pm

Well, at least he didn't demand to be paid like Calvin Johnson!

But in any case, it would have been a waste for the 49ers to pay Wallace a ton of money as long as Alex Smith is their QB. It would have been different if they had nabbed Peyton Manning.

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#52 by jeff G. (not verified) // May 03, 2012 - 9:04am

Would the Eagles ranking move up if you figure in the trade of draft picks for Demeco Ryans?

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#53 by zlionsfan // May 03, 2012 - 10:50am

Nitpick: in the table, Detroit's grade rank should be 19, because their GPA is .01 ahead of Cleveland's. (If they were tied, both teams should be 19th rather than 20th.)

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#91 by LionInAZ // May 06, 2012 - 8:30pm

That would be true *unless* they took into account the difference in standard deviation. (I didn't do the actual math to see if it made a difference.)

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#54 by White Rose Duelist // May 03, 2012 - 11:02am

Is B- the lowest average grade we've seen? I haven't checked, but it feels like the GPAs got lower this year than they have in the past.

Also, in regards to converting Nate Davis' ranks to grades, you meant 3 of each grade, not 10.

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#59 by Anonymouse (not verified) // May 03, 2012 - 1:37pm

I've been sort of surprised by the pretty consistent criticism of the Jets' draft. Coples is a gamble because of his senior season, but even with that factored in, most analysts had him rated anywhere from 9-17 on their boards. So getting him at 16 seems like fair value. If you're going to account for his downside, you have to account for his upside potential as well. I can understand the feeling that NYJ should've gone for Ingram instead, but honestly, isn't it a bit pretentious for draftniks to believe they have a better feel for who fits into Rex's system than Rex does?

In Round 2, Stephen Hill seemed to get mostly very positive marks as a mid-40's pick. Again, there's risk there, but also significant upside.

In Round 3, Demario Davis has limited experience against top competition, and many saw him more as a 4-3 OLB than a hybrid 3-4 ILB. But he has strong coverage skills vs TEs, and sideline-to-sideline speed. His drfat slot matched most expectations.

NYJ's two other big needs were safety and RT, and while they did wait until rounds 6-7 to address these, they did get some guys to compete there. Antonio Allen looks like he could be the SS of the future. And T Ganaway can compete for carries right away, esp with Shonn Greene's injury history.

Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems like a pretty well-thought-out draft weekend to me.

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#60 by chemical burn // May 03, 2012 - 2:26pm

i think this is a bit of a case of them getting knocked for "their" history, that they've had iffy success with "high upside" pass-rushers in the past few years and trying to address those issues early in the draft, so no one wants to give them the benefit of the doubt in regards to another iffy upside kinda guy (even, though, last year's picks are still developing & not necessarily supposed to be pass-rushers and Gholston wasn't Rex's pick.) It just seems a bit like "well, the Jets did that again - when does it ever work out for them?"

Then Hill is another risky, low-floor pick, so that's 2 in 2 rounds. As a result, they get dinged for having a "risky" draft because a couple solid late round picks at un-sexy positions like ILB, G and SS aren't going to make anybody sit up and go "wow!" I think if they had managed to snatch Coples in round 2 and Hill in round 3, everyone would be saying they got some amazing steals and had one of the best drafts of the year regardless of what happened in the first round (even if they traded away their first rounder and ended up with literally the same roster of players...)

So, from a draftnik perspective, there's no way to go bananas for what they did. But as a fan, I think it's reasonable to be happy/excited for the players they got, especially if you believe in Rex and his coaching staff...

(I follow the Jets a bit living here in NYC and I really think all four 6th and 7th round picks could make the team and contribute in 2012, which would be a great draft. I think that RB could easily end up as their "tough yards" guy and poach a few TD's. And they're so thin at WR, White could easily see the field on special teams and fill in if there's an injury...)

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#66 by Scott C // May 03, 2012 - 9:15pm

Wow Cole really doesn't know what he is talking about W.R.T. the Chargers. I was wondering what sort of things someone who rated the Chargers negative was thinking about. Well, I guess he is just ignorant:

"Grade: C
Analysis: This is the kind of draft you see when a team is covering up for mistakes. If Larry English had been any good, there would be no reason to take Ingram. If Luis Castillo had been really good (and not gotten hurt), there would be no reason to take Kendall Reyes. You get the point? This is not to say that Ingram and Reyes are bad players, but they are an indication of what didn't happen in the recent past. Right now, you can make a good bet that the Chargers will take a wide receiver in the first or second round next year to make up for the mistake of not signing WR Vincent Jackson to a long-term deal years ago. "


#1 What does failures in the past have to do with the quality of this draft?
#2 Luis Castillo is a 7 year veteran, who has started almost every year! So the draft is poor because he wasn't good enough to not get injured 7 consecutive seasons?

You could use this argument for any team, any time, to give them a bad grade "This pick is an indication of what didn't happen in the recent past. C" ??

I was hoping for some real criticism. I know what I liked in the draft, I want to hear someone have an intelligent opinion of what was bad about the Chargers draft this year.

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#72 by Eddo // May 04, 2012 - 10:20am

Right. Talk about misunderstanding the concept of a sunk cost.

Would the Chargers draft have been better if they had failed to address their need at OLB?

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#77 by MosesZD (not verified) // May 04, 2012 - 9:27pm

Grades are just stupid. Matt Millen for the Lions and Terry Donahue for the 49ers almost always got As. And their drafts never really panned out, did they?

These drafts are graded by people who do not scout. Who have no accountibilty. Who have shown themselves, over the years, to be medicore.

Look at Mayock's love fest with Crabtree. He was a crappy system product in a junk offense that, the two times he faced a half-way decent defense, he was shut down and knocked out. As a 49er, he's been a pass-dropping, lumbering crap-fest and the 49ers have pretty much decided to completely re-do the position when it was made clear on national TV Crabtree was a major problem with his inability to get open against the Giants.

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#78 by BucNasty // May 04, 2012 - 11:22pm

Maybe, but like Aaron says in the preseason predictions articles: you're inevitably going to be wrong, but part of running a football site is that you make picks. Well, part of covering the draft is that you express some sort of opinion on it. It may be a pointless exercise, as even professional NFL front offices get a lot of it wrong, but it makes for a better read than "we'll get back to you in 6 years."

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#79 by Thomas_beardown // May 05, 2012 - 4:05am

"Grades are just stupid. Matt Millen for the Lions and Terry Donahue for the 49ers almost always got As. And their drafts never really panned out, did they?"

Do you care to provide any evidence of such grades?

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#80 by Shattenjager // May 05, 2012 - 12:17pm

Matt Millen 2004: A/A+/A+/A*. According to FO: "everyone agrees that a team had a great draft (Detroit)."
Matt Millen 2005: B/B/C+/B/B-*. According to FO: B average.
Matt Millen 2006: B/C+/C+/C-/B+*. According to FO: C+ average, B- NFL average.
Matt Millen 2007: B/B/B-/B-/C/B/B-*. According to FO: 3.1 GPA. (It honestly seems implausible that its GPA is that high. I have seven of the 13 grades used and the average of those would be 2.7. The average of the others would have to be 3.7 for the GPA to be 3.1. Plus, grades that high combined with the C and the B-minuses I already found would make it likely to be in the "disagreement" group.)
Matt Millen 2008: C+/C-/C-/B+/D/F*. According to FO: 2.1 GPA, 2.6 NFL average.
Terry Donahue 2004: A/B+/B/(B/B+)*. Not mentioned in Draft Report Card Report.
Terry Donahue 2005: B/B+/B/C/A/B-/A+/B/B/B. According to FO: B average.

*Limited by which links still work.

Also, here is that highly-praised '04 Lions draft: http://pfref.com/tiny/rcJ9E

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#93 by LionInAZ // May 06, 2012 - 8:56pm

I'd say that Roy Williams and Kevin Jones were not actually bad choices at the time. Jones was a productive runner whose career was cut short by injuries. Williams was a big WR who might have been productive if he had had good coaching and someone other than Joey Blue Skies at QB.

The rest of the picks were dreck, on the other hand.

NO THANKS for the reminder...

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#94 by LionInAZ // May 06, 2012 - 8:57pm

I know that FO has it's own way of doing things, but I would argue that waiting 6 years to evaluate a draft is excessive for a couple of reasons. First, the average career span of an NFL player is only 4 years, and the obvious stars and busts usually make themselves known by that time. Second, after 6 years, the regime that made that particular draft is probably gone, so evaluating at 6 years isn't particularly helpful to fans who want to know how their team management stands now. I would think that evaluating a draft at 3-4 years is more optimum.

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#99 by Hurt Bones // May 07, 2012 - 2:03pm

First, It's hard to be sure what the real average is. The NFLPA tends to support a low number about 3.3 years. They count anyone on a roster including expanded training camp rosters. This includes the 15-20 UDFA per team most of never make an opening roster.

The NFL says the average is 6 years for a rookie who makes the opening roster.


Evaluating a player like Justin Tuck or Matt Schaub after 3 years is a little unfair and they are the only players who devlop after a couple years.

Second, I'm not sure this is correct. Many of the more successful teams have had the same drafting personnel for years. Mike Brown and Al Davis certainly ran their teams drafts for decades and Brown still does.

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#100 by Thomas_beardown // May 07, 2012 - 2:19pm

I think 6 years is the right amount of time.

It would be interesting to have a yearly review every year for 6 years to see how perceptions of a draft change, but that would be quite an undertaking.

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#114 by LionInAZ // May 10, 2012 - 12:54am

It depends on what you want to see from the evaluation.

If you want to know how the current regime is doing, 6 years is probably too long.

If you're just interested in historical trends, 6 years is probably OK.

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#101 by Hurt Bones // May 07, 2012 - 2:22pm

Let me correct myself the NFLPA measures what that average NFL experience of a player on an opening roster is, not the average career length.

Of course some picks never make a roster, but thee overwhelming majority do.

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#112 by Jobu (not verified) // May 07, 2012 - 7:05pm

As a Packer fan, I got a good chuckle looking back at the grades for the 2005 draft...

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#113 by DisplacedPackerFan // May 09, 2012 - 12:41am

I understood the Rodgers comments. It's obvious the Packers new what they were doing with Collins and the talking heads didn't that was a nice chuckle yes. I think the talking heads would have been right about Murphy too if he hadn't had a helmet to helmet hit on a kick off return in the 4th game of his rookie year that ended his career. In three games he had five catches for 36 yards and returning five kickoffs for 91 yards. This year in 3 games Cobb had 5 catches for 73 yards(one of them a fluke 32 yarder where he ran the wrong route but Rodgers hit him for a TD anyway, most QB's wouldn't have). Cobb also had more returns, but Murphy was a Cobb like talent. The rest of the draft was pretty bad, Poppinga gave some value, was not a bad late 4th rounder, and Mike Montgomery hung around for 5 years or so but didn't do much (not awful for a 6th), the rest I think was all gone within a year. So the comment of "If Rodgers pans out it's a great draft" wasn't too far off. But I really wonder how good Murphy would have been. Of course if he panned out, hadn't gotten injured, they likely don't take Jennings in 06.

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