2014 NFL Draft Report Card Report

2014 NFL Draft Report Card Report
2014 NFL Draft Report Card Report
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Guest column by Carl Yedor

The NFL may have made us wait longer than normal for the draft this year, but that didn’t stop the best and brightest draft analysts from grading each team’s selections. As we do every year, we’ve collected the results from the most reputable (well, for someone not inside a front office) analysts to see which teams graded out the best and the worst and which teams the graders simply could not agree on. (Previous NFL Draft Report Card Reports can be found here: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2004.).

The draft analysts whose lists we used are almost the same as the ones we looked at last year, with a few exceptions. Chris Burke and Doug Farrar split the grading for Sports Illustrated, with Burke taking the AFC and Farrar doing the NFC. Eric Edholm took over from Jason Cole at Yahoo! Sports, and Nate Davis over at USA Today went back to just doing rankings instead of actual grades, so we couldn’t factor his evaluations into our calculations.

Losing Nate Davis’s grades hurts, but we won’t let that stop us. We’ll look at the five teams with the highest grades, the seven teams with the worst grades (because we had a three-way tie for fifth-worst and didn't want to exclude anyone), and the six teams that the analysts couldn’t agree on (another tie for fifth). Additionally, we’ll examine how last year’s grades compare to this year’s since we have more or less the same group of analysts.

Highest Draft Grades

1. St. Louis Rams
GPA: 3.90
Highest Grade: A+ (Prisco)
Lowest Grade: A- (Three tied)
Comments: Pete Prisco was a big fan of the Rams’ early selections of Greg Robinson, Aaron Donald, and Lamarcus Joyner. Kiper dinged them only marginally because they didn’t choose a wide receiver despite how deep the position was this year, and the Rams still have a question at quarterback. However, if it weren’t for the Robert Griffin trade, the Rams wouldn’t have had all those picks to build the team’s depth.

2. San Francisco 49ers
GPA: 3.71
Highest Grade: A (Four tied)
Lowest Grade: B (Prisco)
Comments: The sheer number of draft choices for the 49ers definitely helped with their ranking; the 49ers also did well during the draft to add value through trading picks. Prisco was concerned about some of the injury risks and the fact that the 49ers took another running back in Carlos Hyde, but it’s likely a lot of these picks will be "redshirting" in 2014, if they even make the team.

T-3. Houston Texans
GPA: 3.66
Highest Grade: A (Three tied)
Lowest Grade: B (Rang)
Comments: The Texans addressed needs along the offensive and defensive lines (although I’m not sure how much help your defensive line needs when it already has J.J. Watt). Tom Savage brought in mixed reviews, with Vinnie Iyer in support and Rob Rang questioning the decision. When you have the top pick in each round, the value of your picks will obviously be greater, but you still have to put them to use. It certainly seems the Texans did that.

T-3. Minnesota Vikings
GPA: 3.66
Highest Grade: A+ (Farrar)
Lowest Grade: B- (Kiper)
Comments: Farrar thought the Vikings got great value both in moving into the first round via trade to grab Teddy Bridgewater and picking up Stanford guard David Yankey in the fifth round, assigning them a rare A+. Kiper felt they reached for Anthony Barr and didn’t address a need at middle linebacker, but he also hedged in saying this draft could look really good down the road.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars
GPA: 3.62
Highest Grade: A (Three tied)
Lowest Grade: B- (Iyer)
Comments: How you felt about the Jaguars’ draft depended a lot on how you felt about Blake Bortles. Rob Rang was a fan of the decision and also liked how Jacksonville made moves to bolster their offense. Iyer felt that No. 3 was too high to pick any quarterback in this draft and downgraded the Jaguars accordingly. Of course, he also hedged his claim by saying that Bortles panning out would turn this draft into an A very quickly. Funny how that works.

Lowest Draft Grades

32. Indianapolis Colts
GPA: 1.67
Highest Grade: C (Four tied)
Lowest Grade: D (Silva)
Comments: The Trent Richardson trade has a fair amount to do with the grades for the Colts, as he essentially counted as their first round pick. Needless to say, he knocked their grade down a bit. With only five picks in this draft, the Colts didn’t have a ton to work with. Most of the analysts liked Ole Miss receiver Donte Moncrief, but the Richardson deal just carried too much weight here.

31. Buffalo Bills
GPA: 1.85
Highest Grade: B (Burke)
Lowest Grade: D (Iyer)
Comments: Buffalo made some bold moves to try and bolster their offense, as evidenced by the all-in push for Clemson stud Sammy Watkins. However, analysts were worried about the riskier picks on the offensive line. Even Chris Burke, who gave the Bills their highest grade, called their new lineman "rolls of the dice." Iyer pulled no punches in saying the Bills were taking a lot of risks on guys with known issues.

30. Washington Redskins
GPA: 2.04
Highest Grade: B+ (Farrar)
Lowest Grade: D (Iyer, Silva)
Comments: Washington didn’t have a ton of draft capital to work with because of the RGIII trade, but that didn’t keep Doug Farrar from praising their efforts. Farrar was a big fan of the Trent Murphy selection in round two and liked that they worked to improve their offensive line. Evan Silva had a much more pessimistic view on those three selections, but he did give Washington credit for trading down from No. 34, giving the Redskins some much-needed additional picks.

29. Miami Dolphins
GPA: 2.24
Highest Grade: B (Silva, Kiper)
Lowest Grade: D (Iyer)
Comments: Quiet, but solid. That was the Dolphins’ draft class summed up in three words on the high end of the spectrum. Miami had some distinct needs heading into the draft, and they did their best to address them. On the other hand, Iyer felt that the Dolphins’ draft was full of nothing but reaches and flyers. He did not like the selections of Ja’Wuan James and Jarvis Landry at all, calling the former move one of desperation and the latter prospect overrated.

T-26. Kansas City Chiefs
GPA: 2.28
Highest Grade: B- (Three tied)
Lowest Grade: C- (Iyer, Edholm)
Comments: Kiper was positive overall on the Chiefs, but he still felt they could have done more to address needs at safety and wide receiver, especially in as deep a draft for receivers as it was. The Chiefs got some decent talent, but they were already down a second-rounder from the Alex Smith trade (which worked out well for them). Edholm is skeptical about Dee Ford, seeing him as a one-trick, pass-rushing pony, but he feels the Chiefs are a great situation for Aaron Murray to potentially develop in.

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T-26. New England Patriots
GPA: 2.28
Highest Grade: B (Rang)
Lowest Grade: C- (Silva)
Comments: Rob Rang liked the mixture of safety and gambling in the Patriots’ draft, but a lot of the success of this draft depends on Dominique Easley’s long-term health. Rang also really liked Jimmy Garoppolo in New England, even though they still have that Tom Brady fellow under center. Silva was concerned about Easley’s injury history and doesn’t think that Garoppolo will be a good quarterback in the NFL. The relative lack of athleticism for the offensive linemen was also a concern.

T-26. Tennessee Titans
GPA: 2.28
Highest Grade: B (Three tied)
Lowest Grade: D (Silva)
Comments: Edholm felt the Titans did well to go the best-available player approach in building value, but even he was left a little confused by the selection of Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan. He projects Lewan as the eventual successor to Michael Roos for the Titans. Silva was not so kind. The Titans had only six picks this year, and Silva believes "it’s conceivable that half of Tennessee’s six-man draft will wash out of the league before their rookie deals expire." Ouch.

Greatest Variation in Draft Grades

1. Carolina Panthers
GPA: 2.47
Standard Deviation: 0.92
Highest Grade: A- (Farrar, Edholm)
Lowest Grade: D (Prisco)
Comments: Farrar really liked the picks of Kelvin Benjamin and Kony Ealy ... and Prisco didn’t. Carolina also didn’t select an offensive tackle, which was and still is a massive need for this team going into the 2014 season. Have the Panthers not realized that Jordan Gross retired this offseason?

2. Washington Redskins
GPA: 2.04
Standard Deviation: 0.80
Highest Grade: B+ (Farrar)
Lowest Grade: D (Iyer, Silva)
Comments: The comments about their class are pretty much the same as above, and the analysts’ opinions varied pretty widely on the same set of players. Trent Murphy and the offensive linemen were the most important pieces in the class, so how each analyst felt about those guys played a large role in what grade they ended up getting.

3. Tennessee Titans
GPA: 2.28
Standard Deviation: 0.72
Highest Grade: B (Three tied)
Lowest Grade: D (Silva)
Comments: This was another situation where how one felt about drafting for need versus value made a big difference in the grade. The Lewan selection was definitely a little perplexing, but some analysts were kinder to the Titans than others. Bishop Sankey, the first running back taken in the 2014 draft at No. 54, also presented some differentiation.

4. Chicago Bears
GPA: 3.04
Standard Deviation: 0.70
Highest Grade: A- (Farrar)
Lowest Grade: C (Iyer)
Comments: Farrar felt that Phil Emery "hit a number of potential home runs" with the Bears’ picks, and he was a supporter of all of the early-round picks that were made. Cornerback Kyle Fuller in particular stood out on tape for Farrar, leading to the Bears’ A- grade. Iyer agreed on Fuller, but he was worried about the Bears failing to address needs at safety and only taking "project" defensive tackles.

T-5. Miami Dolphins
GPA: 2.24
Standard Deviation: 0.68
Highest Grade: B (Silva, Kiper)
Lowest Grade: D (Iyer)
Comments: Again, some felt the picks from Days 1 and 2 were solid but unspectacular while others disagreed. Miami has a few major needs, particularly on the offensive line, and they definitely tried to fill them. Analysts like Silva and Kiper just thought more of the players Miami chose to fill those needs.

T-5. Philadelphia Eagles
GPA: 2.76
Standard Deviation: 0.68
Highest Grade: B+ (Four tied)
Lowest Grade: C- (Edholm)
Comments: For the most part, the analysts were very willing to give Chip Kelly credit as a talent evaluator. Rob Rang felt the Eagles did a good job in finding players that fit their schemes well. Rang really liked Marcus Smith of Louisville, but Edholm felt the Eagles might have been better served by not trading down and using their original pick to go a different direction. It appears that the less of a consensus there is on the early-round picks, the more variation there will be overall.

Year-to-Year Comparison

This year’s large group of underclassmen declaring for the draft combined with some great depth at wide receiver and defensive line led me to believe that the overall grades would likely be a little higher than they were last year. And that hunch was confirmed, as the cumulative GPA from all the teams rose from 2.81 to 2.87 this year. There were only 2 A+’s given out, but 15 teams received at least one grade in the A range, which helped boost the numbers.

It also helps that our friends from Sports Illustrated gave out the highest average grades by a notable margin, with Burke giving the AFC teams an average GPA of 3.10 and Farrar giving the NFC teams an average GPA of 3.21. In addition, ever-difficult grader Evan Silva raised his average GPA from 2.43 to 2.60, reducing the gap between him and the next-harshest grader from 0.33 in 2013 to 0.17 this year.

2014 NFL Draft Grades
Team High Grade Low Grade Avg. Grade Std. Dev. Grade Rank Std. Dev. Rank
Arizona B+ (Rang, Iyer) C (Silva, Edholm) 2.81 0.53 18 12
Atlanta A- (Iyer) C+ (Silva) 2.95 0.42 13 T-17
Baltimore A (Iyer) B- (Silva) 3.28 0.42 8 T-17
Buffalo B (Burke) D (Iyer) 1.85 0.56 31 T-9
Carolina A- (Farrar, Edholm) D (Prisco) 2.47 0.92 25 1
Chicago A- (Farrar) C (Iyer) 3.04 0.70 12 4
Cincinnati A- (Burke) C- (Silva) 2.90 0.64 T-14 8
Cleveland A (Edholm) C (Rang) 3.14 0.66 T-10 7
Dallas B (Three tied) C (Iyer) 2.66 0.36 T-20 T-26
Denver B+ (Prisco) C- (Iyer) 2.62 0.52 23 13
Detroit B+ (Rang) C (Edholm) 2.66 0.40 T-20 T-21
Green Bay A (Three tied) B (Prisco, Kiper) 3.57 0.43 6 T-15
Houston A (Three tied) B (Rang) 3.66 0.36 T-3 T-26
Indianapolis C (Four tied) D (Silva) 1.67 0.40 32 T-21
Jacksonville A (Three tied) B- (Iyer) 3.62 0.45 5 14
Kansas City B- (Three tied) C- (Iyer, Edholm) 2.28 0.42 T-26 T-17
Team High Grade Low Grade Avg. Grade Std. Dev. Grade Rank Std. Dev. Rank
Miami B (Silva, Kiper) D (Iyer) 2.24 0.68 29 T-5
Minnesota A+ (Farrar) B- (Kiper) 3.66 0.56 T-3 T-9
New England B (Rang) C- (Silva) 2.28 0.42 T-26 T-17
New Orleans B+ (Iyer) C+ (Three tied) 2.66 0.36 T-20 T-26
NY Giants B (Five tied) C+ (Prisco) 2.86 0.24 T-16 T-30
NY Jets B+ (Silva) C (Prisco) 2.86 0.39 T-16 T-23
Oakland A (Three tied) B (Rang, Prisco) 3.52 0.43 7 T-15
Philadelphia B+ (Four tied) C- (Edholm) 2.76 0.68 19 T-5
Pittsburgh A- (Iyer, Kiper) B (Four tied) 3.24 0.29 9 29
San Diego A- (Rang) B- (Prisco, Edholm) 2.90 0.39 T-14 T-23
San Francisco A (Four tied) B (Prisco) 3.71 0.38 2 25
Seattle B+ (Prisco) C- (Silva) 2.57 0.56 24 T-9
St. Louis A+ (Prisco) A- (Three tied) 3.90 0.24 1 T-30
Tampa Bay B+ (Four tied) B- (Rang) 3.14 0.24 T-10 T-30
Tennessee B (Three tied) D (Silva) 2.28 0.72 T-26 3
Washington B+ (Farrar) D (Iyer, Silva) 2.04 0.80 30 2
Grading the Graders
Grader High Grade Low Grade Avg. Grade Std. Dev.
Mel Kiper, ESPN A (Five tied) C- (Carolina) 2.84 0.62
Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com A+ (St. Louis) D (Carolina) 3.02 0.63
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports A (Six tied) D (Three tied) 2.85 0.72
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News A (Houston, San Francisco) D (Three tied) 2.85 0.94
Evan Silva, Rotoworld A (Oakland) C (Indianapolis) 2.60 0.82
Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated A (Green Bay) C (Philadelphia) 3.10 0.52
Doug Farrar, Sports Illustrated A (Five tied) D+ (Indianapolis) 3.21 0.56
Eric Edholm, Yahoo! Sports A (Jacksonville, San Francisco) D+ (Indianapolis) 2.77 0.83

Carl Yedor is an FO intern and has just completed his sophomore year at Georgetown University. He has served on the board of the Georgetown Sports Analysis, Business, and Research Group during his time in college. You can follow him on Twitter @CarlYedor61.


62 comments, Last at 17 May 2014, 10:37pm

#1 by JonFrum // May 13, 2014 - 3:14pm

Every year, the teams with the highest/most picks get 'graded' highest. Makes the whole exercise a bit of a waste. When the Rams get an A+ because of a trade made in a previous draft, you have to wonder what's being graded.

Points: 0

#7 by bravehoptoad // May 13, 2014 - 4:11pm

Total perceived value?

That doesn't seem like a weird way to evaluate a draft. And a lot of the teams with the most total trade value didn't get such amazing grades, like the Lions or the Falcons.


Points: 0

#6 by Karl Cuba // May 13, 2014 - 4:07pm

Yeah, it sometimes seems that a team can get credit for picking up future selections one year and then get credit later on for having those extra selections. The only sensible approach is to grade the picks when they're made otherwise you're going to be judging a pick that hasn't been realised.

Points: 0

#21 by bubqr // May 13, 2014 - 9:25pm

Agree, even though I absolutely love their first 3 picks, especially the last 2. 3 years from now, it would not shocked me if G.Robinson, A.Donald and L.Joyner were all top15 picks in a 2014 re-Draft.

Points: 0

#32 by RickD // May 14, 2014 - 12:58pm

It's like grading a calculus test with 10 points per question, except that some students get extra questions.

Yes, the entire exercise is silly, and that's not the only reason. Until we start retroactively grading the grades, there's little information here. Just a lot of groupthink.

Regarding the Patriots, I wonder if Bill Belichick is the first football executive in NFL history being widely criticized for drafting a QB when his starter is 37 years old. Just another example of the media inventing new rules for a coach they don't get along with.

Points: 0

#2 by Thomas_beardown // May 13, 2014 - 3:29pm

I can only surmise from everything written that the Bears have had the most boring draft of all time.

Points: 0

#19 by Steve in WI // May 13, 2014 - 8:19pm

I think Emery did the unexpected by doing the expected. I'm not knowledgeable enough to say that they should have picked this guy over that one, but position-wise, their draft made me happy. I wish one of the safeties picked in the first round had slid to them in the second (assuming they'd have taken him), but I'm not upset about any particular pick.

I am hoping that Clinton-Dix is a bust, for obvious reasons.

Points: 0

#23 by Thomas_beardown // May 13, 2014 - 10:35pm

I'm with you. They needed defense especially DTs, and they got it. It just seems like no national writers have any opinion on it.

Points: 0

#25 by Karl Cuba // May 14, 2014 - 7:28am

I thought they did OK, if it helps. I loved Fuller and like the fit with Sutton. I like their draft on the whole, Waldo was very high on Carey.

I do wonder if their draft was plan B though, they would have been distraught to see Donald taken one pick before them and I think they would have loved to find Jimmy Ward there with their second round pick. Again, having taken Fuller and not landed Donald I think they would have hoped for Easley in the second round.

Still good but still disappointing.

Points: 0

#24 by Dan // May 14, 2014 - 1:19am

It has some pretty exciting counterfactuals. I really wish they'd traded up & gotten Donald - that would've been huge for that defense.

Ferguson strikes me as a reach and Carey as a pretty meh RB prospect. Other than that, I'm basically fine with their draft, especially Fuller, Sutton, Vereen, O'Donnell.

Points: 0

#4 by FireSnake // May 13, 2014 - 4:04pm

Is it too far fetched to believe the Patriots took Garoppolo in order to force the Texans into a trade for either Mallett or Garoppolo in exchange for Andre Johnson (the Patriots would also ship future draft picks)?

The Garoppolo pick by itself makes little to no sense, and if the Mallett to Texans rumors are true (which I did not believe prior to the draft) ... somebody also wrote the Texans liked Garoppolo.

Points: 0

#26 by Theo // May 14, 2014 - 7:37am

They figured with a Mallett trade, they needed another guy in camp, so they drafted a guy. They know he's backup material - that's what he's there for.
Billichick is rolling the dice on another QB in the hopes one will pan out as a quality NFL starter. It's understand the strategy.

Points: 0

#33 by RickD // May 14, 2014 - 1:03pm

"The Garoppolo pick by itself makes little to no sense,"

Brady is 37, and Mallett's contract expires after this season.

Are the Patriots supposed to wait until Brady is 40 before drafting any quarterbacks?

How many 40-year old QBs not named "Favre" have there been in the past, oh, 40 years? I guess Testaverde had a season in Dallas, but it wasn't all that impressive.

Points: 0

#37 by Led // May 14, 2014 - 2:55pm

Having a top QB is the most important necessary (albeit not sufficient) condition for winning the SB in the current era, assuming you don't have an all time great defense. The Pats very likely have a top QB for 2014 and probably for 2015, although there's no guaranty on that. Therefore, in order to maximize their chances of winning a SB in the near and medium term, the Pats should spend all high value resources on improving the roster around Brady. That's because if Brady craps out this year or next year or the year after that, they are very unlikely to win the SB regardless. Whatever one thinks about Garappolo (and I'm agnostic), the odds of any second round pick becoming a top QB are pretty small. If the Pats want to buy annual QB lottery tickets with mid-late round draft picks, ok. Lottery tix are cheap and, hey, you never know. But spending precious resources now to make a non-SB-caliber team in the future marginally better rather than making the current SB-caliber team as good as possible is a waste. Like punting when you're losing just to prevent an blowout. You play to win the game and not keep it close. You play to win the SB, not to avoid 5-11 seasons. That's the argument, anyway. I'm not sure you've addressed that argument. Obviously, nobody is arguing that the Pats should never draft a QB before Brady is 40.

In other words, apres Brady le deluge.

Points: 0

#38 by Sifter // May 14, 2014 - 7:51pm

You make it sound like 2nd round picks can never win anything at QB, and that it's impossible for Garoppolo to even dream of glory, he might as well retire now!

How exactly should the Pats play the next 2 years then? Are you saying they can't spare one draft pick for a potential future QB they like while focusing everything else on winning? After all, they spent pretty well in free agency, there is nothing they aren't trying to win this year. Does one QB pick suddenly derail their chances at a title?

Points: 0

#40 by Led // May 14, 2014 - 9:36pm

I know you're being a little facetious, but the odds that a second round QB is going to be the shizzle are really quite low. See http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2014/nfl-draft-round-round-quarterback-data. Over the last 20 years we're talking about Brees. He was pick 32 -- that's the end of the first round today. Kap is probably at that top QB level (or will be soon), but I think there are reasons why he was undervalued at the time that probably wouldn't apply even today. Garappolo is a "conventional" QB with no obvious argument for market failure. Outside the second round you get Brady (the black swan), Wilson (obvious market failure), and Foles. Foles looks like the real deal, but let's see how the league adapts to the Kelly offense before "crowning his a**" as it were. Still, we're talking one or two conventional QBs out of the many dozens taken after the first round in the last 20 years that turned into top echelon QBs.

I've paid close attention to this issue because I root for a team (the Jets) that is also hoping to beat the odds with a second round QB. But they have no other choice. Trust me, I'd much prefer going all in with the aging Hall of Famer.

Points: 0

#43 by FireSnake // May 15, 2014 - 3:32am

Exactly. Recent 2nd round QB "home runs":

Geno Smith (jury is still out)
Jimmy Clausen
Pat White
Brian Brohm
Chad Henne
Kevin Kolb
John Beck
Drew Stanton
Kellen Clemens
Drew Brees
Quncy Carter
Marques Tuiasosopo

When T-Jack is the best one except for Brees ... that is an "ouch".

Even when taking into account that
a) it is damn hard finding a capable starter
b) how the team manages and teaches the player makes a huge difference (in my eyes)
it is a stupid pick.

On the other hand, the list so awful, should regression to the mean not make either Osweiler or Garoppolo a good player? It better not be Osweiler then;)

Points: 0

#48 by RickD // May 15, 2014 - 12:22pm

So Russell Wilson doesn't make this list because he was drafted in the third round?

Well that's certainly a serious analysis you're doing there.

Points: 0

#50 by FireSnake // May 15, 2014 - 4:23pm

I did miss Dalton and Kaep actually unintentionally. Honestly, I was surprised how bad the list is ... I would have guessed at least one third to one half of QBs taken in round 2 and 3 would actually be solid starters or backups. These guys are out of the league.

And my point is still valid ... Kaep and Dalton are high second round picks - 35 and 36. As are Geno Smith and Drew Brees. That means, teams passed on these guys once. Picking a guy in the 60s means teams, and bad teams in need of a QB, passed on them twice. And if 20+ teams think a guy has flaws, he apparently has.

Sure there are exceptions like Wilson (too small), Foles, Cassel (not starter), Brady (too slow?). Probably Garoppolo.

But the point is: A qb taken at 60th spot has a extremely high ratio of being a bust. Probably 10:1 that is. Other positions - I may be wrong - have a lot less risk at position 60.

And the Pats do not need a Qb, but needed other positions.

Hence: very high probability for wasted pick.

Points: 0

#49 by bravehoptoad // May 15, 2014 - 12:39pm

Yeah, your list is weird. Where's Dalton and Kaepernick?

Points: 0

#53 by Sifter // May 15, 2014 - 6:50pm

Yes being a little facetious, but my point isn't that 2nd round QBs are an efficient investment - there clearly are very hit and miss, and mostly miss.

My argument (to all, not just you Led) is that this 2nd round pick will not make or break the Pats chances to win this year. Recent examples back this view up. Did drafting Brock Osweiler when Manning was on board suddenly mean the Broncos didn't want to win now? Of course not. What about Seattle drafting a 3rd string HB who barely saw the field at pick #62 last year? Didn't hurt them much. Or the 49ers constantly picking injured guys who don't play? Drafts are about the future, if you are relying on your #62 pick to fill a hole and make a big difference in your playoff run, I'd suggest you aren't really ready for a playoff run.

The other point is: how do the Pats fans want to replace Brady? I hear arguments like FireSnake's a lot this week: b) why should they expect or why would they even want to be a contender immediately after Brady retires? At the expense of having a better shot at winning now? Why waste a good roster by just giving up when your HOF QB retires? Should the Colts not have drafted Luck just because they probably wouldn't be as good without Manning? Or picking Aaron Rodgers just because Favre was slowing down? I'd like some suggestions of what BB should be doing at QB if he isn't allowed to draft any one.

Points: 0

#54 by Thomas_beardown // May 15, 2014 - 11:10pm

I think the Luck draft shows why you shouldn't bother drafting a QB until you have to move on. That's when you get a high pick where 2/3 of good QBs come from.

Points: 0

#55 by Karl Cuba // May 16, 2014 - 8:55am

Is that true from the perspective of the general manager making the decision on when to draft a replacement qb? Polian got canned, as did the coaching staff. The Hooded One might be one of the few people in the NFL that could survive such a situation though.

Points: 0

#57 by Thomas_beardown // May 16, 2014 - 10:22am

Bill Polian had already left remember. If he was younger, I'm pretty sure he could have survived it too.

Points: 0

#58 by theslothook // May 16, 2014 - 3:25pm

The luck draft shows you what happens when you have a team and a scheme completely reliant on the individual talents of one particularly unique player. Even with the pats dependence on brady, I don't think they'd inwardly collapse like INDY did. Meaning, they likely aren't bad enough to get a luck or even in the top 5 draft pick.

I think succession plans make sense, but it's frankly all overrated. I know many people took Firesnake to task, but he's right, the probability of finding a quality nfl qb is hard enough, but it becomes much harder the later you go. THat's not to say you can't find someone in the 2nd or 3rd or even 6th, but those stories get remembered while the many who never amount to anything get largely swept under the rug.

As to the pick itself. In my mind, there are only three particular reasons why you make this pick. 1- you believe the end is very near for brady(next year being his last), 2- you think sitting qb on the bench for 3 years will mean he has a better career than if he were starting right away, 3-(and personally my view) - he was the best player on their board by a decent margin.

Points: 0

#42 by FireSnake // May 15, 2014 - 3:23am

a) how do they know Garoppolo is any good after being a benchwarmer for two or three years? How would anybody be able to say that about Mallett or Cousins? The answer is, they have no clue. It makes no sense (other than cheap rookie contract) to draft a guy in the middle rounds to warm the bench.
b) why should they expect or why would they even want to be a contender immediately after Brady retires? At the expense of having a better shot at winning now?
c) capable backup qbs are easier to get than the guys they could have picked in the second round. That would still have been a gamble, but the pick would have jhad a higher ceiling for the next three years than the guy they picked.

Seattle drafted Wilson in the 3rd and immediately started him. That worked. Now, should they have drafted a development guy three years earlier? The whole talk about developing qbs taken in the middle rounds is just as good or as bad than taking one when you need one and seeing how that pans out. If it works, fine, if it does not, well ... There is no upside

Besides, when you sit a guy three years, then start him, you have to decide after ONE season of starting him whether to pay him or not. When you start a rookie, you at least got three seasons to decide (four actually).

The whole "belichick is god" mentality pisses me off. Guy has wasted more than one pick on players with injury history or developmental picks. How many of the draft picks with injury history in college have panned out. Next to none.

The worst thing about the Garoppolo pick is, besides the wasted pick, they also will need to waste a roster spot on a third qb. Silly.

The only positive thing to say is actually, almost all Belichick secound rounders have been failures, so there is a more than 1 in 2 chance that any other pick would have been a bust either (yada yada bing ... "for any draft pick there is a 1 in 2 chance he will be a bust" ... no the history for the Pats has been much worse).

Points: 0

#44 by SandyRiver // May 15, 2014 - 8:44am

Some of this seems overstated.
Drafts with inury history? Vollmer and Gronk come to mind. They've each had injury problems with the Pats as well, but I'd say they've panned out pretty well even so.
Almost all Belichick 2nd rounders have been failures? I'll admit that the 2004-08 stretch was awful - only three #2s in those 5 yr and all were busts. Before (Light, Branch, Eugene Wilson) and after (Spikes, Vereen, the 2 injury risks above, even Chung has been cromulent) are a little different. 2013 picks are too soon to tell, though I think Collins has real potential. Overall, I'd guess that the Pats are middle-of-the-road for 2nd round success.

Points: 0

#46 by RickD // May 15, 2014 - 12:16pm

"The whole "belichick is god" mentality pisses me off. "

You might aim that argument at somebody who is actually making it.

We go through this nonsense every year. Belichick is held to a higher drafting standard than anybody else in the NFL. Like most GM's, he has some hits and some misses. His recent drafts have been better than the ones from 2005-2007. But in any case, Belichick has shown that he's capable of putting together a team every season that wins 11+_games.

And you don't like Garoppolo. So what? You're not the coach. You're not running the team. You don't know what Belichick is looking for and why he prefers some players over others. And he certainly has a "clue" about the players on his roster. Believe it or not, he sees them play in practices all week long. He probably already has an idea of Mallett's potential as a QB, even when the guy has had negligible game time.

Your attempt at applying stats in the last paragraph is laughable.

"no the history for the Pats has been much worse" - only the winningest franchise in the NFL over the past 14 season.

But you're the expert - much better at assessing what the Pats need than their own coach.

Points: 0

#51 by FireSnake // May 15, 2014 - 5:02pm

What is the point you are making?

Telling me I am stupid because I have a opinion that apparently differs from yours? You are not exactly offering any facts than "they have won in the past, shut up"

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#56 by SandyRiver // May 16, 2014 - 10:21am

Re-read RickD's post and failed to note anyone being called "stupid". All he was saying was that neither you, nor he (nor I) know as much about the Pats' situation as does their staff. Not that this guarantees they won't botch things - their 5-year failure on 2nd round picks noted in #44 sure isn't a thing of beauty.

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#59 by Noahrk // May 16, 2014 - 4:25pm

He did say things like "laughable", "you're the expert" (sarcastically), and "[what you're saying] pisses me off", and personal attacks such as "you're not the coach", etc. So no, technically he didn't call him stupid, but I'd take stupid any time of the week over that hailstorm.


Ironic, leading off a tirade with "Belichik is not God" and then following with "you know nothing because you're not the coach".

Who, me?

Points: 0

#60 by Andrew Potter // May 17, 2014 - 5:32am

"The whole "belichick is god" mentality pisses me off," as quoted in RickD's post, came from the fourth paragraph of FireSnake's previous post. You're having a go at Rick for something FireSnake said.

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#61 by Noahrk // May 17, 2014 - 9:46am

My bad, you're right about that one.

Who, me?

Points: 0

#62 by LionInAZ // May 17, 2014 - 10:37pm

It doesn't really matter much, because RickD's argument is essentially "Belichick is the coach, he knows what he's doing, no one is qualified to criticize his moves", which is almost the same thing.

Rick's argument has a certain logic to it, but doesn't explain why BB made a similarly inexplicable move to use a 3rd round pick on Mallet. That's two high round picks on QBs who may never see the field (at least in Patriot uniforms) while the defense and receiver corps have been kept on the very edge of competency.
If Garoppolo is the guy then Mallet was a wasted pick, because the Pats should never get a 3rd rounder back for him. The problem is that not many people think Garoppolo is the guy to replace Brady.

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#5 by Karl Cuba // May 13, 2014 - 4:04pm

This should be the year we find out whether the 49er redshirt strategy works as Carradine and Lattimore are supposedly back to health. I think that they believe that ACLs are no longer the career threatening blight that they one were and that you can find value by selecting injured players that have dropped. It's their version of a moneyball advantage. There are other teams doing it; for example, the Pats better hope it holds true with Easley but they've been doing it to a pretty large extent recently.

Also, does anyone give a monkeys what Pete Prisco has to say about the NFL anymore? There was a time when there weren't that many Football sites and he gained some authority from being a main writer for one of the big ones but nowadays he's totally out place on this list.

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#8 by FireSnake // May 13, 2014 - 4:14pm

Well if you have too many draft picks, which some of you cannot trade (compensatory picks), and not many open roster spots (because you are good), putting guys on IR or NFI is the best way to preserve the value of a pick.

Otherwise, you will have to cut a lot of your picks because of the roster limit.

Points: 0

#10 by Karl Cuba // May 13, 2014 - 4:23pm

That's totally part of it, I do think there's a longer strategy involved as well.

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#9 by bravehoptoad // May 13, 2014 - 4:18pm

Also it's their way of trading a surplus of picks into the next year.

I'm not sure I agree with their draft strategy. Most graders only seemed to look at this class in a vacuum. They do realize there are only 53 spots on a team, right? How do you justify adding 13 new people to one of the best rosters in the league? How many of them even make the team?

And for years they've accumulated draft capital by trading picks into the next year. This was the year they splurged--next year they'll be back down to an ordinary number of picks. And for what? It would be a great strategy if team size was 70.

I suppose they're thinking they can tell a lot from training camp, and that if they waste half their picks the remainder are assured to be high quality. That seems like a pretty cocky assessment of their own ability to evaluate players in a short span of time.

Points: 0

#11 by Kevin from Philly // May 13, 2014 - 4:37pm

Well, they've been talking for a while about increasing the roster size if the league goes to an 18 game schedule - maybe they're hedging their bets?

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#13 by Karl Cuba // May 13, 2014 - 4:43pm

Well there are three guys in that twelve who will start on the NFI and then go onto IR: Thomas, Millard and Reaser.

My view is that we've really shouted up the depth and hope to have decent, young players instead of veteran placeholders. When you look at the possible 53 man rosters, it looks like the number of surplus players won't be to large. Perish Cox and Craig Dahl are probably going to go, Demarcus Dobbs, Kaleb Ramsey, Tony Jerrod-Eddie and Lawrence Okoye will fight for two reserve DE spots, Moody and Borland will battle it out to see who loses a spot when Bowman returns, Brandon Lloyd will struggle to make the team and we should finally be able to stop relying on Adam Snyder.

There will be some decent players but is anyone going to fall over themselves to stop seventh round picks like Ramsey or Acker from making their way to our practice squad? Even if we lose them, it's only a pair of seventh rounders.

Running back is the spot where we have a real logjam, give I'd to many and I doubt there's much trade value in James, Hunter or Lattimore because of the circumstances surrounding each of them. There might be a problem with trying to keep five linebackers too after Aldon Smith returns from a possible suspension.

And this all assumes that we make it through training camp healthy, which is unlikely. I think we've assembled a really deep squad at this stage.

Points: 0

#29 by bravehoptoad // May 14, 2014 - 10:58am

It'll be a lot easier if some of these rookies are able to take the place held by dedicated special-teamers like Osgood or Ventrone or Spillman. Otherwise we're going to be releasing some good players.

You want to add Quentin Dial into that bunch fighting for two reserve spots at DT--losing 3 of those guys is going to smart. If we keep 5 WR and one of them is Osgood, either Ellington or Patton go home. At OT we're going to have to hope no one poaches our developmental prospects Bykowski and Marquardt. At CB we're basically keeping every other guy and jettisoning the rest.

Sure we've assembled a deep squad. It's so deep we'd have no problem fielding a jr. varsity team that could compete in some of these divisions. Is that the best way to have spent the draft capital we've been accumulating?

Points: 0

#31 by Karl Cuba // May 14, 2014 - 12:33pm

I was planning on keeping 3 DTs so I'd hang onto Dial, I'd also take 6 WRs on the 53 (5 + Osgood).

I can live with replacing at least one of Ventrone or Spillman.

Marquardt and Martin will battle for a job and I think Bykowski will probably head to the practice squad.

Hey, I would have traded up a bit more too but I think we've just about managed to avoid a situation where we are releasing more than a couple of good players.

Points: 0

#18 by Perfundle // May 13, 2014 - 7:07pm

Well, the Seahawks did the exact same thing last year with an equally stacked roster. They made 11 picks, including 9 on day three (I only count 12 picks for SF this year), signed five of them, stashed two on IR/PUP and kept one on practice squad. I don't see why SF can't do something similar.

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#12 by Sixknots // May 13, 2014 - 4:37pm

It's always fun to go back and look at past draft grades and Report Card Reports. Here's one from 2012.

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.

Good times.

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#34 by RickD // May 14, 2014 - 1:10pm

In 2011, the consensus was that the Seahawks had the worst draft in the NFL. This was the year they took Richard Sherman in the 5th round.

Pundits don't know very much other than what they keep saying to each other.

BTW, the top three drafts in 2011 were by the Lions, Bucs, and Browns. They've certainly been lighting up the NFL the past three seasons!

Edit: the Seahawks followed up the 32nd best draft in 2011 with the 30th best draft in 2012, when they picked Russell Wilson in the 3rd round.

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#14 by theslothook // May 13, 2014 - 6:06pm

Draft grades should solely be based on assessing whether teams took the players they did at the right spot. Ie - did a team reach or did a team manage to snag a player that fell to them. Giving out draft grades after the fact is a waste of time; likewise for crediting gms for making no brainer picks. I don't give polian any credit for taking Manning just like I don't blame the charger's butler for taking Leaf.

From my view, the value game was won by Cleveland and possibly NE and SF>

Points: 0

#15 by theslothook // May 13, 2014 - 6:06pm

Draft grades should solely be based on assessing whether teams took the players they did at the right spot. Ie - did a team reach or did a team manage to snag a player that fell to them. Giving out draft grades after the fact is a waste of time; likewise for crediting gms for making no brainer picks. I don't give polian any credit for taking Manning just like I don't blame the charger's butler for taking Leaf.

From my view, the value game was won by Cleveland and possibly NE and SF>

Points: 0

#16 by Led // May 13, 2014 - 6:21pm

"Draft grades should solely be based on assessing whether teams took the players they did at the right spot. Ie - did a team reach or did a team manage to snag a player that fell to them."

There's only so much pundits can say about that because nobody has access to any of the teams' actual boards. Calling a guy a reach because Kiper/McShay/Mayock have the dude going a round later doesn't mean much because we don't know where actual NFL front offices were valuing the guy. Maybe three other teams were just about to take the guy. Then was he a reach?

Points: 0

#17 by theslothook // May 13, 2014 - 6:29pm

It's imperfect, but that happens with how we get our info in general. None of us, even the most hardcore of fans, goes back and charts every single aspect of every team to know for sure who is good and who is bad. And rarely do gms come out and publicly declare their all pro and pro bowl teams. We have to use people we trust.

Mel Kiper and Mcshay have their flaws, but it is what they do for a living. They along with Mayock are primarily who I use.

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#35 by RickD // May 14, 2014 - 1:12pm

Draft grades shouldn't be given out at all until after the following season.

Giving grades out now is like handing out final grades for a college course before the first lecture.

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#20 by Noahrk // May 13, 2014 - 8:29pm

The frustrating thing about the draft is that you end up knowing as much about next year as you did before the draft because nobody really knows about these rookies. These aggregate grades only serve to make that fact painfully obvious.

One thing you can talk about is process and strategy. I very much liked the Dolphins process this first year under Hickey. I had read Hickey watched film with Philbin and had his scouts meet with the coaching staff and have the coaches train them on what they were looking for. The fact that all their picks were good system fits seems to corroborate they were true to that.

I also loved that they took players that didn't address their biggest needs -specifically the two WRs, including Landry in the 2nd round. To me that means they were true to their board and went BPA as much as was reasonable without descending into lunacy. That was a welcome sight as well.

Finally, I suspect the fact that they took five small-school kids means they actually trusted and relied on their scouts. Maybe I'm wrong but I'd assume scouts have a bigger role in locating small-school prospects than with kids from bigger programs.

The reason I'm excited about all this despite being perfectly logical and reasonable is that Waldman mentioned it was so rare in the NFL and that front offices were typically dysfunctional. It certainly seems to be the case in Miami. But, of course, a healthy process won't mean a thing unless the picks actually do pan out.

Who, me?

Points: 0

#27 by Theo // May 14, 2014 - 7:40am

I think this is only done to laugh about 1 or 5 years from now.

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#36 by RickD // May 14, 2014 - 1:13pm

That and to give "experts" like Mel Kiper an extra week of media attention.

It's important for them to express their opinions before they've been discredited.

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#41 by Jerry // May 15, 2014 - 3:01am

We get draft grades for the same reason we get mock drafts where "experts" tell us who they think each team should draft (as opposed to who they will draft) - because there's an audience for it. You and I may be content to see lists of names and then wait to see how they perform, but a lot of people want validation for their and their favorite team's opinions now.

Points: 0

#45 by Noahrk // May 15, 2014 - 12:01pm

Come on, you really are content with seeing a list of names and waiting? There would be no point in getting excited about the draft if you didn't end up with a feeling that you learned something new about the season. And for people who don't scout all these players, the experts' opinions are all they've got to go on.

Who, me?

Points: 0

#52 by Jerry // May 15, 2014 - 6:07pm

I'm old enough to remember when the idea of covering a draft live, let alone televising it, was considered ridiculous. Kiper and Buchsbaum were putting out guides for the obsessed, but very few fans paid attention to the 16th round pick, and if the first-rounder was from a small school, there was a good chance that the draft was the first time many people heard of him. The next day's newspaper would be the first chance to see the whole list.

Obviously, things have changed, and the only problem I have with it is that we're now inundated. (I ignore a lot of it, obviously YMMV.) But now, regardless of what you, I, or any or all of the pundits think of a given prospect, what he does in practices and games will determine his career.

Points: 0

#47 by RickD // May 15, 2014 - 12:18pm

I want scouting reports of players that detail their abilities and possibly some thinking about what the franchise might see in them.

Grades are silly. Grades in real life are supposed to represent results, not speculation.

Points: 0

#39 by Sifter // May 14, 2014 - 8:01pm

Not a lot of mention of the Raiders, and since RaiderJoe is hanging more on twitter these days, I feel it's my duty to stick up for them. I thought they nailed their picks, and I think if their franchise were less of a joke they might be getting more credit for this draft. According to my reckoning, they picked Khalil Mack and Derek Carr when they were the 2 best prospects on the board - and both players fill large problem areas. I don't think any other team could say they picked 2 BPAs and that both players filled big holes eg. Rams probably picked 2 BPAs, but Robinson is going to play shuffled inside to guard and Donald is fitting into an already very good D-line, hardly big holes. Then in round 4 Raiders got good value with Justin Ellis to play NT and Keith McGill. Good job Reggie McKenzie.

Conversely I didn't like the Seahawks draft, and again I think we've got W/L records biasing our grading somewhat. If the Raiders had picked who the Seahawks did, I think they would be bottom of the grades. Seattle picked two wideouts when they've already got a bunch of young, rising WRs: Baldwin, Kearse, and Harvin is still young. They reached down a long way for Justin Britt at OT and Cassius Marsh at DE. Very underwhelming drafting to me.

Points: 0

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