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2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Sterling Xie

Everyone and their uncle has an opinion about their favorite team's draft class, but what did the media cognoscenti think about every team's weekend in Chicago? As we do every year, we have compiled snap reaction grades from several reputable draftniks for our review on which teams generated the best, worst, and most polarizing feedback following the draft. Previous NFL Draft Report Card Reports can be found here: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2004.).

After adding Dan Kadar last year, we're running back the same seven sources from 2015. At Sports Illustrated, Chris Burke again graded the AFC teams while Doug Farrar handled the NFC side, which leaves us with this panel:

Per usual, we'll look at the five teams with the highest, lowest, and greatest deviation in their average GPA, while also examining the year-over-year averages for each grader.

Highest Grades

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

GPA: 3.71
Highest Grade: A+ (Prisco, Burke)
Lowest Grade: B+ (Iyer, Kadar)
Comments: No, I did not just copy and paste this from last year's report. For the second consecutive year, Dave Caldwell and the Jaguars had the consensus top draft in the league. The GPA is slightly lower than the 3.86 mark they earned last year, but their range of grades is the exact same as it was in 2015. Nabbing potential top-five talent Myles Jack in the second round earned universal acclaim, but graders really liked how much Jacksonville targeted its mediocre front seven. Iyer quibbled with the lack of offensive line help to aid a unit that finished 16th in adjusted line yards and 25th in adjusted sack rate, but the likes of Sheldon Day and Tyrone Holmes were universally seen as strong Day 3 values.

2. Chicago Bears

GPA: 3.63
Highest Grade: A (Prisco, Iyer)
Lowest Grade: B (Farrar)
Comments: When John Fox and Ryan Pace took over last year, arguably their top priority was overhauling a defense built for a static 4-3 Tampa-2 scheme to better align with Vic Fangio's hybrid 3-4 concepts. This draft may be seen as the turning point in that rebuild, as the Bears earned praise for a trenches-heavy class which included five defensive additions. Both Prisco and Iyer believed that Leonard Floyd and Jonathan Bullard could become foundational front seven players, while Day 3 safeties Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson could push for starting roles in the secondary. Farrar thought the Bears reached a bit for Floyd in trading up to pick No. 9, but compensated through their work in the later rounds.

3. Baltimore Ravens

GPA: 3.60
Highest Grade: A (3 tied)
Lowest Grade: B+ (4 tied)
Comments: On ESPN's broadcast, Todd McShay called the Ravens' five-pick Round 4 bonanza the best fourth-round class he's ever seen from a single team. Though McShay didn't provide any grades for us to include, the rest of the graders echoed his sentiment. Ozzie Newsome received a whopping six extra picks through compensatory selections and trade-downs, netting the Ravens plenty of help in the trenches and at the offensive skill positions. His Saturday haul -- which included universally hailed sleepers such as Tavon Young, Chris Moore and Kenneth Dixon -- could help rebuild a base of talent which has aged and become untenably expensive.

T-4. Cincinnati Bengals

GPA: 3.39
Highest Grade: A+ (Burke)
Lowest Grade: B (3 tied)
Comments: The Bengals were the only organization outside of Jacksonville to earn an A+ from any grader. Chris Burke thought it was "downright stunning" that Andrew Billings and Christian Westerman were still available in Rounds 4 and 5, respectively. Some thought it was curious the Bengals passed up on a receiver to pick William Jackson at No. 24, their third first-round cornerback in five years. But Mike Brown compensated in Round 2 by nabbing Pitt's Tyler Boyd, the receiver with the fourth-highest Playmaker Projection in this class.

T-4. Washington

GPA: 3.39
Highest Grade: A- (3 tied)
Lowest Grade: B (Prisco, Iyer)
Comments: Scot McCloughan has a track record as solid as any GM in the league, so it's hardly surprising to see Washington on this list. Su'a Cravens, who may as well share a family with Deone Bucannon at this point given all the pre-draft comparisons, earned acclaim as a nice Round 2 value from virtually every grader. Prisco was curious why Washington picked Josh Doctson over much-needed defensive line help in the first round, but with DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon entering the final year of their deals, wide receiver was a quiet need entering the draft.

Lowest Grades

32. Carolina Panthers

GPA: 2.00
Highest Grade: C+ (Kiper, Silva)
Lowest Grade: C- (Prisco, Kadar)
Comments: Quantity does not equal quality, at least when it comes to Panthers cornerbacks. Dave Gettleman admitted to drafting for need in trying to replace Josh Norman, but no one was impressed with the trio of corners he came away with this year. Multiple commenters questioned the second-round selection of Samford's James Bradberry; their two harshest graders actually thought Round 5 pick Zack Sanchez was a better pick than either of the two cornerbacks Gettleman drafted first. The Carolina GM has generally earned favorable reviews for building a Super Bowl roster after inheriting a cap-strapped mess, but this is the second consecutive year the Panthers have finished in the bottom five of these rankings.

31. Atlanta Falcons

GPA: 2.10
Highest Grade: B (Prisco)
Lowest Grade: D (Farrar)
Comments: Most commenters pegged the Falcons' class in the relatively mediocre B- to C range, but Farrar dropped the hammer on Atlanta. The Falcons were the only team to earn a grade worse than a C from either SI grader. Farrar's criticism stemmed from his belief that Atlanta "spent draft capital on players it could have traded down to get and didn't address its defensive line need early in a draft that has as much D-line talent as any in recent NFL history." Apart from perhaps De'Vondre Campbell, a raw fourth-round outside linebacker, the Falcons did nothing to supplement a pass rush that finished dead last in adjusted sack rate last season.

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T-30. New England Patriots

GPA: 2.19
Highest Grade: B- (Prisco)
Lowest Grade: C- (Rang)
Comments: Patriots fans can cradle back and forth while whispering "In Bill We Trust" all they want, but that won't change the lukewarm reception for New England's class. Despite widespread praise for Round 2 corner Cyrus Jones, the rest of Bill Belichick's selections earned a collective shrug from our graders. Rang thought Jacoby Brissett was an "odd choice" in Round 3 and wondered if New England did enough to replace Chandler Jones' pass-rushing impact. The lack of clear immediate impact contributors bothered graders, as did New England's failure to draft a running back.

T-30. Cleveland Browns

GPA: 2.19
Highest Grade: B (Silva)
Lowest Grade: C- (Rang, Prisco)
Comments: Cleveland would typically be ecstatic to be mentioned alongside the Patriots, but alas, #LOLBrowns. Although they did get Playmaker Score's favorite wideout in Corey Coleman, few were impressed with the Browns' other four receiver choices. Additionally, choosing Cody Kessler at the end of Day 2 was a widely panned choice, as Prisco wondered if the Browns would regret passing up the chance to pick Carson Wentz at No. 2. While Cleveland's draft capital remains the envy of the league, observers remain generally confused at the direction of the Browns' perpetual rebuild.

(Ed. Note: This seems as good a place as any to slip in QBASE projections for both Brissett and Kessler, who were not featured in our original QBASE article. The projections are terrible: Brissett comes out at minus-381, one of the ten worst QBASE projections ever, while Kessler isn't much better at minus-201. Also, I don't know how much the Browns will regret passing up on Wentz; the Browns' quarterback of the future is either Brad Kaaya or Deshaun Watson. -- Aaron Schatz)

29. San Francisco 49ers

GPA: 2.29
Highest Grade: A- (Farrar)
Lowest Grade: D+ (Silva)
Comments: No team had a larger divide between their highest and lowest grades, which seems fitting for a Chip Kelly team. That fact should also tip you off about why we'll be returning to San Francisco's draft class in a few paragraphs.

Most Polarizing Grades

1. Miami Dolphins

GPA: 2.57
Standard Deviation: 0.82
Highest Grade: B+ (Kiper, Prisco)
Lowest Grade: D (Iyer)
Comments: Iyer was not the harshest grader, but he spared no mercy when he came down hard. The Sporting News writer handed out three D grades, the most of any of our graders, and saved his harshest words for Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier. He thought Miami took unnecessary character risks in Laremy Tunsil and Leonte Carroo, while opining that Kenyan Drake is too limited to spice up Miami's uninspiring backfield. The Carroo pick appeared questionable, given that the Dolphins already had a solid young trio of Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, and Kenny Stills at wideout. But five of the seven graders gave the Dolphins a B-level grade, with most approving of the Tunsil selection at No. 13.

2. Los Angeles Rams

GPA: 2.57
Standard Deviation: 0.78
Highest Grade: B+ (Rang, Prisco)
Lowest Grade: D (Iyer)
Comments: This grade essentially boiled down to the grader's opinion of Jared Goff. The CBS graders had no issues with the Rams going all-in on the Cal quarterback, as both thought the trade up to the No. 1 pick made L.A.'s draft. Additionally, Los Angeles seemed to have a logical plan in drafting two receivers and two tight ends to supplement Goff's receiving corps. But Iyer did not see Goff as worthy of the top selection, and lamented how the Rams' limited draft capital caused them to punt on O-line and secondary help. Overall, the tepid reception stemmed from concerns about Goff transitioning from Cal's "Bear Raid" system to Los Angeles' under-center, power-based offense.

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3. New York Jets

GPA: 2.49
Standard Deviation: 0.76
Highest Grade: B+ (Rang)
Lowest Grade: D (Iyer)
Comments: The Jets generated feedback a lot like the Rams', except that fewer people like Christian Hackenberg than Goff. Given the age of the Jets' core, Iyer hated how New York failed to draft much immediate-impact talent. On the other hand, Rang focused on the picks sandwiched around Hackenberg, believing that Darron Lee and Jordan Jenkins can be useful weapons for Todd Bowles' amoeba fronts. This is the second straight year the Jets have appeared in this category.

T-4. San Francisco 49ers

GPA: 2.29
Standard Deviation: 0.75
Highest Grade: A- (Farrar)
Lowest Grade: D+ (Silva)
Comments: As promised, the 49ers' class is back under the microscope. San Francisco's variance was almost entirely the result of Farrar's generous evaluation, as every other grader handed out a B- or worse. Farrar thought the Niners landed the draft's best defensive lineman in DeForest Buckner, but he also curiously saw Joshua Garnett as a strong value. Most graders panned San Francisco for trading back into the first round for the Stanford guard, especially given that they gave up a second-, fourth- and sixth-rounder in the deal. Silva also saw mid-round cornerbacks Will Redmond and Rashard Robinson as reaches, given that the former comes with injury questions and the latter with character concerns.

T-4. Tennessee Titans

GPA: 3.06
Standard Deviation: 0.75
Highest Grade: A (Iyer)
Lowest Grade: C- (Prisco)
Comments: Of the five most divisive teams, the Titans were the only one to finish with an overall GPA in the top half of the league (14th). Iyer and Kiper praised Jon Robinson for adding talent on both sides of the ball with his considerable draft capital. Apart from the Thursday and Friday picks, both graders praised the fifth-round selection of UMass receiver Tajae Sharpe, believing that he could challenge for early playing time. However, Prisco wondered what the point of a DeMarco Murray-Derrick Henry tandem was, while also believing that Tennessee passed over better options (cough, Tunsil) to pick Jack Conklin. Unlike Iyer and Kiper, Prisco also saw Round 2 pick Kevin Dodd as a poor fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

2016 NFL Draft Grades
Team High Low Avg. Rk SD Rk
Arizona B (4 tied) B- (3 tied) 2.87 18 0.16 32
Atlanta B (Prisco) D (Farrar) 2.10 31 0.66 9
Baltimore A (3 tied) B+ (4 tied) 3.60 3 0.37 20
Buffalo A- (3 tied) C (Prisco) 3.11 11 0.64 10
Carolina C+ (Kiper, Silva) C- (Prisco, Kadar) 2.00 32 0.24 29
Chicago A (Prisco, Iyer) B (Farrar) 3.63 2 0.36 22
Cincinnati A+ (Burke) B (3 tied) 3.39 4 0.41 19
Cleveland B (Silva) C- (Rang, Prisco) 2.19 29 0.45 17
Dallas A- (Farrar) C- (Prisco, Silva) 2.44 25 0.74 6
Denver B+ (Iyer, Burke) B- (3 tied) 2.96 16 0.27 28
Detroit B (Farrar, Kadar) C- (Iyer) 2.64 21 0.44 18
Green Bay A- (Iyer) B- (Silva, Kadar) 3.01 15 0.33 23
Houston A (Rang) C+ (Silva) 3.23 8 0.55 11
Indianapolis A (Prisco) C+ (Silva) 3.09 12 0.50 13
Jacksonville A+ (Prisco, Burke) B+ (Iyer, Kadar) 3.71 1 0.31 26
Kansas City B+ (Rang) C- (Iyer) 2.69 20 0.49 14
Team High Low Avg. Rk SD Rk
Los Angeles B+ (Rang, Prisco) D (Iyer) 2.57 22 0.78 2
Miami B+ (Kiper, Prisco) D (Iyer) 2.57 23 0.82 1
Minnesota A (Iyer) B- (Kiper, Prisco) 3.26 6 0.53 12
New England B- (Prisco) C- (Rang) 2.19 30 0.32 25
New Orleans A (Iyer, Kadar) C+ (Silva) 3.06 13 0.68 8
NY Giants A (Farrar) C (Rang, Silva) 2.90 17 0.73 7
NY Jets B+ (Rang) D (Iyer) 2.49 24 0.76 3
Oakland B+ (4 tied) B- (Kadar) 3.13 9 0.24 31
Philadelphia B (Rang) C (3 tied) 2.43 26 0.46 16
Pittsburgh B (4 tied) C- (Silva) 2.73 19 0.48 15
San Diego A- (Iyer) B- (Kiper) 3.24 7 0.37 21
San Francisco A- (Farrar) D+ (Silva) 2.29 28 0.75 4
Seattle B+ (4 tied) B- (Farrar) 3.13 10 0.24 30
Tampa Bay B- (Kiper, Kadar) C (Iyer, Farrar) 2.33 27 0.29 27
Tennessee A (Iyer) C- (Prisco) 3.06 14 0.75 5
Washington A- (3 tied) B (Prisco, Iyer) 3.39 5 0.32 24

Year-Over-Year Comparison

Again, the overall grading trends remained fairly consistent. The average GPA was 2.88 (roughly a B-), up from 2.86 last year, while the standard deviation also rose from 0.63 to 0.65. The kindest (SI) and harshest (Silva) graders from last year remained constant, while Iyer had the largest standard deviation in his grades for the fourth straight year. Burke was the only grader to hand out an average GPA better than a B; his cohort Farrar was roughly on par with Kiper, Kadar, and Rang, all of whom sat in the 2.9 range. Farrar's grading scale easily saw the largest change from 2015 -- his average GPA fell 0.25 points this year, a change nearly three times larger than any other grader.

Grading the Graders
Grader High Low Avg SD
Kiper A (JAC, BAL) C (4 tied) 2.93 0.57
Rang A (HOU) C- (NE, CLE) 2.92 0.57
Prisco A+ (JAC) C- (4 tied) 2.83 0.63
Iyer A (5 tied) D (3 tied) 2.78 0.96
Silva A (BAL) D+ (SF) 2.58 0.64
Bur-rar A+ (CIN, JAC) D (ATL) 3.03 0.64
Burke A+ (CIN, JAC) C+ (NE, CLE) 3.16 0.50
Farrar A (NYG) D (ATL) 2.91 0.75
Kadar A (NO) C- (CAR) 2.92 0.53

Comments

118 comments, Last at 10 May 2016, 5:51am

1 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

". . .as did New England's failure to draft a running back."

I don't think NE has drafted a RB since Vereen in 2011 and not very frequently before that either, even outside the early rounds. I think it probably has a lot to do with the fact that rookie RBs are rarely good blockers, or at least there's not enough info to evaluate college RBs in that area. Plus NE has been pretty successful finding cheap talent in the pro ranks. Speaking of cheap talent, what's the latest on Dion Lewis's health?

2 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

why would you include a "panelist" whose draft grade article revealed he couldn't even pay correct attention through the first hour of the draft?

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The standard is the standard!

3 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

These are always fun to read and then go back and look at previous years. For example, here are some from 2012:

30. Seattle (1.89) - Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, Russell Wilson, Jeremy Lane, JR Sweezy

T-29. Denver (1.93) - Derek Wolfe, Ronnie Hillman, Malik Jackson, Danny Trevathan. Oh, and Brock Osweiler.

1. Cincinnati (4.11) - Dre Kirkpatrick, Kevin Zeitler, Mohammed Sanu, Brandon Thompson, Marvin Jones, George Iloka.

Sometimes you know, sometimes you don't.

24 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

I always think of that draft when we get this article. I rarely have any real opinion on drafts, but something about everything I heard made me convinced that Seattle's was great--they really had a plan and knew what they were doing. And the sentiment both from draft graders and from the general public really seemed to be that they were a clueless mess.

I'm not right often, but I was on that one.

4 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

From a previous thread.

As the inanity of grading a draft, that just occurred, proceeds, refelect on this, per PFT....

"As it turned out, players in the (1st round) 2013 draft had basically a 50-50 chance of working out: Of the 32 players taken in the first round, 17 had their fifth-year options picked up, 12 had their options declined, one has already been cut, one has already agreed to a new contract and one is currently suspended and has no option to pick up.
The Top 10 of the draft was a little worse than the next 22; five of the top 10 picks didn’t have their options picked up, and Dion Jordan, the third overall pick, is suspended."
http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/category/rumor-mill/

I wonder how many of those top 10 picks that didn't get their options exercised were on teams that received "A"s from our graders?

11 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

"As the inanity of grading a draft, that just occurred, proceeds..."

I go back and forth. The evaluation of drafts just after their occurrence likely does have value except the people who currently do (at least publicly) do so in a such a contrived manner that their analysis is worthless. The problem with waiting six years, as FO does, is that you begin to convolute player development into the analysis. Even worse is the apparent randomness in player progression, which leads to evaluations based on inaccessible information. I don't know what the solution is.

21 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

I think the problem is that "the thing" that could possibly be evaluated is a latency, but we (really, the draft graders) are trying to evaluate a directly observable variable. Because you're absolutely right--six years later, we're not seeing how good talent evaluation was at the time of the draft. We're seeing the outcome of 1) talent, 2) that has been developed, 3) within a certain context (both the system and the playing opportunities). Maybe player X is "talented," but is a bad fit for the system, or maybe they're a good fit for the system but they're buried behind an entrenched starter, or maybe they are super talented but the bone-head coaching staff retards player development, or...

So player outcomes 6 years down the road are the result of this big thing we can't measure directly--think of exploratory factor analysis to discover latencies. Or think of blind men all feeling a different part of an elephant, convinced they are feeling a different animal--draft graders are a bunch of blind guys clustered around the trunk all shouting, "Oh yea I love this snake!", and "No no this snake isn't long and hefty like I love my snakes," completely oblivious to the fact that "the thing" they annually feel up is actually part of a larger whole.

5 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

One of the more interesting moves to me was the Vikings' judgement that there wasn't anybody in the 3rd round they would rather have than a 6th rounder, this year, and a 3rd and fourth rounder, next year, from the Dolphins. I'm pretty sure that decsion was influenced by how many veteran contracts they have expiring next season. It's pretty much impossible to make a decent judgement on the players picked this season, but once you start trying to factor moves like this, it's pretty much a ridiculous endeavor.

12 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

And then the Dolphins decided they had to have that 6th round pick back and traded the vikings their later 6th (10 spots down) and an additional 7th to get it. And then the vikings used that later 6th.. And a different (later) 7th to move back to two spots later.

The Dolphins are hoping to get compensatory picks in the third and fourth next year which would make the picks they gave up be later, keeping their original 3rd and 4th but either way it is definitely saying they didn't think anyone this year desperately fit in their plans.

7 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

I'm not following these QBASE scores, at least for Kessler. Kessler had more yds/att (8.2 vs 7.8), a higher completion % (67.2% v 62.3%), a better Td/int ratio and better adjusted yds/att statistic. His stats are significantly better than Goff's in every way.

They play in the same conference, so can't imagine SOS is drastically different. In fact, USC's strength of schedule was like 6th hardest in the nation last year.

I understand kessler should be penalized because he had some great weapons around him for a couple years... but enough where he is scoring a -201?? I may be missing something, but it doesn't seem to add up.

EDIT: I am quoting career statistics, by the way.

8 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

The Dolphins draft is going to look good if any of these tackles really can play guard at a high level. Miami could have their best oline since 2008. Which might make all these backs and wrs looked rather good. Then they become New Orleans lite because their defense sure looks as if it will give up points.

9 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

I just have to write this.

Evaluating draft classes immediately is literally an insane task. As others have pointed out, we literally have zero idea if any of the players selected will actually be good, and then on top of it the graders criticize teams for picking a 1st round player at one position over another who could have filled a perceived need.

The simple truth is - if at the spot you are picking the guy who might fill the need simply isn't worth that pick compared to other NFL players and free agents, why waste the pick? Take a guy you think can be the best player given what you are looking for as a team and sort the rest out later. Figure out what a guy CAN do for you instead of some guy who you might like less who could fill some perceived need.

Yes an example of my team: Washington. No they didn't take a defensive lineman in the first round. It is entirely possible the guys available there aren't able to make as big a difference as Josh Doctson might be able to do at WR, and Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson aren't exactly dependable for various reasons or getting younger. A certain former FO contributor whose opinion I very much respect likes Doctson a lot too, so to me it makes complete sense.

On the other side, if QB is a need for the Rams and Jared Goff is not a solution(although I do like his chances), then that need isn't really met and the Rams just blew their pick anyway.

Every draft won't have good players at every position despite what ESPN and the NFL want us to believe going into every draft. And even if those guys might be there, it might not be apparent for health/scheme/playing time/odd college coaching choices on how to use a guy.

So just draft the guy you think is the best player and figure the rest out. No team is ever 100%.

19 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

I don't know if it's insane, but they're no more and no less than a masturbatory exercise. Every single post-draft grade in the history of post-draft grades boils down to "I agree" or "I disagree". If it's the former -- good grade. If the latter -- Surprise! Bad grade.

10 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

The Bears' grades are especially interesting given the reaction of the Chicago sports radio / lunch pail crowd, which was almost uniformly negative. I'm somewhere in the middle, but what the hell do I know at this stage? (I'm pretty sure it's more than "literally zero," but it ain't much.)

32 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

This... Just getting to the Superbowl didn't make bears fans less negative, it made them more negative. Getting to the championship game with the new QB we traded an arm and a leg for set off the firestorm of all firestorms.

Since then the lunch pail crowd has gotten kind of bored with hating the bears, so while they hate every decision in the last five years that has been made that didn't involve firing people or starting jimmy clausen or josh McCown because of a Cutler injury, they are just too resigned to be as negative as they would otherwise be.

I personally would love to see the bears barely skate into the playoffs on a way too easy schedule and then lose in the first round and suddenly this becomes evidence that the current GM and coach are terrible and have to go.

38 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

"I personally would love to see the bears barely skate into the playoffs on a way too easy schedule and then lose in the first round and suddenly this becomes evidence that the current GM and coach are terrible and have to go."

That seems way too intelligent for Bears fans. After all, hasn't this been the situation for the Colts recently, and you can make fairly legitimate criticisms of Grigson and Pagano.

A better scenario would be the Bears barely skating into the playoffs in large part because of coaching decisions and a deep roster, despite Cutler getting hurt plus losing a bunch of starters on the lines, then losing in the playoffs to a clearly superior team, and THEN the fans wanting the staff all fired.

43 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

I was specifically talking about this year, when we have the second easiest schedule in the league. So if we make the playoffs this year, it will be because of the easy schedule. I mostly think management has done a good job for the last two years (Even if I wonder about releasing Slausen, but I don't really know anything about Whitehair, so... I guess I defer?). But the team still isn't true playoff caliber.

But you are right, I am so used to "Cutler injury, write off the season" from both the years that happened, and also watching Jimmy Clause play quarterback, but Hoyer is legitimate enough that Cutler could miss some games and we could still win a few and we could have a Cutler vs Hoyer QB controversey as per Josh McCown circa 2013. That would be fun.

13 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

The Cleveland-Tennesee trade (pick 8 & pick 176 for pick 15, pick 76, and a 2017 2nd) should be enough to make Cleveland start with an A and Tennessee start with a D. You can adjust from there based on your opinion of the rest of their drafts.

I think that the rest of Cleveland's draft was good enough to stick in the A range. Their first 4 picks (C Coleman, Ogbah, Nassib, and S Coleman) all seem good, and it doesn't make sense to dock a team that much for picks that they make outside the top 90 (e.g., the guy who went right after Kessler is a blocking TE). Plus I do like some of their later picks, like Higgins. Maybe if you really really love Wentz then you could knock the Browns down below the A range for passing on him, but in that case you should love Philly (who also ranked near the bottom).

29 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

I think highly of the Browns draft (at least in terms of their strategy and how they accumulated picks) but I wonder if I'm kind of giving them extra credit for not acting like the Browns. They did what any team with the #2 who was not sold on the QB available there should have done: turned that pick into a whole lot more picks. Whereas I feel like the typical Browns plan would have been to trade away a bunch of picks to move up to #1 and then draft Wentz anyway knowing full well that the Rams preferred Goff, or something equally silly.

I agree with you about Kessler. Look...they clearly decided their QB prospect of the future was not in this draft (and I'd agree). They signed RGIII and are going to see what they can get out of him this year. I think a pick like Kessler (and I know nothing about him specifically) is what they needed - a rookie QB who probably won't be any good, but who they can observe as a 2nd/3rd stringer and who they didn't spend a lot of draft capital on. Late 3rd round is maybe borderline for a guy like that, but it's not like they took him in the 1st or even the 2nd.

I've noticed a weird contradiction in NFL commentary in recent years where the same guys who acknowledge that there's a steep dropoff in QB quality after the 1st round also parrot the "draft a QB every year" line, too. If you take both statements to be true, then you're saying that either a team should expend most of their draft capital every year to draft a 1st or 2nd round QB (which no one would recommend) or that they should draft a ton of late round QBs who probably won't even sniff a backup job in their careers.

There was a lot of talk on Chicago sports radio before the draft about how the Bears "had to" draft a QB in the mid-to-late rounds. Well, in 2014 they used a 6th round pick on David Fales, who they evidently see something in but last year could not beat out Jimmy Clausen for the backup spot until Clausen was cut for being terrible even by Bears backup QB standards. There are going to be about a thousand David Fales for every Tom Brady picked in the 6th round, and even 2nd-5th rounders generally aren't much better.

93 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

The Titans & Browns were both gifted with a great opportunity to trade down (given that the Browns weren't in love with Wentz). The Browns made way more out of that opportunity - they actually ended up with a better haul, in my view, even though they had the worse pick. Roughly, Tennessee ended up turning 1.01 into 1.08, a 2017 1st, and 2.43, while Cleveland turned 1.02 into 1.15, a 2017 1st, a 2017 2nd, a 2018 2nd, 3.76, and 3.77.

Possibly the Titans are more deserving of criticism than the Browns are of praise. Tennessee apparently thought "we just got all these extra picks almost for free - not much of a loss to trade them away" and "we started with an early pick, so we really want to end up with one of these guys in the top 10".

Whereas the Browns just did the reasonable thing and valued picks appropriate. Plus, they were ready to pounce and pick up a ton of value when the Titans were itching to trade back up. Maybe wasn't super-clever, but it was extremely effective at getting massive amounts of draft value. And I'd rather grade on results than on cleverness.

14 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

As a Niner's fan I was curious about Joshua Garnett. Most reviewers of the draft have been critical of the Niner's move up to draft him in the first round. So I watched his bowl game against Maryland in 2014. He played incredibly. I can see why the they would want to not only draft him, but get him for 5 years. It would be ridiculous to franchise a guard in his 5th year, especially if you were confidant he was going to be a solid 5 year starter.

And then I watched a couple Deforest Buckner games. I was confident he would at least be solid, because I haven't found any draft reviewer to criticize Buckner in any way. He is one of the two golden boys of the draft. Wow, he was dominated by Jack Conklin in last year's Mich. St. game... both on run and pass plays. Ok, Conklin is a stud, but Halapoulivaati Vaitai pretty much did the same in last season's Alamo bowl. Buckner has zero pass rush technique and doesn't stand a chance against NFL quality dudes in the run game. Am I the only guy to see this?

Maybe I should check out a couple Jalen Ramsey games to see for myself.

15 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

Very nice that you went back and watched games to get your own take, but I wonder if 1 game by Garnett is anywhere near enough viewing to assess him in any way.

Likewise, with the other folks. Playing poorly in one game should be a factor, sure, but if you watch all of his games, it could possibly give you an opposite overall picture. (Or not - I don't know myself; But even superstars have bad games sometimes.)

17 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

I know you are probably right, but part of my point is that most people, and I include myself, are making opinions based on other people's opinions.

I think the Niners draft players with upside, with the plan to coach them up. And I think Buckner could use some coaching.

16 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

Totally agree with everyone regarding the problems of grading.

Another factor, I suspect, is that a GM would also have different views about the coaching staffs ability to mould different players. Thinking about the Vikings as soon as they made the CB pick I immediately thought of Zimmer, so I suspect the coaching staffs skills and the GMs assessment of that could also influence player selection with different levels of readiness.

Did anyone in the report cards thing the selection of a QB by the Jets make any sense?

27 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

Not sure why jets r getyign any criticism for c. Hackenberg pick. Is not as if Jets have franchise qb. If critiize pick because it is Hackenberg and u think they shoidla taken different qb, fine. You can have that opinion. But if criticizing idea of drfatong qb,then that is weird.

More suprosiimg to me is Raiders taking C. Cook.guy will be excellent backup to Carr but raiders could have taken guy off street to back up Carr. Carr tremendous player and body. Good chance will stay healthy like e. Manning.

Also surprising is Pates taking j. Brissett pretty early on draft. I liked brissett in college and decent chance 71st some type of successful nfl career but Pates have Soft Balls Tom Bardy still and j. Garappolo as bakcup.is team that badly in need of tablet holder?

36 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

Paging dr. fatong...will dr. fatong please report to surgery.

When you combine devotion to Sierra Nevada, a wide ranging knowledge of football and especially football history, a sense of humor, and complete nonchalance about spelling, you end up with a guy who I would be glad to know.

No matter how suprosiimg that may sound.

40 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

I didn't get the Brissett selection. I've watched him play. He's, at best, the 4th-best NC State QB in the NFL. Mike Glennon was a better QB.

NE has a good line, no running backs, and one legitimate receiver. Doesn't that describe the Connor Cook experience? He's at least recently familiar with exactly that setup, should Garappolo turn out to be Garappolo.

20 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

Last year's Indy commentary was surprisingly prophetic from the man with the bad hair:

"But the big downgrade came due to the total lack of investment in O-line help, with Kiper criticizing Ryan Grigson's approach to "take for granted that Andrew Luck won't get hurt despite all the hits.""

I would be interested to know how Kiper graded Indy's draft this year. Last year it was a B-, so this year, given the four offensive linemen (two in the first three rounds), I would've thought at least an A-.

Either way, I'm pretty excited by Indy's draft this year. I know nothing about college players, but I'm encouraged that we selected the (seemingly) consensus best centre as well as an offensive tackle who some projected to go in the first round. Throw in another couple of o-linemen and some sorely needed defensive players, and I think the Colts will be a much better and deeper team on both sides of the ball.

That being said, as a fan, Jacksonville's off-season scares the crap out of me.

22 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

Man,I just went back to look at the grades for previous years, and ran into this gem from Jason Cole in 2012:

"As for Russell Wilson, he essentially said he’ll be lucky to be Seneca Wallace."

Ouch. Wonder if he ever owned up to that one.

26 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

I would love to know how these grades would look if Tampa had drafted safety Vonn Bell instead of a kicker.

Actually, I would just love that to have happened, reading about it would just be gravy.

28 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

"On ESPN's broadcast, Todd McShay called the Ravens' five-pick Round 4 bonanza the best fourth-round class he's ever seen from a single team." I guess this wasn't the dumbest thing McShay said last weekend, but once you get to the 4th round and later, isn't number of picks a large factor in how good the draft class is? You're hoping to hit on guys who, odds are, will not be good players, so the more shots you have the better.

I mean, a team with 5 4th round picks could still screw it up if they take 5 guys who were probably going to go undrafted, or draft multiple punters, or something, but all else being equal, I am not at all surprised that the team with the most 4th round picks ever would have the best 4th round draft class ever.

30 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

The greatest multiple player fourth-round draft class is either the 1986 49ers (Charles Haley, Steve Wallace, Kevin Fagan) or the 2006 Broncos (Brandon Marshall, Elvis Dumervil, Domenik Hixon). Aside from those two, there are almost no such draft classes where more than one player turned out to be productive for the team that drafted them.

45 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

I think in this case it had to do with the number of players draft guys had listed as sleepers that the Ravens picked up. Tavon Young, Chris Moore, and Kenneth Dixon were all guys who showed up on those "Day 3 picks to keep an eye on" lists that are a total crapshoot. As a Ravens fan I hope it works out, but obviously judging some 4th round picks based on how much sleeper hype they had leading up to the draft is misguided.

31 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

"there are almost no such draft classes where more than one player turned out to be productive for the team that drafted them"

Uhh, well the Ravens drafted 2 players in 2015 that were productive (Z. Smith and B. Allen), 2 players in 2013 that are productive (K. Juszczyk and J. Simon, albeit for the Texans), and 2 players in 2007 that were productive (L. McClain, A. Barnes). The jury on the 2014 4th rounders is still out due to injuries, but Taliaferro and Urban both look like good players.

If I can find some examples in Ravens history, I'm sure there are other teams as well that have had multiple hits in the 4th rd.

78 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

Packers came close to having a hell of a 4th round in 2013.

First they took David Bahktiari, who is a slightly below average starting LT from day one. Then they took JC Tretter, who hasn't played much, but only because he broke his ankle as a rookie and then watched GB select another good center the next year. However, Tretter will most likely be starting for another team in 2017 after his rookie deal runs out.

Finally they took Johnathan Franklin, a RB who looked like he would have been a great combo with Lacy, but suffered a neck injury that quickly ended his career.

I think the 4th round probably sees a few of these occurrences, because that's where teams can really rack up the best compensatory picks. The Ravens and Packers probably do more than any other teams as far as collecting comp picks though.

33 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

Patriots fans can cradle back and forth while whispering "In Bill We Trust" all they want, but that won't change the lukewarm reception for New England's class.

Meh. No need for this silliness. BB's Pats have been contending for 16 years he must be doing something right. (Having Tom Brady doesn't explain everything.)

How can you even grade a draft now? I'd have more respect for these "graders" if they went back to 2010 and graded themselves on what they wrote then.

66 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

Patrick Peterson had 3 ints in his first 26 college games. If you think 3 plays, over 23-26 college games, is a useful way in which to delineate between the projected production of two players in the NFL, I'm sorry, but your judgement on these matters is a suspect as the guys with makeup on who think they can evaluate dbs better than Zimmer. A cornerback does not need to be a HOFer, with large int totals, to be an outstanding 2nd round draft pick.

70 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

It's not 3 plays.

It's that in some 1000 or so plays he never intercepted the ball. once.
ever. That's the signature play @ his position. Now if he was targeted NEVER, I could understand it-- but he was targeted enough to get some passes defensed.

It would be like a guy racks up 2000 yards rushing and has 0 tds. It just doesn't make sense.

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The standard is the standard!

81 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

The fact that you call the int the "signature" play of playing defensive back is indicative of not understanding what wins games. Yes, ints help quite a bit. So does a decision by a qb to throw the ball away on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd down, because nobody is open. You stated that the number "0" was significant, and are now implying that the number "1" would be a significant improvement. I disagree, very, very, vigorously. I think what you are doing (and the 2000 yard rusher analogy is really a stronger example of this) is indicative of a profound misunderstanding of how to evaluate human performance.

84 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

Not knowing anything about John Randle's analytical abilities, I have no opinion. He's a human being with knowledge of football, so, sure, it is certainly possible.

Not for the first time, I'll note that you use a form of the english language which is somewhat bizarre.

95 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

Yes, you're right Will. Instead it's clearly logical to claim that someone can't evaluate NFL talent because they apply typically/historically feminine-associated cosmetic appearance enhancers.

Or maybe it's more logical to just admit you are parroting longstanding NFL (and other 'merka f-yeah type) alpha-male caveman attitudes in a time and country that is moving past these bigoted views.

Hell, one of the best players on the history of your favorite team wore makeup on gameday. Apparently he thought it was intimidating or helped him in some way. What did he know--- joke's on him-- he looked like a wimpy girl or transgender or whatever insult you're trying to make in this thread, right?. Or does he get a pass because you know... Vikings. And hypocrisy.

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The standard is the standard!

97 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

That ain't what I wrote, Evelyn Wood. Because you are so tiresomely stupid, I'll spell it out in detail. The makeup crack refers to spending a significant amount of every one of your work days getting your skin tone to look right on t.v., or any number of other things that t.v. personalities have to do to be good t.v. personalities, which have nothing to do with being skilled at evaluating football players. Spending time being a good t.v. personality really doesn't entail being knowledegable about projecting football player performance, and guess what, lackwit? You can be a plainly bad or ummeasured evaluator of football players, and be an outstanding and very successful t.v. personality who gets paid to talk about future performance of football players. Why is that the case, you might ask, given you appear to have the intellect of a mollusk? Well, that's because none of the t.v. yelpers are going to get fired for being wrong about a prospect. On the other hand, ya' ol' snail-brain, football coaches, g.m.s, and others of that type, are out on their a$$ in few short years if they are wrong a lot on prospects.

To sum it up, dummy, this is the point. When choosing between Person A, whose professional success is directly tied to executing task X competently, on a consistent basis, and that person has a significant track record of doing so, or choosing Person B, whose professional success is not tied to executing task X competently, and that Person has never had a job where executing task X was measured, with that Person demonstrating a job well done, the way to bet in on Person A, if you want to pick which one will perform task X well in the future.

Now, I admit to being a bigot with regard to you. I am terribly, terribly prejudiced against numbskulls who just can't help revealing their numbskulled nature at every opportunity.

98 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

"I get a kick out of guys, who wear make-up at work, making confident pronouncements with regard to Mike Zimmer's estimation of a defensive back's prospects."

"these matters is a suspect as the guys with makeup on who think they can evaluate dbs better than Zimmer. "

your words. own them. yet,
you yourself just said "or any number of other things that t.v. personalities have to do to be good t.v. personalities, which have nothing to do with being skilled at evaluating football players.s"...

what would Freud say about the ONE THING you chose to single out and attack them for? why didn't you attack them for all of the other things? hmmm

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The standard is the standard!

100 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

Because, you illiterate twit, the Sportscenter anchors regularly engage in self mockery with regard to that aspect of their job. It amused me when I heard it, so I thought I'd steal it.

You really just might be the dumbest sunovabith on the innertubes.*

*canine misogyny!!!!

101 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

....ahhh, the old "he did it , therefore it's right and OK, so I can do it" defense.

Desperation is a stinky cologne, will.

btw, the words you were looking for were self-deprecation

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The standard is the standard!

102 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

"On the other hand, ya' ol' snail-brain, football coaches, g.m.s, and others of that type, are out on their a$$ in few short years if they are wrong a lot on prospects."

I see no evidence whatsoever that this is the case. Last I checked, Jerry Jones, Rick Smith, Bill Belicheck, and whomever is GM of the colts all still have their jobs. Almost like the jobs of even GMs, but especially coaches, isn't particularly related to their hit rate on prospects.

Of course, since Mike Zimmer has hit on between zero and some number of prospects, because we have literally zero instances in which we know he made the decision to draft someone, we could always just be honest and admit that your belief that he is a better talent evaluator than people who are specifically employed for their ability to evaluate talent, such as Kiper and Mayock, is not actually based on any evidence that he is a better talent evaluator, and that his continued employment might be representative of his coaching, or some other totally minor thing not at all related to his job, rather than the all important drafting.

And this applies regardless of what the hit rate of Mayock or Kiper is, since again, Zimmer's hit rate is somewhere between 0%-100% or possibly N/A because he's never evaluted a corner talent and suggested a projection in his life.

103 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

Jerry Jones is an owner. If you want to define "a lot" in such a manner that it leads you to believe that the Patriots have missed on a lot of prospects, yet still have a well above average roster, go right ahead. If you wish to assert that draft quality is not eventually manifested in roster quality, go right ahead. If you wish to assert that the Kipers and Mayock's of the world are risking as much when they rank players, as the NFL employees who do so for teams, go right ahead. Here's a hint, in the form of question that you may wish to investigate. How long has Kiper been employed by ESPN? If you wish to suppose that Zimmer has had such little input as to which dbs to draft, that we cannot reasonably see the dbs drafted by his teams as being close to his preferences, fine.

105 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

1) Yes, the patriots have missed on a lot of prospects. If you believe that coaches don't have an ability to coach prospects in a way that elevates their roster quality above what they otherwise would have, I have to question why NFL teams employ so many coaches. I suppose you believe it is so they can have draft specialists for each position?

2) Patently, the Kipers and Mayocks of the world can't possibly be risking less than Rick Smith, since Rick Smith has been made tenured life GM. Bill Belicheck gets to be tenured life GM as long as he is the best coach in the league (you know, that position that Mike Zimmer is that isn't GM and isn't the person who makes final drafts decisions and involves a bunch of things that aren't talent evaluation).

3) Yes, I want to suppose that you have literally no evidence that Zimmer has ever rated a single corner prospect, much less that he hasn't highly rated tons of useless shit corners that busted but had GMs or head coaches override his decisions. Mostly because you have no evidence whatsoever of how he evaluated any prospects ever. Almost like his coaching position decisions are made based on his coaching, and not his track record of successful drafting.

80 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

It's a joke meant to convey the superfluous nature of spending significant amount of time to ensure that one's skin tone appears acceptable on t.v., in order to transmit information pertaining to athletic performance. The anchors on Sportscenter, for instance, frequently engage in self mockery, by, prior to making editorial remarks, saying something like "Mind you, I'm a person who spends a lot of time putting on makeup, to go to work, but....."

112 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

I guess we use different dictionaries

here's a decent one
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/spic
"spic also spick (spĭk)"

When W.A. needs to start butting into arguments that he otherwise wasn't involved in because he got blatantly crushed in another one, it can be safely said that he is , to use a clinical term, pwned.

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The standard is the standard!

115 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

The site has overly-complex and poor-efficacy spam filters that put us through the wringer just to post to begin with.

How about installing a small word filter too?
Heh.

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The standard is the standard!

118 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

Well, since you're such a fan of dictionaries, let's consult one. We'll use the same one you endorsed above.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/sanctimony

"sanctimony: Righteousness accompanied by an unwarranted attitude of moral or social superiority; smug or hypocritical righteousness."

I'd say that fits you pretty well; you may not be hypocritical, but you are definitely very smug.

54 Re: 2016 NFL Draft Report Card Report

So much this. Gettleman has had close to a magic touch since taking over.

The Panthers had the second best defense in the league in 2013. Two years later, they still had the second best defense in the league.

That was after losing basically their entire secondary, and more or less their DE rotation (Hardy & Johnson) from the 2013 group.

What's even funnier to me is that everyone was like 'Why pick a DT when you need to replace Josh Norman' and then when he picks three straight corners, it became 'well, they aren't the right corners.'

I'm pretty sure Gettleman and (I'm assuming he has input) Rivera know what type of corners they need more than the McShay's of the world.

90 grade inflation

Lowest grade is a C– and still 2nd/3rd from bottom? If they ain't meeting the standard, give 'em an Honest F.

91 Zero interest in these ratings and rankings

But what I would like to see is last year's draft evaluated, based on actual on-the-field performance and not totally subjective ratings and personal opinions.

Even revisiting last year's would only be a step in the right direction, as it's asking a lot for every rookie to be an instant starter. Maybe look at the last three years' worth?

Sometimes we forget that the more important purpose of analysis is its predictive value and not so much crowning winners. Winners are picked on the field, and analysis helps us guess who that will be. There is zero value in "winning" the draft if it doesn't lead to actual Ws.

i don't visit here every day. Once a month maybe in the off season, once a week once the season starts. So have y'all done anything like that? Last 3-4 year's worth of drafts, % of draftees on the roster, weighted by round, and any correlation to either improvement or sustained success? Thanks!