2018 Draft Report Card Report

2018 Draft Report Card Report
2018 Draft Report Card Report
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Cale Clinton

The 2018 NFL draft has officially come and gone, and in its wake all we're left with are some hot takes. These fine young men haven't even put on pads yet, but draft experts have already come out to tell the nation how all 32 teams fared this past weekend.

We've taken the time to take grades from the most prominent sports sources and the best football minds and done all the reading for you. This article will examine the highest and lowest graded teams, as well as which teams created the most disparity in the minds of draft analysts.

Previous NFL Draft Report Cards can be found here: (2017), (2016), (2015), (2014), (2013), (2012), (2011), (2010), (2009), (2008), (2007), (2006), (2005), (2004).

Our panel looks a little different this year. Steve Silverman wrote up Bleacher Report's draft grades this year, and Andy Benoit has replaced Chris Burke at Sports Illustrated. We've also expanded our panel to include Nate Davis of USA Today and Chad Reuter of NFL.com. Our panel now consists of:

Highest Draft Grades

1. Denver Broncos

GPA: 3.66
Highest: A (Five tied)
Lowest: B (Silva)
Comments: Despite all the pre-draft buzz out of Denver revolving around taking a quarterback, the Broncos managed to pass on an arm and still walk away with the best draft class of the weekend. Bradley Chubb falling to fifth overall was a gift for John Elway, considering Chubb has been touted as the best non-quarterback prospect in this draft. Pairing Chubb with the likes of Von Miller has given several graders flashbacks to that formidable Denver defense from just a few years ago. Denver was also able to acquire some assets in wide receiver Courtland Sutton and running back Royce Freeman who will bolster the Case Keenum-led offense. Freeman specifically looks to hopefully fill in the hole left by the departure of C.J. Anderson. Lastly, there seems to be some small debate around cornerback Isaac Yiadom with regards to his projected value. Some, like Iyer, believe Yiadom has the ability to be groomed into becoming Aqib Talib's full-time replacement. Silva, however, believes Yiadom is "a better gunner than cornerback prospect." Regardless, Denver addressed all their biggest pre-draft needs and amassed a great draft class without taking too big a risk.


2. Green Bay Packers

GPA: 3.51
Highest: A (3 tied)
Lowest: B (Silva)
Comments: Green Bay Packers fans should be overjoyed with the draft class that new general manager Brian Gutekunst just put together. After giving up an NFL-high 21 touchdown passes to receivers and posting the No. 23 pass defense last season, the secondary was obviously the biggest concern for the Packers. To answer that, Gutenkurst went out and got two of the top cornerbacks in the draft in Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson. Graders especially loved the value they got in Jackson. Many analysts had him as a Day 1 prospect, so getting him at 45 overall was a steal. The Packers also set themselves up nicely for next year by trading down on Thursday and netting themselves the Saints' first-round pick next year. Linebacker Oren Burks has also been praised as a high-level athlete who can make a big impact early in his Packers tenure. There are only two prominent knocks against this Packers draft. First, could the Packers have given Aaron Rodgers more help in this draft? Second, did Gutenkunst really have to draft a punter and a long snapper?

3. Chicago Bears

GPA: 3.47
Highest: A (Benoit, Prisco)
Lowest: B- (Silva)
Comments: Out of the highest-graded teams in this draft, no team did a better job of addressing team-specific needs than Chicago. The general consensus among the graders is that the Bears' first three picks were all home runs. Roquan Smith was one of the top non-quarterback prospects in the draft, and not many expected him to even be on the board at the eighth overall pick. Smith is going to be a big asset in the Bears' front seven for a long time. General manager Ryan Pace did a lot to help Mitchell Trubisky in his sophomore season. Center James Daniels was a great addition and will help to bolster the interior line. Wide receiver Anthony Miller also looks like a great pickup and a good weapon for Trubisky to target. However, a lot of graders dropped their scores for just how much it took to get Miller. That 2019 second-rounder they sent to New England would've been a great asset to have for a team rebuilding.

4. New York Giants

GPA: 3.46
Highest: A (Iyer, Benoit)
Lowest: C- (Silva)
Comments: The Giants had one of the more polarizing drafts, and it all stems from one player: Saquon Barkley. Graders either loved the Giants taking the Penn State playmaker or thought they could have gotten a lot more value out of the second overall pick. Regardless of the depth of the running back position in this draft or the questionable logic of taking a back No. 2 overall, nobody can deny that Barkley is a phenomenal athlete and the early favorite to lock up Offensive Rookie of the Year. Pairing him with the Giants' young, electrifying receiving corps sets New York up to be a very exciting offense for years to come.

The Barkley pick can be debated, but the Giants seemed to nail their draft picks from then on out. Guard Will Hernandez was a great pick in the second round and will hopefully help improve the very weak Giants offensive line. Pass-rusher Lorenzo Carter will be a good addition to the Giants front seven. If Kyle Lauletta isn't necessarily the heir apparent to Eli Manning's throne, at least he'll be able to provide some competition for second-year quarterback Davis Webb during training camp this summer.

5. Arizona Cardinals

GPA: 3.39
Highest: A (3 tied)
Lowest: C+ (Kiper, Rang)
Comments: Much like the Giants and Saquon Barkley, graders' main point of contention in Arizona stems from quarterback Josh Rosen. Kiper, who gave Arizona the lowest grade on his report card, seems to be particularly low on the former Bruin. In his post-draft review, he spent a considerable amount of time dissecting Rosen's value and injury history. Considering the only starter-caliber quarterback on the roster is the very fragile Sam Bradford, it didn't make a whole lot of sense for the Cardinals to take the least-durable quarterback out of the top arms of the draft. A lot of other graders, however, loved the selection. Iyer made the claim that Rosen would be a Day 1 starter and can outplay the other quarterbacks in this class, while Davis pondered whether Bruce Arians regretted retiring now that Arizona looks to form a promising young trio with Rosen, wide receiver Christian Kirk, and fourth-year running back David Johnson. Outside of Rosen and Kirk, the Cardinals added great depth to the offensive line and running back positions by adding center Mason Cole and running back Chase Edmonds respectively.

Lowest Draft Grades

32. Seattle Seahawks

GPA: 1.84
Highest: B (Rang)
Lowest: D+ (Silva, Prisco)
Comments: Seattle left a whole lot of analysts scratching their heads on Thursday night when they selected running back Rashaad Penny with the 27th overall pick. Some graders like the prospect on paper; Silva said in his overview that Penny was his second-favorite back behind Saquon Barkley, but was shocked to see him come off the board before the first round concluded. Now that the Legion of Boom is a distant memory in the minds of the 12s, it was also surprising to see Seattle not address the defense until they took defensive lineman Rasheem Green in the third round. Seattle also failed to address glaring holes in their offensive line until very late. While they did draft offensive tackle Jamarco Jones in the fifth round, it was only after drafting a punter 19 picks earlier. The lone bright spot in the Seahawks draft is linebacker Shaquem Griffin, who is not only a great story, but could also make significant contributions early in his rookie season. However, all these criticisms could look foolish in just a few years. As Davis put it, "GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have built a powerhouse while making draft 'graders' look silly."

31. New Orleans Saints

GPA: 1.93
Highest: B+ (Benoit)
Lowest: D (Rang, Silva)
Comments: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The New Orleans Saints had a phenomenal draft last year, selecting both the Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year. This draft, however, went very differently. A team that was already without a second-round pick sacrificed a 2019 first and this year's fifth to trade up and take defensive end Marcus Davenport. While Davenport has good upside, that's a great deal of value to give up, especially when considering the fact that Davenport has very little experience against top-end talent. Wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith could be a solid complement to Michael Thomas, but the rest of New Orleans' draft picks weren't exactly big late-round steals. While there were needs addressed by the Saints, those needs weren't addressed with any prospects of high value.


30. Oakland Raiders

GPA: 2.00
Highest: B (Kiper)
Lowest: D- (Silva)
Comments: Oakland seemed like a team with a clear road map for this year's draft going in. The Raiders finished with the 26th-best passing defense in the NFL last year with significant needs at cornerback and linebacker. With a good handful of defensive players still on the board, the Raiders decided to take a risk and fill another need with offensive tackle Kolton Miller. Miller was projected all over the board prior to the draft, but many think that he was probably taken too high. Risky picks seemed to be Oakland's MO this past weekend. Defensive tackle P.J. Hall is an interesting prospect with a lot of upside, but few projected him to go as early as the second round. Offensive tackle Brandon Parker was also considered a reach given where he was taken. Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, arguably Oakland's best value pick this draft, may just end up being a throwaway pick considering his medical issues. Even the trade for wide receiver Martavis Bryant could be considered a boom-or-bust move. While he could be a great complement for Amari Cooper and a second weapon for Derek Carr, Bryant has been sporadic with regards to his effectiveness. While the Raiders could walk away with some great assets if the stars and planets all align, they passed on too many surefire prospects for a lot of graders' liking.

29. Kansas City Chiefs

GPA: 2.06
Highest: B- (Iyer, Benoit)
Lowest: D (Silva)
Comments: Kansas City's draft didn't really begin until Friday, given that they gave up this year's first-round pick to draft Patrick Mahomes last year. When they did have their picks, however, they were incredibly aggressive. They spent five of their six picks on defense after spending all offseason building a stable of young offensive weapons. This draft for the Chiefs lost all of its flash and pop when they sent their first-round pick away last year, but even then, the guys they selected in the later rounds seem to just be "quality reinforcements" for the defense as opposed to early impact players.

28. Detroit Lions

GPA: 2.27
Highest: B (Benoit, Prisco)
Lowest: D (Silva)
Comments: The low grades for Detroit seem to spring up due to the fact that their best picks in the draft weren't very sexy. The Lions' two best picks came at No. 20 with center Frank Ragnow and No. 153 with offensive tackle Tyrell Crosby. While those were both excellent picks in the minds of the graders, it's whom those linemen will be blocking for this season that left analysts scratching their heads. The Lions traded up to take Kerryon Johnson, a running back with a high ceiling but major injury concerns. The decision to sacrifice picks in order to get Johnson becomes even more questionable when you realize that that the Lions didn't address holes at the linebacker and tight end positions during the draft.

Most Polarizing Grades

1. Buffalo Bills

GPA: 2.78
SD: 1.06
Highest: A (Kiper)
Lowest: D (Iyer)
Comments: I'm not quite sure I've ever seen a team simultaneously have the best and worst draft depending on who you read. A lot of graders were so disgusted with one specific Bills draft pick that they failed to even acknowledge some of their better acquisitions, like linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and defensive tackle Harrison Phillips. No, every analyst has been focused on one man: Josh Allen. Allen was Kiper's favorite quarterback prospect in this draft, while Iyer referred to him as a "big-armed bust" in his draft overview. Going into this draft, just about everyone recognized that Allen was going to be the quarterback who needed the most work in this class. If he can sit behind A.J. McCarron for a year and learn the Bills' system, he'll be better set up for success. If the Bills decide to throw Allen to the wolves this year, let's all hope Kiper's pre-draft praises were well-placed.

2. Carolina Panthers

GPA: 2.92
SD: 0.93
Highest: A (Prisco)
Lowest: C- (3 tied)
Comments: The Carolina Panthers surprised a good deal of analysts when they took Maryland's D.J. Moore over Alabama's Calvin Ridley as the first wide receiver off the board. Those who love the pick say that Moore is more than the workout warrior he proved to be at the combine -- he's a player with an impressive highlight tape who can make an immediate impact in the Panthers' offense. Those who dislike the pick either think Ridley was the better option at wide receiver, or don't think Moore brings anything to the table that Carolina doesn't already have. There was also some contention over cornerback Donte Jackson. Jackson was one of the fastest players in the combine, posting a 4.32-second 40-yard dash time. He's an elite athlete, there's no denying that. However, many consider it a reach to take a cornerback so undersized (5-foot-10 and 178 pounds) in the second round.

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3. Philadelphia Eagles

GPA: 2.79
SD: 0.91
Highest: A (Reuter)
Lowest: D+ (Silverman)
Comments: David Akers' on-stage presence delivering the Eagles' draft pick while simultaneously riling up Cowboys fans was probably the most exciting thing about Philadelphia's draft weekend. Reigning champions usually draft for depth, and this year's Eagles were no exceptions to that. Philadelphia traded out of the first round in order to secure more future picks, then took tight end Dallas Goedert with their first pick of the draft. Those who love the Eagles' draft this year cite Goedert as someone Eagles fans should be excited about going forward. Reuter went as far as likening him to Jimmy Graham. Others merely refer to Goedert as "a decent contributor."

4. New Orleans Saints

GPA: 1.93
SD: 0.89
Highest: B+ (Benoit)
Lowest: D (3 tied)
Comments: Welcome back, Saints fans! The Saints draft was polarizing for some due to the fact that New Orleans is seemingly in win-now mode. Instead of building depth around their electrifying young offensive core or looking to replace 39-year-old Drew Brees, the Saints took players who would have an immediate impact. How effective the Saints were at achieving that goal remains to be seen. New Orleans' first-round pick, edge rusher Marcus Davenport, is a player with a lot of upside. If the pick hits, the Saints are going to have a very scary defensive line. However, a lot of analysts think that Davenport, formerly of the University of Texas at San Antonio, hasn't seen much top-level competition and would be more of a project than an immediate impact guy. There's also the fact that trading up for Davenport cost the Saints next year's first-round pick. Whether or not that was worth it is all contingent on Davenport's early performance.

5. Kansas City Chiefs

GPA: 2.06
SD: 0.75
Highest: B (Davis, Reuter)
Lowest: D (Silverman, Silva)
Comments: The Chiefs spent five of their six picks in this draft on defensive players, but many analysts question whether or not the Chiefs spent those picks on the right defensive players. A lot of our graders all shared the same sentiment -- they liked the aggression Kansas City showed trading up to take defensive end Breeland Speaks at No. 46, then trading again to take defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi. What those graders thought about the players they traded up for is a different story. Speaks specifically has been tagged by several graders as a guy who was taken too high, especially for a team that just gave up picks to trade up for him. Some also think that Kansas City's late run on defensive backs was too little too late, going on to say that one of those early picks should've been used on better defensive back prospects.

2018 NFL Draft Grades
Team High Low GPA Rk SD Rk
DEN A (5 tied) B+ (Kiper, Prisco) 3.66 1 0.37 32
GB A (4 tied) B- (Kadar) 3.51 2 0.46 29
CHI A (4 tied) B- (Silva) 3.47 3 0.46 28
NYG A+ (Davis) C- (Silva) 3.46 4 0.71 10
ARI A (3 tied) C+ (Kiper, Rang) 3.39 5 0.63 13
BAL A (Kadar, Prisco) B- (Silva, Benoit) 3.34 6 0.47 27
NE A+ (Benoit) C+ (Silverman) 3.30 7 0.62 14
TB A (Rang, Prisco) B- (3 tied) 3.28 8 0.51 25
LAC A (Silverman) B- (Maske, Silva) 3.21 9 0.39 30
NYJ A- (Davis, Silva) C (Iyer) 3.08 10 0.53 23
MIA A- (Kadar) C+ (Kiper) 3.08 11 0.39 31
ATL A (Davis) C+ (Silva) 3.05 12 0.49 26
JAX A- (Davis) C- (Silva) 3.04 13 0.54 21
WAS A (Kadar) C- (Davis) 3.02 14 0.62 15
TEN A (Iyer, Peuter) C+ (Silva, Prisco) 2.97 15 0.58 17
CAR A (Reuter, Prisco) C- (Silverman, Silva) 2.92 16 0.93 2
Team High Low GPA Rk SD Rk
IND A- (Reuter) C- (Benoit) 2.85 17 0.64 12
MIN A- (Reuter) C- (Davis) 2.83 18 0.56 18
CIN A- (Benoit) C (Maske, Prisco) 2.82 19 0.55 19
PHI A (Reuter) D+ (Silverman) 2.79 20 0.91 3
BUF A (Kiper) D- (Silva) 2.78 21 1.06 1
SF A (Silva) C (Maske) 2.76 22 0.52 24
DAL A (Rang) C- (Maske) 2.73 23 0.74 6
HOU A (Reuter) C (3 tied) 2.67 24 0.61 16
PIT A- (Reuter) C- (Silva, Kadar) 2.61 25 0.67 11
CLE A (Rang) C- (3 tied) 2.53 26 0.74 5
LAR A- (Iyer) C- (3 tied) 2.44 27 0.74 9
DET B (Benoit, Prisco) D (Silva) 2.27 28 0.74 7
KC B- (Iyer, Benoit) D (Silva) 2.06 29 0.74 8
OAK B (Kiper) D- (Silva) 2.00 30 0.54 22
NO B+ (Benoit) D (Rang, Silva) 1.93 31 0.89 4
SEA B (Rang) D+ (Silva, Prisco) 1.84 32 0.55 20

Year-Over-Year Comparisons

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The graders stayed course with previous years' marks. The Average GPA was 2.87, compared to 2.86 from last year and 2.88 the year prior. Graders did seem to be slightly more together this year. This year's standard deviation fell to 0.62, lower than in either of the last two years. NFL.com's Chad Reuter was by far the most generous grader, posting a 3.47 average GPA. Reuter handed out eight A-grades, and his average GPA was 0.43 higher than the next most generous grader, Sports Illustrated's Andy Benoit. (Mel Kiper gets a special "generous grader" asterisk, giving out only one A but nothing below a C+. Apparently this year's NFL draft took place in Lake Wobegon.) Evan Silva retained his title belt for being the harshest grader, posting a 2.31 average GPA. Vincent Iyer, who came into this year with a five-year streak of having the highest average standard deviation, finally passed his crown to Bleacher Report's Steve Silverman. Silverman posted a 0.92 average standard deviation.

In terms of consistency among the individual graders' scores … there wasn't much. Despite teams' average GPAs falling right in line with previous years, the graders were very much all over the place. While most graders finished within the same ballpark of last year's average GPAs, the Washington Post's Mark Maske became a whole lot harsher of a grader. His average GPA dropped from 2.91 last year to 2.58 this year.

2018 NFL Draft Graders
Grader High Low GPA SD
Reuter A (8 tied) C (SEA, OAK) 3.47 0.53
Benoit A+ (NE) C- (IND) 3.04 0.63
Iyer A (6 tied) D (BUF) 3.02 0.80
Kiper A (BUF) C+ (6 tied) 2.98 0.46
Rang A (6 tied) D (NO) 2.92 0.68
Kadar A (BAL, WAS) D+ (OAK, KC) 2.90 0.68
Davis A+ (NYG) D (NO, SEA) 2.82 0.90
Silverman A (3 tied) D (NO, KC) 2.74 0.92
Prisco A (4 tied) D+ (SEA) 2.73 0.73
Maske A- (DEN) C- (8 tied) 2.58 0.74
Silva A (SF) D- (BUF) 2.31 0.83


50 comments, Last at 05 May 2018, 11:56am

1 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

I have long been a critic of John Schneider. His trading away of draft picks has been well documented, but hes also seemingly aloof to the holes on the team. What's worse...I don't know why he seems so content with trading away Early Thomas. Is there another Earl in the league? Do the Hawks even have a competent replacement on the roster?

31 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Schneider reminds me a lot of Bobby Beathard (Washington and San Diego GM in the 80s-90s) and I think he may have a similar career arc. Beathard was known for constantly trading away his 1st round pick, would make oddball picks in the upper rounds (e.g. a kicker in the 2nd round), and found a lot of gems in the mid-to-late rounds, and I remember him being hailed as the genius behind Joe Gibbs success. His magic eventually ran out his last few drafts in Washington and I believe he was basically forced out, although he was quickly snapped up by San Diego, where he helped put together a Super Bowl team before things petered out in the late 90s (Ryan Leaf didn't help).

37 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Beathard left Washington after the 1988 season, which was a bad one: they went 7-9. But you'd think he had some equity, since they won the SB after the '87 season, their second win in six seasons.

Wash Post reported this:
"Bobby Beathard will resign as Washington Redskins general manager in a noon news conference today, and sources said increasing disagreement over personnel and philosophy with Coach Joe Gibbs is the overriding factor. Beathard -- here since 1978 and architect of two Super Bowl championship teams -- told owner Jack Kent Cooke of his intentions more than a month ago, and Cooke's attempts to retain the general manager proved futile. Sources said Beathard, 52, would have made an announcement sooner, but wanted to wait until after the college draft. Cooke initially told Beathard he wanted to make the announcement at the New Orleans league meetings, May 24-25. Yet, Beathard told so many friends and business associates he was leaving after his contract expires May 31 that word leaked, with reports of his departure on all the newscasts in Washington, forcing Cooke to call a news conference today. Sources said Beathard has recommended assistant general manager Charley Casserly, 40, as his replacement."

He was a different cat: grew up in El Segundo Cali, he was into body-surfing and stuff. He spent the '89 season doing the NBC Sunday studio football show, then took the Chargers job. San Diego was probably the perfect spot for him, in terms of personal life.

Beathard was also Director of player personnel for the Dolphins, 1972–1977. They went 63-21 in those seasons, and won two SBs. They had some second-place finishes in the division when Bert Jones started playing like an MVP for the Colts, and Beathard became the Skins GM in '78.

He's being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. Very deserving.

2 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Have you guys ever correlated draft grades to draft 5- or 6-year DYAR/DVOA?

Which of these graders are most accurate?

3 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

My feelings about draft grades is that it is mostly Monkeys Throwing Darts. New Orleans with the two best rookies last year was ranked at 16 with an A- being their best grade. This is anecdote replacing objective analysis, but the analysis would be time consuming (its toooo hard).

5 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

It actually makes me wonder if it's possible to establish the equivalent of a Report Card Index Fund. This is a good start to it, but hardly exhaustive, and it's not made up by people with skin in the game.

If you could somehow get an anonymous survey from each front office and have them grade the drafts of the other 31 teams, I feel like that might actually have some predictive power. It's still deeply flawed, but I can't help but feel that this would be more predictive (if for no other reason than these guys actually help decide who gets to play).

We talked about machine learning and scouting evaluation in one of the other threads; I suspect that at least somebody in the NFL is already doing something like this.

9 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Even if you could get that - it would still be a mess - because of the way the scouting bureaus are set up. You'll have 18 teams voting based on whatever the BLESTO draft board looks like, 8 voting on whatever the National board looks like, and then the 6 remaining teams voting based on their own completely different evaluations of players.

I'd guess a good chunk of the variation in rankings is just pundits looking at different agencies rankings/ratings. (and this is why you get so many Patriots 'Who the heck is that?' picks - they don't participate in the agencies)

10 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Even then there’s so much subjectiveness in that kind of process. The best case scenario would be that everyone who votes does so earnestly based on their own draft boards. Everyone has wildly different evaluations of the same prospects. Mike McGlinchey was taken at 9 overall, and one grader I polled from had him in the 60s on his big board. Some scouts say Josh Rosen is the obvious #1 overall pick, Mel Kiper said he was the 10th best overall prospect in the draft. WORST case scenario, those who are polled vote dishonestly and start to bring allegiances into the mix. Maybe the Colts GM still feels prticularly hurt by the Josh McDaniels departure and tanks the Patriots’ draft grade. Maybe some buddy-buddy owners want to help each other out so they overrate drafts to make their friends look good. Not only are we not getting fair assessments of talent, but the whole process would be rendered useless because we couldn’t trust anything these guys say.

There are so many variables on and off the fiend that affect the success of a prospect that it’s impossible to make a truly fair assessment of talent until the tail end of their rookie deal. Even then, there are guys who just don’t do well in a scheme, go to another team, and have a career resurgence. But, in the modern Internet age, there’s no real way to translate an objective portrayal of a team’s draft without giving the fans all the film, interview notes, and statistics that helped the analyst arrive at their conclusion. We put our faith into these draft gurus to do the grunt work for us so we can feel knowledgeable about that Day 3 steal our team took in the 6th round before we get a glimpse of what he looks like in an NFL game.

4 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Agreed, it would be fun to see a plot of some kind of total draft value vs. draft grade for each grader. I agree with the previous poster that it would probably look like random noise for most graders, but I have a sneaking suspicion we might see at least one guy with a significantly detected negative correlation coefficient.

6 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

The fact that the Bills' other QB is A.J. McCarron just makes the Josh Allen pick all that much worse. If you've got a strong-armed young man who doesn't seem to know what he's doing, it would make sense to sit him behind a savvy veteran he could learn from. What's he going to learn from A.J. McCarron?

23 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

On the other hand, the fact that he only has to beat out McCarron might get him on the field earlier. Which to me is what every team should want from a QB drafted in the top 10, let alone one you traded up to the top 10 for.

It always seems insane to me that teams would expend enormous draft capital on a guy who plays the most expensive position in the game but is on a below-market-value contract for the first 4 years, and then expect to sit him on the bench for a while. I'm still mad at the Bears for not letting Trubisky start from day 1 last season.

7 Draft grades are a self-colonoscopy

Draft expert inaccurately evaluates players, inaccurately ranks players, and inaccurately projects when those players will be drafted, then grades teams according to how well they matched his inaccurate projections. A feedback loop of self-importance, it's a wonder anyone still pays attention.

8 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

It's always fun to click on some of those previous seasons.

In 2012, the graders ranked Seattle's draft 30th. Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, Russell Wilson plus other starters Jeremy Lane and JR Sweezy.

11 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

For me, the most interesting ones to read were the old “Most Polarizing” draft grades. A lot of those have these guys giving impassioned defenses/criticisms of players that either aren’t big names in the league or had their roles filled by someone else a few years later. Like how in 2011, Seattle made “Most Polarizing” because some graders disagreed with them passing on Andy Dalton.

13 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Also ranking them dead last in the draft class that netted them Richard Sherman, Cam "Bam Bam" Chancellor, and Doug Baldwin as an UDFA.

Of the three draft classes that built the Seahawks from a middling team to one of the top teams of the decade, 2010-2012, only 2010 wasn't rated as a terrible class. Somehow everyone seemed to know how good Earl Thomas would be.

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

27 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Wow! thank you for linking that, that's an all-timer. He wasn't just wrong about the two players, he hammers (...and hammers...) his point home with the most nonsensical logic imaginable and a series of player comparisons that could not miss the point more completely. To top it off, he forces a Charlie Sheen joke in there. What a time capsule.

41 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

I don't care that he was wrong about a potential HoF player - when it comes to the draft, most people are wrong most of the time - that was just atrocious writing. It's one thing to be wrong for seemingly sound reasons; that column made absolutely no logical sense whatsoever.

14 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

(Overly?) Optimistic Giants fan checks in...

Since there seems to be consensus among these guys that (a) Saquon is a hell of a prospect and (b) the rest of their draft was solid, I think it's fair to say that the consensus of these guys is that even if they could have gotten more value, they improved the team quite a bit.

Throw in getting healthy, not to mention the addition by subtraction of the coaching staff, annd I think that some of the lower-end estimates of this year's win total are misguided. We don't have a roster as strong as the Eagles' appears to be, but unless Eli has a huge drop-off* I don't see a 6 win or less team, even though the schedule looks brutal. Closer to 500 IMO.

*I think he's been sub-par for the last two years. I'm not talking about continuing this constituting a big drop-off. It would have to be go from what he's been lately to being Joe Flacco's older brother.

19 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Well, I am a Giants fan, so it is possible I am seeing him with a bit of rose colored glasses. But...

I have watched every snap of the last two seasons, and while his play frustrated the hell out of me, but I still see someone who can play at an acceptable level. But let's leave my eye-test aside, and focus just on FO numbers.

Last two years, 20 and 23 in DYAR. If you consider 15-17 the range for "average" or "par" (which I do), then these seem like reasonable ranks to call "sub-par" and not "really bad." And, as Aaron often points out, these stats still have context. His DYAR is not Eli Manning, it is Eli Manning playing behind that offensive line in Bob McAdoo's system with little run game support and, last year, his wide receivers having been massacred in San Diego. That's not enough to turn a 23 ranking into "good", but it keeps it in the "sub-par" range to my eyes. YMMV

21 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Forgetting rankings, Eli had 125 total DYAR in 2017 and 188 DYAR in 2016. So just above replacement level. Whilst I take your points about his supporting cast (particularly last season), when your QB is barely above replacement level for two seasons straight, you should be, well, exploring ways to replace them.

That is unless they are young and have significant scope for development. Eli does not.

26 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Which is why I was on team QB. They decided to stay the course, for reasons with which I don't agree.

But if the Giants could have come out of the draft in better shape shouldn't cloud anyone's view of how the team actually is coming out of the draft.

I don't see anything in particular telling me that Eli personally is about to suddenly get a lot worse. Granted, he might fall off the cliff, and admittedly the older he gets, the more likely that becomes. Again, I'd have drafted a QB. But I think it is more likely than not he's in the ballpark of last year in terms of his ability.

If Eli's ability isn't markedly different than last year, then from the offensive perspective you have the improvements in the OL, healthier receivers (including getting OBJ back), Barkley, and not-McAdoo-not-Sullivan designing and planning the offense. There is quite a bit of room for optimism for the unit as a whole.

Hard to tell if the D will be better or worse. My gut tells me that Spags' system simply doesn't work when it doesn't have the players who happened to play D for when we were champions... and therefore we should better via addition by subtraction in replacing him. Losing DRC hurts, but actually having linebackers helps. Losing JPP hurts, but he didn't really have such a good season last year.

Special teams is bound to be better, partly due to a coaching change (I think there is plenty of evidence the Giants have had substandard special teams coaching for years) but also because you don't normally have a punter lose you two winnable games, which happened last year and is unlikely to happen again (it would have been unlikely to happen again even if Wing was kept!). Some of our draft picks should be pretty good special teamers.

Hard schedule this year, but it was a hard schedule last year.

I see us definitely approaching mediocrity this year barring an injury barrage, an opinion which seems to be very bullish compared to what seems to be the consensus.

34 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

I would agree with your outlook. If Eli can avoid further deterioration, there seems to be enough talent on the rest of the roster to approach mediocrity.

All of which reinforces how silly it was to not take a QB with the #2 pick this year. You are very unlikely to have that resource available again next year (or in any year) when your need is presumably going to be even more pressing.

40 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

I'm not in favor of reaching for a QB if you're not confident in who's available, even if you have the #2 pick. The issue is whether they're right or wrong on what most people consider a deep QB class. A QB is not guaranteed to be good just because he was picked #2, and if you don't feel good about who's available, you're better off taking the best player available.

My issue is with taking a RB when you're terrible; because of their short shelf life, you're unlikely to stop being terrible in time for even the best RB to make a significant difference in your team. I don't know who's good or bad in the draft, but when you have enough holes to pick #2 overall, it's time for a long-term rebuilding project, with or without a QB.

43 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Something that you're neglecting is that in pretty much every sports performance projection system for older players - you start with the recent production, and then adjust down because you should expect decline.

Here's his DVOA:

2017: -8%
2016: -5%
2015: -2%
2014: 4%

We've got a slow steady progression from Average streaky with great moments to just plain bad.

Looking at that - I'd guess his upside is somewhere around -5% - slightly above replacement level, with his downside being almost unlimited - and considering his age, expected decline, etc, I think its significantly more likely that Eli is one of the worst QBs in the league next year, than that he's somewhere near average.

There's simply no reason that any NFL franchise should be starting a player like that. They'd be better off starting a late round lottery pick at this point - the downside risks would be similar, but at least there's a chance of upside.

16 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Except Eli's about the same age as Peyton when Peyton's passing went off a cliff. We've already been watching Eli drop from better-than-average QB with streaky excellence to the below average version of today. That his play might drop off a cliff with Davis Webb and Kyle Lauletta for backup is not a reason for optimism even if they improved themselves elsewhere.

20 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

All QBs succumb to age eventually. I would have taken a QB with pick 2 if I was the decider. However, Eli's situation is different from Peyton's, due to the neck issues Peyton was having that clearly had affected his ability to throw with velocity even before the cliff. Hard to tell how much of his severe drop-off was due to the neck and how much was due to the inevitable.

I don't think Eli's 2017 was meaningfully different from his 2016. See comment 19 above for my view on the context of it (so I don't need to re-type).

28 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Peyton was already adjusting to not having the same skill set when he had his neck issues. He did a great job adjusting with his diminishing abilities. Eli being 37 is close to the upper end of when Father Time catches up with QBs. The list of productive 40+ QBs can be counted on one hand.

I get you're trying to be optimistic. I lived through the 70's and 80's Packers teams when they found multiple ways to mostly suck with intermittent mediocrity. Raiderjoe is the patron saint of perpetual optimism. The Giants had a decent talent infusion and should be better. Maybe the Giants can be this year's Rams.

18 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Totally agree with the silliness re Mock Drafts. But as someone who knows little about college footy it is a good immersion in the whose who and so it is interesting to see how many work out. Reread the Thaler article and the whole scouting process is nearly a perfect laboratory for Behavioural Economists.
Would it make sense to get some academic advice to try and identify issues that lead to many well understood decision errors.
The argument that you need the whole scouting effort like you need nuclear weapons makes total sense I.e. every one else has them so should we. But the first and second round errors made as noted by Thaler and much analysis on FO suggests that the knowledge tree has been picked bare. Moneyball showed that.
There is also little doubt teams coach and develop talent better than others,but it seems that extends to player evaluation.
The Allen selection is just such an amazing situation given the history of the franchise. Imagine if you bought the Bills. Everyone wants to do their regular analysis. As owner I would simply ask one question; looking at the track record why would you think the team has any ability to make average drafting decisions? What is different? But they do the inverse. Consider all the QBs available including Cousins. What was the best risk adjusted decision? If Allen had a fantastic completion percentage at Wyoming, dominated the games he played in then at least he can look more like Wentz ( who I think had good stats) and so the question is what discount do you apply to Allen for competition? If you make the objective function based on a risk adjusted set of inputs it seems inconceivable that he would rank ahead of the other people taken at the top. That seems like one level of erroneous thinking and if you fail then the ramifications are massive.
The next problem being selecting a QB based on risk adjustment factors I am sure is really hard. The QB risk of bust percentage is proof of that.
The second set of poor decisions seem to be around the projection of a players performance into your team but at the wrong position. An extreme would be only draft defensive players. So along some market efficiency line you need balance and as FO has shown you need to clearly define what leads to winning and focus on those elements, once you have element 1 in place go to number 2. So how does the RB for the Giants balance against other needs and what number in the hierarchy would he be? If you think Eli can play to 40 and play at a level you need what risk adjustment was made in that decision? A probalistic equation looking at 37 year olds and their record prior the the next few years would not be great. Yet they went that way versus a host of lower risk decisions or to Thaler’s work trade down.
Very odd.

22 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Love reading the old pieces:

"Everyone agrees that second round pick Nick Collins, a cornerback from Bethune-Cookman, was a major reach. If Rodgers eventually replaces Favre with any degree of success, it will be a great draft. Grade: C-."

Nick Collins was having a HoF-worthy career before his neck injury.

25 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Yup. Collins only negative were his bad hands. If the guy could have caught even half the passes he dropped/knocked down he might have made the HOF even in his abbreviated career. He was awesome. Defense collapsed when he got hurt

36 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

It's possible to not be as good as three of the best safeties ever and still be an incredibly good safety. It's also possible that in any given season, one of those safeties got named an All-Pro based more on (well-deserved) reputation than on outperforming Nick Collins.

45 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Based on AV, Collins would have needed to play at his Pro Bowl level of 2008-2010 for about 8 to 10 more seasons to have a good chance at making the HOF. Here's a list of the 20 modern-era* HOF DBs, along with games played, AV, and Weighted AV (players who were primarily safeties listed in bold):

Larry Wilson - 169 G, 112 AV, 85 WAV
Herb Adderly - 164 G, 133 AV, 106 WAV
Willie Brown - 204 G, 144 AV, 108 WAV
Ken Houston - 196 G, 130 AV, 96 WAV
Willie Wood - 166 G, 118 AV, 92 WAV
Mel Blount - 200 G, 134 AV, 101 WAV
Lem Barney - 140 G, 121 AV, 99 WAV
Jimmy Johnson - 213 G, 141 AV, 100 WAV
Mel Renfro - 174 G, 130 AV, 98 WAV
Mike Haynes - 177 G, 133 AV, 105 WAV
Paul Krause - 226 G, 155 AV, 113 WAV
Ronnie Lott - 192 G, 161 AV, 118 WAV
Roger Wehrli - 193 G, 108 AV, 82 WAV
Emmitt Thomas - 181 G, 88 AV, 70 WAV
Darrell Green - 295 G, 148 AV, 100 WAV
Rod Woodson - 238 G, 190 AV, 140 WAV
Deion Sanders - 188 G, 147 AV, 114 WAV
Aeneas Williams - 211 G, 134 AV, 103 WAV
Kenny Easley - 89 G, 68 AV, 60 WAV
Brian Dawkins - 224 G, 139 AV, 100 WAV

Nick Collins - 95 G, 48 AV, 43 WAV

*I excluded DBs whose careers began before 1960, which is the first year for which AV is available.

Based on Collins' rate of about 0.5 AV/G, he would have likely ended up somewhere around guys like Wehrli (who took 25 years to get in) or Thomas (who took 30 years to get in). And remember, those guys played CB, a more glamorous position.

46 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

This got me thinking about another former Packers safety, LeRoy Butler, who has actually received some HoF attention in recent years. He comes in at 109 AV and 89 WAV in 181 career games. Butler is somewhat significantly behind most of that list in terms of AV/G, as well as the soon-to-be-inducted Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu, but only very slightly behind Brian Dawkins (albeit with fewer games played).

Helping Butler's argument would be that he was a 4x 1st team all-pro, which is the same as Dawkins and Polamalu and just one behind Reed (5x). Butler probably still has a weaker case than all of the above, but if the hall wants to induct more than 7-9 safeties from the past 50-60 years (plus eventually Earl Thomas), he's just about there.

47 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

Yeah, I think that of the safeties that are eligible but not in, Butler is one of three that have a reasonable case, along with Steve Atwater and Joey Browner.

I was very happy to see Kenny Easley get in a couple of years ago. Better late than never. Maybe some of those other guys will get in at some point, too.

44 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

liked darfts of Raiders, Beras, cardiansl, gaiomnts, jets, and some others.

ranked rosen, darnold, lamar Jackson as top 3 quatyrevbacks so liked cards, jhets ravens drfats just for those players alone. bears had taken r. smith LB Georgia. liked him and also a. miller WR Tigers.

think nyfg going dor it and taking s. barkley not as dumb as many nerds say it is. do realize rbs fungible and would personally have tough time taking one in first rd but have to be faikr and say dally taking e. Elliott in first round 2016 was something I thought was good. saw ghim as transcendent talent. think barkley even better talen. also for craptastic teram like gaints to take qb at 2 overall to sit for 2 full season or more would be not optimal. thought some other nyg pciks were solid too.

Raiders draft what can I say other than ti was tremendous. K. miller ucla tremendous talent. m. hurst picked late. genius move by raiders there. others all solid too

48 Re: 2018 Draft Report Card Report

I think it’s time the draft analysis industry matured and to do that we need more depth to it than just mock drafts. They’re fun, but the same guys throw darts at the board each year and we have no idea how good their scouting and analysis is over time. I’d like to see the ‘big boards’ of these experts scrutinised a few years after the draft. (Especially people like Pro Football Focus who are going out of their way to grade differently than others have done in the past. So let’s test how effective their method is).
My preference for analysis would be to do a simple redraft, and see the discrepancy between the round they were drafted and the round they should have been drafted. Since we have pretty comprehensive contract information these days, my preference would be to order the draftees of a particular year by how much money they were paid over their careers. You could discard the original rookie contract from the total, meaning the total would include second contracts/extensions only.
Market value is arguably the best way to measure a players worth. Career AV could be tried as well, although I think using money as your measure would also reward teams for hitting on the more valuable positions.