Eagles Soar, 49ers Faceplant in 2023 Draft Grades

San Francisco 49ers K Jake Moody
San Francisco 49ers K Jake Moody
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Draft - Consensus opinion tells us that the San Francisco 49ers had the worst draft class of 2023, while the Denver Broncos had the most perplexing. And then there are the Philadelphia Eagles, whose incoming rookie pool looks more promising than anything we have seen perhaps in decades.

Welcome to Football Outsiders' 2023 Draft Report Card Report. Everyone and their buddy is writing draft report cards these days, but one person's opinion is just one person's opinion, no matter how knowledgeable that person may be. By collecting a wide variety of grades, however, we can hopefully use the wisdom of the crowds to get a more accurate measurement of which teams drafted well and which have set themselves up for failure.

This year we collected 21 sets of draft grades from NFL experts around the Internet. Those experts:

Each year, we take these evaluations and convert each letter grade to a numeric scale, from 0.0 for an F to 4.3 for an A+, then calculate the grade point average for each team.

If you're interested in the past, previous NFL Draft Report Card Reports can be found here: (2022), (2021), (2020), (2019), (2018), (2017), (2016), (2015), (2014), (2013), (2012), (2011), (2010), (2009), (2008), (2007), (2006), (2005), (2004).

If you're interested in the present, then you're probably very interested in what the Eagles did last week.

Highest Draft Grades

1. Philadelphia Eagles

GPA: 4.17 (Highest GPA on record)
Highest Grade: A+ (13 total)
Lowest Grade: B+ (Reuter)

Nearly 20 years of doing this, and we have never seen a team get a higher GPA after the draft. Part of this is grade inflation, as we will get to later, but most of it is because people really liked the Eagles' draft—the next four highest GPAs are right in line with what we saw last year. Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman may have found four starters on defense in lineman Jalen Carter, edge rusher Nolan Smith, safety Sydney Brown, and cornerback Kelee Ringo, plus one on offense in tackle Tyler Steen.

Over 60% of our graders gave Philadelphia an A+. That includes Tanier—we're counting his official grade of "BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRT" as a perfect score—who said "the Eagles did exactly what a Super Bowl contender should do in the draft: they aggressively pursued maximum-upside talent, because the 'safe' picks likely to fall to them in most spots are unlikely to be talented enough to make a difference." It also includes our old friend Farrar ("Once again, we have to stand back in wonderment at how Howie Roseman is getting away with all of this"), Kelly ("What I wrote about the Nolan Smith pick on Thursday night—'They can't keep getting away with this'—now applies to the Eagles' entire draft"), Davis ("Another year, another Howie Roseman masterclass"), Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports ("Is there a grade higher than A-plus?"), Phillips ("another home run class for the reigning NFC champs"), and Knox ("Roseman nailed this draft from start to finish").

Five others limited the Eagles to an A only because they refused to give out A+ scores. That includes Prisco ("Howie Roseman killed it with his haul this year") and Silva ("Firmly the best GM in the game, Roseman knocked this draft out of the park").

That leaves us with three graders out of 21 who gave at least one team a higher grade than the Eagles. Reuter (A- for Philadelphia, A grades for six teams) had concerns about Ringo's shoulder and work ethic. DraftKings gave Philly an A but Houston an A+ as Teddy Ricketson questioned how many of Roseman's new toys would be able to start right away. Easterling gave the Colts an A+ while the Eagles were a notch down at A, but it's not clear why; "They didn't reach for anyone, stole most of their picks later than they should have gone, and made arguably the league's most talented roster even better," he wrote. And these are the harshest criticisms of Philadelphia we could find.

NFL executives are reportedly "annoyed" with the media's growing adoration for all things Eagles, but they have nobody to blame but themselves for passing on all the players who end up playing so well in midnight green.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

GPA: 3.91
Highest Grade: A+ (four total)
Lowest Grade: B+ (four total)

So, uh, quite a weekend for the Keystone State. The Steelers found potential starters on both offense (tackle Broderick Jones, tight end Darnell Washington) and defense (corner Joey Porter Jr., lineman Keeanu Benton). Pittsburgh received A+ grades from four evaluators. One, Iyer, gave both Pennsylvania teams an A+ but specifically ranked Pittsburgh over Philadelphia. "The Steelers crushed the first draft with GM Omar Khan," he wrote. "They filled their two biggest needs, a pass protector for Kenny Pickett and a big cover man to help Patrick Peterson." He also liked Pittsburgh's defenders from Wisconsin, Benton and linebacker Nick Herbig.

"I loved this team's haul in Omar Khan's first draft as general manager," Kelly wrote, "starting off with first-round tackle Broderick Jones and continuing through [Day 3]." Nystrom praised Pittsburgh's trade up for Jones and called Porter "a highway-robbery steal at a position of acute need," saying "This is how well-run organizations draft." Kelly and Nystrom both gave Pittsburgh an A+, as did the crew at Pro Football Focus.

3. Indianapolis Colts

GPA: 3.74
Highest Grade: A+ (five total)
Lowest Grade: B (Dunleavy, Kiper, Prisco)

The Colts resisted the urge to trade up, staying put at fourth overall, and still landed a franchise quarterback prospect in Florida's Anthony Richardson. His success or failure in the NFL will ultimately determine the quality of this draft class, but many observers are confident he'll be a star.

Easterling only gave out one A+ grade, and it went to Indianapolis. "[Richardson] is the perfect quarterback for this offense, and has the most upside of any player in the entire draft, regardless of position," he wrote. Iyer, who also gave Indy an A+, called Richardson "the highest-ceiling [quarterback] in the class." Pro Football Focus was also sufficiently impressed with Richardson—"arguably the most incredible athlete at the quarterback position we have ever seen"—to give the Colts an A+.

Richardson is just one of 12 players the Colts drafted this year, and the other 11 prospects hold promise too. Kelly also gave Indianapolis an A+, writing that the Colts "also added a pair of long-levered, athletic corners in Julius Brents (Kansas State) and Darius Rush (South Carolina), a shifty and explosive slot receiver in Josh Downs (North Carolina), and one of my favorite interior defensive lineman in this draft in Adetomiwa Adebawore (Northwestern)." Nystrom's A+ grade was based mostly on Richardson and Brents, but also on Adebawore, Downs, and BYU offensive tackle Blake Freeland, saying the three "were all bonanza values."

4. Seattle Seahawks

GPA: 3.65
Highest Grade: A+ (Farrar, Phillips)
Lowest Grade: C+ (Nystrom)

With the fifth overall pick, the Seahawks grabbed Illinois' Devon Witherspoon, the first corner off the board; later in the first round, they added Ohio State's Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the first wide receiver off the board. In the second round they took Auburn edge rusher Derick Hall and UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet; in later rounds they found a number of potential starters on both the offensive and defensive lines.

Farrar called Weatherspoon "perhaps the best defensive player" available, saying that he "has every attribute you want in a cornerback, and his combination of aggressiveness and match footwork should make him an instant star." His summary of Smith-Njigba was succinct: "He's Cooper Kupp, the sequel." Phillips called Witherspoon and Smith-Njigba the draft's best players at their positions, saying the Seahawks "hit a grand slam in this draft and remain in excellent position to challenge the 49ers in the NFC West." Tanier, who gave Seattle an A-, went even further, saying that right now, "the Seahawks have the best roster in their division."

5. New York Giants

GPA: 3.43
Highest Grade: A+ (PFF)
Lowest Grade: C- (Davis)

The Pro Football Focus staff were the only graders to give the Giants an A+. They called Maryland defensive back Deonte Banks, the 24th overall pick, "an elite athlete" and the third-best corner on their board. They said Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz, the 57th overall selection, could have been a first-round pick, calling him "one of the best run blockers at the position to enter the draft in recent years." In Round 3, the Giants drafted Tennessee receiver Jalin Hyatt, whom PFF called "a burner on the outside that needs some refinement but has all the athletic ability necessary to excel at the next level."

Four other writers gave the Giants an A. "The first four picks of this draft alone should have fans of Big Blue doing handsprings and huzzahs," Farrar wrote, referring to Banks, Schmitz, Hyatt, and Oklahoma running back Eric Gray. Dunleavy said that Joe Schoen "taught a master's class on how to use draft capital to target specific players," praising the general manager's trades up for Banks and Hyatt. Iyer and Phillips were the other two writers on New York's A train.

Lowest Draft Grades

32. San Francisco 49ers

GPA: 1.79
Highest Grade: B+ (Gosling)
Lowest Grade: F (Dunleavy, Dvorchak, Nystrom)

Our evaluators only gave out five F grades, and the 49ers got three of them. San Francisco's paucity of draft capital (they gave up their original first-, second-, third-, fourth-, and sixth-round picks in trades for Trey Lance, Christian McCaffrey, and Charles Omenihu) complicated things, though they gained back a bundle of compensatory picks. But the issue is not the picks the 49ers lost; it's what they did with those picks that remained.

"The 49ers failed this draft because they did poorly in the nine non-premium slots they were selecting in," Nystrom wrote. "We saw a procession of reaches. … This felt like a myopic process, where every pick is a luxury pick and nothing is at stake. Perhaps the 49ers have entered the pre-Rams-Super-Bowl 'f*** them picks' phase of their evolution."

Dvorchak criticized the decision to trade up for Penn State defensive back Ji'Ayir Brown, a questionable move for a team that had little draft capital to begin with. But the (ahem) kicker was San Francisco's second selection: Michigan placekicker Jake Moody at 99th overall. "Moody is the best kicker in the draft, but the 49ers opted for a low-impact position far too early," he wrote. "The NFL has placed an extremely low value on kickers in the draft and San Francisco doesn't have a roster so pristine that they can afford to take a luxury pick." Dunleavy pointed out that Moody was the highest-drafted kicker since Roberto Aguayo … who was cut after just one season in Tampa Bay and never played in the NFL again.

Dunleavy gave the 49ers a D, saying that "Kyle Shanahan himself admitted he got made fun of by his friends in the coaching ranks, and would have returned the favor to anyone else who had [drafted a kicker in the third round]. He gets the same treatment from us."

"Jake Moody should have been depth at receiver or on the interior offensive line, two units the 49ers didn't bother addressing, even with all of their Day 3 picks," wrote Tanier, who gave San Francisco a D+. Even some of the kinder graders questioned the 49ers' game plan; Phillips gave them a C-, but noted that "spending the first few picks on a safety and a kicker isn't great roster building, particularly after the 49ers failed to draft a single offensive lineman in a year they could use help at the position."

31. Washington Commanders

GPA: 2.20
Highest Grade: B+ (Prisco)
Lowest Grade: D- (Nystrom)

Nystrom felt that the Commanders overdrafted each of their first two picks, Mississippi State cornerback Emmanuel Forbes at 16th overall and Illinois safety Jartavius Martin at 47. Forbes was the second corner off the board, but Nystrom noted the draft's deep pool of talented cornerbacks (which includes Christian Gonzalez, who went to New England one pick later, and Deonte Banks, who went to the Giants at 24). He also pointed out that Detroit traded up ahead of Washington to take Brian Branch, the top safety in the draft, leaving Washington reaching for Martin.

Iyer and Phillips each gave Washington a D. Iyer agreed that Forbes and Martin were reaches, and also pointed out that the Commanders failed to address needs at linebacker, tight end, and "developmental quarterback." Phillips said this was "certainly a strange class for the Commanders," joining the chorus of voices calling Forbes a reach and saying that Washington's Day 2 choices (Martin and Arkansas offensive lineman Ricky Stromberg) were "mismatched" and "they could have gotten better value at other areas of need."

30. Denver Broncos

GPA: 2.28
Highest Grade: A- (Tanier)
Lowest Grade: F (Silva)

Well, that's quite a gap between high and low grade. We'll address the polarizing reactions to this draft and Denver's higher grades later. For now, let's discuss the low grades that put the Broncos in this section to begin with.

Silva was the only writer to give Denver a failing grade; he admitted that was largely due to the picks lost in the Russell Wilson trade and how badly that deal has worked out, but he also questioned the trade up for Oklahoma receiver Marvin Mims by a team that already has Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and Tim Patrick. Knox and Phillips each gave Denver a D. Knox acknowledged that the draft will ultimately hinge on what Wilson and Sean Payton (who also cost the Broncos a draft pick) can do this year, but added that Mims was a major reach, going nearly 40 slots earlier than his spot on the Bleacher Report big board. Phillips was a fan of Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders at 67 (Silva and Knox also conceded the value Sanders offered at that spot) but said "Denver needed to find more impactful pieces with its few early selections."

29. Miami Dolphins

GPA: 2.30
Highest Grade: B+ (Fox Sports)
Lowest Grade: D (Dunleavy, Phillips)

The Dolphins were also missing some draft capital, having one first-round pick taken away for attempted tampering with Sean Payton and Tom Brady and trading away another (originally acquired in the Trey Lance deal with San Francisco) to acquire Bradley Chubb from Denver, while losing other picks in trades for Tyreek Hill and Jalen Ramsey. Phillips didn't like Miami's first selection—South Carolina corner Cam Smith, taken 51st overall—because it wasn't a position of need for a team that already had Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard. Dunleavy had similar thoughts about Miami's third-round pick, Texas A&M running back Devon Achane, calling him "a strange choice after Miami re-signed free-agent running backs Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson and Myles Gaskin."

Matt Verderame gave the Dolphins a D+ for Sports Illustrated based entirely on their lack of draft capital; he had nothing but nice things to say about all four of Miami's draft picks, including sixth-round receiver Elijah Higgins out of Stanford and seventh-round tackle Ryan Hayes out of Michigan. All those trades make this a tough class to grade; Tanier gave the Dolphins a B- but said he would have gone with an A if including the Ramsey acquisition.

28. Dallas Cowboys

GPA: 2.30
Highest Grade: A (Prisco)
Lowest Grade: F (Nystrom)

Yes, the Cowboys are 28th and the Dolphins are 29th; tack on another couple of decimal points and they beat Miami 2.3048 to 2.3000. That's no thanks to Nystrom, though—he said he "didn't understand what the Cowboys were doing" with their first two picks: first-round defensive tackle Mazi Smith and second-round tight end Luke Schoonmaker, both out of Michigan. As Nystrom points out, if the Cowboys had started with a tight end first and then taken a lineman, they could have had Sam LaPorta or Michal Mayer in the first round and Zacch Pickens, Byron Young, or Siaki Ika in the second.

"The rest of the picks were more of the same, reaching for prospects in slots that didn't fit," Nystrom writes. "It felt like Dallas went into each day with a plan to take specific positions in specific slots, and were unable to move off the plan to take advantage of the values dropping to them."

Nystrom was by far Dallas' harshest critic. Davis, Dvorchack, and Kelly each gave the Cowboys a C-. Davis knocked Dallas for not finding a better, bigger running back than "diminutive sixth-rounder Deuce Vaughn" to split time with Tony Pollard. Dvorchak thought that the Smith and Schoonmaker selections both put too much weight on roster needs and not enough on available talent. Kelly agreed, saying that the Cowboys used too much capital on non-premium positions—their third pick was off-ball linebacker DeMarvion Overshown out of Texas.

Not everyone was so down on Dallas, however. Prisco even gave them an A, tied for his highest grade. He said Smith "will be a force on their front, especially in the run game" and called Schoonmaker "a nice pick." He was also impressed with fourth-round edge rusher Viliami Fehoko out of San Jose State: "He is a power player who plays with violence. He isn't twitchy, but he has the ability to get six or seven sacks a season. He will be in the rotation as a rookie."

Most Polarizing Grades

1. Denver Broncos

SD: 1.01
Highest Grade: A- (Tanier)
Lowest Grade: F (Silva)

As noted earlier, there was a lot of disagreement on the Broncos draft. Indeed, their standard deviation was more than a full letter grade—you could have them anywhere between a D+ and a B+ and honestly say you were agreeing with the majority.

Since we already addressed their critics, let's give this space to the Broncos' supporters. That starts with Tanier, who said that players such as Marvin Mims and Drew Sanders actually were need fits since Broncos receivers are always injured and the defense needs pass-rush help. He was especially impressed with Sanders: "Drew Sanders is my uberbinkie: he's an upgraded version of Baron Browning who can get after the quarterback, defend the run, and effectively drop into coverage a dozen times per game." He adds that these players will be a big help in 2024, which is likely the season the Broncos are actually drafting for.

Iyer, Gosling, and the PFF staff each gave Denver a B+. Iyer really liked what Denver did on defense, saying that Sanders, third-round corner Riley Moss (Iowa), and sixth-round safety JL Skinner (Boise State) would all be good fits in Vance Joseph's scheme. Gosling said that Mims and Sanders would both make an impact this year and suggested the Mims selection would let the Broncos trade one of their veteran receivers down the line.

2. San Francisco 49ers

SD: 0.93
Highest Grade: B+ (Gosling)
Lowest Grade: F (Dunleavy, Dvorchak, Nystrom)

Again, we have already covered the negatives here, so let's focus on the positives. Gosling was San Francisco's biggest fan—he said their draft had "plenty of value" and heralded the selections of South Alabama cornerback Darrell Luter Jr., Michigan wide receiver Ronnie Bell, and TCU linebacker Dee Winters on Day 3.

Four other evaluators gave San Francisco a B-. Iyer said that Ji'Ayir Brown could start at safety over Tashaun Gipson and that Jake Moody "is a bigger leg and needed young upgrade over Robbie Gould." Farrar mostly liked the selection of Brown, "who projects well as that kind of versatile safety the 49ers have loved through recent years," comparing him to Jimmie Ward. Kiper conceded this was "a strange class to try to grade," but said "I like a bunch of these picks, except for [Moody]. I get that it's a need, but that's incredibly early, and I didn't even have him as the best kicker in the class." He did have praise for Brown, Dee Winters, and third-round tight end Cameron Latu (Alabama). Reuter was most impressed with San Francisco's Day 3 picks: "[Darrell Luter] is a fierce cornerback who will step in for the Niners as a rookie, while [Robert Beal] will likely back up veterans on the edge. I love [Dee Winters] and [Jalen Graham] at linebacker, while [Ronnie Bell] plays receiver with linebacker-type toughness."

3. Detroit Lions

SD: 0.90
Highest Grade: A (Iyer, Knox, Prisco)
Lowest Grade: D (Dvorchak)

The most heavily criticized team of Night 1 actually finished in the middle of our rankings (2.71 GPA, 18th), but the Lions definitely had their detractors. Dvorchak liked Jahmyr Gibbs and Jack Campbell as players, and is also high on Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta, Alabama safety Brian Branch, and Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker. "However," he writes, "they egregiously missed on the concept of positional value by opting for a running back and an inside linebacker with their premium picks. They also likely misgauged the market as Gibbs went 13 picks ahead of his big board ranking and Campbell went 26 picks early."

Silva gave Detroit a D+, saying that GM Brad Holmes "completely bombed the first round" and calling Campbell a "coverage liability." "It was a sickening waste of precious draft capital at low-impact positions," he added, but he also said he "loved" the selections of Branch and Hooker. Davis and Phillips each gave the Lions a C-, with Davis calling their draft "a real mixed bag" and Phillips calling it "a wasted opportunity for the Lions to fully capitalize on their prime draft picks.

And yet three evaluators gave the Lions an A! Iyer said that Detroit is in "'win big' now mode" and that Gibbs and Campbell "will have massive immediate impact." Knox was a fan of the first-round trade-down, turning the sixth overall pick and a third-rounder into Gibbs, LaPorta, and a fifth-round pick. He expects each of Detroit's first four picks to make impacts this season while Hooker spends a year on the bench before taking over from Jared Goff in 2024. Prisco, even conceding that the 12th pick is too early for a player like Gibbs (who he called "more of an air back"), was very high on LaPorta, Hooker, and third-round defensive tackle Brodric Martin (Western Kentucky).

4. Cleveland Browns

SD: 0.84
Highest Grade: A- (Nystrom, PFF)
Lowest Grade: D (Davis)

Nystrom was a huge fan of Cleveland's draft—though they didn't have a pick in the top 70, they still got four of his top 70 prospects in Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman, Baylor lineman Siaki Ika, Ohio State tackle Dawand Jones, and Missouri edge rusher Isaiah McGuire. He noted that Tillman and Ika would have been considered bargains at their draft slots a year ago, but were injured and/or ineffective in 2022. Jones fell after refusing to participate in the Senior Bowl and Ohio State's pro day. And McGuire brings rare athletic gifts the rest of the league somehow overlooked. The PFF staff agreed, specifically citing each player's size (a 215-pound wideout in a class full of Smurfs, two 350-plus-pound linemen, and a 274-pound edge rusher) as an asset.

Davis, however, dings this draft class because it includes picks used to acquire Deshaun Watson (no further comment necessary) and "underachieving Jets wide receiver Elijah Moore." And he does not see where Jones fits into Cleveland's plans. Nick Simon gave Cleveland a D+ at DraftKings, knocking the Watson and Moore acquisitions and saying that "Tillman and Ika are the only players that could carve out a decent number of snaps for themselves as rookies while the rest will be fighting to simply stick as members of the 53-man roster." The PFF staff said that Ika was "exactly what the doctor ordered" but also said "the oft-injured Tillman is a risk" and questioned the point of using a fifth-round pick on UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

5. Arizona Cardinals

SD: 0.82
Highest Grade: A+ (PFF)
Lowest Grade: D (Iyer)

There was some very, very close competition for the fifth spot here, with Arizona (0.8250 standard deviation) finishing a few decimal points ahead of Kansas City (0.8248) and Dallas (0.8243). Houston was the next team after that, which is fitting, since the Will Anderson trade has such a huge effect on the grades for both the Cardinals and the Texans. The Pro Football Focus crew loved the trade, and the ensuing selection of Ohio State tackle Paris Johnson at 12, saying he "ticks all the boxes physically." They were also fans of second-round edge rusher BJ Ojulari out of LSU ("he wins with a deep collection of pass-rush moves and a high motor off the edge"), third-round corner Garrett Williams out of Syracuse ("He boasts really good footwork as a smooth mover on the outside and was a three-year starter at Syracuse"), and third-round wideout Michael Wilson out of Stanford ("he has the frame to be a more-than-solid player in the NFL"). Finally, they said Houston's Clayton Tune was an accurate passer and underrated rusher who could fill in while Kyler Murray continues to rehab his torn ACL.

Arizona also got six A- grades. The common thread among those observers: the Cardinals get credit for the draft capital they added in 2024 (Houston's first- and third-rounders, plus picks from Tennessee and Philadelphia) since they're not going to contend in 2023 anyway.

Not everyone was so impressed. Iyer called the class "very underwhelming" and said Johnson was "a bit of a forced luxury pick." Nystrom gave Arizona a D+, specifically saying that the gap between Johnson and Broderick Jones wasn't significant enough to justify Arizona's trade up for the former. Gilberto Manzano at Sports Illustrated agreed, adding that Wilson's injury history made him a gamble, but still gave Arizona a B-. Indeed, consensus reaction to Arizona's draft was definitely positive—their GPA of 3.35 ranked seventh overall.

2023 NFL Draft Grades
Team Highest Lowest GPA Rk StDev Rk
PHI A+ (13 total) A- (Reuter) 4.17 1 0.18 32
PIT A+ (4 total) B+ (4 total) 3.91 2 0.33 31
IND A+ (5 total) B+ (3 total) 3.74 3 0.45 28
SEA A+ (Farrar, Phillips) C+ (Nystrom) 3.65 4 0.47 26
NYG A+ (PFF) C- (Davis) 3.43 5 0.62 19
HOU A+ (DraftKings) D (NBC Sports Edge) 3.36 6 0.79 8
ARI A+ (PFF) D (Iyer) 3.35 7 0.82 5
CHI A (5 total) D (Nystrom) 3.31 8 0.70 13
CIN A (3 total) B- (3 total) 3.30 9 0.42 29
CAR A (SI) C- (Silva) 3.21 10 0.52 25
BAL A (3 total) C+ (Prisco, Silva) 3.18 11 0.47 27
BUF A (3 total) C (Iyer) 3.14 12 0.54 23
TEN A (PFF) C- (Davis, Silva) 3.08 13 0.71 12
NE A (Reuter, PFF) C- (Iyer, Tanier) 3.05 14 0.66 16
GB A (Phillips) C- (Iyer, Nystrom) 2.95 15 0.61 20
LV A (Knox) C+ (Fox Sports, SI) 2.94 16 0.40 30
TB A (Reuter) C- (Davis) 2.90 17 0.52 24
DET A (3 total) D (NBC Sports Edge) 2.71 18 0.90 3
LAC A- (Kelly, PFF) C- (Iyer, DraftKings) 2.69 19 0.57 21
KC A (Iyer) D- (Nystrom) 2.69 20 0.82 6
NO A- (Gosling) D+ (Dunleavy) 2.68 21 0.57 22
CLE A- (Nystrom, PFF) D (Davis) 2.62 22 0.84 4
LAR A- (Reuter, PFF) D+ (Silva) 2.61 23 0.71 11
MIN A- (Reuter) D (Dunleavy) 2.60 24 0.68 14
NYJ A (Silva) D (Iyer) 2.60 25 0.72 10
ATL A- (Reuter) C- (5 total) 2.50 26 0.63 17
JAX B+ (Reuter) D+ (Davis, Dunleavy) 2.45 27 0.63 18
DAL A (Prisco) F (Nystrom) 2.30 28 0.82 7
MIA B+ (Fox Sports) D (Dunleavy, Phillips) 2.30 29 0.67 15
DEN A- (Tanier) F (Silva) 2.28 30 1.01 1
WAS B+ (Prisco) D- (Nystrom) 2.20 31 0.72 9
SF B+ (Gosling) F (3 total) 1.79 32 0.93 2

Grading the Graders

The long-term trend of graders being kinder to teams continued in 2023. We used to see about three A+ grade for every F, but this year there were 27 of the former but only five of the latter. And those A+ grades were spread far and wide, too—nearly half went to Philadelphia, but the Steelers, Colts, Seahawks, Giants, Texans, and Cardinals each got at least one A+ too. That's nearly one-quarter of the league that convinced somebody they had earned a perfect grade. Even the worst teams had their fans; all 32 NFL franchises had at least one grade of a B+ or higher. The average GPA this year was 2.93, as high as we have seen in recent years, with a standard deviation of 0.78, as low as we have seen in recent years. There are apparently no bad teams in the NFL, just various levels of good ones.

For the fifth straight season, Reuter was the kindest grader, delivering a GPA of 3.43; his lowest grade was a C+ for Detroit while he had six teams at A and 11 more at A-. Yes, that's literally half the league at an exceptional level. Perhaps it's worth pointing out that Reuter writes for NFL.com, and if the NFL owners were writing your paychecks, you'd probably say lots of good things about their teams too. This does make it ironic that he was responsible for Philadelphia's worst grade, an A- … but if other clubs truly are tired of hearing how great the Eagles are, then that relatively low score may have won Reuter some friends in high places. Reuter was followed here by the PFF staff (3.37 GPA) and Farrar (3.28).

Nystrom and Silva routinely battle for the title of harshest grader, and this year it was Nystrom (2.38) taking the gold for cruelty while Silva (2.49) took silver and Dunleavy (2.53) settled for bronze. Though Nystrom gave out seven grades of A- or better (about average), he also led our sample with eight grades of D+ or worse, including two of our five F grades.

Easterling's grades had a correlation of 0.859 with the overall averages; his opinions most closely matched the consensus, followed by Dunleavy (0.848) and Kelly (0.829). Prisco (0.441) had the weirdest picks; while there was no team he was unusually low on, he gave A grades to Dallas and Detroit, and B+ grades to Cleveland and Washington, ranking those teams much higher than most. Iyer (0.499) had Detroit and Kansas City at an A, Denver and Minnesota at a B+, and San Francisco at a B-, but deemed Arizona worthy of only a D. Gosling (0.604) was another outlier—he gave B- grades to San Francisco and Denver, and an A- to New Orleans.

We're about 5,000 words in now, and it's fair to ask: does any of this really mean anything? And the answer is "probably not." After recapping the 2017 draft a few weeks ago, we broke out the Draft Report Card Report from that year and compared select evaluator's grades to the actual Approximate Value produced by each team's draft class. The good news is that every evaluator finished with a positive correlation—nobody was so wrong that you could make money betting against them. The bad news is that the strongest correlation was just 0.088, which is effectively random noise.

Draft grades are great for discussion and debate, and hopefully good for a lot of clicks, but they remain highly inaccurate at telling us which players from this year's class are destined for success.

2023 NFL Draft Evaluators
Writer Highest Lowest GPA Rk StDev Rk Correlation
Reuter A (6 total) C+ (DET) 3.43 1 0.46 20 0.620 17
PFF A+ (5 total) C- (SF) 3.37 2 0.67 14 0.736 7
Farrar A+ (PHI, SEA) C (GB) 3.28 3 0.57 18 0.723 8
Gosling A (PHI, SEA) C (3 total) 3.16 4 0.56 19 0.604 19
Kiper A (PHI, SEA) B- (ATL, NO) 3.14 5 0.33 21 0.681 14
Easterling A+ (IND) D (SF) 3.03 6 0.66 15 0.859 1
Knox A+ (PHI) D (DEN) 3.03 7 0.85 9 0.682 13
DraftKings A+ (HOU) D+ (CLE) 3.01 8 0.78 10 0.688 10
Kelly A+ (3 total) C- (4 total) 2.95 9 0.86 8 0.829 3
Iyer A+ (3 total) D (3 total) 2.94 10 1.04 3 0.499 20
Tanier A+ (PHI) D+ (SF) 2.93 11 0.74 12 0.640 15
Prisco A (3 total) C- (4 total) 2.93 12 0.70 13 0.441 21
Fox Sports A+ (PHI) C- (DEN) 2.92 13 0.60 16 0.693 9
Phillips A+ (PHI, SEA) D (3 total) 2.89 14 0.95 6 0.805 4
SI A+ (PHI) D+ (DEN, MIA) 2.84 15 0.77 11 0.794 5
Maske A (HOU, PHI) C- (3 total) 2.82 16 0.59 17 0.743 6
NBC Sports Edge A+ (PHI) F (SF) 2.73 17 0.95 5 0.683 12
Davis A+ (PHI) D- (DEN) 2.68 18 0.96 4 0.639 16
Dunleavy A+ (PHI) F (SF) 2.53 19 1.11 2 0.848 2
Silva A (3 total) F (DEN) 2.49 20 0.89 7 0.684 11
Nystrom A+ (3 total) F (DAL, SF) 2.38 21 1.23 1 0.617 18


98 comments, Last at 25 May 2023, 3:39pm

#1 by Will Allen // May 03, 2023 - 10:18am

On top of all the other variables, how well, or how poorly, these rookies get coached has a huge impact on how productive they become. I can guarantee that the odds of a young defensive player drafted by the Vikings having a decent career improves significantly, by being coached on a defensive staff headed up by Brian Flores, instead of Ed Donatell. Getting Mike Patricia off the Patriots staff immediately improves the career prospects of Patriots' draft picks.


Points: 4

#4 by guest from Europe // May 03, 2023 - 10:43am

On top of all the other variables, how well, or how poorly, these rookies get coached has a huge impact on how productive they become.

I agree with this. It seems that we are in the minority, that most people think talent is way more important than coaching. 

Points: 0

#6 by Will Allen // May 03, 2023 - 10:54am

Then there is the further context added by teammates, along with coaching. Call me nuts, but I'd wager that a wr drafted in the 2nd round by the Chiefs has a significantly better chance of getting to his 2nd contract, than if that same player is drafted by the Saints.

Points: 1

#10 by KnotMe // May 03, 2023 - 11:22am

Totally agree. Develpment matters. Although the sample sizers are so small it's hard often hard to say how much is real and how much is variation. Chargers do great QB. The Eagles do great with lines. The Jets and Bears do not have good luck with QB so far.  NE is death for WR but also a backup QB factory for some reason. 

Honestly, given that Shannahan reached the NFCCG with the last pick I think coaching and talent are probably about equally necessary although there are probably some minimum thresholds that can't be compensated for no matter what. 

Points: 1

#13 by Will Allen // May 03, 2023 - 11:48am

I can pretty much guarantee that qb development in San Diego is due to random chance. No, there is not a special qb sauce that the Spanos family has used, from Brees to Rivers to Herbert, across multiple GMs and coaches.

My comment with regard to the Chiefs and Saints was a simple observation that any wr drafted in the 2nd round, as the Chiefs did this year, has a better shot at his 2nd contract, with Mahomes and Reid around, than he would have with whomever has those roles in New Orleans, or with most other teams.

Points: 0

#28 by Will Allen // May 03, 2023 - 5:12pm

None of it has been due to development prowess since Coryell left. 

Points: 0

#14 by guest from Europe // May 03, 2023 - 12:22pm

Great at developing: Steelers WRs, Packers O-line, Reid QBs, Ravens defensive front 7... Patriots were very good with O-line until Scarnecchia retired.


Honestly, given that Shannahan reached the NFCCG with the last pick I think coaching and talent are probably about equally necessary although there are probably some minimum thresholds that can't be compensated for no matter what. 

Of course they have to be talented. Otherwise they would never be drafted like you and me. All these NFL players were better than their peers at some level when they were young, they all have raw talent. Not the same amount of talent, there are gradients among them.

Someone like R. Leaf was very talented.

Points: 1

#15 by theslothook // May 03, 2023 - 12:24pm

I would say my position is the minority one. Will and I agree on most things, but on this topic, I tend to disagree.

His example of the Chiefs and Saints vis a vi wr is an interesting one. Chris Olave looks like a successful pick despite no Sean Payton wizardry or Drew Brees. And while I agree, a wide receiver on the Chiefs might look good with respect to numbers, I would be highly skeptical if that wide receiver were to go elsewhere how he might do. Sure, sometimes they become like Davante Adams, but most of the time they are like James Jones.

Points: 2

#16 by guest from Europe // May 03, 2023 - 1:41pm

Will and I agree on most things, but on this topic, I tend to disagree.

Why would it be different from any other profession? Whatever someone does, some considerable talent for it is needed, and then you do it for many, many days until you become good. You learn basic and advanced stuff, then search for some new angles, if you are really great, you invent something and so on. Call this process "coaching" or "development" or "practice", whatever, the term doesn't matter. On top of all this NFL player has to be in sync with his teammates and coaches scheme, playcalling. We know that coaches teach players the scheme and playcall jargon they are running.

I am talking about general NFL players. HOFers are outliers, that is where supreme talent meets practice time.

Similarly for a pianist: talent is needed, but they practice a lot from small age to be able to become really good and play concerts.

If there are any studies that found that talent is paramount for performance in the NFL, i am willing to change my mind. Maybe Aaron Brooks knows something, he knows a lot of various stuff.

Points: 1

#20 by theslothook // May 03, 2023 - 3:40pm

It's a reasonable theory to have, But it's hard to prove statistically. If a player fails, then we won't know for sure if it was bad coaching or bad talent. Was jamarcus Russell failed or was it of his own making? What about David Carr. Most of the time when we answer these questions we're speculating at the cause.


There are other bits of ancillary data points that make me suspicious about the coaching argument. If it were true we would see it repeated over a very long cycle. Ie - if Belichick is a wizard with defensive backs, then why was someone like Brandon merriweather a failure? He also went through a pretty famous lull during the late 2000s when it came to drafting defensive players. 

And then there are the examples of reclamation projects who absolutely never pan out even when they leave their supposedly terrible circumstances and go to healthier ones. Just how many highly drafted quarterbacks ended up succeeding elsewhere? The sample is so limited that we remember them and plainly forget all of the other times it never worked out. I suppose you could argue by that point. Bad coaching had wrecked them as prospects but that again is speculative.

Points: 1

#42 by guest from Europe // May 04, 2023 - 2:17am

i am not claiming it's all coaching. Talent is absolutely needed, so is willingness to learn, adaptability, no off-field distractions etc.

And then there are the examples of reclamation projects who absolutely never pan out even when they leave their supposedly terrible circumstances and go to healthier ones. 

Reclamation projects probably don't get a longer chance. They go somewhere else and have 1 or max 2 years to turn around and succeed, not just improve! If there is no big improvement after a year, they get discarded to special teams, released... On the other hand most of the rookies aren't very good at the beginning of careers, but that is tolerated with hope for a better future. Notoriously CBs and TEs have to "adapt to NFL", "it's a steep learning curve"...

There are many more players than coaches, not everyone can be coached individually, there is not enough time, they have to function and thus be coached as synchronised units etc.

If you put the NFL players that dissappointed to compete vs. college players, they probably destroy all college teams. B. Merriweather "failed" (he did play for 8 years and was released because of freelancing on the field, like J. Collins later) at NFL level, but was probably still better than huge majority of college DBs at the time.

This all depends on the position a player plays. Linemen both O and D must be coached (scheme, protection, working as a unit, stunts, blitzing, otherwise talented pass-rushers just get double-teamed...) and talent matters less, while outside WRs and man-to-man CBs work more individually, more on talent. The position where it's pure talent is probably kicker if they are mentally stable game-time. There is no large difference between kickers, someone kicks 83%, someone 87% field goals. Coaches can't do much about that.

Points: 0

#22 by Noahrk // May 03, 2023 - 4:05pm

I've said this before in response to theslothook, but his mind is made up on this -at least on doubting it. The only reason we don't have statistical proof that this happens in football (or other areas) is because the data is very muddled, but empirically there's no question coaching/teaching matters a lot in pretty much all areas of human affairs.

Points: 0

#35 by theslothook // May 03, 2023 - 6:39pm

Look I don't want to come off as a perpetual contrarian. Or worse, an ideologue. I myself have benefited greatly from the stewardship and mentorship that has come with having a great manager. I've had some teachers who inspired me and stoked my passions and I've had other teachers who sucked the life out of a subject and made every day in class a painful slog  So of course, I recognize the value of coaching. 


I just wish I saw more consistent evidence for it. Like you said, the data is murky and full of noise and so absence of proof does not imply a proof of absence. But I listed some circumstantial data points that lead to the nature vs nurture side of things.

Points: 0

#65 by carlosla // May 05, 2023 - 9:01am

Strongly in the camp of player development matters more than most give it credit for.

You ask for evidence, and I guess I’d point to data around long term sustain success and long term sustained failure across the league. Management matters big time.

Frankly that should not be surprising at all. The clubs all have the same salary cap. The weighted schedule is meant to drive parity. The draft is meant to drive parity. Yet, over long stretches we see clubs that are awful for a decade-plus and a few teams that sustain success for long stretches. 

As Guest said, this is how it works in every other industry and profession. No reason to believe it’s different in the NFL.

Points: 0

#29 by Will Allen // May 03, 2023 - 5:14pm

If the numbers look good, somebody's giving him a 2nd contract. That was my point.

Points: 0

#56 by Run dmc // May 04, 2023 - 6:22pm

I have a feeling Sean Payton without Drew Brees is going to be just as much a wizard as Bill Belichick without Tom Brady.

Points: 2

#59 by guest from Europe // May 05, 2023 - 3:16am

In a very small sample size Payton and Saints were 5-0 with Bridgeawater starting one year (2019?) when Brees was injured. In 2021 he got something out of combination of Winston and T. Hill.

Belichick is a defense coach. He doesn't coach offense. Patriots defense is very very good recently even though there are no star players, maybe Judon. Patriots offense was good when McDaniels was there, even in 2021 with rookie M. Jones.

Points: 0

#9 by Joey-Harringto… // May 03, 2023 - 11:22am

"Getting Mike Patricia off the Patriots staff immediately improves the career prospects of Patriots' draft picks."

Whenever someone asks me why, Jeff Okudah, one of the most physically talented, highly-regarded cornerback prospects in the past half-decade, with zero character or work-ethic concerns, didn't pan out, I can type up several paragraphs of explanation (which I have).  But the TL:DR answer is, "Matt Patricia"

Points: 3

#53 by ChrisS // May 04, 2023 - 4:17pm

The Eagles hiring Patricia would definitely downgrade my opinion on their drafted defensive players. How can he be employable after Detroit and last year at NE and most of his NE career.

Points: 2

#11 by Raiderfan // May 03, 2023 - 11:27am

“Getting Mike Patricia off the Patriots staff”

Did he get fired the same day as Matt?  Are they brothers? Twins?

Points: 0

#100 by sibowa1336 // May 25, 2023 - 3:39pm

My final salary was $8750, just eco work 12 hours a week. My neighbor long ago gave an estimate of $15,000″ and worked about 20 hours in seven days…!n77 I couldn’t believe how easy

it was after trying the info on ———————->  /2no.co/Hiring

Points: 0

#2 by ImNewAroundThe… // May 03, 2023 - 10:20am

I appreciate Thor grading on a curve instead of saying everyone did great (or horrible I guess)

Other random musings

  • Colts passing on OCyrus was suspicious. Thought Richardson could vouch for him. Brents was much further down the consensus board too. May have spooked other teams too.
  • Thought the Bengals should've hedged and drafted a QB (on day 3) in the slim chance Burrow asks for too much. 
  • Love Tank Dell for the Texans

Points: 1

#32 by laurin // May 03, 2023 - 5:50pm

Brents was 55th on the CBB and got picked at 44, that isn't far down at all. and Bengals should have definitely drafted a QB, just for the sake of having a decent backup

Points: 0

#39 by ImNewAroundThe… // May 03, 2023 - 11:24pm

Guessing you're using Arifs but he's 59 while OCyrus is 29 here. Would've been a sweet upgrade over Will Fries at RG.

Points: 0

#3 by guest from Europe // May 03, 2023 - 10:41am

The average GPA this year was 2.93, as high as we have seen in recent years, with a standard deviation of 0.78, as low as we have seen in recent years. There are apparently no bad teams in the NFL, just various levels of good ones.

This is what the draft graders do: everyone gets a "good" or better grade.


The bad news is that the strongest correlation was just 0.088, which is effectively random noise. Draft grades are great for discussion and debate, and hopefully good for a lot of clicks, but they remain highly inaccurate at telling us which players from this year's class are destined for success.

This is reality. 

Points: 2

#17 by bravehoptoad // May 03, 2023 - 2:41pm

Yeah, I love that article on Historic Draft Grades. Someone who has a pretty good reputation like Rob Rang, no more effective than a blowhard like Pete Prisco. Someone steeped in analytics like Chris Burke, ditto.

Points: 6

#34 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // May 03, 2023 - 6:12pm

I give Prisco negative points for insisting every year that the only grades that matter are the ones assigned immediately after the draft and that how things turn out in the future is backwards-looking revisionism.  Which is a reasonable position to take on any single draft choice, since we know any given player may pan out or flop, but is a ridiculous position to take on draft grades overall.  At some sample size, for the immediate draft grades to carry any meaning, the people who assign the draft grades need to be able to demonstrate that on average their A-graded drafts perform better than their D-graded drafts.  The data says otherwise.

And yeah, I'm quite surprised that Prisco's grades are basically random noise and not a negative predictor.

Points: 2

#69 by Stendhal1 // May 06, 2023 - 1:11am

Pete Prisco wrote this year shortly before the draft that the Panthers should not take Bryce Young because it was too risky to use the first pick in the draft on a quarterback that small, but that the Texans should take him with the second pick.  Unbelievable.

Points: 1

#5 by anotheroldguy // May 03, 2023 - 10:52am

Hi Vince, thanks for all the unpaid work. Good read.

Points: 3

#8 by Will Allen // May 03, 2023 - 11:11am

Yikes, I just brought myself up to speed with the origin of your comment. This is unacceptable, especially with regard to actual employees. If payroll can't be met, and vendors can't be paid, due to debt servicing, this is what the bankruptcy court is for. I'm ignorant regarding employment law, especially with employees who reside in multiple states, and the parent corporation being Canadian, but from I read, this has been going on for approaching 5 months now. Egads.

Points: 8

#18 by bravehoptoad // May 03, 2023 - 2:43pm

It's this weird existential threat hovering in the background: FO may not be around for much longer.

Points: 1

#30 by Will Allen // May 03, 2023 - 5:27pm

It's a bad time in media of all types, including sports media, but the stuff that is done here is, I would hope, respected as having enough unique value, for the most popular spectator sport in the country, that some media/sports/tech entity would want it. I hear DVOA being mentioned all the time now on the most popular podcasts in the country. An outfit like DraftKings pays about 10 million a year to sponsor the LeBatard podcast, for instance. I've got to believe that this is more an instance of the Canadian firm being terribly managed, than FO not having intrinsic value. 

Points: 2

#36 by bravehoptoad // May 03, 2023 - 10:06pm

The thing I would miss the most about FO is its audience. Nowhere else on the internet have I found anything close to the dialog that can be found here about football. Hard to believe I've been coming here for 20 years.

The other cool thing about this site is how it's an incubator for good football writers who go out and colonize sports sites. Barnwell, Farrar, etc. etc. have graduated to good careers.

A bunch of the current FO writers have moved over to https://underdognetwork.com/football, like Bryan Knowles, but it's a fantasy site with no comments...not really what I'm in it for.

Points: 7

#38 by Will Allen // May 03, 2023 - 10:54pm

Yeah, I have no interest in Fantasy; was in on it in its infancy, 40+ years ago, as a teen making picks for some gamblers who were putting up real, if not hugely serious, money. After that highly entertaining (to the point it became so entertaining I thought I best walk away) experience, the idea of doing it just for fun no longer interested me.

I don't pay as much attention to the game as I used to, but I still find it compelling, intellectually, and due the respect I have for what it takes to compete at the highest level in the game. This is far and away the best site I've encountered for examining what happens, and discussing it with non-meatheads who share my interest. I'd hate to see it end, but, good grief, people gotta get paid for their work, and it really makes me angry that they're getting stiffed. I wish I knew how to help,  but it seems as if even sending more revenue to FO at this point just rewards the effin' deadbeats who've brought this state of affairs about, without really helping ensure the survival of the place. The ideal solution is that FO gets sold to honest, competent, managers with adequate capital, but I have no idea how likely that is, especially in this environment.

Points: 8

#47 by bravehoptoad // May 04, 2023 - 11:09am

I frittered away my youth among chess players. They're a much less interesting lot than gamblers, by and large.

Here's to FO ending up in competent hands!

Points: 2

#52 by guest from Europe // May 04, 2023 - 4:06pm

Do you still play chess? What was your rating? Chess is a very noble game. A lot of thinking, calculating, knowing theoretical openings, strategy, tactics...

I started playing a year ago. During the world chess championship match i was very sad to see a super GM such as Ding lose a match on time control from a better position. This is how i usually lose.

Points: 0

#58 by bravehoptoad // May 04, 2023 - 7:41pm

USCF 1938, Class A. It was a thing I did with my dad, but I only realized that it was a dad-thing once he was gone, so I haven't played in 15 years.

I switched to games of incomplete information when my wife and I became Texas hold'em players. That's a fun way to spend Christmas eve, around a poker table, let me tell you.

Points: 0

#60 by guest from Europe // May 05, 2023 - 3:21am

I got to 1710 FIDE. By quick calculation that is 1787 in USCF. Chess is very serious, it's like an intelectual fight and a form of self-torture. Not much fun, but there is something addictive in it for the brain.

I usually think too much, have only basic education in it.

Playing various card games is more fun.

Points: 0

#19 by theslothook // May 03, 2023 - 2:46pm

Having experienced this personally myself, its leadership malfeasance at best and usury at worst. I watched management completely ruin my friend's business reputation with an entire engineering team, myself included, when he recruited us from our jobs to join his startup. It wasn't his fault, but two months of lies will do that

Points: 2

#90 by Vincent Verhei // May 08, 2023 - 7:44pm

Not immediately, but if you click the Draft Report Card Report link you quoted, you can see which report cards are still up and collect the grades yourself. It took me less than a half-hour to do. Then you can look up the AV for each class at PFR here:


Points: 0

#21 by johonny12 // May 03, 2023 - 3:40pm

Anyone that watched Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard play last year has a right to assume CB could very well be a need position this year and almost certainly by 2024. Likewise, it's not as if Miami's RBs corps is exactly young and Miami's return game felt non-existent last season. I really had no problem taking talent over need when the need picks just weren't there when Miami drafted and the players taken have some obvious role in 2023 and beyond.  

Points: 1

#23 by Noahrk // May 03, 2023 - 4:08pm

Same here. Give me talent over need any day of the week. The odds already work against you in the draft, getting picky on top of that seems foolish. Check back in six months, let alone a year, and we'll see if the team doesn't have a need at those positions.

Points: 1

#26 by bravehoptoad // May 03, 2023 - 5:00pm

I don't think that's an easy question, talent vs. need. It depends on where you are in your team's power cycle. If you're a Super Bowl contender, then maybe you fill the need first because that might get you over the hump. Or how about this for an extreme example: if you have no QB but an otherwise great roster, you take the mediocre QB over the generational Mike linebacker. And if your team is a nobody, take the talent.

Trickier is talent vs. character. When to emphasize one, when the other? That depends a lot on your current roster and coaching staff, right? Some teams have very solid locker rooms and can draft questionable characters with more fearlessness. 

Points: 0

#31 by ImNewAroundThe… // May 03, 2023 - 5:50pm

Talent vs need has always been a bit of a myth. If you strictly go "talent" you end up with 2 RBs then 5(!) QBs. Pick any mock draft sim, any team and just blindly pick the top player of their big board every round and you'll see what I mean

Or in more practical terms, Kansas City picks Levis at 31, which, uh, no, of course it wouldn't have made sense. Panthers would've traded up for Will Anderson, which yeah would be silly. Stuff like that. Unconsciously or not, need is somehow being factored in. 

Points: 4

#37 by bravehoptoad // May 03, 2023 - 10:10pm

Yes, but the talent vs. character conundrum comes up all the time. Every year teams get "steals" with bad character. Will Jalen Carter work out? Maybe. Rueben Foster didn't. Warren Sapp did. And every team needs some try-hard character guys.

Points: 0

#44 by ImNewAroundThe… // May 04, 2023 - 10:13am

IDK about all the time. Certainly not every player that falls is due to some vague psychoanalysis that's probably just culture difference.

Points: 0

#46 by Noahrk // May 04, 2023 - 10:40am

Ok, point taken. I suppose what I'm saying is in this day and age, with so much player movement, not to mention injuries, needs can change pretty quickly for middle class and lower class teams. While certain positions will be no-nos for certain teams and a QB is a must if you don't have one, in general it's best not to get too cute with needs. When the tactics are uncertain, a complex strategy will do more harm than good, like when a coach implements a system that's too complex for the players to execute.

Points: 0

#48 by ImNewAroundThe… // May 04, 2023 - 11:48am

I guess I think of it in a broader sense. You can always try to foresee things. Probably don't need to draft several TEs if you already have several under contract for several years each. 

But teams probably don't have every edge locked up for longer so it's probably fine to grab another one or two at some point. But grabbing 4+ in a draft probably doesn't make sense, in any year. 

Like you can run 5 WRs, you need to carry at least that many, so selecting them is almost always a need to some degree. For example, someone here said JSN to Seattle made no sense at 20, pre draft, when in reality, yes they do have their starters in Lockett and Metcalf. But they're only under contract for 3 more years. At 20 that's 4+1 years! And nowadays WR3 is essentially starting now and their only other WRs of note were Eskridge and Dareke Young. Ideally they would be further down the depth chart and now they are at least WR4+ which is awesome. They still have a spot on the team but they haven't showed that much that they can stop you from drafting consensus WR1 in the class (without trading up) and upgrading a spot that very well could start on his rookie contract! WRs rotate. Them and DB are rarely drafted at overkill. You can fit so many on the field at a time. 

I can't really think of many real life scenarios where a pick was clearly "BPA" or strictly need based one (and where they passed up on a clearly better and more talented prospect).

Points: 0

#61 by guest from Europe // May 05, 2023 - 3:34am

strictly need based one (and where they passed up on a clearly better and more talented prospect).

Maybe Brandon Weeden? Cole Strange recently? Tampa Bay drafting a kicker Aguayo high? I don't follow draft much, this is just off the top of my head. 

Points: 0

#54 by IlluminatusUIUC // May 04, 2023 - 5:45pm

The Almanac had an article about this years ago, but an underrated benefit of BPA is that the guy has the benefit of coming into a limited role to start. Wide receiver was absolutely not a need for the Seahawks, but JSN going there means he gets to learn the NFL while working underneath two pros, in a role that's tailor made for him. If he had gone somewhere like Baltimore or the Giants, he would have needed to take on much more responsibility much sooner.

Points: 0

#27 by nath // May 03, 2023 - 5:07pm

Yeah, it was funny to read one evaluator say the Dolphins shouldn't have taken Devon Achane because they already had Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, and Myles Gaskin. Yeah, because those three guys really move the needle at RB. 

Points: 0

#33 by ImNewAroundThe… // May 03, 2023 - 5:57pm

Maybe Salvon Ahmed instead of Gaskin but could be fair to question how the touches divy out when they should be going to Tyreek and Waddle more anyway.

Points: 0

#40 by theslothook // May 04, 2023 - 12:50am

We should start a discord channel in case this is the end...

Points: 0

#43 by andrewmilne // May 04, 2023 - 9:39am

Drafts are weird and draft grades are weird. If Detroit had drafted the same players in a different order (say, Hooker, Branch, Gibbs, Campbell, LaPorta) no one would have blinked and I'm guessing their grades would have been high. But they got the same players, and the only difference is their salaries. (And 5th year for Hooker.)

I would like a post-draft article that was much more "Here is how the outside-the-NFL community consensus misvalued players given where they were drafted" rather than all the "Here is how NFL teams screwed up because their choices didn't line up with the consensus" articles everywhere. It's not that NFL teams don't screw up (they do) but I think the screw-ups are probably more often in the external consensus.

The other advantage of such an article is that there would be real things to find out and say - why was the consensus wrong? What was missed? Which rankings that went against the consensus of particular players were closer to what actually happened?

Points: 2

#68 by Joey-Harringto… // May 05, 2023 - 1:27pm

"If Detroit had drafted the same players in a different order (say, Hooker, Branch, Gibbs, Campbell, LaPorta) no one would have blinked and I'm guessing their grades would have been high. But they got the same players, and the only difference is their salaries."

"It's about the process."

I've had this argument with fellow Lions fans already.  When they say "They still got good players!", or "Gibbs may be OROY, and J. Campbell might turn out to be awesome!", I say it was still bad process, even if they end up getting lucky.  That will still remain true if Gibbs turns out to be better than Christian McCaffrey, and Campbell turns out to be better than prime Bobby Wagner.

In that context, I still think it's fair to grade teams' process before anyone knows how good the players turn out to be.

Points: 0

#71 by ImNewAroundThe… // May 06, 2023 - 11:06pm

Hooker at 12 (or 18) definitely would've rose some eyebrows anyway. People were mocking mocks that had him going at 23, with an older QB. 

Regardless, a different order ignores the signals it tells us. Hooker was passed up 67 times. Shouldn't be the most reassuring thing to hear that essentially the whole league passed on him multiple times. That means something. Probably not going to give him as long as a leash either (for better or worse) instead it'll go to...a RB and LB. Which, not just one person, but the consensus, wasn't that high on. Not just based on nothing, but they can watch tape too. 

Oh and the penalties from moving on are different. As expected Clelin wasn't as good as Josh Allen. Unfortunately he was selected so high they couldn't move on from him despite Maxx Crosby hitting in the same draft.

That goes for every player too of course. 

Points: -1

#74 by Aaron Brooks G… // May 08, 2023 - 10:40am

Shouldn't be the most reassuring thing to hear that essentially the whole league passed on him multiple times. That means something. 

It means no one knows anything.

There are 13 HOF QBs (or locks to be HOF QBs) who were drafted after the 1st round, including Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Johnny U, Joe Montana, Fran Tarkenton, and Bart Starr. Warner and Moon weren't drafted at all.

Basically, there are more non-1st round QBs in the Hall than there are 1st round guys in the Hall. No one knows anything.

\Staubach and Starr were taken in rounds that don't exist anymore.

Points: 1

#76 by ImNewAroundThe… // May 08, 2023 - 12:43pm

You seriously can't be comparing 32 picks (or less like this year) to literally every other infinite mechanism to acquiring a QB.

Very disingenuous. Unsurprisingly the top QBs, Mahomes, Burrow, Herbert, Tua, Rodgers, Allen, Lamar, Watson, Lawrence, Kyler etc. are 1st round picks and Jake Fromm, Matt Corral, Malik Willis, Chris Oladokun, Bailey Zappe, Skylar Thompson, Mike White, etc. weren't. 

Points: -2

#77 by Aaron Brooks G… // May 08, 2023 - 2:06pm

Let's look at the rest of the top of the list.

Brady was a 6th rounder. Jimmy G, Geno, and Hurts were 2nds. Cousins and Dak were 4ths. Cousins wasn't even the first QB taken by his team in that year's draft.  

Most guys will suck. About half your hits will be from outside the 1st round.

Points: 1

#79 by guest from Europe // May 08, 2023 - 2:19pm

Theslothook wrote that a success of QB draft pick depending on draft slot number is a negative logarithmic curve: it falls down from top pick really fast and plateaus in late rounds. Studies were made on that. Success of #1 pick is about 45% in 21st century (by my counting). Other 1st round picks of QBs around 20%.

Points: 0

#81 by ImNewAroundThe… // May 08, 2023 - 2:36pm

There's no way you're still doing this. I mean, surely, you'd recognize your group pales in comparison.

Or realize Todd Husack, Spergon Wynn, Tee Martin, Chris Redman, Giovanni Carmazzi weren't as good as Chad Pennington. Or Garrett Gilbert, Tajh Boyd, Keith Wenning, David Fales, Zach Mettenberger, AJ Mccarron, Aaron Murray, Tom Savage, and Logan Thomas aren't as good as Bridgewater. Or Sean Renfree, BJ Daniels, Zac Dysert, Brad Sorensen, Landry Jones, Tyler Wilson, Ryan Nassib, Matt Barkley, and Mike Glennon have less wAV than EJ Manuel. Or no one is taking Nate Stanley, Tommy Stevens, Ben Dinucci, Cole Mcdonald, Jake Luton, James Morgan, or Jacob Eason over Jordan Love. Or that Chandler Harnish, BJ Coleman, Ryan Lindley, Nick Foles, and Brock Osweiler are unemployed while Ryan Tannehill isn't. Or why Brandon Doughty, Jeff Driskel, Brandon Allen, Jake Rudock, Nate Sudfeld, Kevin Hogan, Cardale Jones, Connor Cook, Cody Kessler, Jacoby Brissett and Christian Hackenberg couldn't make a Pro Bowl but Carson Wentz did. 

Just because you only look at college comp% doesn't mean others don't watch college tape and have an idea on what they're doing. 

Points: -3

#85 by Aaron Brooks G… // May 08, 2023 - 4:57pm

I kind of marvel at how you arrived at your position while observing that for the last 30 years the Packers haven't a had a QB who wasn't passed over by at least 23 teams.

What is it you think teams know? Whatever it is, you should tell the teams about it.

Points: 3

#86 by ImNewAroundThe… // May 08, 2023 - 5:42pm

Aaron Brooks marveling at someone not being obtuse with hit rates and trying to skew stats to garner a response. Unsurprising.

But yeah definitely comparable to surprise falls of lower magnitudes. No wonder a wide variety forming a consensus confuses you as you base your opinion of Anthony Richardson off of comp%.

I don't have to tell teams anything, the league already told you but you think it's completely random because Dak hit. As opposed to the countless others that didn't around him. Although I apparently have to tell yall to stop comparing 1 round sample size vs the infinite rest of the field. 

The things this board supports...

Points: -3

#93 by Rdm // May 09, 2023 - 5:02pm

I’d say Richardson leans more towards bust than viable starter.

Points: 0

#78 by guest from Europe // May 08, 2023 - 2:07pm

I don't understand do you agree with this pick of QB Hooker or not. In the other draft discussion you wrote he could be R. Wilson, see comment #33 and #43:

Lions are somewhat recognizing Goof (and Sudfeld aren't/) isn't it! Trying to break the purgatory that even Sean McVay got tired of, with a guy they can mold themselves. And if he isn't, so what, most aren't at the range but who knows, maybe he's Russ (oh sorry, I know the next rebuttal). 


Points: 1

#80 by ImNewAroundThe… // May 08, 2023 - 2:23pm

Come on man. Think a little more about it. It's not that hard to understand. Reread if you must. 

Points: -3

#82 by guest from Europe // May 08, 2023 - 4:18pm

You wrote that Hooker is a "Forward looking pick and worth the gamble" in #43 here. Also, that 

Pretty much every consensus board had Hooker higher than where he was drafted so it's not even a reach in a vacuum. 

That means you like that pick, doesn't it?

On the other hand, in this thread you are writing that "he was passed 67 times by the league and that tells us something". So, you are saying he isn't worth to be drafted in 1st round? But you still like it? Or not? You wrote that "maybe he is next Russ" and here have listed a lot of lower drafted QBs (like Hooker) who were just waste of draft picks.



Points: 2

#83 by ImNewAroundThe… // May 08, 2023 - 4:34pm

Come on man

And if he isn't, so what, most aren't at the range

Don't understand how you can't understand liking something but being realistic and knowing hit rates. Simply and truly don't understand how it's that complex. Think. 

Points: -3

#87 by guest from Europe // May 08, 2023 - 5:44pm

So, you like this pick. I don't understand where is your disagreement with what Aaron Brooks wrote here in comment #77: "most draft picks will suck". Some drafted in 1st round will be hits, some drafted later will be hits. Hit rates for 1st round QB picks which aren't No. 1 pick are below 20%. For later rounds less than that. That is what Aaron Brooks wrote using other words.

I don't have to think what you mean. You should explain your own thoughts. That would be polite.

Points: 0

#88 by ImNewAroundThe… // May 08, 2023 - 5:52pm

Probably because yall love being obtuse and playing gotcha

Shouldn't be the most reassuring thing to hear that essentially the whole league passed on him multiple times. That means something. 

It means no one knows anything.

False. They aren't blind hat draws and nowhere near what I meant or implied. He was reviewed each and every pick and they deemed him not worth. Yeah, it's not a good thing. And when the consensus outside agrees and doesn't blink at the "fall" it means they don't find it surprising because they watched his tape!

There are 13 HOF QBs (or locks to be HOF QBs) who were drafted after the 1st round, including Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Johnny U, Joe Montana, Fran Tarkenton, and Bart Starr. Warner and Moon weren't drafted at all.

Basically, there are more non-1st round QBs in the Hall than there are 1st round guys in the Hall. No one knows anything.

\Staubach and Starr were taken in rounds that don't exist anymore.

The dude compared ONE round of 32 (tops of 5 QBs throughout history) to the ENTIRE rest of the field where the rest of the draft consists of 222+ picks (more than 5 QBs) and literal infinite UDFAs. Seriously, that's what you're siding with.

Stop defending it and feigning ignorance for purposefully antagonistic rebuttals then tone policing when I literally bring up more evidence of how faulty it is. My words or the words of other entities like TDN.

Points: -1

#89 by guest from Europe // May 08, 2023 - 6:54pm

I am not siding with anyone. I asked you about your opinion, you wrote i should think and reread and so on. Now you are calling me obtuse. Your opinion seemed contradictory to me:

He was reviewed each and every pick and they deemed him not worth. Yeah, it's not a good thing. And when the consensus outside agrees 

This would mean this Hooker isn't a good prospect. Again, you compared him to R. Wilson. You really liked this pick in the other thread. In this thread it appears that you are realistic about this young player's chances and don't think he will succeed. That would be a waste of a 3rd round pick... 


 They aren't blind hat draws 

I agree with this.

The dude compared ONE round of 32 (tops of 5 QBs throughout history) to the ENTIRE rest of the field where the rest of the draft consists of 222+ picks (more than 5 QBs) and literal infinite UDFAs.

There are no infinite number of UDFA QBs. In this draft there were 3 QBs in the 1st round and 11 in other rounds. In 2021 5 in 1st round, 5 in other rounds, in 2020 4 out of 13 drafted in 1st round, in 2019 3 out of 11 in 1st round... etc. Most of these QB picks fail! Most of 1st round QBs fail. 1st rounders are better and way more coveted prospects that don't succeed that much. A month ago this #1 pick QB was worth more than A. Rodgers in a trade! Similarly, T. Lance got more picks in a trade than Rodgers. Consensus by the league, if you will. 

If you add the probabilties of success for 1st round QBs, you will get a higher number than if you add the probabilities for QBs drafted in lower rounds. That's why it was easy for you to list all those failures of QBs. Lower rounds any position of players will mostly fail! 

However, there are surprising number of successes for a coveted QB position in lower rounds. Aaron Brooks listed those. I don't understand why are you angry. You listed 10 good QBs drafted in 1st round, he listed 6 good ones drafted later and he acknowledged that the number of such successes is about half of your 1st rounders. He didn't even write Purdy.

Points: 0

#91 by ImNewAroundThe… // May 08, 2023 - 10:33pm

I am not siding with anyone. I asked you about your opinion, you wrote i should think and reread and so on. Now you are calling me obtuse. Your opinion seemed contradictory to me:

You're constantly getting confused or trying to play a petty game of gotcha. You can't marry any ideas it seems. You take things like RBSDM to the literal extreme. Annoying.

This would mean this Hooker isn't a good prospect. 

Only here would I be blasted for this yet when the league literally complains about ten 1st round grades every year, you let it pass and cant figure out how the quality of prospect and the probability of a gamble works in cohesion as ideas. Goodness.  

Again, you compared him to R. Wilson.

That's not his literal comp, geez. 

I agree with this.

Yet here you were bringing up the antagonistic Aaron as if that wasn't the point of my reply.

There are no infinite number of UDFA QBs.

Yet, again, taking things to the literal extreme. 

In this draft there were 3 QBs in the 1st round and 11 in other rounds. In 2021 5 in 1st round, 5 in other rounds, in 2020 4 out of 13 drafted in 1st round, in 2019 3 out of 11 in 1st round... etc. Most of these QB picks fail! Most of 1st round QBs fail. 1st rounders are better and way more coveted prospects that don't succeed that much. 

Click the hyperlink dude. 

However, there are surprising number of successes for a coveted QB position in lower rounds. Aaron Brooks listed those.

He listed those to be annoyingly obtuse to reinforce the stupid idea that "we dont know anything" as he blathers on about Richardson being bad. Geez.

. I don't understand why are you angry.

Because, AGAIN, you're constantly being obtuse and confused about what I say in separate areas, tallying them in a game of gotcha for likes. Not a slight hint of trying to piece things together yourself.

 and he acknowledged that the number of such successes is about half of your 1st rounders.

He didn't. Otherwise his original reply is even more worthless than intended. Because his WHOLE THING was predicated that we know nothing therefore you can pick anyone anywhere and that the league themselves are entirely stupid and that not selecting them doesn't matter and shows no signal. That's his entire schtick here. Being antagonistically obtuse for a reaction and likes. Yours is feigning ignorance because you think all my ideas are contradictory instead taking a second to think how they can work together. 

Points: -2

#92 by guest from Europe // May 09, 2023 - 3:50am

You can't know what i or anyone else thinks. I don't know what you think. You can only read some comment and have a conversation. I ask a question when i don't understand what somebody writes, i don't think what their idea is or isn't or might be.

 Yet you are the only one here putting labels on people you have never met. Here you are clashing with me and Aaron Brooks. In this thread you are clashing with Theo, BroncosGuy and LionInAz. When some Lions fan wrote something about G. Jennings with Packers, you literally responded that "he hates you" because you disagreed. Before you had a lot of clashes with Pat, once with Will Allen, you wrote that people here write racist comments about players etc. A common denominator in all of these is you. Only you.

I brought all these links just because you asked me to: to put links to your comments the first time you called me "weird".

For some reason when you don't agree with someone here, you clash with people and write in general that "these boards will never change" and "they don't bring anything of substance".

Believe it or not, i agree with you on many things: i agree about Rodgers, Jackson, Ramsey, Gilmore, D. Jones, older CBs that still play well... but when i ask you something you call me "ignorant", "obtuse" and a "difficult person". 

Why don't you write all these things to Packers' fans and Packers' GM who don't think like you about Rodgers and are happy to get rid of him? Tanier wrote for last few years many articles ridiculing Rodgers and Packers. Why didn't you put all these labels on him? For some reason you do this with Lions' fans.

The way you deliberately ridicule Goff naming him "Goof".


You are not dumb. You know much more than me about NFL. But this is no video game where player A is graded 91 points out of 100 and player B 87 points and thus player A must be better than player B and you see this somewhere and everyone must agree with you. Nobody has to know your thoughts. It's your responsibility to explain what you write.

Points: 2

#94 by Hoodie_Sleeves // May 11, 2023 - 9:53am

"You seriously can't be comparing 32 picks (or less like this year) to literally every other infinite mechanism to acquiring a QB."

Why not? 

The point here is that 1st round picks are supposed to be much more likely to succeed than later round picks, and while they are more likely, it's not nearly as much as the draft point/values or the analysts on TV seem to think. 

The 1.1 is more likely to be a starter, and more likely to be a all pro/HOF'er/etc  - but he's still more likely to fail than succeed. 

Points: 2

#49 by scraps // May 04, 2023 - 11:56am

That's nearly one-quarter of the league that convinced somebody they had earned a perfect grade.

A+ is not necessarily a perfect grade, i.e., 4.0.  Usually it's about 3.7 to 4.0.  


Points: 0

#50 by Eddo // May 04, 2023 - 1:30pm

I think the general practice in the states when calculating GPA - for schools that acknowledge pluses and minuses - is to add 0.3 for a plus and substract 0.3 for a minus.  So you'd wind up with:

A+: 4.3
A: 4.0
A-: 3.7
B+: 3.3
B: 3.0
B-: 2.7
C+: 2.3

Points: 1

#51 by paxrockatansky // May 04, 2023 - 3:02pm

Has FO ever done an evaluation of "safe" vs other ("bet on measurables") picks using the Approximate Value method?

With individual pick grades limited to the first round, you might be limited to that, but correlation amongst grades at the time could serve as a proxy for "safe" picks, vs "reaches".   All the discussion here made me think it might be interesting to know if safe picks are really that much safer, or if their range of outcomes is just as dispersed as picks viewed as riskier.

Points: 0

#63 by Pen // May 05, 2023 - 5:35am

I used wAV for a similar purpose just last week. I repost it here.

The Myth of Best Player Available.

No one can draft the ‘best player available”. That’s not a thing. When someone says they’re drafting the bpa, what they’re really saying is “I like this guy so much I’m drafting him instead of someone we actually need.” This was most famously done when Tim Ruskell drafted Aaron Curry at LBer, declaring him the “best player available.”

Which, of course, Curry was not.

But in all fairness, neither has any NFL player ever selected in the draft. Despite thousands of hours scouting and watching tape and Combines and Pro Days and awards, no one in the NFL knows if a player is the best player available, let alone if they are even the best player at their position.

And I can prove it.

Go to pro-football-reference.com and look up past drafts. Go back at least ten years so that most players drafted will have finished their careers. Order the players by weighted Average Value (wAV). This will tell you who all the best players were in the NFL that were drafted that year. If you go to 2012’s draft, Russell Wilson sits on top and Bobby Wagner is second. But check out as many drafts as you want. Do you notice something?

That’s seldom the #1 pick sitting atop that list. That’s seldom the #2 pick sitting at second. Some of the top ten guys each year were drafted 4th, 5th, even 7th round. Usually, only a couple of guys drafted top 10 actually ARE top ten players.

Let’s look at Ruskell’s last draft, the infamous Curry draft of 2009. We see the bpa and first overall pick actually were the same: Matt Stafford. He was the only top ten pick who actually was a top ten player. 20 teams didn’t realize Alex Mack was the next bpa. Every team in the NFL overlooked Julian Edelman until the seventh round. They didn’t realize that he was the 7th best player available. Only five of the ten best players available were first round picks.

Now let’s look at 2000. Cuz, why not? Mainly because I haven’t yet, so I’m about to go in blind.

Lol, I promise, it didn’t even dawn on me. Tom Brady was the bpa OF ALL TIME. He went in the 6th. This actually was a pretty good draft because of the top ten best players available, 7 were first round picks. Not bad. Not many picked in the top 10, but not bad. Seattle got the bpa remaining on the board when they took Alexander, but 18 other teams didn’t realize and passed on him.

Which gets me to my point: Nobody knows who is the bpa. BPA is not a thing. You might as well throw darts at a board. But not just any dart board. A special dart board.

One that has all the best PLAYERS available.

Because when you look at that list of highest wAV players, you notice that it is full of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round picks. Some 6th and 7th rd players peek through as well as a few other rounds, but it is mostly the top three rounds.

Throw a dart at a board full of top three round picks and you’ll likely do quite well in the draft. Nobody knows who the bpa is but all that scouting, tape, combines, etc. give teams a good idea of who the best playerS available (bp’sa) are.

Which means there is no excuse not to draft for need. You know who the bp’sa are at each position and you know what positions you have a need at. Rd’s 1 thru 3 should be used filling those positions with the bp’sa at each position.

Witherspoon may actually turn out to be the bpa. He’s nearly certain to be one of the bp’sa. But if you already have three of the bp’sa at CB, then you should draft one of the bp’sa at a position of need.

When Seattle first got it’s franchise, had they known who the bpa was – or had any NFL team been capable of drafting bpa, which nobody can do, by the time 1980 rolled around, this would have been some of the names on their team (noting that they can’t draft all the bpa’s, some get taken by other teams and they only have so many picks, so, for example, no Tony Dorsett for you):

Mike Haynes, Lester Hayes, Nolan Cromwell, Jackie Slater, Harry Carson, Steve Largent, Gary Fencik, Chuck Muncie, Stanley Morgan, Drew Hill, Joe Klecko, Rod Martin, Ozzie Newsome….and Joe Montana. And many more.

But drafting bpa isn’t really a thing.

Drafting from the bp’sa for need in the first three rounds is, however.

Let’s go back to that 2009 draft. If you order the draft by position something jumps out. Nearly all the bp’sa at each position are gone by the 3rd round. There are some busts in there, but not many, just as there are some gems to be found in later rds, but they are extremely rare.

If you’ve got a glaring hole and you don’t fill it by rd 3, you’re not going to.

You have a need for a run stopping DI? He better be picked by rd 3, the sooner, the better. You need a RB? People rail on Pete for his high picks, but if he’s going to get a RB, he has to pick one in the first three rounds.

Pete’s turned fifth round CBs into stars. It’s his superpower. Perhaps using pick 5 on the one position his team can actually get away with filling after round 3 was a waste of a pick that could have filled a positional need. Perhaps, however, Witherspoon is just that good.

But looking at this through the lens of bp’sa, not bpa, picking Mazi Smith at 5 may have looked outrageous to the ‘experts’, it would have been a great choice from a fill the team up with talent where we need it standpoint. Our pick at 20 was an excellent choice. We needed a slot WR. He was one of the bp’sa at that position.

Charbonett has as good a chance of being a quality RB pick as any and we needed a RB in case KW gets injured and just to take the load off of him.

In short, history says that with the exception of winning the crapshoot that is round 4 and beyond, teams really only get draft picks in the first three rounds. Everything else is camp fodder. So Seattle had 5 picks this year to find real talent.

Trading our 3rd for a fourth really sucks. Trading it for a fourth and next years third is a good deal if you really don’t like what’s left in the 3rd round this year and think next years class – the first to have missed covid class – will be better.

But boy, that pick of Witherspoon and buying into the myth of bpa really sticks out. While Pete believes in building from the back up, he could have flexed his superpower in the fifth. It would have been like having a sixth pick this year to find quality. then used that #5 pick to grab one of the bp’sa at a position of need.

Points: 0

#66 by dbostedo // May 05, 2023 - 12:54pm

I like that write-up, and I like the argument to draft early for need.

But I've never thought BPA was "the player we KNOW is the best available". I've always thought of BPA as "the player we're guessing is the best available", or "the player we think is the best available". I don't know that anyone would argue otherwise, so I feel like you have a bit of a straw-man setup, from my point of view. 


Points: 3

#67 by Joey-Harringto… // May 05, 2023 - 1:20pm

I'm going to remain bitter about the Seahawks taking Witherspoon, because all indications point to the Lions being in love with him (in a way they weren't in love with Gonzalez for some reason)...quintessential Dan Campbell guy, a pit bull, the defense version of Amon-Ra St. Brown.  Would have been a perfect fit. 

Some posters have commented that the Lions panicked when the Falcons picked Robinson, didn't have a plan B, then took Gibbs.  Part of me thinks it was Witherspoon going off the board, not Robinson, that induced them to reach for Gibbs (they traded out of #6 immediately after Seattle's pick was in).

This is not the first time the Seahawks have pipped the Lions: in 2000, Seattle picked Shaun Alexander at #19, and the Lions were stuck with Stockar McDougle at #20 (imagine Alexander being Barry's successor), and the very next year, the Seahawks picked Steve Hutchinson at #17, and the Lions picked his college teammate Jeff Backus at #18 as a consolation prize.

Points: 3

#95 by LionInAZ // May 13, 2023 - 12:42am

Hutchinson may be a Hall of Fame guard, but Backus was more than adequate at LT, despite what some might still think after Stafford's first shoulder injury. It was Julius Peppers, for Pete's sake!

Kevin Seifert at ESPN once reported that Backus was considered the best LT in the NFC North by NFCN execs. Probably a better pick given that the team became more focused on passing.

Points: 0

#62 by Pen // May 05, 2023 - 5:26am

I still chuckle at the Seahawks grades for 2011 and 2012, which history and wAV rankings make the greatest drafts in NFL history. 2011 ranked 32nd and 2012 ranked 30th with the admonition "Wilson will be lucky to be the next Seneca Wallace.


Points: 4

#64 by guest from Europe // May 05, 2023 - 6:41am

This is off topic: Napoli has just won the Italian football championship a month in advance. That city will burn the whole summer, if not longer, due to fierce partying (including with the dead on graveyards!). Here are some scenes from yesterday: https://twitter.com/i/status/1654220672799854592  This is on a stadium where no match is played! They just watch the away game on stadium screens.  

If anyone will go on a summer vacation to Europe, i recommend visiting Naples, Italy.

Points: 2

#70 by Stendhal1 // May 06, 2023 - 1:18am

I love the name for the Serie A championship that Napoli has won:  the Scudetto.

Even better is the name and design of the trophy for the Giro d’Italia winner.  Look it up, the trophy is an expanding gold spiral ribbon and the name of each year’s winner is added to the top of the ribbon.  The trophy is named Trofeo Senza Fine — Trophy Without End.  Very, very cool.  Italian style is real.

Points: 0

#72 by Theo // May 07, 2023 - 11:17am

"The Little Shield"

A badge of honor that the reigning champ may wear. 

Also, a star above it means 10 championships.

So Juventus wears 3 stars on their chest. 

And yes, Italian style is real. When entering an office or an airport, there is a 100% chance I can pick who the Italian is. 

Their mothers wont allow them to leave the house dressed like a slob. 

Points: 1

#73 by guest from Europe // May 07, 2023 - 12:38pm

There is a rivalry between French and Italians regarding style. French are more into classy design or extravagant houte couture, while Italians prefer shiny flair. French are more diverse, not to everyone's liking.

Points: 0

#75 by Aaron Brooks G… // May 08, 2023 - 10:42am

Their mothers wont allow them to leave the house dressed like a slob. 

Four words too many.

Points: 3

#96 by LionInAZ // May 13, 2023 - 12:47am

  ... I recommend visting Naples... 

Not during a garbage strike by the Camorra.

Points: 0

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