I don’t know who came up with the idea to assign grades to the NFL Draft the day after it was over. Presumably, he/she did not realize what a scourge would be released upon the sporting public when everyone glommed onto that format and made that “analysis” seemingly mandatory for the day after the Draft. In addition to the format having become its own cliché, there are two other fundamental problems with such things:
- Perhaps as many as half of the first-round picks will be severe disappointments let alone players taken later. The problem here is that we will not recognize that for about two seasons. Assigning grades now presumes the ability to see into the future to make such determinations – – but if one could do that, there would never be any draft busts.
- With all due respect to the myriad authors of these pieces, how many of them can honestly say they have watched the 100 or so players taken in rounds 5 through 7 play football? If you have not done that, what might be the basis for grading a team’s Draft at this point?
I think these two limitations are reflected in the Draft Grade Column that appeared in the Washington Post yesterday. Here is the grade distribution for the 32 teams:
- Three teams got an A or an A-minus.
- One team got a D.
- Twenty-eight teams got grades from C-minus to B +
I shall not be awarding grades here, but I do want to comment on the Draft and the coverage of the Draft. Remembering the reality that plenty of players taken in this year’s Draft will be mediocre at best as an NFL player, I thought it was interesting to hear the ESPN and NFLN draft analysts lavish praise on virtually every pick. It was somewhere in the sixth round on Saturday when I returned to the TV having poured myself a glass of wine and heard one of the analysts off-screen describe one of the picks by saying that the Colts had gotten themselves “a real player here”. That must be good news in Indy because it would have been embarrassing for the Colts to have drafted a figment of their imaginations. Sigh…
I liked the format of this Draft a lot; in fact, I like it better than the format where they hold the draft in the presence of several hundred thousand mouthbreathers. Moreover, the home shots of players and families reacting to Draft news was infinitely better than having a reporter assigned to stick a microphone in front of a player and ask, “So, how does it feel to be a (fill in the blank)?” Occasionally, they might mix in something like, “So, growing up in Asshat AK, did you ever think you would be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft?” I much prefer to see the player/family reactions and to skip the stupid interview questions.
When Alan Greenspan was the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, he once warned investors not to succumb to “irrational exuberance”. That malady finds its way into NFL Drafts too. Lamar Jackson compared the Ravens’ first round pick – – Patrick Queen – – to Ray Lewis. Jackson dubbed Queen as “Ray Lewis, Jr.”
I have some observations regarding the Draft to present here. Please do not expect depth of insight or anything remotely like that:
- Browns: They signed an undrafted free agent, AJ Green who is a DB. If he makes the team, it is possible that AJ Green (Browns) might wind up covering AJ Green (Bengals) twice a year.
- Chiefs: They probably wanted to have a rhyming theme to this year’s draft because two of their draftees have first names of L’Jarius and Thakarius.
- Eagles: They must have been trying to corner the market on players named Jalen. They took two of them in the first two rounds and they have Jalen Mills already on the roster.
- Eagles: They drafted a linebacker from Temple named Shaun Bradley. They have to hope this works out better than the last time a Philly team took a player named Shawn Bradley…
- Eagles: They drafted Prince Tega Wanogho in Round 6 and signed Prince Smith as an undrafted free agent. Remember, this is the team that also had King Hill as a backup QB for about 6 years in the 1960s.
- Eagles: They need WRs. They drafted 3 of them and traded for a fourth.
- Giants: They need offensive linemen. They drafted 3 of them last weekend.
- Rams: The Eagles drafted two players named Jalen; the Rams drafted two players named Terrell.
- Panthers: They gave up 29.4 points per game last year; only the Dolphins allowed more points scored for the season. In this year’s Draft, the Panthers had 7 picks and took 6 defensive players.
- Vikings: Somehow, they amassed 15 picks in this Draft.
Finally, Greg Cote of the Miami Herald had this observation about a form of Draft coverage that I missed:
“Showtime has ex-NFL QB Mark Sanchez in a new digital series talking with top quarterbacks in this draft. Wait a second. Isn’t that like putting top thespians in an acting roundtable hosted by Adam Sandler?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………