Wednesday, November 10, 2010

9 comments Reviewing Dr. Z's 2007 NFL Draft Grades

It's been a traumatic past couple of days. There is no TMQ this week and Joe Morgan will no longer be doing JoeChats with ESPN since they did not renew his contract. I decided to do something a little different that I have been wanting to do for a while. I am a loser. Not just in the "live in my mom's attic and don't have a full-time job" way either. I like to look over past NFL and NBA drafts and review not only how each team ended up doing, but how the "expert" did in reviewing the draft at the time. This is something I enjoy doing and now I am doing it publicly.

I ran into this Dr. Z draft recap on CNNSI.com from 2007 and have wanted to cover it for a while. I think three years is enough time to judge a draft and I don't think I have ever covered Dr. Z on this blog. What's interesting is that he didn't do so bad in his recap from this draft. Of course he had some big misses, but he also hit on a few points as well. I would like to do a recap of every draft for the past couple of years using different experts on each one, but I don't know if I will do that. That may be too tedious.

What's interesting about the 2007 draft is the 7th round compensatory selections starting at #243 and ending at #255 were really good values. Between those two spots teams got Jason Snelling, Kenneth Darby, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Chinedum Ndukwe. I would think that's better value than is normally found in 7th round compensation picks.

Anyway, Dr. Z did a pretty good job though I will point out where he was clearly wrong about certain selections. He gave an incomplete grade to the Patriots for the Randy Moss trade, which we know now was a bad choice in grading.

You will notice the generally low level of the grades for the 2007 draft. This does not reflect, I believe, the teams' drafting skill, just the overall level of talent. At one time you could find three or four genuinely exciting players on a team's list. Now there are many one-player drafts, and a few of those "one's" aren't even that scintillating.

I generally disapprove of starting with the "back in the day" talk about how good team's drafts used to be before expansion, but he's right in that teams generally get much higher grades than they actually deserve and those ranking the players generally overrate many of the selections.

One team receives no grade and that's the Patriots. Sorry, but I'm one of the few analysts who has not collapsed in a kind of delirium at the Randy Moss acquisition, but the hordes of TV folks who viewed this as a religious experience have more than counter-balanced my skepticism

Clearly, Dr. Z was completely wrong about this. I understand his skepticism, but giving up a 4th round pick for Moss ended up being brilliant...especially since the Patriots got a 3rd round pick back when they traded Moss to the Vikings. Essentially the Patriots bought Moss for X amount and then his value appreciated over the years and got more value back when they sold him.

Naturally, Dr. Z can't predict the future so he didn't know Moss would get a 3rd round pick for the Patriots in 2010, but the move of Moss from the Raiders to the Patriots was a great move for New England and Moss.

I'll believe it when I see it. Belichick's magic wand is now about to transform one of the NFL's biggest dogs into America's sweetheart. Oh, I know the argument. The Raiders stunk, therefore Randy wasn't happy, therefore why should he give it much effort?

That's pretty much exactly what happened. I understand Dr. Z's skepticism, but Moss was a proven wide receiver who wasn't happy in Oakland, so he seems to have quit in Oakland or "played when he wanted to play," and he could go back to being his productive self once he was happy again. Of course this is complete second-guessing, but Moss admitted to quitting on the field before, so logically he could have done this exact thing in Oakland when he was unhappy.

Dillon never quit in games, walked off the field before a contest was over and admitted that he played hard only when he felt like it. If I'm wrong and New England cakewalks into the Super Bowl on Brady to Moss fireworks, OK, I'll be the first to tell you.

2007 statistics for Moss: 98 receptions, 1493 yards and 23 TDs.
2007 statistics for Brady: 68.9 completion percentage, 4806 yards, 50 TDs/8 Ints.

The Patriots went 18-1. They seem to have walked into the Super Bowl based partly on Brady to Moss fireworks.

I couldn't find anything on the Internet about Dr. Z saying he was wrong about the Patriots, so I am not sure lived up to his end of this deal. He did say the Patriots would lose in the Super Bowl to the Giants, which ended up happening.

BROWNS -- A


Ah, the never-ending mysteries of draft day. They get both Brady Quinn and the draft's most highly regarded blocker, tackle Joe Thomas.

Only one thing can dull the euphoria that Browns fans are feeling at this moment, and that is if Quinn turns out to be, as some have predicted, not a franchise player but a meticulously schooled system QB with a tendency toward occasional wildness.

Unfortunately, this ended up coming true. I used to believe Quinn never got a chance, but then I started thinking there may be a reason he hasn't gotten a chance. Though on a bright note, the Browns did get draft picks and Peyton Hillis in return for Quinn going to the Broncos. Also, Joe Thomas was the best blocker in this draft, so that's another positive for Cleveland.

RAIDERS -- B+


If you believe JaMarcus Russell is that good, then your grade must reflect it

Huuuuuuge miss here by Dr. Z. Russell is probably one of the biggest busts in the history of the NFL draft, at least in regard to quarterbacks. In a draft when a team has 11 selections and the #1 selection, I think you should grade the draft beyond what you think about the #1 selection. This draft grade was way too high.

the rest of their board is saturation bombing, with 11 picks.

Pretty terrible draft for the Raiders and only Zach Miller, Johnnie Lee Higgins and Michael Bush have contributed to the team. Of course that is better than other teams did in this draft (coughing) The Seahawks.

JETS -- B+


They landed Darrelle Revis, the closest thing to a shutdown corner the draft had to offer

He is a shutdown corner, possibly the best corner in the NFL right now. Some players move up the draft board for no reason or for bad reasons (see: Mamula, Mike), while other players move up the board because they should, like Revis. Knowing the difference is what makes the draft so frustrating.

CARDINALS -- B+


It all hinges on second round choice Alan Branch, a DT with rare talent that sometimes comes out of the kitchen medium rare.

If it hinges on Alan Branch then this wasn't a good draft at all. Branch is currently a backup DT for the Cardinals. He was projected to go higher than the 2nd round, so it seemed like a steal at the time.

Undersized, explosive Buster Davis will be a fine NFL middle backer, and fifth rounder,

Davis currently plays for the Hartford Colonials and never played a game for the Cardinals.

WR Steve Breaston, could be a steal as a returner. And way down in the mines, where the sun never shines, we find TE Ben Patrick standing next to the marker that says Round No. 7. Hey, what's he doing down here? He was rated top three at the position.

Breaston was a steal for the Cardinals and Patrick is a decent tight end, especially for being drafted in the 7th round, so Dr. Z got both of these right.

FALCONS -- B+


DEs who go 6-5 1/2. 288 and can rush the passer, as top draft Jamaal Anderson can, are a rare breed.

It's nice that Anderson looked like a rare breed, but he turned out to be a pretty disappointing selection for the Falcons. He is one of those guys that looked like a football player, but really isn't. The Falcons have drafted over him already.

No. 2 pick, G Justin Blalock (40 reps on the bench press) is the kind of guy you want around if your car goes in a ditch.

I am guessing this is an endorsement of Blalock. He was a good pick, though I am not sure he could actually lift up a car out of a ditch.

Pure, blazing speed mark their next two picks, CB Chris Houston, a first rounder who somehow dropped to round No. 2,

Possibly because he isn't a great cornerback and certainly isn't deserving of being a 2nd round pick or a 1st round pick.

COLTS -- B/B+

It seems that they always draft for defense, and it's the offense that keeps getting better.

There's a reason for this. The Colts are just really good at drafting for offense, except for 2007 of course. They had drafted Wayne, Addai, and Dallas Clark over the last couple of years before the 2007 draft. What's weird about the perception the Colts draft defense is that there is also a perception the Colts use a lot of undrafted free agents and lowly drafted players on defense, while their offense is where the higher paid players on the team are seen as playing.

I'm talking about Anthony Gonzalez, the superb wideout whose intelligence and quick cutting ability will fit him very neatly into the Brandon Stokley third-wideout role.

Assuming he could stay healthy and then beat out other receivers for the third-wideout role, which he couldn't do. Gonzalez seemed like a good fit, but then Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie took his role while he was injured.

Here's a sleeper, 230-pound, fifth-round wideout Roy Hall, who could work his way into the H-Back rotation.

Roy Hall didn't do much for the Colts, but Clint Session was drafted 33 spots earlier and I hear he is a pretty good linebacker for the Colts.

PANTHERS -- B


WR Dwayne Jarrett, their second rounder, was projected to be a low first. Lots of catches, limited speed, but that's OK, he'll get his share of grabs in the Carolina system.

The only grabs he got in the Carolina system was two grabs by the Charlotte police department for two DUI's, including the second one which ended his career with the Panthers and began jokes like, "Jarrett said it wasn't his fault he drank too much at the bar, he just couldn't get separation from the bartender," and "the police were originally going to let Jarrett off with a warning but when they tossed his keys back to him in order for him to drive away he dropped them fearing it was a football."

He had one touchdown in his entire career in Carolina. No one likes him.

And Ryan Kalil is a polished and battle-tested center, much better than low in the second, which was where Carolina found him.

Kalil is an excellent center, so Dr. Z was right about this, and if the Panthers ever find enough money in the couch cushions perhaps they will re-sign him.

BUCCANEERS -- B


The Bucs can't function without a pass rush, which made Gaines Adams, the highest regarded rush-end, a sensible pick for them.

Adams was a huge disappointment for the Buccaneers until they traded him to the Bears. He died an early death, so while Peter King would call him a "bust" I am not going to go that far. He didn't live up to the expectations of the #4 overall pick.

I don't know why, but I'm getting really strong vibes about a couple of defenders with great agility and athleticism, safety Sabby Piscitelli, and LB Quincy Black, who covered the 40 in 4.4.

Great call by Dr. Z.

Quincy Black is becoming a really good player in Tampa and he was a great pick in the 3rd round. From what I have seen from Black he is improving every year. Sabby Piscitelli really wasn't worth a 2nd round pick but he's a decent backup.

STEELERS -- B-


Mike Tomlin's draft just about told us that his team will be defense-oriented, which translates to LBs, which translates to the first two picks, Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley, who will be like a jolt of electricity in that defense.

Both are quality linebackers for the Steelers. Good call by the Steelers and Dr. Z. Though I do have to say anytime the Steelers draft a linebacker it seems like that guy becomes pretty good.

Just to show how serious they are about ball control, the Steelers actually traded up to get punter Daniel Sepulveda, a two-year Ray Guy Award winner and a left-footer who they say puts weird spin on the ball. What the heck, let's call it a B- for two LBs and a weird spin, why not?

It's good to see Dr. Z is using good analysis to come up with his grades. Normally a person grading would compare how he feels about these players taken and grade based on that, but Dr. Z is old school and uses whether a team traded up for a punter.

RAVENS -- B-


This was a low grade for the Ravens. This is an "A" draft.

They need fortification on the offensive line, so they go high for a pair of guys as earthy as their names -- Grubbs and Yanda. Ben Grubbs is the best guard, Marshal Yanda is a towering figure well schooled in the Iowa system.

What Dr. Z fails to point out is that the Ravens got Jared Gaither as a supplemental pick as well. So three of their starting offensive linemen for the current team were taken in this draft. But that's not all folks...

so for the exotic section of the menu the Ravens can offer the fastest man at the combine workouts, WR Yamon Figurs (4.30) and one of the more intriguing figures on the board for almost two full days, Troy Smith, the Heisman QB.

Figurs was the biggest disappointment in the draft for the Ravens, while Smith is a reliable backup quarterback and the Ravens also got two-time Pro Bowl fullback Le'Ron McClain in the 4th round. Giving them a "B-" is way off. The Ravens essentially took care of their running game and offensive line with this draft.

DOLPHINS -- B-


This was a terrible draft for the Dolphins. What makes it worse is they traded Wes Welker in the offseason...to their division rival the Patriots. This draft was probably Dr. Z's biggest miss in 2007 for reasons you will see momentarily.

They lose their premier return man, Wes Welker, to the Patriots, so they need a returner, and Ted Ginn, Jr.'s application has been accepted. My point is that if they'd have held onto Welker in the first place, they wouldn't have needed a return man, but I'm sure that kind of simplistic logic can be shot full of holes.

Not really, it is great logic and makes a ton of sense to me. Ginn Jr. was essentially a great return man who needed some time to contribute at the wide receiver position. Why not just keep Welker and take another player?

But if what I think could happen actually happens, then this will be a terrific draft, much more serious than its listed grade. I'm looking at a two-word possibility. John Beck.

That sound you heard was Dr. Z swinging and missing completely on this. It only gets worse, because he LOVES John Beck. There must be something about mid-20 year old quarterbacks that really excites Dr. Z. I bet he liked Chris Weinke also.

Quarterback. Gym rat, competitor, Jeff Garcia type with a better arm.

Even knowing what Terrell Owens has said about Garcia's sexuality in the past, this is the meanest and most cruel thing to ever be said about Garcia. John Beck isn't like Jeff Garcia. Let's be fair to Jeff Garcia. John Beck is a poor man's terrible excuse for a poor man's Jeff Garcia. I am sure Beck is a nice guy, but at the age of 25 a player can't come in and be a developmental quarterback, which is what the Dolphins ended up realizing he was.

So if he's so great, why'd he last until a quarter of the way down the second round? Beats me.

Perhaps because he isn't that great.

BILLS -- B-


They're in the recycling business. They had a perfectly fine little running back, Travis Henry, and they recycled him for Willis McGahee. McGahee was doing well, and then they recycled him for the current top draft, Marshawn Lynch. Who knows? Maybe somewhere in some high school in West Virginia there's this big kid just waiting to ... you know.

This is hilarious because the Bills are still doing this. They drafted another running back this year to replace Marshawn Lynch...and Lynch wasn't even the best running back on the roster last year, that was Fred Jackson. CJ Spiller isn't from West Virginia though.

You can keep drafting this way. It's called marking time,

And it is still happening. Dr. Z is like a sage regarding the Bills. The Bills still seem to be marking time.

But the trade-up for LB Paul Posluszny makes some kind of sense, and the third-round choice, strong-armed QB Trent Edwards, is intriguing, although I can't understand what kind of competition they're trying to set up between he and J.P. Losman.

They probably forgot Losman was on the roster or thought they had cut him earlier before the draft.

GIANTS -- B-


Better than what they had. Ditto for No. 2 draft, WR Steve Smith, who has been highly productive in big time college competition. Jay Alford is a scrappy DT, Kevin Boss will be a better back-up TE for Jeremy Shockey than what they had, and with Shockey's injury history, it's a necessity.

Dr. Z is on a bit of a roll here. Smith, Alford, and Boss are all productive players for the Giants.

PACKERS -- C+


Honest, I heard this byplay on the NFL Network (I was at the draft, but I had a head set), when the Pack took a DT, Justin Harrell, in the first round. "How is this gonna help Brett Favre?" "Well, if it helps the defense, it'll carry over to the offense." Maybe that wasn't the exact wording, but it was very close. So does the shadow of No. 4 hang over the entire operation?

Um yes, nearly everything the Packers did at that time was built around pleasing Brett Favre. This was the year Favre threw a hissy fit because the Packers didn't get in the Randy Moss sweepstakes. No word on whether Moss would have stopped Favre from throwing an interception in overtime during the 2007 NFC Championship game or not.

Also, Justin Harrell was a bad pick. Any injuries he's had aside, he still wasn't a great pick.

RB Brandon Jackson and WR James Jones. The guy who intrigues me, though is David Clowney, a fifth-round flier, and one thing Brett still can do is gun it deep.

Jackson is a backup running back, Jones is a decent receiver and David Clowney can't start over two rookie wide receivers on a 1-7 team.

JAGUARS -- C


I understand that they were locked into the first pick, FS Reggie Nelson, a deep centerfield type, to make up for the loss of Deon Grant, but the rest of their swollen 11-man draft seems to reflect more finesse and less muscle.

Reggie Nelson is now a backup in Cincinnati and the only players from the Jaguars draft that have made an impact are Mike Walker, Uche Nwaneri and Justin Durant. Not a good draft.

That's OK, I guess, and I kind of have a soft spot for DT Derek Landri, a hard-driving type who they say dropped so low because his arms are too short.

Landri is now a solid player for a 1-7 team with a fairly good defense, so Dr. Z was right about him. Of course Jacksonville waived him in 2009.

BENGALS -- C


Top draft Leon Hall was rated as the best corner on the board until the Revis meteor took off.

Leon Hall is still the second-best cornerback out of this draft to Darrelle Revis.

Kenny Irons is a fast, productive back.

No, he isn't. He was injured his first year in Cincinnati and then was waived the next season. Chinedum Ndukwe was a great selection though. I wish Dr. Z had mentioned him. For those two players I think the Bengals deserve the grade Dr. Z gave them. They took care of half of their current secondary with this draft.

SEAHAWKS -- C-


I guess, to be fair, you have to count Deion Branch as part of this draft, since the No. 1 draft choice went for him, but I'd be more kindly disposed if his career showed a bit more life with the Hawks than 56th best among NFL receivers.

Yet again, the Patriots clearly got the better of a deal with another team. Deion Branch's career didn't show too much more life with the Seahawks.

And don't forget that last year's No. 1 Seattle receiver, Darrell Jackson, went to San Francisco for a fourth-round draft, Mansfield Wrotto, a guard from Georgia Tech.

Trading Darrell Jackson wasn't the problem, it was drafting no players of significance in this draft. Josh Wilson is the best pick out of all 8 choices the Seahawks had. This grade should have been an "F."

TEXANS -- D+


When will they learn? They've already ridden David Carr out of town in a sackmobile, and I guess now it's time to start working on Matt Schaub. They simply will not address their offensive line, unless you call a couple of guards at five and six addressing it.

This did not address the need at tackle the Texans had. In fact, Schaub only played in 11 games this season, though he was only sacked 16 times. The Texans did eventually address that need at tackle with Duane Brown.

OK, top draft Amobi Okoye is an intriguing defensive tackle, and Jacoby Jones is a wideout who'll contribute something to the passing game.

Okoye has been a disappointment so far in his career, though he is only 23 years old now. Jones is a good wideout, so Dr. Z was right about that. He didn't mention Zac Diles in the 7th round and he has turned out to be a good LB for the Texans. I would probably give this Texans draft a bit higher grade than "D+."

EAGLES -- D


The first-round pick went to Dallas so the Boys could bring Spencer in to hunt down McNabb. Now they're at F and have to work their way up. Second-round draft, QB Kevin Kolb, schooled in a passing system, is not supposed to take McNabb's job away, but maybe they figure this is injury protection. OK, now they're up to D-. Seven more picks, none of whom thrill me, lifts it the other half a point.

That's how Dr. Z got his grade for the Eagles. He completely misses on Stewart Bradley and Brent Celek, both of which are quality starting NFL players. Kevin Kolb is at the minimum a good backup in the NFL. This "D" grade is a bit harsh for a team that got two starters out of the draft.

Dr. Z was really worked up about the trade that sent Anthony Spencer to the Cowboys. He mentioned it under his Cowboys and Eagles draft summary.

BEARS -- D


Unfortunately, I don't find anything in a rather humdrum draft that intrigues me until the fifth round; Kevin Payne, a sleeper, a versatile strong or free safety, and this addresses a real need since Mike Brown seems to be hurt so often now.

The irony of this statement by Dr. Z is that Payne was injured two of the three seasons he played for the Bears.

BRONCOS -- D-


They traded up and even gave away a No. 3 next year to get DT Marcus Thomas, and this is a guy who ... let's see, I've used "has character issues" already. How about, "carries heavy baggage?" Kicked off his Florida team not once, but twice -- a problem child to be sure.

On March 1, 2008 he was charged with cocaine possession. That's the extent of his biography under "NFL" on his wikipedia page. He still plays for the Broncos so that's a plus. To make matters a little worse, I think the 3rd round pick in 2008 that was traded to get Thomas turned into Jamaal Charles. The Broncos probably wouldn't mind having Charles right now.

Yeah, Thomas can play all right, and so can speed rusher Jarvis Moss, the No. 1 draft. He was only suspended once. Hardly even worth mentioning.

Moss was a bust for the Broncos. The Broncos did draft Ryan Harris in 2007 and that turned out to be an excellent pick. It seems that Mike Shanahan is good at drafting tackles, but he hasn't been too successful on defense of late.

So that's it, the lowest grade Dr. Z gave was a "D-" and he could have given a couple of "F's" probably. TMQ will be back next week. Hopefully Gregg Easterbrook will have two weeks of idiotic NFL talk to annoy us with.

9 comments:

rich said...

GIANTS -- B-

Better than what they had. Ditto for No. 2 draft, WR Steve Smith, who has been highly productive in big time college competition. Jay Alford is a scrappy DT, Kevin Boss will be a better back-up TE for Jeremy Shockey than what they had, and with Shockey's injury history, it's a necessity.


Every player the Giants drafted played that year. Considering they won the SB... I think a B- is a tad low.

Ross is a serviceable third string DB, while Boss is a solid, if unspectacular, TE. The Giants also drafted Ahmad Bradshaw in the seventh round.

Adam Koets was drafted in the later rounds and has been the starting center with O'Hara out.

So out of that draft they have four current starters (Koets, Smith, Bradshaw, Boss) and two players who at one point were starters (Johnson and Ross).

Add in Alford, a decent backup, and DeOssie, their long snapper, and I think a B- is way off.

ivn said...

Josh Wilson is the best pick out of all 8 choices the Seahawks had.

Brandon Mebane on line 2, BGF. he sounds upset.

Mansfield Wrotto is also probably the best Liberian-born player in the history of the NFL, so there's that.

rich -

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I think a B- is too low as well. I mentioned Bradshaw in the beginning but forgot to bring him up when I talked about the Giants. It was a pretty good draft for the Giants, I would give it an A-, simply because it was so deep. They did pretty well in the draft in 2007 didn't they? I remember Boss came up big in the playoffs too.

Ivn, whoops. I missed Mebane's name. If I do this for another year I have to be more careful not to skip decent players. Mebane should be mad at me and I will answer the phone and apologize to him. I had forgotten the name Mansfield Wrotto...

It's funny because I had forgotten how much WR turnover the Seahawks had that year, bringing in Branch and getting rid of Jackson.

Fred Trigger said...

I dont think Dr. Z admitted to being wrong about the moss trade because he suffered a stroke before he could....I think, could be wrong.

Ironically, Peter King used to do the same thing you just did, only he did it five years after the fact. I believe the last one he did was in 2006. Wonder why he stopped?

Bengoodfella said...

Fred, I checked that out but he didn't suffer the stroke until the next fall. Dr. Z was able to make a prediction on the Super Bowl in 2008. I didn't want to be insensitive but he had not suffered the stroke yet when the season was over.

I don't know why Peter King stopped. I enjoyed doing it and very well may do it again. If I could ever get Mel Kiper's grades I would love to do those.

Cory said...

It is a shame that Zimmerman has not been able to recover from his strokes (he has had multiple strokes since 2008 according to Peter King). He cannot walk or talk. I particularly enjoyed his annual TV commentator awards, although I rarely agreed with them.

I totally forgot that there was no TMQ this week. With that I think the idea of this post is interesting, just to see how right the prognosticators were.

Bengoodfella said...

I read a lot of Dr. Z's stuff. He was more of an "old-school" type writer, like he used a typewriter for the longest time. Maybe there's something retro about that or the fact he embraced how old he acted in relation to his job, but I didn't hate him.

I hated to hear he had several strokes as well. He's probably never going to write again would be my assumption, at least not for CNNSI.com.

Thanks, I'm glad you liked the idea of the post. I want to do a Mel Kiper Jr. post at some point as well, but a lot of his stuff is ESPN Insider.

Seanito said...

Did Dr. Z simply forget to rate the Chargers' draft? Or did you leave it out somehow?

Bengoodfella said...

Seanito, I did leave it out for space reasons. I left out some team's drafts, which I won't do next time. He didn't say much about the Chargers draft, but he did like Eric Weddle, which was a pretty good call.

I thought about this after it had posted, but I should have probably covered every team that he gave a grade for.