Tuesday, May 31, 2011

6 comments Grading Mel Kiper's 2004 NFL Draft Grades

Back in December I reviewed Mel Kiper's 2001 NFL Draft grades. It got rave reviews and even inspired an anonymous commenter to gush the following over what I had written,

"youre the biggest idiot i've ever read. nice website, moron"
After much deliberation, we have decided we will NOT use that quote as our mission statement for this blog, but I did personally decide I will have to do another NFL Draft re-grade. I have already done the 2001 draft with Mel Kiper and the 2007 draft with Dr. Z. For fear of having some sense of organization to this process, I figured I would go ahead and review Mel Kiper's 2004 NFL Draft grades.

It is harder to get Mel Kiper's grades since ESPN tends to hide them behind the Insider content. After all, paid-for content is best set up for things like NFL Draft grades since they contain very little fact, rely only on opinion and are generally very inaccurate even two years later. This type of inaccurate and unreliable content should NEVER be free. So here is Mel's draft grades, let's see how he did. At least this time he varies his grades a little and doesn't give the same grade to teams over and over.

Arizona Cardinals: B

Larry Fitzgerald obviously is a great pick and Karlos Dansby is a nice fit for their system as a pure pass rusher. Darnell Dockett is a first-round talent if he stays focused, while Alex Stepanovich is a backup type on the offensive line and Antonio Smith could turn out to be a nice fifth-rounder.

I am quick to criticize, but Mel Kiper seems to have gotten this draft exactly correct. In fact, the criticism I would have is he should bump this grade up to an "A." The Cardinals had seven picks and got four starters out of those picks.

Atlanta Falcons: A

DeAngelo Hall is a potential shutdown corner and a dynamic punt returner, and I like where the Falcons were able to get Michael Jenkins and Matt Schaub. Jenkins gives Michael Vick another big target and Schaub is a nice insurance policy should Vick get injured scrambling around.

I don't know about an "A" for this draft. The Falcons got Hall, who played well for them but didn't really make an impact, Jenkins was a bit of a disappointment where he was drafted, and Demorrio Williams did play well for a period as well. So they got decent players, but not players who made an impact. An "A" for this draft is a bit high, though the choice of Matt Schaub did turn into two 2nd round picks, one of which was Justin Blalock. Overall, Mel's first two grades weren't bad.

Baltimore Ravens: B

Dwan Edwards and Roderick Green will be perfect for the Ravens' 3-4 system,

They did a perfect job of not making an impact at all really with the Ravens.

and Devard Darling has good size and athletic ability at wide receiver.

Good size? Check. Athletic ability? Check. Actual production at the wide receiver position? Not so much.

and Baltimore got the most of its other late round picks.

Whatever this means, Clarence Moore and Brian Rimpf made a very small impact on the Ravens team. Considering the Ravens got so very little out of this draft, I would say a "B" is a bit too high. How about a "D-" being more appropriate?

Buffalo Bills: C+

Lee Evans will be a big help to the offense with his speed at receiver, and it was a bold move to take J.P. Losman at quarterback.

I'm not exactly sure why taking J.P. Losman was a bold move since he was taken at #22 and was a second-round projected quarterback. Maybe the move up to get him was bold since the Bills traded a second-round pick and their first-round pick the next year (which turned into Marcus Spears) to get him.

Tim Anderson was a good pick in the third round but Tim Euhus is limited as a tight end.

Euhus is "limited as a tight end?" At what position would he not be limited at? I'm just wondering about the syntax of this sentence since Euhus was drafted as a tight end. Possibly he would be better at another position?

I think a "C+" is too kind for this draft in retrospect. There are only two players out of the Bills' draft I can even remember and one of them was J.P. Losman, who didn't perform up to expectations in the NFL.

Carolina Panthers: C+

Chris Gamble is a raw corner but could become a great player,
Which is something a team would certainly hope for a player they select in the first round. Unless it is Tim Euhus of course. He's limited at the position he was drafted to play.

and I like where they got Keary Colbert and Travelle Wharton.

This worked out well, except for the fact Keary Colbert wasn't a good football player. Wharton is now a starter for Carolina.

Drew Carter can stay on the shelf for a year and recover from injury.

Why would Carter want to recover from injury when he can play in June minicamps and blow the same knee out again? Carter blew his knee out and had surgery approximately 42 times in his NFL careers.

So far I have covered 5 teams and Mel has given two C+'s, two B's, and an A. If form holds these will be the only grades he hands out. Whoops, did I just spoil the next grade?

Chicago Bears: A

Tommie Harris and Tank Johnson are ideal for Lovie Smith's defense, while Bernard Berrian gives them a guy with nice return skills.

Yet again, Mel Kiper in his extreme happiness and positivity (does it seem like he was very positive writing these grades to you? It does to me) got this draft right. I don't know if an "A" was the right grade, but it is pretty close. Tank Johnson was a troublemaker, but he was talented and Tommie Harris had a huge impact on the Bears defense.

Nathan Vasher could contribute as a fourth defensive back

Or he could end up being a starter shortly into the season. You know, whatever.

Cincinnati Bengals: A

I was a little critical of their selection of Chris Perry, but the Bengals will get a nice second option to go behind Rudi Johnson.

What do you know? Another "A" grade! It's almost like Kiper's grades follow a trend of some sort.

I like how Mel says he was critical of the selection of Chris Perry, which was the Bengals first round selection, but then says he will make a good backup behind Rudi Johnson. I'm confused. So does Mel like the selection or not? Is he critical of the selection or does he like the selection? Isn't it possible he wants it both ways? So he's fine with the Bengals drafting (even at the time) what amounted to a backup running back in the first round?

Kieran Ratliff is a big-play corner while Madieu Williams made sense at the safety spot.

Mel's possible "make sense" criteria for Williams:

1. Is the athlete alive and breathing?
2. Does the athlete play the safety position?

I guess it makes sense to draft a living human being who has played safety in college to play safety in the NFL.

Stacy Andrews is a project at tackle who could pay dividends in two years.

Good call. This happened.

I like what Marvin Lewis did to help his defense.

I like how Mel Kiper gave the Bengals draft an "A" when he didn't like their first round pick that didn't fit a need at the time. I also like how he didn't mention Robert Geathers, who was drafted in the fourth round and became a productive player. It's a bit optimistic and overly-positive to give a draft where the person grading doesn't like the first round pick that team made.

Cleveland Browns: B

Kellen Winslow is ideal for the offense of the Browns and will give Jeff Garcia a nice target over the middle, while Sean Jones and Luke McCown were nice value picks.

The only NFL players that came from this draft were these three players. I wouldn't say this draft deserves a "B" in retrospect. Since Mel seems only capable of giving an "A," "B," or "C+," as a grade, the the grade I would give this draft, a "C" or "C-" probably isn't possible for him.


mconstant42 said...

What's interesting to me here is that when firejoemorgan used to talk about Mel Kiper's draft grades, their main criticism was how he only gave Bs and Cs. I wonder if he got criticized for giving too many As (Three here in eight teams) and it made him wary about giving As. In three years at FJM he gave one A.

Bengoodfella said...

I had forgotten FJM covered Kiper on occasion. When I did Kiper's 2001 draft grades, he gave 23 variations of the grade "B" in that draft. So he clearly loved to give out "B's" in a draft prior to 2004. It is possible he got criticized for that and then started to give out "A's" for a brief period of time.

I'm not sure, but he was very positive during the 2004 NFL Draft. I think, based on the FJM post and the 2001 draft grades I did this was an outlier of a year.

rich said...

Well giving out B's is kind of a cop out. Giving a team an A can blow up in your face if some players don't pan out. Giving a team a C can blow up in your face if some players do pan out. Giving them a B? Eh, you're kind of just giving up on actually trying to say anything substantive at that point.

Cincinnati I remember laughing at the Perry pick. For some reason. I know he did all this "great" stuff at UM, but ever since I watched Ron Dayne completely suck in the NFL I've pretty much lost all faith in any Big 10 running back.

Then again, outside of Jackson and Turner, no RB drafted that year really did anything special in the NFL.

I'm not exactly sure why taking J.P. Losman was a bold move since he was taken at #22 and was a second-round projected quarterback.

I think it was a "bold move" since it was pretty widely accepted that there were three top QB prospects and then a bunch of "meh" behind that. After Losman went 22nd, the next QB to go was Schaub in the third round. Trading up to get a QB who came from a Conference USA school when the next guy available went two full rounds later... I guess "bold" would be the right way to put it. If Losman doesn't pan out, they pissed away the pick as well as the first, fourth and fifth they traded to get Losman. If he pans out, then they look amazing.

Too bad Losman sucked.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, B's can be a cop out when a person gives out a lot of them. Especially when you give B+ grades and B- grades which are basically saying a team had a good draft or an average draft. It doesn't say a lot. There's nothing wrong with a few "B's," but not too many.

I remember the discussion of it being a weak RB class. I guess that part the experts predicted was correct.

Ok, maybe bold isn't a terrible word to use in that spot, but if a team believes a QB can be the franchise guy then it may make sense to be bold. Guess in retrospect they should have just taken Schaub and kept the picks.

Anonymous said...

The Bills best part of the 2004 draft were its undrafted free agents (Jabari Greer and Jason Peters).

I know you're questioning the syntax, but calling Tim Euhus "limited" is actually accurate because he sucked. Tim Anderson was also a waste of space for what that's worth.

[Just pointing some things out as Bills fan...enjoy your work]

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I didn't cover the undrafted free agents as much as I possibly should have in this draft. I didn't cover Peters, Vonta Leach, or Wes Welker. I probably should have factored that in, but I was too busy mocking Mel.

Thanks for pointing those things out. I mock and dissect other people's syntax so it is only fair it is done to me as well. I thought it was funny he described him as limited at the position he was drafted to play, but I still get what you are saying.

Thanks for reading and I am sure it is tough being a Bills fan over the past couple of years. Think of it this way, at least you were better than my team this year.