Tuesday, June 28, 2011

3 comments Grading Mel Kiper's 2003 NFL Draft Grades

BGF has been doing a few of these lately, so I thought I'd join in on the fun. And since I can mooch off of my brother's insider account, I have access to these hidden gems of random assessment. Now don't get me wrong. Of all the draft gurus in any sport that ESPN employs, Mel Kiper is my hands down favorite. Why? Because he actually does research. He's interesting to listen to. His hairstyle hasn't changed in 30 years. But the entire process of grading drafts moments after they happened is flawed in itself.

For those of you with Insider, here are Kiper's grades.

Arizona Cardinals: C

Arizona's draft was all about saving money. The Cardinals moved down from the sixth spot and got Bryant Johnson, the wide receiver they needed, and an athletic pass rusher in Calvin Pace. Some will say they gave up too much to save dollars, but they rebounded nicely, getting another receiver in Anquan Boldin and more help for the defense.

A good start for Mel. Although clearly Boldin was the receiver they needed and not Bryant Johnson. Calvin Pace, when healthy, has proven to be a solid pass rusher. The rest of their draft, however, produced no one of note. I'd probably bump up their grade a bit considering Boldin is a star.

Atlanta Falcons: C+

Bryan Scott is a versatile DB who can play safety or corner, and Justin Griffith is a multi-dimensional fullback, but Atlanta didn't do a lot in the late rounds. Who knows how much help they can get at WR with Jon Olinger and Latarence Dunbar.

Where's the explanation of your grade? I don't need to hear further descriptions of these players; you spent the last 5 months doing that ad nauseam. And how can a fullback be multi-dimensional? They literally have three possible roles. Catch short passes, run straight up the middle without fumbling and block. I'm pretty sure every NFL fullback can do these things.

Only Bryan Scott turned out to be decent, so this draft deserves a D at best.

< charset="utf-8">Who knows how much help they can get at WR with Jon Olinger and Latarence Dunbar.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but isn't Kiper paid to know this? And even if he doesn't know, why would he ever admit this? Doesn't he know that I'll be grading his draft grades eight years later?

Baltimore Ravens: A

I like Terrell Suggs, Kyle Boller and Musa Smith with the first three picks. Aubrayo Franklin fills a need at nose tackle, and Jarrett Johnson has a great motor on the defensive line, while Ovie Mughelli will be a solid lead blocker. The Ravens also got a steal in the fifth round with Tony Pashos, and while Boller was slightly overrated at No. 19, there is no way they would have gotten a good young QB like him next year.

A couple things of note here:

1) The Ravens deserve a high grade simply for drafting guys named "Aubrayo," "Ovie" and "Musa."
2) An excellent call by Mel on Tony Pashos. He did turn out alright.
3) Mel leaned towards saying that Boller was awful, but ultimately backed away.

So essentially the Ravens got a Pro Bowl end in Suggs, a bust QB that set back their franchise multiple years, a running back who was constantly hurt and an average offensive tackle in Pashos. An A seems like a bit of a reach, I think. More like a B or B-.

Buffalo Bills: B

Willis McGahee is going to be on the shelf for a year, but the Bills have Travis Henry and Olandis Gary in the interim. Chris Kelsay is the pass-rushing defensive end they need, and I like Sam Aiken as a possession receiver, and Ben Sobieski made sense in the fifth round if he can stay healthy.

Chris Kelsay is the pass-rushing defensive end that has never recorded more than 5.5 sacks in a season. I can't take away the McGahee pick, but once again Mel doesn't make any commentary. Instead, he chooses to present us with already well known facts. And I can't remember if we knew by then that Travis Henry had 147 children with 135 women. If that was public knowledge, then the McGahee pick becomes that much smarter. Mel also neglects to mention that the Bills did pick up Terrence McGee,who turned out to be a good corner and an outstanding returner. So the Bills went 1.5 for 8 in this draft. That's probably not a B.

Carolina Panthers: B-

Jordan Gross and Bruce Nelson will go a long way toward strengthening the offensive line, and Mike Seidman is a good addition at tight end. Colin Branch and Kindal Moorehead are decent players who may help the Carolina defense, while Walter Young and Casey Moore add some depth to the offense.

Again, thanks for the analysis Mel. These two sentences esentially boil down to the following: these players will help the Panthers get better. Is that not the point of the draft? Can we get a little more than that? Obviously Jordan Gross turned out to be the only solid player from this draft. So I can't go higher than a C-.

By the way, Mel is 0.5 for 4 right now. (I gave him half credit for the Cardinals.)

Chicago Bears: B

I like the addition of Michael Haynes at defensive end, and I have always been high on Rex Grossman at quarterback. Charles Tillman is a nice addition to the secondary, and Lance Briggs will give the Bears some versatility at linebacker with his ability to play inside or outside. Chicago also added some depth at wide receiver with Bobby Wade and Justin Gage.

I'm glad that Me liked the addition of Michael Haynes, because I'm sure the Bears didn't. I'm also glad that he has always been high on Rex Grossman, because Rex Grossman has always been high as well!

Otherwise, Mel did a pretty good job. I'd lower it from a B to a B-/C+ (Rex did take them to the Super Bowl), but in general I'm not going shelve the nitpicking for a moment.

Cincinnati Bengals: B+

The Bengals did what they had to do with Carson Palmer, and Eric Steinbach has the ability to play guard or center. Cincinnati followed those selections with good value, getting Kelley Washington and Dennis Weathersby in the third and fourth rounds, and the rest of the picks were spent on solid players.

It's hard to knock the Bengals for snagging Palmer, who was a Pro Bowl QB before his ACL tear derailed him. Steinbach has turned into an excellent guard and a solid pick. No one else really turned into much of anything, but the first two picks were very solid. So I think Mel got it right here.

Cleveland Browns: B

Jeff Faine will be a great anchor on the offensive line for years to come, and while I thought Chaun Thompson went a little high, he has a great work ethic and dominated at his level of competition. Chris Chrocker was also off the board a little early, but I like the fact he can move from corner to safety, and Lee Suggs will be a solid backup to William Green. Mike Lehan also made a lot of sense in the fifth round.

Jeff Faine was not a great anchor. Chaun Thompson's greatest claim to fame is that his name is slightly misspelled. This draft definitely makes me pity Cleveland fans.

Dallas Cowboys: A

The Cowboys played the game well. They didn't let teams know they were locked in on Terence Newman, but they still got the shut-down corner they needed, and Al Johnson could end up being their starting center. Jason Witten will be in the mix at tight end, and Bradie James is a heck of a bargain in the fourth round.

Mel completely nailed this one, no question about it. The Cowboys grabbed three starters, multiple Pro Bowlers, and Tony Romo (undrafted). I really have nothing else to say except job well done, Jerry Jones.

Denver Broncos: C+

I would have held off on George Foster, who had a high grade entering the season but was hampered by a wrist injury. Terry Pierce was a good pickup in the second round, and I like Quentin Griffin because of his character and versatility. Nick Eason is somewhat of an underachiever and needs to step it up a little bit, while his college teammate Bryant McNeal is a good pass rusher off the edge.

Denver probably should have listened to Mel about George Foster. It's really amazing how a team with 10 draft picks can strike out 10 times. But Denver managed it. You would think that people would have recognized that Mike Shanahan isn't a good coach, but everyone apparently still had Elway blinders on.


Bengoodfella said...

In defense of Walter Young, he may be the greatest preseason receiver in Panthers history. It's just when he got to the games it became a problem.

The Cardinals grade was too low. Pace and Boldin should make it a "B"ish draft on their own.

I like how Mel asks questions in the Falcons section. Shouldn't he be answering the questions, not asking them. That's what irritates me about his grades, he tends to describe the player and not tell if it was a good pick or not.

I like it when he says a pick "makes sense." Care to explain why it makes sense? No? Great.

ivn said...

For what it's worth, Jarret Johnson has been a starter for the Ravens for the past four seasons. I'd say that was a good pick by them.

Bengoodfella said...

Ivn, I think that's worth a lot. Good pick by the Ravens. Maybe Mel was closer to the correct grade than Dylan thinks...or maybe we should split the difference and say a "B+" or an "A-."