Monday, May 19, 2014

5 comments 2014 NFL Draft Non-Grades

I usually do a draft grades post after the NFL Draft. I have re-thought doing the grades this year. I feel comfortable doing it for the NBA Draft where there are fewer picks and I have more knowledge of the players, but I have come to the conclusion I don't know nearly enough about all nearly 250+ players drafted in the NFL Draft to give a grade. It seems like a more and more futile effort every year. So I'm just going to comment on how each team did and not give a grade. I'm not Mel Kiper and I make fun of him for giving out grades when I re-grade his drafts, so I am taking a year off from NFL Draft grades. It was a pretty interesting draft this year and of course the teams that traded back and got more picks are "winners" and paper champions of the draft. It's a pretty standard rule that if a team gets more picks they are labeled "winners" and get a high grade from the experts, especially if they draft more well-known college players while trading back.

So what I'm going to do is give purely my opinion of each team's best pick and worst pick. Even if a team has a worst pick, it doesn't mean the draft sucks or anything like that. Then I am including some notes that Mel Kiper made from each team's draft (I won't provide the link because I'm not an Insider), but rest assured this is what Mel said about each team's draft and I'm not making it up.

I'm ending my fallacy of grading each team's draft here, not because I was wrong in the past (which I probably was) but it's impossible to grade a draft accurately. It's like grading a student's paper before that student learns the material he/she is being tested on. 

Arizona Cardinals

Best pick: Troy Niklas was probably the Cardinals best pick because he has potential to be that Gronk-type tight end it seems a lot of teams are looking for. Of course there aren't too many Gronks, but Bruce Arians had success with Heath Miller in Pittsburgh and I'm interested to see what he can do with Niklas.

Worst pick: It's not that Logan Thomas was a bad pick, but I think the Cardinals need to have a post-Carson Palmer plan. It seems they consistently draft QB's late and then "develop" them (like real life is a video game where if the QB sits on the bench and gets a little playing time then his rating will slowly rise and by his third year he's an 85 and ready to start!) and that doesn't work out. Maybe it isn't fair, but Logan Thomas has always looked like a great QB more than his ability has shown he can be one.

Mel says:  

Cardinals will mix their base fronts, and an athlete like Kareem Martin is a good fit. He's a better athlete than he is a performer, but he could be good.

Are you not entertained? You won't be with Kareem Martin out there because he's not a good performer, all he does is play football. Convenient, because the Cardinals are a football team. 

Atlanta Falcons

Best pick: Jake Matthews was a great pick. The Falcons didn't out-think themselves here. Matt Ryan needs better protection and Jake Matthews is going to be a quality tackle for the next decade. At worst, he's just okay, but that's better than what the Falcons had originally.

Worst pick: There's really no bad pick the Falcons made. I would liked to have seen them draft a pass rusher, so maybe it's the pick they didn't make which was the worst one. Still, it's somewhat difficult to criticize a team's draft based on my perception of what the team needed...not that this will prevent me from doing this in the future of course. 

Mel says:

I was a big fan of the Jake Matthews pick when it happened, and I'm not changing my tune now.

Why would Mel change his tune now? What would happen between the time Matthews was drafted and the time to hand out grades that would cause Mel to say, "You know, I liked Matthews originally but now that he plays for the Falcons I'm going to ignore all the tape of his play and say I don't like the pick." Mel isn't Mike Mayock after all.

Baltimore Ravens

Best pick: Timothy Jernigan has first round talent and the Ravens have done well in the past working with guys who aren't troublemakers, but do have a history of a misstep or two. Jernigan failed a drug test at the Combine. Still, he's always had talent and Baltimore is a good place for him.

Worst pick: I'm not really enamored with the choice of C.J. Mosley in the first round. I would have probably gone with a safety in that spot or receiver in that spot and then tried to pick up a linebacker later in the draft since it wasn't a huge need. Still, I can't bash it too much.

Mel says:

When you consider the run on safeties we saw early (Jimmie Ward is something of a hybrid) getting Terrence Brooks where they did looks like a coup. The Ravens added a Gator last year at one safety position and now have a Seminole to play the other.

Remember, people pay for ESPN Insider to read sentences like this.

Keith Wenning could be a solid backup relatively soon and is worth a late grab.

Wenning COULD be a solid backup soon. So that's good news. 

Buffalo Bills

Best pick: I can't make a best pick because I love this draft. Cyrus Kouandijo is a first round pick if his health checks out (yes, I know him being healthy is a huge factor in his success) and the Bills also gave Manuel the second best receiver in the draft. They did what they could to help their QB succeed, which I love.

Worst pick: Seantrel Henderson is from the "Logan Thomas School of Football" where he got drafted just based on the fact he was a highly thought of recruit who has all the measurables. He was a 7th round pick, so who cares? I also didn't love the trade up for Watkins. I get it. They wanted to give their QB what they see as the draft's best wide receiver, but giving away a first round pick for next year is a huge price. My favorite team has given up a future 1st/2nd round pick and it never doesn't suck the next year. Watkins is great though, so the Bills got their guy.

Mel says:

Sammy Watkins isn't just going to be a really good player, he already is one.

Thanks Peter King. That comment isn't going to annoy me down the road, it already does annoy me. 

Cyril Richardson can be good but had a poor draft process. 

Oh, he had a bad draft process? Well, he must suck then. If only there were game tape to watch that showed him protecting the quarterback and playing well run-blocking. 

Carolina Panthers

Best pick: Kony Ealy was a really good pick, though it didn't seem to be a need, because he has talent rushing the passer (always important for a defensive end), but also because if he succeeds it trims the Panthers cap for next year. Greg Hardy is a free agent and wants to be paid and Carolina still has cap issues. Seeing if Ealy can replace Hardy now gives the team options.

Worst pick: I can't figure out if I hate Tyler Gaffney or Tre Boston more. Gaffney is good at blitz pick-up, so that concerns me when he's a running back and that's his best attribute. Even UNC fans hate Boston and they think every single player who goes through the program is a future first round pick. That's not good. Carolina needed a tackle in the worst way, but didn't like any of those available after the first round.

Mel says:

Kelvin Benjamin is a tantalizing physical talent at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, with the ability to make contested catches. But sometimes those catches are contested because he's not able to separate consistently. Benjamin ran 4.61 in Indy which, while great for his size, reflects the fact that he's not a burner.

A lot to take in here. So Benjamin has an advantage in that he is tall, makes contested catches and runs fast for his size. But Mel is concerned that Benjamin isn't fast enough (though he is fast for his size) and the catches he makes are because he doesn't separate consistently. It seems Mel's issues are that Benjamin's strengths means he has weaknesses. There aren't many 6'5" receivers who run a 4.45 available at #28 in the first round. 

Chicago Bears

Best pick: Will Sutton was a great choice in the third round. I saw him going in the first round of mock drafts prior to this year and from watching him play he has a ton of talent in a place of need for the Bears.

Worst pick: Ka'Deem Carey seems like just a backup to me. I thought the Bears would be better off taking De' Anthony Thomas. Thomas is obviously not a pure running back but he could replace Devin Hester and I think he provides a more unique skill set.

Mel says:

Summary: The Bears have some questions on value, but I think they did a solid job of targeting needs. Kyle Fuller may not be a star at CB, but the floor is probably a really good player for a long time.

The "need versus value" discussion is always hard. If the Bears did a good job of targeting needs then doesn't that mean they got value for the picks they had? They picked players who did a good job of targeting their needs. Also, "a really good player for a long time" is probably a star in some aspect. 
 
Cincinnati Bengals

Best pick: Darqueze Dennard was a good pick up for the Bengals. He's a very physical corner, and though I don't think his ceiling is that of a #1 corner, the Bengals could have done a lot worse later in the 1st round than Dennard. Hopefully they will let him play tough, press coverage.

Worst pick: I didn't really hate any picks. I'm not really high on Will Clarke from the few games I've seen but I'm not sure what else the Bengals could get in terms of a pass rusher late in the 3rd round. I think they should have drafted a pass rusher earlier.

Mel says:

I don't see why you take Jeremy Hill in front of Carlos Hyde, but I certainly don't mind them adding that style of runner to balance what Giovani Bernard brings.

Mel doesn't mind the Bengals drafting a running back like Jeremy Hill. It's good to have his permission.

Lavelle Westbrooks is one to watch as more depth at corner.

Westbrooks is "one to watch" to play the position of cornerback on the Bengals active roster. Got it.

Cleveland Browns

Best pick: Johnny Manziel. I'm not talking about him. He's a quarterback, he's exciting and he's very much worth the first round pick. They added a first round pick for next year too.

Worst pick: They could have drafted a wide receiver. Still, it's a mistake to go off your draft board and take a receiver because it may be a need with Gordon out. If the Browns didn't find a receiver they liked, it was smart to stay put.

Mel says:

Remember: I had WR as a need even with the a$sumption Gordon was going to be around. Now that he's probably not? The Browns have potentially changed the face of their franchise, but Manziel could use somebody to throw the football to.

Here's the thing though. The Browns have that 1st round pick just sitting there. Come mid-July they don't like their wide receiver options what's to stop them from trading that 1st round pick for a receiver? They have options and that's important. The idea the Browns had to immediately go out and draft a wide receiver seems like a bit of a fallacy to me.

Dallas Cowboys

Best pick: Zack Martin is a great fit because he can play multiple line positions, and considering Romo has a bad back, it makes sense to keep him well-protected while he is still the Cowboys quarterback (though he is only the Cowboys quarterback because he makes too much money to replace).

Worst pick: Demarcus Lawrence isn't a bad pass rusher, but from everything I have read he is better fitted into a 3-4 defense and not a 4-3. Who know though? Maybe the 4-3 defense that Rod Marinelli generally prefers will fit him. The Cowboys even traded up to get him, giving up a third round pick in the process.

Mel says:

Nothing of value. He agreed with me about the third round pick being given up for Lawrence. To agree with Mel makes me shudder.

Denver Broncos

Best pick: Cody Latimer is a guy I don't necessarily love on his own because I'm not sure he isn't one of those guys who "looks" like a wide receiver and has great measurables. He needs work, which is why I love this pick. Peyton Manning is going to make sure Latimer gets work on his routes and running his routes the way he wants them run. I think he's in a position to excel.

Worst pick: Michael Schofield is pretty overrated in my opinion. I think his size and the fact he went to Michigan makes him look a little better than he really is.

Mel says:

Broncos fans who believe the addition of Aqib Talib solidified the depth chart at cornerback were being a little too optimistic. Denver needed to add another potential starter there, and the Broncos may have one in Bradley Roby, but I'm not sure he helps much now. What Roby lacks in refinement and consistency, he has in athleticism and potential. He's a superb athlete -- quick, agile and strong. What he's not is a technically sound CB, so what you have to hope for is a long season that gets him seasoning so he's hitting his stride during a playoff push. But for players this raw at position that demands a transition period, that's just a hope.

It's almost like the NFL isn't ending after the 2014 season and the Broncos are actually planning to put together a roster of talented players beyond this season. I know, I know, what a crazy thing to do.

Detroit Lions

Best pick: Nevin Lawson because he's a cornerback. I'm kidding, well not kidding about the Lions needing a corner, but I'll go with Kyle Van Noy here. Maybe the Lions pass rush will be so great it will make the secondary look good. One can hope.

Worst pick: Eric Ebron was the worst pick, and not because he doesn't have talent, but because it wasn't a need for the Lions. This is the Jim Caldwell team I was afraid he would put together. I was afraid he would put together a strong offensive team who can't play defense. He did it at Wake Forest and he's trying to do it in Detroit. He's not an offensive coordinator, he's a head coach. He needs to think about the entire team and not just how to make the offense strong. It's not like corners weren't available. If the Lions didn't like any corners at #10 then they essentially hated all of the top corners in the draft.

Mel says:

The Lions can be forgiven for passing on a CB or a safety at No. 10, because Justin Gilbert was already off the board, and the value at those positions made Ebron a solid option.

Mel criticizes the Lions for not addressing the need for a corner in the draft, then says they can be forgiven for passing on one at #10, then says:

Kyle Van Noy is one of my favorite players in the whole draft, an instinctive, versatile defender who can move around and rush the passer. (He also roomed with Ezekiel Ansah at BYU.)

The Lions spent a third round pick on a center and then addressed the need for a corner in the fourth round. So when exactly did Mel want the Lions to address the need if he liked both players they took instead of taking a corner?

Green Bay Packers

Best pick: Jared Abbrederis is my favorite pick. He won't be the best player in this draft but every time I watched him at Wisconsin he was catching passes and playing well. Really good choice in the fifth round for the Packers.

Worst pick: Khyri Thornton just because I think he's a major reach in the third round. Perhaps the Packers wanted Nix one pick earlier or Sutton, but I didn't think this was a good spot for a guy who seemed to shoot up charts after a great Senior Bowl performance.

Mel says:

Carl Bradford is a player I really like, and I'll be interested to see if they move him around a little bit. I thought inside linebacker was a big need even though that's typically something you can address later, but they didn't touch it. (Does Bradford fit?)

I don't know Mel, does Bradford fit there? Isn't that sort of your job as ESPN's draft analyst to tell us? 

Houston Texans 

Best pick: Xavier Su'a Filo is my favorite pick. I was moderately obsessed with him on draft week and wanted the Panthers to draft him. Obviously Clowney was a great pick too, but I think Su'a Filo is going to be a Pro Bowl player and they found him in the second round.

Worst pick: Tom Savage. He didn't do much in college, he was never shooting up the boards like Peter King and others tried to sell us on. He looks like a quarterback but has never really done much to show he can play the position in the NFL. There are three quarterbacks I would have selected before Savage.

Mel says:

Jay Prosch is a bruiser at fullback, and I think Andre Hal could be a decent depth addition at CB soon.

I think Mel says "Player X could be a depth addition" or "provides depth" when he really no clue what to say about a player but feels like he has to talk about that player. 

Indianapolis Colts

Best pick: Donte Moncrief is the best pick and I'm not entirely excited about that one.

Worst pick: I can't cheat and say trading for Trent Richardson here, because that is terrible. I didn't hate any of these picks, it's just I wouldn't have taken Jack Mewhort over some of the other offensive linemen available. I don't think Ryan Grigson has done a bang-up job in the draft over the past couple of years. Fortunately Andrew Luck and his draft class covers up a lot of mistakes.

Mel says:

Unfortunately, the Trent Richardson trade factors hugely into this draft, and that pretty much k!lls the grade. Think about this: we just went through the second year in a row where a RB wasn't drafted in Round 1, and this year it wasn't even close. Bishop Sankey came off the board at No. 54, and Sankey is a good player and filled a clear need. And don't say I just made up my mind on this after Richardson struggled. I was pretty clear on it then.

I'm going to have to call "bullshit" on this. Mel may have been down on the Colts trading for Trent Richardson earlier in the 2013 season, but he had Trent Richardson as his third-best prospect in the 2012 draft. 

It's Mel's job to evaluate college players for ESPN. Two years later Mel is talking about how running backs are overvalued, but Mel is one of those who was overvaluing running backs in 2012. It's fine to hate the trade, but Mel made up his mind about Richardson AFTER he was drafted, which shows his evaluation skills at their worst. It's Mel's job to evaluate draft prospects and to pretend like he knew Richardson wasn't good is disingenuous. He knew Richardson wasn't very good AFTER he had Richardson as the third-best prospect in the 2012 draft.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Best pick: Telvin Smith was undervalued and is a steal in the fifth round. Marqise Lee has the dropsies from time-to-time so I can't have that as my favorite pick. Smith is smaller but he has a skill set that helps him overcome his lack of height.

Worst pick: Blake Bortles isn't the best quarterback in this draft in my opinion. I just don't see it. But hey, he looks like a quarterback and had a good bowl game. So that's good. I think the Jaguars should have gone with Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel. Both will be better NFL QB's I think.

Mel says:

Would you rather give up a first-round pick for Sammy Watkins, or wait and get Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round?

All things being even, I would rather just draft Sammy Watkins at #3 and then spend my second round pick on another quarterback or trade up to get Teddy Bridgewater. Of course I'm stupid.

Kansas City Chiefs

Best pick: De'Anthony Thomas is a guy who may not be better than Dexter McCluster but that's not a bad value to get in the fourth round. Like I said earlier, he has a skill set that can translate to production, if used correctly, in the NFL.

Worst pick: I think Dee Ford was a reach in the first round. I get the Chiefs needed to upgrade the pass rush but I thought there were better options available, and despite what the playoff game against the Colts looked like, I think the Chiefs needed another receiver at some point. Mostly, I thought it was a reach for Ford in the first round.

Mel says:

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is a sleeper who could turn into something.

He could turn into "something." Perhaps a bear, an eagle or a football player. Who really knows, but the key point is that Duvernay-Tardif can be "something," though hopefully for Chiefs beat writers they don't have to spell his name frequently. 

Miami Dolphins

Best pick: The two offensive linemen they took in Rounds 1 and 3. I question whether James is necessarily going to be a great tackle, but the Dolphins had to do something to protect Tannehill. It's impossible for Tannehill to succeed if he is going to be facing pressure and not protected by his offensive line. They had to do something and they did their best to take care of a need.

Worst pick: To be honest, I liked their early round picks and don't know much about the late round picks. So I can't say what is the "worst" pick.

Mel says:

Walt Aikens will need some time as he makes a big leap in competition, but is a needed addition at cornerback. Jordie Tripp could offer help at linebacker as a guy who is explosive out of his drop and will play with passion. Matt Hazel is a sleeper at WR, and like Landry, has good hands.

I take this time to point out that while Mel Kiper will give a team a "D" or a "C" for need or value, he very rarely just outright doesn't like a player who was chosen. He seems to have something positive to say about the players but then he gives a team a "B" or "C" for need or value. For example, he had nothing to say negative about the Dolphins draft but gives the team a "B+" for need and a "B-" for value. I think he's just afraid of being wrong in a few years so he just stays middle-of-the-road with his comments.

Minnesota Vikings

Best pick: Teddy Bridgewater, because he's the best QB in this class. The Vikings traded back up to get the best QB in the class at #32. I like that move obviously.

Worst pick: As a veteran watcher of Southern Conference football, I say Jerick McKinnon had never really stood out for me. I never would imagined he is a third round pick. Still, the Vikings got one of the best pass rushers and the best QB in the draft, so I shouldn't nit-pick.

Mel says:

The first round of this draft has me pretty split. I thought Anthony Barr was a pretty big reach based on my evaluations; he's a talented but raw player who lacks instincts on defense.

So taking a talented but raw quarterback is perfectly fine at #3, but when a team takes a talented but raw pass rusher at #9 Mel draws the line there? Teams draft raw players with a ton of potential all the time, and I don't necessarily like it, but it also doesn't mean Barr was a reach.

New England Patriots
 
Best pick: The best pick in the first round in terms of value was Dominique Easley. He had a top-5 grade from many evaluators before he got injured again. This is a really brilliant pick for the Patriots. Yes, they need help now at the DT position, but they essentially took a flyer on a guy with elite skill at the end of the first round. Great pick.

Worst pick: James White wasn't a bad pick, but I'm not sure the Patriots needed another running back and I don't know what skill set White provides the Patriots don't already have.

Mel says:

Dominique Easley can be special when healthy -- watch him in the September 7, 2013 game against Miami -- but two ACL tears dot his profile, including a season-ender in 2013, so you're looking for impact on a rotational basis -- say, 400 or so snaps. For me, that doesn't make him a bad pick, but certainly a reach.

How the hell can a guy with top-10 skills (at worst) be a reach at #29 simply because he's coming off ACL tears? Thomas Davis has come back from three tears and so has Terrell Thomas. It can be done and Easley doesn't even rely on foot speed to play his position. Dumb statement.

In Jimmy Garoppolo, you have a nice developmental talent, and potentially a commodity.

I didn't understand the criticism of the Garoppolo pick from some either. The bottom line is that if you look at most of the great quarterbacks in the NFL, they weren't drafted later than the second round. They were drafted early and Garoppolo may not play immediately, but the Patriots don't need him to play immediately. The idea a team can draft a quarterback and then "develop" him (whatever the fuck that means...this isn't a video game where a guy with "C" level talent becomes a starter just because his ass was on the bench for three years) is a very idealistic thought. It happens, but not as frequently as teams draft a QB early and then that QB ends up succeeding.  

New Orleans Saints

Best pick: Brandin Cooks is going to be a great pick for a team that thrives indoors. I will do my best to refrain from making jokes about the Saints putting together another great team on turf, but a team that struggles away from New Orleans. Cooks is an annoyingly good pick though. Sure, I think the Saints could have used an offensive linemen, but I won't argue about their inability get a linemen since it benefits my favorite team.

Worst pick: Stanley Jean-Baptiste. This guy. I have seen nearly every college game that Jean-Baptiste played in and while he's not bad and he doesn't mind tackling, there is something missing for me. He's tall and that is why teams were high on him. I always thought he'd be better than he was.

Mel says:

Khairi Fortt fits as the OLB I'd suggested,

"Fortt plays the position of OLB and the Saints needed to draft an OLB, so that's a good move." This is analysis that ESPN Insiders pay for. 

Cooks is a win, and it's a lot of "We'll see" after that.

Every draft for every team contains players that are a lot of "We'll see." That is unless Mel believes he can predict the future and doesn't usually have to worry about "We'll see", and based on his previous attempts to predict the future, that's not a likely scenario.

New York Giants

Best pick: I like Andre Williams a lot, but I think choosing Weston Richburg was the Giants best pick. Center is such an important position, and while I may have taken Martin, it's clear Eli needed some more protection this previous season.

Worst pick: There's not a bad pick, but I was a little surprised a team who relies on their defensive line for pressure didn't choose to go after a defensive linemen a little earlier than the third round. The Giants did get Richburg and had needs at wide receiver, but I was still a little surprised.

Mel says:

Devon Kennard and Bennett Jackson both have ability and provide needed depth.

"Both players exist as human beings and played football in college." 

New York Jets

Best pick: Calvin Pryor is a really smart pick for the Jets because Rex Ryan's best teams have always had a good secondary. The Jets are going to need playmakers on defense if they plan on winning games with an offense still under construction.

Worst pick: The receiving game. Jalen Saunders, Jace Amaro, and Shaquille Evans. It feels like the Jets went with quantity over quality at the receiving spots. Not that I dislike Amaro and had him mocked in the first round but I would rather the Jets had gone with receiver(s) in the second round than a tight end.

Mel says:

Tajh Boyd is a nice little stowaway that far down on the board when you consider his arm. If you're going to take a shot at QB late, go for the ceiling.

What's funny about this comment is there was a concern among many NFL scouts that Tajh Boyd had already hit his ceiling in college. A lot of what I read asked if Boyd had too much more room to grow. 

Oakland Raiders

Best pick: Gabe Jackson is a mauler and I really like this pick for the Raiders. Jackson isn't great in pass protection, but he's going to be really good in the running game. I'm surprised he lasted as long as he did (that's what she said).

Worst pick: I just don't like Derek Carr that much. At least he isn't starting immediately. His worst game of the year was against one of the few defenses he played with quite a few NFL prospects on the other side of the field. That can't be a coincidence can it? I know he's a "pure passer" as ESPN and NFL Network said on repeat, and it's not the talent level he played, it's that his worst game was against the team with the most NFL players on the defense.

Mel says:

Just another smart, sensible draft for the Raiders where they consistently maximized value and hit some clear needs ... wait, did I just write that? In all seriousness, I've certainly taken my shots at some past Raiders' drafts, but I think they've been pretty reasonable,

Really Mel? You have taken shots in the past? You gave the Raiders a B- last year. Mel gave the Raiders a "C-" the year before, which is certainly a low grade. It's just that Mel doesn't take shots at any team in his draft grades as I've shown before. Most of his grades don't go above a "B+" or fall below a "C-." So maybe Mel considers a "C-" to be a shot at the Raiders, but it actually means the Raiders had a slightly below average draft. I don't know if I would consider that a shot at the Raiders.

Philadelphia Eagles

Best pick: Josh Huff going to be a really good receiver in Chip Kelly's offense (he already has been one) and I think that was a good late round pick for the Eagles.

Worst pick: Marcus Smith. Even though they traded back and selected him I still think there were better options available. I could be wrong, but this just seemed like a reach to meet a need in my opinion.

Mel says:

Philadelphia moved down and then selected Marcus Smith, the No. 85-ranked player on my board. But while I didn't love the value, again, it came after the Eagles had moved down and accrued a little value.

Mel consistently says things like this. He's fine with a team reaching for a player as long as that team trades back to do so. I don't see the difference. It's still a reach, regardless of whether that team picked up an extra pick or not. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Best pick: Dri Archer is the Steelers best pick. The running back position is going quickly from overvalued to undervalued. Running backs don't have a long shelf life, but it doesn't mean they don't have value. Ask the Packers what Eddie Lacy did for their team or the Seahawks how they built the offense around a stud running back. Even the Patriots have a really good running back-by-committee. I'm not saying running backs should be taken in the first 10 picks, but I think the position is being undervalued.

Worst pick: Ryan Shazier is the kind of guy who climbs boards quickly based on his physical attributes and not always based on production. Shazier did produce at the second best Ohio state university when it comes to men's basketball, but it makes me nervous for the Steelers how he seemed to climb so quickly after the Combine. Regardless, the Steelers know their linebackers so I'm probably stupid.

Mel says:

Shaq Richardson helps at CB,

"He was drafted to play the cornerback position, the same position he played in college. This helps the Steelers." 

Daniel McCullers is one to watch, because he's simply massive, but doesn't do enough with his size.

So he's one to watch so he can disappoint and frustrate Steelers fans? 

San Diego Chargers

Best pick: Jason Verrett would have been in contention to be considered the #1 corner in this draft if he were taller. If a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his ass on the ground, right? Still, Verrett was a very good pick in a division with Peyton Manning and umm...Alex Smith and Matt Schaub? Fine, he was just a good pick. It's a cliche, but he plays taller than 5'9".

Worst pick: None really. The Chargers didn't have a ton of picks and I don't know enough about the later round picks to comment.

Mel says:

The Chargers didn't have a special draft in terms of value, but they added pretty solid pieces and crossed needs off the list. Because they had only six picks they lose a little value, but they worked the board well.

I don't understand how the Chargers lose the value they received with the picks they made because they had fewer picks. The Chargers are graded on the value of the picks they actually made, so how does value go down because the Chargers didn't have more picks? This makes not of sense. 

San Francisco 49ers

Best pick: I tend to get obsessed with offensive linemen like Marcus Martin. It's a fault I have as a human being. I love offensive linemen. Martin can play multiple positions and it's annoying the 49ers got such a great pick in the third round. You can never have too many quality offensive linemen, nevermind linemen who can play guard and center. I have to say, getting Carlos Hyde after the moronic Titans inexplicably passed over him for a situational running back was a brilliant move. Sometimes good drafting is just watching other teams make mistakes and taking advantage of them.

Worst pick: Jimmie Ward is a safety I'm a little shaky on. Honestly I haven't seen him play that much, so I'm just basing it on reading scouting reports (which is always dangerous) and seeing where he was projected to go. Still, there was a huge drop-off in the safeties after the first four guys were off the board. So it's hard to bash the pick.

Mel says:

Mel loved this draft. He said:

The most depressing thing about San Francisco's draft is I don't even think Todd McShay and I have a single argument to be found here.

Yet, Mel didn't give this draft two "A's" for needs and value. He gave an "A-" for needs, presumably so he can have just a little wiggle room if he needs to second-guess this draft haul down the road.

Seattle Seahawks

Best pick: Justin Britt is a very versatile offensive linemen (see above for gushing about this). One thing the Seahawks needed to be sure of is that their offensive line stayed strong. It wasn't weak last year but if I remember correctly right guard wasn't always set in stone. Britt can play tackle or guard. I can't overstate how important that is, even if he isn't a top-level prospect at those spots.

Worst pick: Trading back like they did, which is the something the Patriots used to tend to do. I'm not bashing the Patriots, but sometimes when teams trade back to get more picks they run the risk of losing out on high skill level guys in order to gain more picks in that draft or the future. It just is best sometimes to draft a guy at the spot you are in or you run the risk of passing on high skill level guys. I don't know if that happened, but the Seahawks were in a good spot at #32 to land Su'a Filo, Lee or Matthews and they passed on them. Paul Richardson isn't a terrible pick, but he's small and I thought Matthews or Lee would fit them a little better. But again, they did win the Super Bowl last year so they obviously know something...

Mel says:

The Seahawks know what they are doing, but it's fair to say they had a couple value questions again today. I look forward to seeing what becomes of these players.

Good thing the Seahawks had enough picks in the draft or else Mel would have knocked their "value" grade down even more.

St. Louis Rams

Best pick: EVERY SINGLE PICK BECAUSE THIS FRANCHISE IS ON THE RISE! I'm kidding. Aaron Donald is going to make the Rams defensive line even more powerful and that's no joke. I kid about the Rams a lot, but that's a pretty good front-four they have in St. Louis. I wouldn't have minded seeing the Rams take a wide receiver, but they are building along the offensive/defensive lines and that's how you progress to win games. Who knows, maybe Jeff "8-8" Fisher will lead the team to a 12-4 season for a year or so?

Worst pick: Garrett Gilbert. The guy isn't going to be a good quarterback. I know he was a late round pick, but he wasn't good at Texas, he wasn't extraordinarily good at SMU. Give it up. He's not a good quarterback. It's amazing how a guy like Gilbert gets to many chances to fail.

Mel says:

Garrett Gilbert isn't a player I'd consider a challenger at QB, but there's upside, and they needed the depth. E.J. Gaines adds depth at corner.

I take it all back. Mel Kiper busts out with his "depth" comment about Gilbert and another corner that Kiper clearly knows nothing about, but feels the need to comment on.

The Rams get dinged a little because I think they should have taken at least one WR in a draft loaded with them, and the fact that they still have a question at QB --

By the way, Mel gave the Rams a "B+" for covering their "needs" but they completely ignored the safety and wide receiver position which were #2 and #3 on Mel's list of needs for the Rams. You figure it out because I can't. It's almost like he makes these grades up. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Best pick: Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson just pisses me off. They are so tall and talented. Fortunately the Panthers have Antone Cason and umm...another couple guys who I'm sure will have no problem matching up with them. I hate it all. Evans is constantly compared to Jackson because of his height and even if he isn't a stud receiver he will be a red-zone monster. Not fair.

Worst pick: Offensive line issues in the middle haven't been cleared up. I feel like the Bucs did a good job on offense, but they could have used another guard in case Nicks gets injured or RG becomes an area of trouble. Again, I won't argue with the Buccaneers not doing all they can to protect their QB because it benefits me (hopefully).

Mel says:

But if McCown doesn't cut it, and Glennon isn't the answer, does Johnny Manziel succeed and leave this front office wondering? I don't dislike the Evans pick at all, and ASJ's slot at No. 38 is pretty much in line with where I have him ranked, it's just now on the starting QB to make sure this works.

Mel doesn't hate those picks, but he wants to be on record as liking the picks of ASJ and Evans in case they work out, as well as be on record that he thinks the Buccaneers possibly could have drafted a quarterback instead of those guys in case Manziel succeeds. Either way, Mel needs a way to hold the middle ground and has done a great job. 

Tennessee Titans

Best pick: Taylor Lewan doesn't really fit a need the Titans had, but they clearly went Best Player Available and that guy was Lewan. If only they had done that in the second round when it came time to draft a running back. I also like them taking Mettenberger so late. He ran a pro-offense at LSU and he's worth a pick in the sixth round.

Worst pick: Bishop Sankey over Carlos Hyde didn't make sense to me. I don't hate Sankey and he is a very good receiver for a running back, but he's also not the best running back in the draft. That's Carlos Hyde. Maybe the Titans felt that Hyde didn't fit the offensive system and that's fine. I just thought that Hyde is more of a workhorse running back compared to Sankey.

Mel says:

I like the pick of Bishop Sankey, and he gives the Titans a versatile, durable back who compares to Giovani Bernard, though I would have preferred Carlos Hyde in that spot. But again, fit matters and they like Sankey.

Mel likes the pick of Sankey, though he would have preferred the Titans take another running back. I'm not sure how that works, but Mel tries to make it work. He likes the pick, but wishes the Titans had made another pick.  

Washington Redskins

Best pick: Morgan Moses was mocked in the first round and he's another guy with "potential," but it's fine to take a guy with potential in the third round. He has the measurables and the history of good NFL tackles being taken from UVA helps to show that he has a good chance of succeeding. A pretty good pick in the third round.

Worst pick: Trent Murphy seems like a JAG to me. I get that he is insurance for Brian Orakpo if contract negotiations don't go well. Of course, Mel would like this pick since the Redskins traded back to get Murphy. We'll see, but from what I've seen he isn't an impact NFL player.

Mel says:

I wish the Skins would have added a safety, and maybe targeted CB earlier. This draft also represents the end of the RG III deal.

The Redskins got a "C+" for meeting their team needs and they drafted 3 of the 4 "needs" that Mel had outlined prior to the draft. Again, the Rams got a "B+" for meeting their "needs" and they didn't even draft two positions that Mel felt was a need. It's not a criticism of the Rams, but just a criticism of draft grades all together. It is hard for them to be consistent and accurate. In fact, they are pretty pointless and that's why I stopped doing them for the NFL Draft. 

5 comments:

JBsptfn said...

I don't know why the Falcons passed on Carlos Hyde for Hageman in Round 2 after the FA signings that they had.

Bengoodfella said...

JB, I didn't even think about that. Jackson is still the first team RB, right? I guess they are counting on Jackson rebounding, but giving Matt Ryan a running game would be very kind of them.

Anonymous said...

Anthony Barr - 6'5" 255 lbs., 4.66 40, 23.5 sacks last two years

Khalil Mack - 6'3" 251 lbs., 4.65 40, 18.5 sacks last two years

Can someone explain why Khalil Mack is so much more highly thought of than Barr? I've seen people refer to Barr as being something of a project, but he's had double-digit sacks the past two years. He may need work against the run and in coverage, but if you can rush the passer you can play immediately. If you want to say Mack is really good that's fine, but where does Kiper get this idea that Barr was such a huge reach?

JBsptfn said...

Ben, they took Devonta Freeman of FSU to help out their running game, but I think that he is only 5 foot 7. They need a bigger back to develop behind the soon-to-be 31-year old Jackson.

Bengoodfella said...

JB, I follow Josh Norris of Rotoworld on Twitter and he really likes Freeman. I don't really know what to think of him b/c I've only seen him play a few times.

You know, if Atlanta wants a bigger back then Jonathan Stewart could be available for the right price. Don't you want an expensive, injured RB who teases you with potential only to be injured for most of the year?

Anon, I think when comparing the two they are talking about total production including tackles and Mack even has interceptions while Barr doesn't. I won't defend Mel b/c I didn't think Barr was a reach. Personally, I think a guy like Barr who hasn't played defense that long is worth a top-10 pick. Especially if teams take players at other positions based solely on potential and hoping for increased production.