a month ago

Let me answer this way. When people ask me my age now, I tell them I'm three years on the downside of life expectancy. It took a while, but one of the things I've learned over my adult life is that the smartest people I encounter are those who know what they don't know.

Generally, those who fall into that category also tend to share knowledge rather than spout worthless opinions.

That's one of the reasons I watched the NFL Draft on the NFL Network this year rather than ESPN. Daniel Jeremiah, a former college quarterback and NFL scout; Joel Klatt, another former college quarterback who signed a free agent deal with New Orleans; and Charlie Davis, a former college defensive back and assistant coach, focused on offering a summary of each pick's strengths and weaknesses instead of sounding off like they know more than the personnel people who just made the pick.

Also, fresh in my memory, was ESPN's instant assessment of the 2023 draft.

Mel Kiper's list of the five teams with the most head-scratching drafts last year was headed by Detroit. Also on the list was Houston.

Here was what Kiper had to say about Detroit's selections:

"I thought I would like the Lions' class when they traded down at six. … But I just don't get these two choices. Let's start with (Jahmyr) Gibbs, a multi-dimensional player who racked up receptions for the Crimson Tide. Look who else was on the board at 12, though. One of the cornerbacks, Christian Gonzales or Emanuel Forbes or Deonte Banks; or edge rusher Nolan Smith made more sense to me. Yes, Detroit had a bunch more picks on day two, but it could have found a running back there instead of 12.

"As for (Jack) Campbell, it's a reach 40 spots in my rankings. He's the third-ranked inside linebacker. I thought he'd go in the middle of round two. Instead, when we talk positional value, both of these positions are not generally prioritized in the first round, so this is the very definition of head-scratching."

This was Kiper's offering on the Texans' selections:

"In a vacuum, I love the prospects they added. Yes, (C.J.) Stroud is my third-ranked passer, but I had him at No. 5 overall on my Big Board – he was just behind Will Levis in my position rankings. (Will) Anderson had outstanding sack production in college and could rack up 10 sacks per season. The reason I wrote 'in a vacuum' there is because of the haul Houston had to send to move up. This is a roster that needs a ton of help, so are we sure that the 2024 first-rounder won't end up in the top five again? Houston no longer has a second-round pick in this draft."

If you went to a stockbroker with a spare $10,000 to invest and got that kind of results would you turn to that person again the next year with another $10,000?

Based on rookie returns, the Texans and Lions certainly had two of the best drafts last year. In fact, I'd argue they had the two best based on their overall improvement as a team and how much of it could be attributed to their draft picks. The Texans shot up from a 3-13-1 to a 10-7 finish and a division title. The Lions leaped from 9-8 to 12-5 and also a division championship.

Stroud and Anderson were the Offensive and Defensive rookies of the year, respectively.

Gibbs and the Lions' second-round pick, tight end Sam LaPorta, were two of the other six rookie of the year finalists. Next to quarterbacks, playmakers determine the winner of most NFL games, and Gibbs finished with 1,261 total yards and 11 TDs. With his 10 TDs and 86 receptions, LaPorta arguably rivaled Travis Kelce for being the best playmaking tight end in the league last season.

As for Campbell, he wasn't a splashy defender but he added some much-needed punch to Detroit's defense, although its second-round defensive choice Brian Branch was more of a playmaker.

Also, in Kiper's worst five were the Green Bay Packers, whose draft yielded more than a half-dozen key contributors on another of the league's most improved teams.

Kiper and his ESPN cohorts weren't alone in bashing Detroit's draft last year. Remember these headlines last spring?

The Sporting News, by Jacob Camenker: "The 15 worst value picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. From Lions' Jahmyr Gibbs to 49ers' Jake Moody"

USA TODAY, by Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz: "NFL drafts most questionable first-round picks: Lions double-dip with bewildering choices" The writer then listed Gibbs, No. 1; and Campbell, No. 2, as the two worst choices of the first round.

Slate, by Alex Kirshner: "The Lions Made the Weirdest Pick of the NFL Draft: Jahmyr Gibbs is an incredible athlete. But taking him so high strains belief."

Pro Football Focus, by Max Chadwick: "2023 NFL Draft: The four biggest reaches of Round 1, including Jahmyr Gibbs and Jack Campbell to the Detroit Lions"

PFF didn't like the Lions draft because Gibbs and Campbell weren't on its list of first-round prospects. The two other drafts it didn't like were Green Bay's because it didn't take a receiver in the first round, and Houston's because it traded away its 2024 No. 1 because it might cost the Texans QB Caleb Williams."

How much does that website charge, again, for that kind of brilliant insight?

Sorry for not directly answering your question yet. But how much stock do I put into post-draft grades? Absolutely none. What's more, I find it incredulous that any pundit, any fan or any website that claims to do a deep dive into studying film of college prospects would think they might know more than the personnel people involved in the selection process at the draft headquarters of each NFL team.

Cliff Christl wrote:

I kinda love this response lol
a month ago

I kinda love this response lol

Originally Posted by: Zero2Cool 

Agreed absolutely none, as they're usually grading it based on their pre draft expectations... and the picks mental side and how they fit into the scheme matter a lot more for actual results.

  • wpr
  • Preferred Member
a month ago
Once upon a time I looked at the "non professional" grades and valued them. Today I realize the only professionals are the ones that work for the 32 organizations. These media people gave grades based on their ideas. Not once have I seen someone admit they or the herd that they follow were wrong. Even if they would look back over 3-5 years. They keep doing the same thing time after time.

Giving a grade before a full 3 years is too soon. Not understanding that most draftees don't work out is also a mistake.

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