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The Value of Things: Grading the Draft

How does the numbers guy grade the draft?

NFL Combine Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

We start all of these with probably the same statement. Doing something like this less than a week after the draft was completed is beyond silly. They are based on how people grade out all of these guys and none of the people supplying grades are actual scouts. Sure, they know more about football than I do, so there is that. Yet, none of them are currently employed as scouts in the league, so how much credence do you really want to put in their opinion?

I ask two important questions when it comes to any particular draft selection. Are they a good football player and will they be a good football player for your team. The first one is more generic and the second one is specific to schemes and preferences. The one question I never ask is whether a particular player is good value at that slot. I couldn’t honestly care less. If they play well then they are good value. The big thing here is generated by decisions like picking Ross Blacklock over Jonathan Taylor. Sure, it looks terrible now, but we have to ask ourselves two questions. First, would Taylor perform like that in our offense and behind our offensive line? Secondly, has Blacklock struggled because he isn’t a good football player or because he wasn’t a fit for our system? So, just some thoughts as we move through here.

Derek Stingley— Grade B

Again, we could bark back and forth on whether a pass rusher or offensive lineman would have been better here. To me the only relevant question is whether Sauce Gardner would have been better here. I see Stingley as a high ceiling, low floor player. If he plays like he did as a freshman he will be the best corner in the class. If he is constantly hurt like the last couple of years it will be ugly. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Kenyon Green— Grade A

Will Green be the best guard in the class? I don’t know, but I love the thinking that goes into this pick. It was so simple. You needed a left guard, so you drafted a guy that played left guard in college. He played other positions, but that is what he played most often and what he played best. It represents a departure from the era where we drafted projects and moved them where we needed to instead of where they would be best put.

Jalen Pitre— Grade B

This is where the value boys will go nuts. Kyle Hamilton was there and they could have gotten him where they chose Kenyon Green instead.. Will they be better off with Pitre and the assorted picks they got? I don’t know and I don’t care. All we care about is whether he will be a good safety. Scouts seem to think he will be, so that’s all that matters in May.

John Metchie— Grade C

I don’t know what to do with numbers at the collegiate level. He had more than 90 catches and more than 1100 yards. That’s great. A lot of other guys did that and there were numerous receivers that went before him and after him in that round. Will he be the best out of all of them? That’s hard to say, so he gets an average grade.

Christian Harris— Grade C

I’m not sure he was the best player on the board at this position, but we have to remember the second question: will he be a good player for your team? Harris might be a better fit according to them. Nakobe Dean was still on the board when most people thought he’d go in the first or second round. Again, I’m no expert, so we will just say we hopefully added quality depth here.

Dameon Pierce— Grade B-

Running back is a tough spot. Once Hall and Walker went off the board you were left with a sea of other guys that looked kind of similar in value. Some were hard runners while others were change of pace backs. So, pick your poison. I think we are all just hopeful that we see far less Rex Burkhead.

Thomas Booker— Grade C

Did you really need an interior defensive lineman? I guess if you strike gold here then you can force Blacklock to get his tail in high gear. You take Booker for what he is. He is a flier, but Roy Lopez was a flier and he has worked out so far. Scouts have poked some holes in his game, but it’s a fifth round pick. Fifth round picks are supposed to have some holes.

Teagan Quitoriano— Grade C-

This grade might just be my response to his stats. He projects as a blocking tight end and scouts have questioned his blocking up to this point. So, this one might go the route of many other tight ends we have drafted over the years (names redacted for mental health purposes). The difference is this is a 5th rounder, so no one expects a whole lot here. If he improves enough to be used in two tight end sets as the blocking tight end then great.

Austin Deculus— Grade C

When you get to the sixth and seventh round you are getting to the point where you are talking about camp bodies. Derek Newton was a seventh rounder. Lopez was taken in the sixth round. Yet, study the history of the draft and you see a whole lot of guys you’ve never heard of. Scouting reports say he will move to guard at the next level. Let him compete with the likes of Max Scharpring and Justin McCray for a roster spot.

Overall Grade: B

Caserio clearly had a plan and he executed it. He used the eleven picks he started with to move up and down as needed to grab the guys he wanted. He also clearly took guys in every major position group except quarterback. Clearly the idea was to upgrade across the board. The highlight will likely be a vastly improved secondary where he spent two of the top three selections. The lowlight is the fact that the front seven on defense didn’t get a whole lot of love. This was always going to be a two to three year project. So, some things were going to be punted to next year and that and the QB slot appear to be those.