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Exactly what is a Draft Grade?


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Every single draft analyst ( I use the term very loosely) looks at the list of college prospects and ranks them. Some do their ranking by discussing the subject with NFL people; others rank by looking at college games and judging the talent. Others take measurable physical traits (Combine numbers) and compare them with successful NFL players. Once the pundits create their rankings, they then try to judge each team's needs. Then, they try to match the talent with the perceived needs and come up with their mock. Draft pundits make their mark in the draft world by competing for the most accurate mock and prospect rankings. The closest thing to accountability for them is nothing more than bragging rites. They don't get fired. Even the worst of them seem to garner loyal followings.

Not one 'draft guru' has the time to carefully look at all of the NFL teams to judge their real needs. Heck, they don't have the time, nor resources to judge any one team's draft needs. Not one. It takes a collective and extensive expertise to truly judge what a team needs to improve. The game is so complex that the casual viewer often misses the nuances that make the difference between failure and success. The simple question of how to improve a pass rush is often boiled down to sack totals. That is like trying to describe an elephant by looking through a peep hole from five feet away. One guy will swear that the elephant is like a snake (only sees its trunk) another guy knows that the elephant is like a stingray (only sees an ear). Never mind the poor guy stuck with a view of its back side. You get the point.

So, here is my main point. Drafts grades mean one and only one thing. They are a reflection of what how well the pundit predicted each team would draft. Plain and simple. If the draft analyst predicted that we should draft a DE in the first round, then clearly the Falcons get an F. You see, they hand out a grade and assign it to the team when, in reality, they should assign the grade to themselves.

The Huddle report, one of the most accurate draft publications over the past decade, has given the Falcons a pretty good grade (so I hear). Predictably, Mel Kiper gives the Falcons a C-. What do the grades mean: Mel Kiper did a poor job of assessing the Falcons' needs and a poorer job of evaluating the talent at hand. This is not a knock on Kiper. It should be recognized that he created the extravaganza that the NFL Draft has become.

The take home message is this:

Don't get wrapped up in all the immediate post draft grading. You either trust in our FO or you don't. Either way, be glad your healthy and wealthy enough to care about this team.

Edited by etherdome
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