official website's take on the draft
I don't think it has, but I apologize if this has already been posted. Pretty good analysis, IMO.
By Nick Wagoner
The NFL Draft is usually a weekend for numbers: statistics, height, weight and whatever else you can think of to measure a football player. But the day after the draft is reserved for letters.
Nearly every website, newspaper and television show that has anything at all to do with the NFL will inundate its audience with grades for every team and how it did on draft day.
Well, here on the day after the draft, I am not going to do it. I refuse. In fact, I despise post-draft grades. The reasons are numerous and I will get to those later, but attempting to grade a draft one day after it happens is like trying to determine how many championships an NCAA recruiting class is going to win on National Signing Day.
The fact of the matter is, every team has every player graded different. By my calculations, there are still 32 teams in the NFL. Along with that, there are a number of scouts on each team and those scouts see thousands of players each year. So, estimating conservatively, there are 150 sets of eyes watching thousands of players play in different games.
Unfortunately, not all of those scouts rate the players the same way. Maybe one team sees a quarterback have the game of his life against State University while another team sees the same quarterback struggle mightily against Small Town Tech. That means that every team is going to have a different opinion of every player. In addition to the teams, there are a number of analysts, pundits and wanna-be analysts and pundits always willing to view a list of names on a sheet of paper and stick a letter next to it.
Maybe it’s pent up rage from all the years of red ink on their tests when they were in school, but whatever the case, attempting to label a draft class one day after the fact is an exercise in futility.
Top-end guys such as No. 1 pick Alex Smith can range anywhere from the top of a team’s board to the 20s. After the first round, though, a player can fall in anywhere from the second round to not drafted at all.
Take Michigan safety Ernest Shazor as an example. Scout Inc. graded Shazor as the third-best safety in the draft. Although he was a little slow and projected more to linebacker, he seemed like a sure thing as a first day choice, right? Well, Shazor not only didn’t go on the first day, but he wasn’t drafted at all. Now he is left fighting for an undrafted free agent contract and the chance to compete for a spot at the end of a team’s roster.
Dealing with something that is such an inexact science makes it impossible to label a draft as a good or bad one right away. Some players are considered sure things heading into the draft. You know, guys like Ryan Leaf, Ki-Jana Carter and Tony Mandarich. The reality in the NFL is that there is no such thing as a sure thing.
If someone desperately wants to hand out grades the day after the draft, here is a simple suggestion. Call it the five-year anniversary plan. Look back on what a team did five years ago in the draft, figure out a grading scale based on those players’ production for that team and assign the letter accordingly.
Or, just throw out the idea all together. With that in mind, I offer no grades, only a glimpse at how I see certain players the Rams selected turning out. I don’t presume to know how any of them will be nor do I declare that I have seen all of these kids play in every game of their college career. These ideas are based solely on what little I have seen of the players in action, what I have read and what I have learned from speaking with them.
Most Potential: Alex Barron (First Round)
It would be easy to find a guy that St. Louis chose near the end of the draft and spout clichés such as “he has a lot of upside” or “he is an excellent value.” But the scariest part about the Rams choosing Barron with the 19th pick in the draft is that he has so much room to get better.
Barron is one of nine players to have his locker retired at Florida State, joining some elite company with that honor. It’s not like he was a raw project type who didn’t have success in college. He earned All-American honors twice, proving just how dominant he was for the Seminoles.
There are questions about his technique and he does need to improve in that area, but he dominated with the technique he has now. If he can learn quickly, he could be just as dominant in the NFL. With that said, Barron has potential as a bust too. He is a bit more of a risk than say Oklahoma’s Jammal Brown in that regard, but he also has more potential to dominate.
Biggest Risk: Richie Incognito (Third Round)
For all of the outcry about second round selection Ronald Bartell, the fact is that he was not a reach. Almost every reputable scouting service and most teams had Bartell rated among the top 60 players in the draft. The Rams drafted him 50th, meaning St. Louis wasn’t exactly reaching.
Incognito, on the other hands, comes with an extensive history of problems. He was kicked out of Nebraska twice, was charged with misdemeanor assault for fighting and to top it off is about to have knee surgery.
He is one of the toughest competitors in the draft and has first-round potential according to most, but the combination of off the field and injury problems makes him a risky choice in the third round considering some of the players that were still available.
Possible Steal: Claude Terrell (Fourth Round)
Terrell is a big, big man. At 6’2, 343 pounds, the offensive lineman out of New Mexico is a big, punishing bruiser-type lineman with the versatility to play tackle or guard. He needs to drop some weight to get to around 330 pounds, but he has the potential to be a road grading type guard in the near future.
Terrell easily could have gone on day one of the draft, but slipped to the Rams compensatory pick in the fourth round. He is instantly one of the most physically imposing forces on the team and has the nasty disposition to match his size.
Grade: Ask me in five years.
Re: official website's take on the draft
I prefer this analysis to the grades, and not just because the Rams received a low grade by most opinions.
The Rams may not have got the best player at each position, but the Rams had specific needs to fill, and most feel they have done exactly that.
My off-season analysis (to date:)
I would say that with the O'linemen they have picked up, they will be able to field a solid O'line. I also believe that they have picked up enough help at S/CB to figure out a way to make the secondary work. The D'line may not be their strongest point, but still have the young Kennedy's and Lewis' to make more progress, plus the drunk driver guy is gonna play. Offensive skills positions are no worries.
Which leaves me with the LB's and special teams:
I think the most important decision the Rams needed to make this off-season was MLB. Very likely a large part of this season will rely on Claiborne since he too could be a boom or bust guy.
I may turn out to be a good thing that Safeties and LB's were a need, as these players are generally good special teamers. New coach, same results? I hope not. My concern would be that MM has yet to provide enough resources to the Special Teams. It's an area he needs to get involved with, not just delegate.
and it never hurts to mention that Jeff Wilkins is (still) MONEY.