NFL Draft Grades are meaningless

NFL Draft grades

The NFL Draft is the most important event in professional football. It can change the course of franchises for the good and the bad. Its importance is undeniable, but the volume of reviews written about each team’s draft picks are about as meaningless as a third-string quarterback.

There is no way that anyone, including those still employed by ESPN, can accurately break down the NFL Draft the day after (or even the week after) it’s over.

They may write intelligently, but when it comes to judging a team’s draft, you’ll get just as meaningful of results if you close your eyes and throw a dart at a board full of superlatives (or pejoratives).

It takes years before we’ll be able to properly assess the 2017 NFL Draft. The only thing you can measure right off the bat is how many misogynists your team drafted and the frustration level of Bears fans.

Publications’ favorite evaluation technique is the letter grade. So-called experts award As, Bs, Cs, or Ds, sometimes with a plus or minus, to teams based on their entire draft class.

Why a team gets a certain letter grade is anyone’s guess.

CBS Sports gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a “B” and the Dallas Cowboys a “B-minus.” If you’re a Cowboy fan and you don’t like that “B-minus,” just visit a different website. Sports Illustrated gave the Cowboys’ draft a “B-plus.” Last year, CBS Sports gave them a “C-minus.”

For this article, I compiled letter grades from five different sources—CBS Sports, SB Nation, Sports Illustrated, USA Sports, and The Washington Post.

I gave each letter grade a number. The letter grade “A-plus” was assigned the number one, the letter grade “A” was assigned the number two, the letter grade “A-plus” was assigned the number three, and so on.

I averaged the five scores and then converted them back to letter grades using the same numbering system explained above (rounding up or down when necessary). My findings back up the assertion that reviewing the draft is an exercise in futility.

All but six teams received some sort of “B” grade. Only one team earned anything better than an “A.” The San Francisco 49ers averaged an “A-minus.”

The New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, and Detroit Lions had “C-plus” averages. The Los Angeles Rams picked up a “C,” and surprising no one, the Chicago Bears captured the worst grade, “C-.”

The grades are anything but consistent. The 49ers averaged an “A-minus” but SB Nation gave them a “B-minus.” The Houston Texas receive two “C-pluses” as well as two “As.”

The Detroit Lions were one of two teams that received a “D” but they also received a “B.” The Bears were the only team not to receive at least one “B” of some kind.

The inconsistency and ambiguity of these letter grades tells me nothing. Even if the reasoning behind the grades was revealed, they are all too close together to glean anything valuable.

Besides, in a couple of seasons, we might anoint the Bears’ 2017 draft as the best of all-time and the 49ers’ selections might all be busts.

We live in an instant gratification world where we must rate everything right away. Yet, schools don’t give out grades on the first day of school. Pundits shouldn’t give out grades right after the draft’s over.

Instead, we should be reviewing the 2007 or 2012 NFL Drafts.

 

Andy Bond writes for GoodDeedSeats.com and lives in Washington State. When he’s not writing, he likes to walk his dog, read sports biographies, and barbeque. His favorite NFL team is the Seattle Seahawks.

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