How or why anyone ever grades an NFL draft class before a single player has put on pads and played an NFL down is dumbfounding. Film critics aren’t paid to review movies based on previews. Foodies never endorse a restaurant based on the smell coming from the kitchen. But draftniks are free to grade a crop of players that haven’t even signed their contracts yet.
So you can’t read anything into Mel Kiper’s C- grade applied to Reggie McKenzie’s first draft class as the Oakland GM.
I’ll be the first to say that taking one glance at Oakland’s 2012 class doesn’t exactly inspire Super Bowl talk. But that has nothing to do with the players selected. For all we know Tony Bergstrom could be the next offensive lineman to enter Canton as a Raider. Thing is we’ll have to wait and see.
I realize taking a wait and see approach doesn’t make for great television. So Kiper has no choice but to inspire draft talk via meaningless grades. That’s just the nature of the ratings beast.
Fact of the matter is we all know you can’t evaluate a football draft until years later. Even then it is pretty much an impossible task. I feel that the Raiders had an excellent draft in ’08. Still, here we are four years later and this franchise is still .500 at best.
Does that mean Oakland has failed in drafting from a team perspective yet has succeeded on a talent level?
Also, what about undrafted free agents? They’re not considered to be part of a draft class but a team like the Houston Texans has got to get some credit for unearthing Arian Foster. How does that figure into evaluating a team’s ability to evaluate talent? Let that sink in for a second.
A draft grade is really nothing more than an evaluation of a team’s evaluating process. That’s like predicting someone’s ability to predict something before they’ve predicted anything.
My head hurts trying to think all this stuff through. Let’s just move on from this now and we’ll revisit Mel’s C- three or four years later.