That’s not a typo in the heading.
I’ve looked at Buffalo’s draft picks multiple times and the Bills get a see… as in wait and see.
The Patriots? See. Dolphins? See. Jets? See.
I won’t bore you by listing every team in the league, but the message is the same. Wait and see. Grading a draft class before they ever suit up for their new teams is stupid, plain and simple.
Why do the big sites post draft grades? They know we’ll click, and then either complain or gloat. It’s increased site traffic for them and a way for fans to hold onto the draft for one more day.
They got me. I went and clicked on a few articles for the BillsMafia and it’s not pretty. Buffalo is generally getting one of the lowest draft grades in the NFL. Here’s a few samples:
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN : C- (Insider Subscription Required)
ESPN’s top draft analyst gave the Bills a D+ in terms of addressing needs and a C in terms of value. Buffalo spent picks on wide receiver, offensive line, linebacker and cornerback… all needs. The team added an offensive tackle in Round 2 that had a first round grade according to many draft analysts. Cyril Richardson, added in the 5th round, was seen as a late second to fourth round pick.
Kiper gave Buffalo a C- last year as well. In January, he regraded the 2013 class and bumped them up to a B (Insider Subscription Required). Don’t be surprised if he does the same in 2014.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: C (Full Article)
Analysis: The Bills landed a nice player in Watkins and a filled a need at tackle with the pick of Cyrus Kouandjio in the second round. But the price to move up downgrades their draft for me.
Hey, fair is fair Pete. It’s clear that anytime a team gives up a few picks, Prisco is going to play it safe and just give the team a C or below. Wait a minute… Here’s Prisco’s analysis of the Falcons’ 2011 draft class. You know, the one where the Falcons traded their 2011 1st (27th), 2nd (59th), and 4th (124) as well as their 2012 1st and 4th. Man, they gave up more than the Bills. Prisco must have killed the Falcons’ draft class that year…
Analysis: It’s all about Jones here. Thomas Dimitroff made a risky move to help his passing game. If it pays off, as in a Super Bowl, he wins. If not, the criticism will come.
Atlanta has had some nice seasons since trading for Jones, but still no Super Bowls. I don’t think anyone would criticize that trade though based on Jones’ play.
FOX Sports actually had pretty nice things to say. They mention the Bills could have given up too much for Watkins, but also note that time will tell. The writer praises the Kouandjio pick and says getting Kouandjio in the 5th was a steal. Seantrel Henderson even gets mentioned as a no-risk pick so late. Why they ended up getting a C+ after the kind words? Who knows?
You get the idea. The major sites aren’t fans of Buffalo’s draft because they were aggressive and pursued the best offensive playmaker in the draft class. They took a tackle that fell out of the first round due to his knees so I suppose that’s easy to dislike as well.
No disrespect to any of these draft evaluators, but they don’t know how a draft class will pan out. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at some of the “best drafts” out there in recently years according to draft experts.
Look Back and Laugh
In 2010, Mel Kiper Jr. said the Ravens had one of the best drafts in the league. He gave them an A (Insider Subscription Required). Who did the Ravens get in this draft? Sergio Kindle, Terrence Cody, Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta, David Reed, Arthur Jones and Ramon Harewood.
That’s an A?! Dennis Pitta and Arthur Jones were certainly hits and a few players in here contribute but this is not a great draft class by any means.
Adam Caplan graded the 2011 draft over at FOX Sports. The best draft grade that year went to the Houston Texans, who earned an A. No one can argue that they hit the jackpot in the first round by drafting J.J. Watt. After that pick? Woof. Brooks Reed, Brandon Harris, Rashad Carmichael, Shiloh Keo, T.J. Yates, Derek Newton and Cheta Ozougwu.
If this is an A draft, I’m fine with the current C grades I’m seeing.
Okay, one more draft class. This one is from 2012 so I wouldn’t set anything in stone just yet, but let’s read up on Pete Prisco’s draft grades. One of the biggest winners were the Pittsburgh Steelers who earned an A.
Pittsburgh’s draft class consisted of David DeCastro, Mike Adams, Sean Spence, Alameda Ta’amu, Chris Rainey, Toney Clemons, David Paulson, Terrence Frederick and Kelvin Beachum.
Most of these picks didn’t pan out for the Steelers. Many of them are on other teams just two years later.
The bottom line is simple: Getting upset about draft grades is foolish. It’s very easy to get sucked into an argument about draft grades, especially when draft evaluators are bashing our team and our players on social media. Please don’t fall into their trap.
The next time you see someone ripping Buffalo’s draft class, send them a message and tell them the Bills get a “see.” We’ll get back to them in 2-3 years, for better or worse.