Ahh the NFL Draft. It truly is one of my favourite events of the year. Not really because it gives me hope that the Steelers will find some new star player that will get them over the hump for Lombardi #7 (my dumb fan brain has already convinced me that TJ Watt is gonna be an absolute sack machine that can line up both at inside & outside linebacker), but mostly because of NFL Draft Grades. NFL Draft Grades are genuinely the premier exemplification that when it comes to predicting the future career of a 21 year old prospect, nobody (even the experts) really knows just what the fuck they’re talking about. In celebration of this, I decided to look back at the 2011–2012–2013–2014 Bleacher Report NFL Draft Grades and highlight some of the hilariously inaccurate treasures. I will say this isn’t meant to attack the kind folks over at Bleacher Report, I could have picked literally any other website and yielded just as hilarious hindsight results, but I used the refined research method of taking the website that kept popping up in the first few links of a comprehensive 5-second Google search. Anyways, enough chitter chatter, let’s go right ahead and take a deep dive into beautiful world of ridiculously off the mark NFL Draft Grades:
In terms of volume, the 2011 draft grades actually didn’t have that many completely out of left field grades, at least by the standards of the draft grade world, which can be best compared to the level of excellence United Airline’s HR Department uses when training their employees in customer service. However, there were still 2 gems which stood out from the pack:
Jake Locker (B+) & Julio Jones (C)
Apparently drafting Julio Jones, pretty much the only human being capable of doing things like this and this, 2 picks before a now retired 26 year old quarterback who has a spectacular 9 wins & 14 losses in his lengthy 4 year career was a not a very smart move for the Atlanta Falcons and a brilliant move for the Tennessee Titans. Could this draft day blunder be the penultimate reason they blew a 28-3 3rd quarter lead in the Super Bowl? Well it’s hard to say. Julio’s ongoing career receiving yards (7,610) are about literally 153% higher than Jakey Locker-Room Talk’s now finished career 4950 passing yards. I will say in the defence of sports writers most of the analysis for Julio actually projected that he would be a pretty good wide receiver, their biggest gripe with the pick was that Atlanta gave up too much to trade up from 27th to 6th with the Cleveland Browns for the future hall of fame receiver.
What did that “too much” ultimately end up being? That would be a group of players that could probably fill up its own All-Bust Squad; a now retired full back that I won’t even bother naming, Phil Taylor & Greg Little, both of whom haven’t seen a pro football snap since 2014 and finally Brandon Weeden, who was about 75 years old at the time he was drafted and showed no sign of discernible upside or skills at the quarterback position. On the bright side for the Browns Phil Taylor did get an “A” in these draft grades so I guess you could say this trade was a classic win-win for everyone involved. As you’ll find out shortly with a few more notable examples of Brownian incompetence, any time Cleveland calls you to make a trade, you should always accept that trade even if it sounds bad at the time. The Browns curse is a very real and strong force that you can benefit greatly from as an opposing team and in the viciously competitive business that is the National Football League of America no opportunity should go unclaimed.
The 2012 Draft Grades has more treasures than there is in all 47 of the shitty Pirates of the Caribbean sequels combined. The sheer volume and degree of completely incorrect draft grades from this year would be enough to build the Great Wall of Failed Takes. With that being said, why don’t we begin with Subway Bobby himself:
Robert Griffin III (A+):
Good old RG3, the infamous one season wonder, or as I like to call him the Carly Rae-Jepsen of the NFL. If you were looking at this “A+” perfect grading right after his rookie season you’d be wondering why I would include him on this list, you’d be say “what?!?the Redskins nailed this pick!” However, the typical successful NFL career lasts longer than 6 months, something that has been much easier said than done for Baylor Bobby. Take a look at his stats since that award winning season:
If that’s the standards that needed to be met to get a perfect “A+” grade in school than Forrest Gump could probably get into Harvard Medical School. But alas, that’s the nature of grading your pupils before they actually take the test. An extra layer of this hysterically fallacious draft grade is this tidbit from Redskins full draft report card:
“Their first pick gets an A+. Their third pick gets an F. Why the Redskins would draft two quarterbacks in their first four selections is beyond me.”
Now I’ll give this analyst some credit, he was right in questioning the Washington Dan Snyders’ decision to draft 2 quarterbacks in the same draft. However, where he was mistaken is that they probably should’ve gone with the value pick and now current starter Kirk Cousins and kept the astronomical legion of draft picks they traded up for RG-LCL-Sprain. Finally, I would be remised not to mention how poetic it is that there’s a very real possibility that after all is said and done he will have taken the last snap of his career in a Cleveland Browns uniform. It is genuinely awe-inspiring that even in one of the few instances that a team not from Ohio completely whiffs on not only a top pick but on a first round quarterback, the Browns still finesse their way into the situation.
Trent Richardson (A+):
I told you this blog would be chalk full of examples of Browns draft incompetence and here we are 3 paragraphs in and they’ve been mentioned in all 3. For most teams, this pick would be hands down the worst in franchise history. However, for the Cleveland Stool Samples it might a contender to crack the top 3. Nevertheless, this is still a pick with a grade that’s laughably inaccurate for so many reasons. Let’s get the main reason out of the way, Trent Richardson was (yes “was” as he hasn’t taken a snap in the pros since 2014) by all accounts in fact very bad and not good at playing football. I went to check how his career 3.3 yard per carry stacked up against all of the other running backs throughout NFL history. Well, I’ll save you the trouble of clicking on the link, they only include the top 271 and T-Rich is nowhere to be found since he is 0.5 yards away from the last names on this exclusive club of hundreds of RBs.
Unfortunately for the Browns, Richardson’s complete lack of speed and overall skill is not the only thing that makes this pick look so bad in hindsight. Cleveland held the 4th pick in the draft and the first 2 picks were set in stone (Andrew Luck & the aforementioned RG3) while the Vikings, the team that had an in-his-prime Adrian Peterson anchoring their offense, were selecting 3rd. Seems like a perfect situation for the Browns to just sit back and let their guy T-Rich fall into their laps at 4th right? Guess again! The Browns gave the Vikings a 4th, 5th & 7th round pick to move up one spot in fear that the Vikings weren’t satisfied with this superhuman as the top running back on their depth chart. You didn’t need hindsight to know that was a horrible example of asset management by the Clevelamd front office, but hey congratulations on the A+ pick Browns fans! On the upside at least they had 3 less draft picks to fuck up!
Bruce Irvin (F-) & Luke Kuechly (D):
The streak of Cleveland Browns-related picks is finally over! I guess that’s what happens when you start to look at players who are actually good at football but received bad grades rather than vice-versa. The pictures of these two right above this are pretty self-explanatory but let’s dive in anyways. Despite having 1 DPOY, 3 All-Pro selections, a Super Bowl ring & 2 SB appearances between these two linebackers, their draft grades would put them on academic probation even in the worst community college in Rwanda. Let’s start with Kuechly, here’s an excerpt from his draft grade justification:
“Kuechly lacks the strength to take on blockers and make plays.”
So Bleacher Report, your telling me this guy lacked the strength to make plays? Makes sense to me! As for Bruce Irvin, his grade just makes me laugh. Does F- even really exist? The only other time I’ve ever seen that grade given out was at Springfield Elementary when Mrs. Krabappel would give Bart back his tests in The Simpsons.
Luke Joeckel (A-), Dion Jordan (A) & Dee Milliner (A):
Just look at that gauntlet of future hall of fame talent. Luke Joeckel has spent his illustrious 4 year career in the NFL doing his best impression of a subway-turnstile/revolving-door hybrid while cornerback Dee Milliner has been burned more than the Great Hinckly Fire of 1894 and is currently a free agent who hasn’t taken a snap since 2015. Here’s what the experts had to say about Sweet Dee:
“That said, this is a great fit and Milliner’s physicality and athleticism fits with what the Jets like to do with press coverage out on the edge.”
Finally some accurate analysis. There’s no sarcasm in that statement, I’m being perfectly serious, letting wide receivers do whatever the hell they want downfield while “hitting” them with strength softer than a weak toddler trying to swing around a light pillow is the type of physicality that fits EXACTLY what the Jets like to do. As for the second stud prospect from the 2013 draft to receive a grade of A, Dion Jordan, here’s what NFL analyst Mike Mayock & Hall of Fame Running Back Marshall Faulk a.k.a not Trent Richardson said about him after the Fins picked him:
M.M.: “This young man, I think he’s got the potential to be the player that I compare him to, which is Jason Taylor, who ironically played for the Miami Dolphins. I also think he looks a little bit like an Aldon Smith, and if he puts on 20 pounds on that 6-foot-7 frame, some day he might be as good as a DeMarcus Ware. He’s got that kind of edge speed.”
M.F.: “Dion Jordan is the guy that you don’t have to scheme to get a sack. He gets you a sack. And if you’re going to to compete against the New England Patriots two times a year, you have to be able to just beat a guy 1-on-1 and get a sack and not blitz Tom Brady. You need this guy.”
I have to say in those whopping 2 years No-Neon Dion played in the league, his 3 sacks and zero forced fumbles in 26 games make it hard to disprove Faulk’s point. As far as Mayock’s Jason Taylor & Demarcus Ware comparisons, Miami legend Dion Jordan’s career numbers actually compare pretty favourably to Ware’s 138.5 sacks & 35 forced fumbles as well as the now second greatest linebacker in Fins history’s 139.5 sacks and 47 forced fumbles. So there you go Bleacher Report, you’re not alone with your overreactive takes about a college prospect 15 minutes after he’s drafted, we’re all prone to doing it. I know it might look bad that he hasn’t played at all the last 2 seasons, but now that the Seahawks have signed him to a 1 year deal for the upcoming season, sitting out the 2015 & 2016 seasons to take PED’s may very well turn out to be a brilliant career move when we look back on it 5 years from now.
Greg Robinson (A), Justin Gilbert (A-):
One of the more positive things to come out of losing the Rams to LA for Saint-Louis was without a doubt the fact that they no longer had to sit through a 3-hour football game featuring Greg Robinson attempt to be do his best impression of an offensive lineman in the NFL. While Justin Gilbert may have been about as effective and menacing as Casper the Friendly Ghost out on the football field, at least he played 36 games which is more than the 16-game length of an NFL season. As you’ll find out shortly if you don’t already know, you sure can’t say that about every 2014 Browns First Round Pick! To be honest it’s hard to keep thinking of different ways to express that the Cleveland Browns are in fact bad at drafting talented football players so I’m just going to move on to another team.
Johnny Manziel (A+):
You really thought we were done with the Browns did you? How could I not end this with Johnny Football aka Money Manziel aka Billy Vegas. In the days following 2014 Draft Night, the amount of perfect draft grades being given out to the Browns for this pick vs the amount of bottles Johnny popped was a complete toss up. Here’s what Bleacher Report had to say about Johnny Heisman-Escobar to back up their perfect A+ score:
“Manziel is going to bring game-changing ability, innovation at the position—even when things break down around him—and he’ll mesh well with Josh Gordon on those long broken-play throws he loves so much.”
I’m not sure what “game” is being referred to when stating he has “game-changing ability? Maybe it’s Blackjack and the analyst is talking about his game-changing ability to wear a blond wig/fake mustache disguise while playing? That may very well be the case, or he could have simply been discussing Manziel’s poised veteran form when popping bottles of Ace of Spades. I will say Bleacher Report was bang on when saying he would mesh well with Josh Gordon, the NFL’s dynamic Cheech & Raver Chong duo is so in-synch that they simultaneously lost their jobs in the NFL to get all drugged up instead. When looking over his career stats I did noticed Johnny Football has at least one thing going for him: He has a career 7-7-7 for Touchdowns-Interceptions-Fumbles, so there you go Browns, between that and the A+ grade, jackpot!