Draft grades are dumb. We have no idea what is going to happen next, and you’re really splitting hairs giving one team a B- and another a B. The best you can do is judge whether or not a team addressed the needs it has, were any of their picks reaches, did they get good value and decide that they did a good job or a bad job. In those respects, the Eagles did a really good job. GM Howie Roseman and his staff needed to do much better, and knew it. I questioned if they had the ability to properly recognize and address their previous faults. I’m not about to hop on the bandwagon today, but I feel much better about the job they’re doing today than I did on Wednesday. The past two years they’ve reached (Danny Watkins, Jaiquan Jarrett) and they’ve not taken the best player on the board (Brandon Graham over Earl Thomas) and it’s burned them. But not this year.
Trading up for Fletcher Cox was a good move, they didn’t give up a lot to do so, they drafted a player that everyone agree was a top prospect and they didn’t take him over an obviously better player or bigger need. Zero complaints there. Mychal Kendricks and Vinny Curry in the 2nd round were good picks. Kendricks will compete for a starting job because he’s talented and because every LB competes for a starting job on the Eagles no matter how bad you are. Curry was a classic strengthen a strength pick, he was just too highly rated to pass on. That’s a welcome change from previous drafts where the team took a guy a couple of rounds too high because of need. Nick Foles is the only pick you can scratch your head on, and since I trust Andy Reid with QBs more than any other coach in this league, I’m okay with it. Backup QB was a need, and they got one that isn’t a total project and has a different skill set than Mike Kafka. A knock on Foles is footwork, and Andy and Marty have done a phenomenal job in improving Vick’s footwork. They can fix the technical stuff, the rest is on the QB. Any value they lost taking Foles in the 3rd they regained with Brandon Boykin in the 4th. I really like this pick, Boykin was fun to watch at UGA and for the first time in years they now have a legit kick returner who can make the active 46 on his own merits as a position player. As 5th-7th rounders, Dennis Kelly, Marvin McNutt, Brandon Washington and Bryce Brown can only make a draft look good in hindsight, they can’t make it look bad. No one has or will ever say a team’s draft looked bad because of who they took in day three.
Overall, a really good job. Some other thoughts around the league:
-History repeats. In 1998, with a new coach, new GM and a terrible team, the Colts took Peyton Manning, had decided it well into the draft process but kept their mouth shut. Unlike other picks who carried a standard nameless jersey with #1 on it, when Manning took the stage on draft day he had a #18 Colts jersey with his name on it. On Thursday Andrew Luck took the stage with a #12 jersey with his name on it. It gets better. In 1998 the Chargers of course took Ryan Leaf, who they traded up a spot to get well before the draft to make sure they would have the pick with the Cardinals, who had Jake Plummer. Just like how the Redskins traded up well before the draft with the Rams. Spooky.
-It is clear that Mike Brown ceded a lot of power to his daughter, Katie Blackburn, two years ago. And she in turn allows the Bengals football people to do their jobs, unlike Mike Brown. Because that team has dramatically changed, and for the better. Last year the team just acted differently and made a lot of smart moves. For the second year in a row, they’ve had a very good and smart off-season, and that’s not by chance.
-Meanwhile the Browns continue to be dumb. They got bluffed by the Vikings into giving up something for nothing, although again 5th-7th rounders don’t make break anyone’s draft. The Richardson trade up alone would not be a big deal, but then they took 28 year old Brandon Weedon in the 1st round. Only 10 guys on the Browns are older than him. At that age a team can’t wait for you to develop, you have to be good day one. Likely another franchise crippling pick for the Browns. At least they’re consistent.
-Put me in the camp of people who think the Redskins drafting Nick Cousins is dumb. I understand having to have a solid backup. But Rex Grossman is a solid backup. No really, he is. What’s a reasonable expectation for a backup QB? Come in, move the offense down the field 10-20% worse than the starter, maybe put together a few drives here and there that can win a game? Well, isn’t that Rex Grossman? He knows the offense, he can move the ball into the red zone and he has flashes of “good Rex.” That’s pretty much the definition of backup QB. Use the Cousins pick to get RGIII some help and then get your project backup next year. And the best part? This isn’t new territory for Washington. 1994 they took Heath Shuler with the #3 pick, and Gus Frerotte in the 7th round. Gus Frerotte wasn’t good, but he was way better.
-When’s the last time a player who was a train wreck of a human in college being got drafted, put it all together and turned his life around? I’m struggling to remember one. But Jeff Fisher thinks that he can do it with Janoris Jenkins because… he did it with Pacman Jones? Gut laugh.
-For the past few years the Patriots just couldn’t stop trading down and stock piling picks. Doing it one year is fine, doing it year in and year out will hurt your team long term. It gave them a dearth of backup-level talent on defense, which cost them the Super Bowl. At some point you have to actually use those picks, and finally this year they did, and moving up twice to get top notch defensive talent. The rich get richer.
-The Raiders took a slow WR. Al Davis really is dead.