I love draft season. It's a time where every team's fans should be filled with hope for young players coming onto the team for next year. I hope they all make the team. They won't, but I hope they do.
One of my favorite parts of draft season is figuring out what the team will do with their picks. The grades are ultimately fun, but they mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.
However, I've noticed a few of you taking the grades a little too seriously. Look, most people don't have a clue about what teams are going to do and then try to grade it as if they were the ones making the pick.
"We passed on Shaq Lawson for a SAFETY?! Preposterous!"
Well, no. We already acquired Derrick Shelby, a proven player, to fill Lawson's spot. We really didn't need the guy as much as we thought. We didn't replace William Moore, however. Neal does that and more.
Want to know why some experts don't know what's going on? Check out our day three grade roundup.
Under De'Vondre Campbell, we have two quotes and grades of note:
Walter Football's C-, with
...maintains below-average athleticism...
and Bleacher Report's B, with
...type with great athleticism...
Uhh....what? How can two people be on the literal opposite side of the spectrum with the same dude?
Maybe they don't know as much as we thought.
I'll tell you what your grade should be. It should be a red, white, and blue...
Yes, an A.
An A means excellent, right? What does excellent mean to you?
Excellent in a draft to me means you plugged holes at positions of need with the best player for your system at the time of your pick.
Sports Illustrated gave us a D, including this nugget right here:
In the larger view, it appears Atlanta spent draft capital on players it could have traded down to get...
May I refer you to Cool Your Jets I, section 1. which reads:
1) NFL Draft "Experts" assume two things: You can trade down at will, and secondary (that is to say, not the first) positions of need don't matter in round 1.
Our first pick was a safety. It was a little unconventional, yes, but Thomas Dimitroff has been on record saying we have been targeting this guy for several weeks.
Quinn then explained the importance of Keanu's addition in this video segment. The safety position is extremely important to our defense. You may not think so, but it is. We went into this draft looking for a 3-down player that could cover TEs. You may not have realized this at the time, but that term applies not just to linebackers, but also safeties.
Position of need? Check. Top level player at his position? Check. Instant starter? Check. Anything other than an A is you being biased. You lower the grade because "you don't like the guy" or "we could've gotten someone else" isn't fair to the actual pick. Married people out there, you probably could've landed someone else (maybe even better) in your life, but that doesn't mean your husband/wife isn't an A.
Moving on, this team had a dire need at linebacker that stretches as far back as the 2013 season. What do we do? Draft not one, but two linebacker prospects. We were slaughtered by quick RB/TE passes last year. It's no wonder we couldn't rush the passer at all, there was no time given to them. Deion Jones is skinny, but he's a lightning bolt. Give him a year or two to gain about 10 pounds and he'll be golden. Campbell is an Academic All-Big Ten recipient who receives coaching very well. Give him some seasoning and he'll be ready to rock. The best part is Campbell is already versed in multiple linebacker positions and doesn't need to gain much weight. I consider them both A's.
We needed a TE in the worst way. Tamme is old, Toilolo is no help, and we miss Tony Gonzalez. We picked the best TE available after meeting two of our biggest needs in rounds 1 and 2. Another A.
Our 5th round pick was vacated, whatever.
Our 6th round pick is hilarious to me, because people are like "WHO'S THAT GUY?!" Even the NFL's website didn't have information on our new guard. No height, no weight, no nothing. I, too, wondered why we picked him at first, but I'll tell you why:
You've probably never heard of him, but there's a guy named Keith Carter that coaches the Atlanta Falcons. Specifically, he's an assistant offensive line coach. Why is this significant? In 2014, he was San Jose State's offensive line coach. That means he's already familiar with this guy and went to bat for him. That's pretty great. Schweitzer started every game in 2014, so he wasn't some unknown at the school. Let the NFL and experts not have a clue about this guy. They didn't know anything about Ryan Schraeder either.
We needed a guard, we got one we wanted. We already have two right guards on our roster in Chester and Person. He doesn't need to play now, but we still needed a guard. More A's.
Our final pick was a speed demon, which I was clamoring for in pretty much every round until we got one. We've needed someone else other than Julio to blaze down the field and take the top off the defense. Devin Fuller doesn't have a ton of experience, but just wait until Julio takes Fuller under his wing. This could also spell the end of Devin Hester, which is fine, since he's older and doesn't have as much value as he used to. Given that we got a player with receiving experience and legitimate sub-4.4 speed AND given where we were picking in the draft, I give it an A.
Now, contrast this to the Cowboys, who received an A- from Sports Illustrated.
You want to talk about players you could have had? I thought the Cowboys had one of the worst drafts headed into day 3. Why is that?
Cowboys first 3 picks go like this: Ezekiel Elliot, Jaylon Smith, Maliek Collins.
Jerry Jones wanted Elliot. The rest of the team wanted the guy that they should have picked, aka the best player in the draft, Jalen Ramsey. How do you pass up on Ramsey for a running back? You don't need a running back with that team, your OL will make anyone good. What'd Todd Gurley do for the Rams last year? (Besides sell tickets)
Then, with your second pick, you pick a guy who won't play at all this year. (For the record, I hope he goes on to have a great career. Him being picked was a touching moment, but strictly from a football perspective, there's no way in hell you consciously choose a guy in round 2 that won't play this year).
The Cowboys first three picks could have been Ramsey, Derrick Henry, and Jaylon Smith is probably still on board in round 3. That is INFINITELY BETTER. They get an A, we get a D. Alrighty then. That make sense to anyone else?
"But what about the pass rush?!?!??!" you shriek. Who's to say that hasn't been addressed already? Are you assuming Vic Beasley and Grady Jarrett are not going to improve at all? Does that also mean you're assuming our draft picks won't pan out to be anything, either? Are you also assuming Derrick Shelby won't be diddly? You're making a lot of assumptions in the wrong direction, friend!
Cool your jets (again). You have to give time for this to pan out. Dan Quinn took our SUPER DUPER BAD 2014 defense and made it respectable in 2015. Give the man time to accumulate his kind of player. Stop listening to writers who don't know anything about who we've picked. There was plenty of thought, logic, reasoning, etc. that went into our draft. Just because you subconsciously hate Thomas Dimitroff et al doesn't mean he nor the team can't put together a draft that is noteworthy.
You're just letting these outsiders without a clue run your opinion of it.