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Mel Kiper eats crow on his terrible grade for the Atlanta Falcons’ 2016 draft class

One draft analyst walks back his old grades, and calls Atlanta’s draft class from last season a “home run.” Mel, this is no place for baseball terminology.

NFL Draft Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

I should point out first that draft grades are very dumb. You are putting together a bunch of grades when you don’t really know the plan for certain players. It’s really just a bunch of nonsense and guessing for some quick content when there’s nothing else to talk about.

Oh, and be sure to check out our draft grades from last year. Boy was I angry about Myles Jack, who, of course, barely played. Otherwise, my very dumb analysis was pretty spot on.

While Wes Schweitzer didn’t play and Devin Fuller went to injured reserve, the Falcons got a huge impact from a bunch of guys, including undrafted corner Brian Poole. Mel Kiper gave the Falcons a B- grade right after the draft. How much did that change?

This is a home run so far, with an undrafted player a part of the equation. It's good enough when rookies start, and it's even better when they start and help a team make the Super Bowl. Keanu Neal was out until Week 3 but started through the Super Bowl and was on my All-Rookie Team. So was Deion Jones, who piled up 126 tackles. De'Vondre Campbell piled up 10 starts and did so in the playoffs as well. That group really changes the defense -- they're just a faster unit, period. Brian Poole is the undrafted player we need to recognize. He played in all 19 games, started nine and piled up nearly 1,000 total snaps.


Overall, a great draft for Atlanta, considering how much these guys helped a Super Bowl run.

This was easily Thomas Dimitroff’s best defensive draft ever, nabbing four “starters.” And we aren’t talking about a starter the team just throws in to play because they should be good. cough Peter Konz cough All four of these guys were impressive, and many of them still have a lot of room to grow.

Kiper’s grade after just one year: A.

How did the rest of the NFC South do? The Panthers and Saints stick with their original grades, with a C+ and B- respectively. The Buccaneers, who traded up in the second round to draft a kicker that isn’t terribly good at kicking, drop from a B- to a flat C.

After seeing Atlanta’s rookie class this last season, what grade would you give the team?