The Media Never Get the NFL Draft Right. For Example...
Right now a million football experts (plus Mel Kiper, Jr.) are feeding you NFL Draft evaluations. They’re breaking down picks and grading teams for their ability to select college players.
This entire process is Kabuki Theater. To be sure, NFL beat writers and other analysts are offering opinions based on their own observations, experience, and insights gleaned from reputable sources, but draft analysis is still worthless.
No one has yet demonstrated a reliable way to divine the quality of a draft class until the players actually play NFL games. At best it’s guesswork, at worst it’s Mel Kiper telling you anyone who would listen Mike Williams is the best player available in the 2005 Draft.
I mean, Kiper gave the Lions a B for their 2012 Draft, but he and every other expert was in love with the team’s 2001 Draft because they snagged Shaun Rogers in the second round. That worked out well.
Instead, wouldn’t it be more interesting to use the post-draft afterglow to review drafts of years past? In fact, let’s do that right now. We’ll go back five years and see if the Lions’ 2007 was worth a good God damn.
1st round, pick 2: Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson: At the time, selecting Calvin Johnson seemed so obvious that only Al Davis could screw it up. He did and Megatron fell to the Lions. Matt Millen managed to draft the Lions the best receiver in football right now. Stopped clocks and all that. (Pick grade: A+)
2nd round, pick 43: Michigan State QB Drew Stanton: How to judge the career of Drew Stanton? A serviceable back up, sure. But the Lions traded up to get Stanton and you shouldn’t trade up for clipboard holders. He’s also a guy who signed as the Jets back-up last month only to be replaced with Tim Tebow a week later. Losing a back-up job to Tebow? Sad. (Pick grade: C-)
2nd round, pick 58: Hawaii DE Ikaika Alama-Francis, Hawaii: According to Wikipedia: “Alama-Francis impressed the coaches and team mates with his work ethic and positive demeanor” during an injury-riddled rookie season. His mom also brought oranges for the whole team after summer two-a-days. Alama-Francis was cut before the 2009 season began and hasn’t started an NFL game since. (Pick grade: D-)
2nd round, pick 61: Boise State S Gerald Alexander: Alexander had a promising rookie season, but was traded for over-the-hill backup wide receiver Dennis Northcut. He’s now a last-guy-on-the-roster/practice squad guy. (Pick grade: D)
4th round, pick 105: N.C. State CB A.J. Davis: Actual quote from Davis' NFL page: “This player does not have any statistics...” The end. (Pick grade: F)
4th round, pick 117: Texas Tech OG Manuel Ramirez: Now with the Broncos, Ramirez has played in two games in the last two seasons. (Pick grade: D-)
5th round, pick 158: Alabama A&M LB Johnny Baldwin: Played three games for Kansas City in 2007, his only NFL experience. Sin then, he's spent time in the UFL and CFL. (Pick grade: F)
7th round, pick 255: Alabama CB Ramzee Robinson: Out of football since 2009, Robinson lived up to the Mr. Irrelevant title as the last player chosen in the draft. I’ll let ESPN’s Gregg Easterbrook explain: "In the second half at Green Bay, Robinson, a Lions defensive back, was penalized for taunting. The Lions at that point were 0-15 and within sight of attaining the designation they now hold, that of worst NFL team ever. After a Green Bay incompletion, Robinson danced around, pointing at himself and taunting Packers receiver James Jones. A player for the worst-ever NFL team was called for taunting in the game in which that team reached 0-16." (Pick grade: F)
Final overall draft grade: C-
Frankly, that’s a generous mark based solely on the fact that Calvin Johnson has developed into a Hall of Fame-caliber receiver who could help this team win a championship. Still, the team managed to turn burn three second round picks for little value. Except for Johnson, the Lions would have been better off picking names out of a hat. Assuming that isn’t what Matt Millen did.