Grading the draft properly

My grades

I am not accustomed to such excellence.

The NFL Draft grades are out, but since they’re basically just off-the-cuff spouting of the general consensus to begin with, it’s hard to find much value there.

Of better use is Grantland’s analysis of past draft pick value, looking at hard data like games played in, starts, Pro Bowl selections, and All-Pro nods, and then slotting that information against the average production of players taken in a similar spot.

Confusing? Not really.

To wit, Tom Brady, taken in the sixth round, earned a robust 83 points. Not surprisingly, that number far exceeds the normal quarterback taken near that spot (about 6.4 points), so his overall ranking as a draft pick (76.6 points above expected return) vaults him above players like Peyton Manning (who “only” exceeded his draft slot by 71.9 points). So Tom Brady, generally thought of as one of the best draft picks ever, lives up to that designation via the numbers.

Here’s why this stuff is fascinating (at least to me). I have long maintained that Akili Smith is in the discussion for being the worst draft pick of all time. It turns out I’m close (he’s the worst quarterback taken in the last 15 years), but the worst pick overall might actually be Jamal Reynolds (and I am sorry for this Cait, but the numbers don’t lie). He really busted hard with Green Bay, and Smith practically pales in comparison.

I’d love to see the full charts, but the available observations are still worth your time.

* The other kind of draft analysis I really enjoy is the contrast between a player’s collegiate accomplishments and his draft position. Stewart Mandel does the deed, stating that Ryan Tannehill and Dontari Poe are overrated (I think we saw both of these coming).

* The National Football Post makes the case that UCLA should turn to redshirt freshman Brett Hundley at quarterback, since well, quarterback at UCLA has been a disaster area since roughly 1998. The philosophy of turning to a younger player to bolster one’s future is not a new one, but will it work under new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone? Mazzone’s own background might point to the truth (For my part, I think his philosophy of a “simple” spread is very quarterback-friendly.).

* I’m not a Tim Tebow fan, but this item about his playing on the punt unit sounds so Ron Prince-ish (Josh Freeman on the hands team!), it made my ears perk up. It’s tempting to think of plays like this when you hear this, and the truth is he provides versatility in the role laid out for him, but how often are you going to really use him on a potential fake? Twice a year? People get hurt on special teams, and having him out there all the time for two plays … it just sounds like the risk-reward is out of whack to me.

* How is a football even made in the first place? SB Nation provides the answer below.

About Dave Gladow

Dave Gladow is the author of "Eyeblack Odyssey," a sports enthusiast, a New Orleans resident, and he enjoys eating pig nachos.
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