Normally a gut feeling thing, based on what a writer thinks of each newly drafted player, the NFL draft grades have very little substance attached, usually. Most guys like me see what Mel Kiper thought, add their own feelings on the importance of a quarterback, then put a nice grade (usually) on each team’s draft. It’s like high school these days, everybody gets good grades so they don’t get their feelings hurt! I’m done with those articles!
I’ve heard that a draft can’t truly be graded until three seasons down the line. But what if we did it differently? What if it was impartial, and driven by pre-draft rankings from multiple sites. This is a true draft grades article. I decided that I was sick of people deciding exactly who they thought had the best draft based on value and talent, often going against their own pre-draft rankings, of course. So, I decided to make my own draft grades format, and it’s all about the difference between where a player was rated (from multiple publications) and drafted.
We’re all about talent and value in this grading system – and, because I made up the system, I think it’s the best way to get the grades right – at least the part of the draft that can be graded before any of these guys play a down of pro football – the value part. There will be Fs, and there will be As, and not everybody will be a winner – because if everyone is a winner, nobody is (write that down).
I used rankings from ESPN Scout’s Inc, and NFL Draft Scout (They have reputable scouting departments, and they have deep rankings, which makes this system possible – Top 100 obviously doesn’t cut it).
I wanted to add in the pre-season value of these guys, before their final college season played out, but that ended up being way too much work (even though I think that’s a great way to assess “potential value” – as a single season, especially the most recent one, can certainly cloud judgment – as we fantasy footballers show just about every year).
Here’s how my rankings work.
For each pick I take the slot the player was drafted in and subtract their average ranking. This will come up with a positive or negative number. Negative means they didn’t get good value, positive means they did.
In the end, I add up all the negatives and positives and see what the outcome is. The goal is to have your 2nd number be lower than your 1st; that means you made the most of your picks. Not every team in the league did that, I’m sure. Below is the grading scale…
+121+++ A+ +91-120 A +76-90 A- +51-75 B+ +26-50 B +1-25 B- -25-0 C+ -26- 50 C -51-75 C- -76-100 D+ -101-125 D -125-150 D- -151-199 F+ -200--- F
I never rank any players lower than 255, because since there’s only 254 draft picks there really are only 254 ranked players – and everyone else. A ranking of 255 means they weren’t listed as a draftable player by either draft rankings website. I think it’s unfair to rank anybody lower than that, and since it’s my system, my article, and my website – I do what I want. Plus, I think it adds to the validity of the draft grades because teams that take a chance late on the 499th rated player don’t get slaughtered because of it.
While each team has been studied and graded, the team write-ups will get published individually throughout the next few weeks.
Without further ado, I unveil my Ultimate Draft Rankings!!!
Lucky Lester’s True Value Draft Grades
New Orleans Saints (A+) New York Giants (A+) Baltimore Ravens (A) Atlanta Falcons (A) Minnesota Vikings (B+) Miami Dolphins (B-) Denver Broncos (B-) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (C+) New York Jets (C+) Pittsburgh Steelers (C+) Kansas City Chiefs (C) Indianapolis Colts (C) Arizona Cardinals (C) Cleveland Browns (C) Houston Texans (C-) Detroit Lions (C-) Dallas Cowboys (C-) San Diego Chargers (D) Cincinnati Bengals (D) Green Bay Packers (D) Chicago Bears (F+) Carolina Panthers (F+) St. Louis Rams (F+) Buffalo Bills (F+) New England Patriots (F+) Oakland Raiders (F) Philadelphia Eagles (F) Tennessee Titans (F) San Francisco 49ers (F) Jacksonville Jaguars (F) Washington Redskins (F-) Seattle Seahawks (F-)