Grades don’t matter

April 29th, 2010

As we end the semester, many of us are worried about grades.

For those who are football fans, many are very concerned about a different grade: the ones that are handed out by NFL Draft “experts” after the completion of last week’s draft. Me? I couldn’t care less.

 I love the draft. As a Browns fan, I have to because it’s one of few weekends during the course of the year where we feel like things are looking up for our franchise. 

But the draft is one big stab in the dark. It’s impossible to predict how a college player will translate in the NFL. 

It’s fun to guess how things will turn out, but it’s just a guess. All the “genius” general managers get burned on draft picks all the time, but cover it up by getting lucky with a good pick in the later rounds.

The “experts” do get it right from time to time. Many laughed when Donovan McNabb was taken one pick ahead of Akili Smith in 1999. McNabb led his team to as many NFC Championships games (five), as Smith threw career touchdowns. 

In 2007, the whole city of Cleveland rejoiced when the team selected Joe Thomas and Brady Quinn in the first round of the draft. They also got Eric Wright in the second round, and at the time ESPN Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said “you could argue he’s better than Leon Hall and Darrelle Revis.” 

Quinn got shipped out of town after tossing 10 touchdowns in three years, while both Hall and Revis were named All-Pro after last season. The Browns love Wright so much that they just drafted a cornerback last Thursday night to take on the responsibility of shutting down the opposition’s best receiver. You just never know.

The point is, people will groan and complain at some picks and be disappointed that their favorite team chose one player over another. The draft is fun and exciting, but it’s not half as exciting as it is to see how it all pans out a few years from now. 

To grade a draft before any players even play a down is silly. Kiper gave the Browns a C, and some fans are already panicking that the Browns messed up because Kiper said so.

Former Colts Director of Football Operations Bill Tobin said it best.

“Who in the hell is Mel Kiper, anyway? To my knowledge, he’s never put on a jockstrap, he’s never been a player, and all of a sudden he’s an expert. He’s never been a scout. He’s never been an administrator,” Tobin said. 

“Mel has no more credibility to do what he’s doing than my neighbor. And my neighbor is a postman who doesn’t even have season tickets.” 

 Contact Tim Ertle at