May 01, 2007
Where all the draftees are pretty, and every class is above average

I just have one question regarding the weekend's NFL draft: What do you have to do to earn a failing grade from John McClain? I mean, look at his recap of the AFC and NFC teams. I mean, I can believe that everyone did more or less okay - this isn't a zero-sum game, every team has its own needs, yadda yadda - but even if he's not grading on a curve, what exactly is McClain's criteria for a "good" draft versus a "so-so draft". Look at what he wrote for the Bengals, for instance:

Outlook: CB Leon Hall will start immediately. RB Kenny Irons should give them a second effective runner. QB Jeff Rowe was underrated.

Sounds pretty good. Now compare this to what he wrote for the Falcons:

Outlook: In the first three rounds, GM Rich McKay drafted players who should start and fill needs. DE Jamaal Anderson replaces Patrick Kerney. G Justin Blalock also could start at tackle. CB Chris Houston could start opposite DeAngelo Hall.

Also pretty good. So how is it that the Bengals got a C and the Falcons an A? I don't see an obvious difference in their outlooks. What made one better than the other?

Looking through the rest, you can see some hint of objective methodology. Not having as many picks as other teams is a mark against you. Not filling a clear need is another, and presumably drafting a player who's a "reach" is as well. But what's really important? What's the measuring stick? Compare, for example, to the USA Today report card, which gives a description of its ratings as well as a few failing grades. Was that so hard?

Maybe I'm just a cranky stathead who needs numbers to give my life meaning. And yeah, it's all subjective anyway. But surely I can't be the only person who read this and wondered where McClain got some of his letter grades from. Can I?

UPDATE: Just to pile on a little, note that USA Today gives both the Bengals and the Falcons three stars. Make of that what you will.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 01, 2007 to Other sports

You gotta take this guy with a grain of salt since he says ridiculous stuff like suggesting that the Falcons drafted Blalock to play OT when everyone in the organization has touted him as their once and future LG.

Posted by: RockHoward on May 1, 2007 8:16 AM