Sunday, May 11, 2014
Kiper gives Packers' draft high marks
By Rob Demovsky
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The best answer to how the Green Bay Packers did in the draft is this: Ask me in three years.
But there's a place for instant analysis to be taken with a giant block of salt.
With that in mind, it's still interesting to see what the analysts' initial thoughts were on a team's draft class. Following his marathon TV duties, ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. broke down how each team did during the three-day selection process.
Let's start with the fact that Kiper clearly liked the Packers' draft. He gave it a grade of a straight "B." Only eight teams earned higher marks.
Now let's back up and let Kiper explain his grading process.
The story of the draft is the acquisition of talent, but the story of NFL success is talent development. I know I can't grade a draft class regarding performance for at least a few years, which is a reason why I audit old drafts. But what I do here is assess three main things:
" How much overall talent did a team add based on board position?
" How effectively did they address key personnel needs?
" How efficient were they in maneuvering on the draft board?
And remember: I have to use my player grades as the prism. I'm well aware all NFL teams see players differently -- I have many debates with GMs throughout the year about players. I might have a high grade on a linebacker many teams see as a late-round pick. That's the reality of player evaluations.
Kiper further broke down his grades into two parts: needs and value.
Here's how he graded the Packers on both:
Now, let's dig further into what Kiper thought of the some of the Packers' nine selections.
On first-round pick safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: "An easy call at No. 21. I thought he'd be off the board by then, potentially to Dallas or Baltimore, so Green Bay got a good value there, and he addresses a need at free safety, where the Packers didn't have much."
On drafting three receivers: "Davante Adams isn't explosive, but he catches everything and will flourish with Aaron Rodgers (This tends to happen with good receivers catching passes in Green Bay lately.) I really thought they needed a WR or two in this draft, and I loved the additions of Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis. If you saw Abbrederis simply steal Bradley Roby's lunch money in Columbus, you know he can battle NFL-level athletes, and Janis is a major physical talent for a seventh-rounder. He dropped on hand size and competition level coming out of D-II."
On outside linebacker Carl Bradford: "Carl Bradford is a player I really like, and I'll be interested to see if they move him around a little bit. I thought inside linebacker was a big need even though that's typically something you can address later, but they didn't touch it."
On the Packers' draft overall: "There's not a point where you feel like the Packers flat out got a steal, but aside from the question at ILB, there's not much not to like."