Draft grades get 'F' for futility


Report cards immediately following the 2005 NFL draft -- this one and this one should suffice -- singled out the Vikings for their excellent work in landing Troy Williamson and Erasmus James.

Twenty of 32 team received lower grades for their 2005 draft classes when Scouts Inc. reevaluated the class in 2008.

I do enjoy reading postdraft report cards. ESPN Insider subscribers can check out a formula-based model listing Seattle and San Francisco as having the best drafts this year. But it's pretty much impossible to grade fairly without knowing whether, say, Sam Bradford will become a Hall of Famer, solid starter, journeyman or complete bust.

Mel Kiper and Todd McShay acknowledge the uncertainty up front in explaining their grades during a recent ESPN Radio appearance featuring thoughts on the Rams right away and Seattle later.

We're basically left to evaluate whether teams appeared to fill needs without making unexpected decisions. Some of those unexpected decisions wind up being right, of course. In that 2005 draft, the Patriots raised questions by selecting guard Logan Mankins in the first round. Mankins has become a Pro Bowl regular. Williamson has 87 career catches. James has been out of the league since 2008, finishing with 5.0 career sacks.

Things to keep in mind before ordering Hall of Fame busts for Russell Okung, Anthony Davis, Earl Thomas, Mike Iupati, Dan Williams or any of the other NFC West choices in 2010.

Every NFC West team filled its biggest need in this draft. The Rams drafted a franchise quarterback. The Seahawks drafted a franchise left tackle. The 49ers filled a big void at right tackle. The Cardinals landed a nose tackle. All four teams get high marks for those decisions at this point. Next we'll find out which ones can play.