Unconventional NFL draft grades
Unconventional NFL draft grades
The NFL draft took place this week, and it’s totally understandable if you didn’t watch a second of it.
Chris Sale was pitching Thursday night, plus the Pats didn’t have a first-round pick. Then on Friday, the Celtics were closing out their first-round series with a Game 6 win over the Bulls as NFL teams were making their second-and-third-round picks. Saturday, the Cubs were in town for the second of a three-game set. You could have also been watching hockey, having a life or just not wanting to watch the fourth through seventh rounds of draft.
So if you missed the draft, that’s OK. It stinks these days anyway because Roger Goodell ruined it. Plus, you can just catch up with this grade-style recap.
The Patriots are so good that they don't even let guys get drafted by them anymore. This year, they took the smallest draft class (four players) in franchise history. Here’s who they got:
Derek Rivers, a pass-rusher who’s considered both a work in progress and a real steal at No. 83 overall.
Antonio Garcia, a left tackle who needs to keep eating pasta.
Deatrich Wise, a defensive end whose first name ends in the -ch sound, not -ck.
Conor McDermott, an offensive tackle who isn’t very strong but has a name that sounds like Connor McDavid.
STYLE POINTS: A-
The Pats entered Thursday with six picks -- none before No. 72 -- because they’d traded picks (Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy) or sacrificed them as compensation for signing a restricted free agent (Mike Gillislee).
The team didn’t end up making a single one of its assigned picks, and they continued to move up and down when their turn finally came to pick. They traded No. 72 to the Titans in a deal that netted them an extra fourth in order to move to No. 83. After making the pick at 83 (Rivers), they used the aforementioned fourth to move from No. 96 to 85 in order to select Garcia.
Before any picks were even made on Day 3, the Pats shipped a fifth-rounder to the Chiefs for tight/special-teamer James O’Shaughnessy and a sixth-round pick. They traded once again in the sixth-round, using a seventh-round pick (No. 239) in order to move up from No. 216 to 211.
GAROPPOLO/BUTLER DRAMA: D+
While I really wanted to see what Adam Schefter would do if the Patriots ended up trading Jimmy Garoppolo after he'd all but bet his life it wouldn't happen, the Browns and Saints ended up making their picks rather than landing the Pats players to whom they'd been linked.
For Malcolm Butler, he had to know his chances of ending up in New Orleans diminished when Marshon Lattimore, the top cornerback in the draft, fell to them at No. 11. The Browns still have a ton of picks next season to trade (two firsts and three seconds in 2018). Don't buy for a second that taking a flier on DeShone Kizer in the second round (and that's what it would appear to be; if they really liked him, they'd probably have made him one of their three first-round picks) means they're done looking for a franchise quarterback.
ORANGUTAN CONTROVERSEY: A+
The guest announcements of picks have gotten out of control. It’s one thing to have notable players of a team’s past or present do the picks for one round, but it’s another to have six of the seven rounds taken up by absolute nonsense.
The peak of the nonsense was probably any season-ticket-holder announcements (noooooobody cares), but a close second was Rocky the orangutan of the Indianapolis Zoo announcing some of the Colts picks beginning in the fourth round.
That would figure to be entertainment enough, but Mike Mayock’s legitimate (and borderline uncomfortable) hatred for the gimmick added to it.
“If we’re going back to the zoo, I’m walking off the desk,” Mayock said during the telecast. “I’ve about had [it with] the zoo, OK? Enough. Enough. I mean, is this good TV? I think we’ve got to be a little respectful to (draft pick Grover Stewart). It's a big day for Grover Stewart. Rather than talking about that chimp, let's get back to some football, here.”
For what it’s worth, all Rocky did was press a screen to reveal the pick, so it wasn’t even that impressive. It will be if the players end up being good. That’s a joke about how the Colts stink at drafting.
CRANKY CROWD SHUSHING: A+
Everyone was all hot and bothered by Cowboys legend Drew Pearson “trolling” (let’s retire that word) Eagles fans during Dallas’ second-round selection, but the best second-round announcement (which were done by team legends) came when the Raiders picked.
Raiders great Willie Brown is 76 years old. He wanted to give some song and dance about his mom, who is still alive, ahead of Mother’s Day. It was really sweet. Yet the crowd was loud, so as Brown was trying to tell a group of people who weren’t paying attention that his mom is going to be 103 in October, he shushed them. It was hilarious because he went from a sweet old man sharing something sweet to a kind of cranky old man wishing the darn youths would just hush up for a minute.
BOOGER WIPING: F
Though there was plenty of silliness with some of the pick announcements, there was no better moment than high schooler Kate Foster, who lost her leg to leukemia when she was 12, announcing the Bears’ second-round pick.
Yet moments after she announced the pick (Adam Shaheen), cameras caught Goodell appearing to wipe his nose and then wipe his hand on Foster’s back as they walked off the stage. The video is almost unbelievable.
As for Goodall’s weekend in general, he was soundly booed throughout Days 1 and 2. He was not involved much in the Day 3 coverage.
BUTT INSURANCE: A+
Jake Butt figured to be drafted early, but then he went out and tore his ACL in the Orange Bowl.
So instead of being picked in the first or second round this week, the Michigan tight end just sat around... and watched the money roll in.
Butt had an insurance policy that paid him roughly $10,000 per pick that he wasn't selecting beginning in the middle of the third round. By the time the Broncos finally drafted him in the fifth round, Butt had made $543,000, tax-free. Getting first-round money would have been ideal, but he made the best of his situation.