Why draft grades don’t matter but are very important – somehow.
Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus By Jake White @jakewhite58
This year the unanimous grade various outlets have given the Kansas City Chiefs is an A. We got great value from the players Brett Veach and the team selected from top to bottom. This isn’t new for Veach and staff, as he’s gotten great value in most of his selections.
However, if we go by the grades doled out, did the AFC West Champions just get even better?
The simple answer is we don’t know. It’s impossible to tell if Trent McDuffie or George Karlaftis will be the highly productive players they were in college before they step foot on an NFL field. Will Skyy Moore be the Cooper Kupp/Tyreek Hill hybrid or is he another role player? Will any of our later selections be a Trey Smith, or just another offseason cut?
We can look back at previous drafts and see how we were graded and assess if we were too hyped, or too down on our team.
The 2021 draft is still early and can change in multiple ways but we received an average A- grade with linebacker Nick Bolton receiving a B grade, which he out-performed. Edge Joshua Kaindoh wasn’t able to make an impact before his injury and could be a nice surprise this year, he was given an A- grade for his potential. The two big studs that we drafted were Creed Humphrey (A+) and Trey Smith (A+) have established themselves on the offensive line and played up to their grades.
The post-Super Bowl draft was one I had zero concerns about. We had brought back the core of the team and this was all about stocking talent. While running back Clyde Edwards Helaire’s (B-) pick has been scrutinized, and he hasn’t been able to stay healthy, he still has the potential to be the lead back in a backfield-by-committee system. Linebacker Willie Gay (A-) has been a force when on the field. He was slow-rolled into the defense in 2020 and hurt most of 2021, but when lined up with Nick Bolton, he’s been a factor. The biggest get of the 2020 draft was Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed who was given B’s on average and has outperformed that grade.
In 2019, the year we traded up for Mecole Hardman and got Juan Thornhill and Nick Allegretti we were given B’s on average and a couple of C’s. How would we look at that draft now? Mecole has gotten better every year, and Juan Thornhill is a great safety for us. No one from that draft is a generational talent, so a B is a good grade for that class.
In 2018 we were given a B grade across the board but with a caveat. We didn’t have a 1st round pick because we traded it in 2017 to select Patrick Mahomes. In hindsight, Mahomes is worth two 1st round picks any day. But at this time in 2018, we weren’t sure what Mahomes would become. So we drafted arguably Veach’s worst 1st pick in Breeland Speaks, and the best player selected in 2018 was defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi. This was Brett Veach’s first draft as General Manager so he had some lessons learned.
This doesn’t mean we should just throw out the grades that are carefully considered and weighed. There is a reason evaluators and writers have given the Chiefs an A on this draft. The potential is there for the Chiefs to cash in on their 2022 picks. We just need to understand some of these picks come with a grain of salt. And they take time. Not every pick is a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer out the gate. Some of these players will take time to develop.
Overall, draft grades are fun. They are a way to get you hyped for the season. To get interested in the new player, the way the team improved. In addition, if you ever get down about the grades remember USA Today and SB Nation gave the Chiefs a C- and D grade for drafting Patrick Mahomes.