First and foremost: there’s no possible way to know how a draft is going to turn out until at least a couple years from now. Until then, it’s all speculation based on projection — and people trying to sound smart by creating causal connections where they quite possibly do not exist.
Secondarily, those who analyze the draft for publication are more informed than, say, the average person on the street but almost certainly less informed than, say, the teams who have a vested interest in the players they are selecting. Compound that with the fact that analysts are doing it for 32 teams and can’t possibly have an expertise that reaches that far … and, well, you get the idea.
I know all this. You know all this. Yet draft grades are one of the first things I click on after the NFL draft ends. We’re human. We crave validation — either that other people think the same thing we do or that they like the thing that the local team has done.
And so, with full knowledge that none of these things are worth anything of true value, I’ve rounded up five draft grades given to the Vikings after this year’s draft.
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN. Grade: B-minus. Kiper says the Vikings had some hits and misses, but overall he concludes: “A pretty good draft, with (Laquon) Treadwell’s early impact an important part of the equation for 2016.”
Chad Reuter, NFL.com. Grade: A. Reuter pretty much loved everything Rick Spielman did, giving the Vikings an “A” grade for each of the three days of the draft as well as their overall grade. It should be noted that Reuter appears to be a pretty generous grader, but even within the context of a lot of teams getting favorable marks he genuinely likes the Vikings’ draft.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports. Grade: B-minus. Prisco likes the Treadwell pick but docks the Vikings for their second-round choice of Mackensie Alexander because he questions whether corner is a true position of need. I would argue that corner is a position where a team wants as much talented depth as possible.
Pete Schrager, Fox Sports. Grade: C. Schrager doesn’t like Treadwell or Alexander all that much and thinks the Vikings took too much of a gamble on German wide receiver Moritz Boehringer instead of trying to add a player in the sixth round who could potentially help more in 2016. He was the harshest grader of the ones I looked at.
Pro Football Focus. Grade: B-minus. PFF makes the interesting assertion that Treadwell’s skill set doesn’t mesh with Teddy Bridgewater since Treadwell tends to get open in tight spaces rather than with a lot of separation. PFF likes Alexander and some late round picks but graded Willie Beavers as the worst of 258 qualifying offensive tackles in this year’s draft class. Ouch.
If we can throw out the best grade (A) and worst (C), we arrive at a consensus of B-minus. Much of it hinges on Treadwell.
I can only hope you all give me a passing grade in my attempt to grade these draft graders. Let’s all agree to meet back here in this exact spot on May 2, 2019, for a better chance at grading this thing in retrospect.