The NFL Draft is over which of course means that it is time for the “experts” to grade the draft long before anyone will actually know how teams fared. As Mike Mayock on NFL Network noted towards the end of the draft, we will not know how this draft went for anyone until these guys have spent at least a few years in the league.
So while I will not be providing my own grades, I have no problem critiquing the grades given by others. So with that, let’s take a look.
Sports Illustrated notes that if things play out the way the Raiders want them to, they found their offensive and defensive cornerstones in the first and second rounds with Khalil Mack and Derek Carr. They also note that Gabe Jackson, Keith McGill and Justin Ellis could all see playing time right away as well as saying that Jonathan Dowling and TJ Carrie are guys who are worthwhile projects for seventh rounders.
Not much else for me to add here. I feel like the guys at SI were reading cover32 all weekend because this is pretty much exactly how I feel about how the draft played out for the Raiders.
NFL.com: Passed with Flying Colors
Perhaps in an attempt to hide the fact that the were grading the draft far too early, nfl.com decided to depart from the traditional grading system, instead lumping teams into random groups of descriptions. Since this was the highest grouping on NFL.com, let’s just go with saying they too gave the Raiders an A.
This time, it was Ellis and McGill who seemed to be the noteworthy picks for the Raiders. The guys at NFL.com said that Ellis is a guy who some had valued higher and has all the physical attributes you want in a defensive tackle. They also noted that McGill is a big bodied corner who will prove to be valuable in the pass happy AFC West.
YAHOO Sports: A
Yahoo follows the lead of NFL.com and Sports Illustrated (errr, I mean follows the lead of cover32) and rates the Raiders draft very highly. They note how lucky the Raiders were to land Mack in the first round. Mack alone could be a huge difference maker for the Raiders this season. They also really liked taking McGill in the fourth round where he is little risk with lots of upside. Finally, Yahoo noted that they did not like the free agent signings by the Raiders but are much more optimistic now that McKenzie has “hit a home run” in the draft.
SB Nation: B+
Still a very good grade even though some Raiders fans may feel slighted by the first sight of a grade that lies south of an A. It would appear that the only knock the guys at SB Nation had for McKenzie was that he missed on opportunities to bring in some weapons for quarterback Matt Schaub and future quarterback Derek Carr. Though they also noted that the Raiders had a lot of needs and it would have been difficult to address them all.
Mel Kiper’s grades, which you will need an insider account to view, looks at the draft in two different ways giving grades for value as well as needs. Kiper gave the Raiders a B for needs and a B+ for value. Surprisingly, Kiper is very positive about the Raiders draft and does not offer much criticism. As such, it is rather difficult to tell why it is that he gave them a B and B+ rather than the A given by some other sites. He, like everyone else, liked Mack a lot and had Gabe Jackson as the second best guard in the draft so he was great value in the third round.
CBS Sports: B
Unlike the others who provide at least a paragraph or two of analysis, CBS’s grades come with three sentences of commentary. CBS liked the first four picks and especially Mack but said there are big “ifs” surrounding Derek Carr. The comments on Carr are understandable, especially considering the fact that I agree about the question marks surrounding the Raiders’ second round pick. But with that being said, I do not know that the question marks justify dropping the grade down to a straight B.