Mel Kiper NFL Draft Grades: Packers receive a….
~As I say every year, the draft is about adding talent, but winning is about talent development. I know I can’t grade a draft class on performance for at least a few years, which is a reason I audit old drafts. What I do here is assess three main things:
• How much overall talent did a team add, based on board position?
• How effectively did they address key personnel voids?
• How efficient were they in maneuvering on the draft board?
Remember: I have to use my player grades as the prism. I’m well aware all NFL teams see players differently — I debate with those evaluators all year. Disagreements are just the reality of this process, and I’m sure they have some grades on me.
Grading scale: In my mind an A means it’s exceptional; a B is pretty good; a C is average, with hits and questions marks; a D means below average with some big questions. An F … well, keep reading.
Seattle Seahawks: A-
Top needs: WR, CB, C/G, DE
Let’s start with this question: Will there be any rookie in the NFL next year who figures to be better than Jimmy Graham? In a health vacuum, I’d say no. And remember, Graham is truly the centerpiece of this draft, as he came over for the price of the 31st pick and Max Unger. Every guy drafted this week has the hope of being a star; Jimmy Graham IS a star. That’s a good grade on its own. I have to trust Seattle has vetted Frank Clark‘s off-field problems and feels comfortable bringing him in. Assuming he’s OK there, the value is pretty fair, and they could use the pass-rushing help. The pick of Tyler Lockett (they moved up for him) is one of my favorites in the entire draft. The guy is just always open, and anybody who watched the Super Bowl knows how much the Seahawks need pass-catchers who can create some separation. This is your guy. From there, you see some decent bets on offensive line help, which we know is an obvious need area. Overall, the combination of adding Graham and Lockett, plus the attempt to improve things with some new competitors to win jobs along the offensive line makes this draft a pretty good one for the Seahawks, who seem to always have a developmental plan for their picks. We often have players graded differently, but they know how to coach them up.
Top needs: ILB, DL, CB, TE
I thought the Packers did a good job because they got players I can see helping them right away, and they really didn’t have major needs to fill. There was a lot of versatility added.
Damarious Randall is just the definition of duct tape in the secondary, as he’ll be on the field all the time in subpackages and will be called a safety or a cornerback depending on the look.
Quinten Rollins is just total intrigue, with the potential to be a Pro Bowl talent based on the glimpse we got of him after converting from basketball.
Ty Montgomery can be used in the passing game and the return game — and you could even hand the ball off to him.
I waxed about Jake Ryan on the broadcast, and I know Bill Polian really likes him too. If he’s at 100 percent, I think you have a future starter at one of the inside linebacker spots — he has a nose for making plays in the backfield.
Brett Hundley is a good value that late, a toolsy talent to mold under Aaron Rodgers. Aaron Ripkowski could be a favorite someday, as he reminds me a little bit of John Kuhn. Hard to knock a draft like this, though I would have liked to see them add some depth along the D-line.
Top needs: CB, LB, WR, RB
Trae Waynes brings about a lot of debate among my colleagues on the draft. We know he can cover in a straight line, and I love the speed, but the detractors point out Waynes really struggles when wide receivers aren’t running in a straight line. As well, Jon Gruden is concerned Waynes isn’t good in run support. I had him at No. 22 on my final Big Board, but my sense is the Vikings felt he was a clear need fit at No. 11, and they wouldn’t be able to get a CB at his level later on. If it were me, I’m going with DeVante Parker right there, reuniting him with college teammate Teddy Bridgewater. They had one of the best picks in Round 2 when they added a potential immediate starter in Eric Kendricks. This kid can really run sideline to sideline and is the best cover linebacker in the draft. He doesn’t just cover — he actually makes plays. Danielle Hunter is a good developmental pick as a pass-rusher with great physical tools — he was quietly more productive than people think. T.J. Clemmings has a foot issue that threatens his long-term potential, but that’s a reasonable value bet in Round 4, especially after the disastrous situation the Vikings saw at left tackle the past season. Stefon Diggs was a good addition late because he’s a guy who can turn short passes into big plays, though I would have liked a wide receiver pick a bit earlier. Mycole Pruitt and Tyrus Thompson both have the potential to stick — I once saw Thompson as a potential Round 2 guy. The Vikes hit needs pretty well, and if Waynes cleans up aspects of his game, they might have really helped the defense with him and Kendricks. Good draft, but Waynes still has some “we’ll see” aspects.