In case you're unfamiliar with this process, here's what Kiper says he takes into account when making these grades:
- 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?
So what grade does he give the Saints? I've got to give you fair warning, it's not good. The Saints were given a big, fat C. Which puts the Saints right near the bottom of all teams in the league. Only the Buffalo Bills with a C- got a worse grade. Ouch!
So how is Kiper defending his grade? Here's what he says about the Saints 2015 NFL Draft class...
The Saints really needed a good draft, not simply because they have some obvious needs and are coming off a really disappointing 2014 season, but also because Jimmy Graham is no longer with the team. When you lose a franchise icon and get draft proceeds out of the deal, you better get some good players. With the bulk of the focus on defense, which was a huge problem the past season, I'd just say they did OK. Andrus Peat hits a need on the offensive line, but he's probably not ideal as a starter in Week 1 because NFL-level pass-rushers could give him fits. He might start at guard initially. The first-rounder they got back from Seattle turned into Stephone Anthony, and though he hits a need, I had a trio of inside linebackers ahead of him on my board. Not a big fan of the move. Hau'Oli Kikaha is another reach on my board -- the guy was really productive, but he lacks explosiveness and won't slip NFL blocks like he did college ones. Garrett Grayson becomes an understudy for Drew Brees and a potential long-term starter, and P.J. Williams brings talent but a seriously checkered off-the-field history. Both reasonable on value, though some teams had dropped Williams. A sleeper here could be Davis Tull, who has second-round credentials as an athlete but will face a huge jump in competition. The Saints did some good work addressing defensive needs, but they really could have used another pass-catcher. When you factor the Graham deal as a part of the overall grade, it takes a hit.
I'm not going to get too upset or worked up about what Kiper thinks. I can't say Kiper doesn't have a point about the Saints not drafting a wide receiver but considering the Saints have always been able to field a great offense under Payton, I think they've earned our trust and we can continue to expect things to be fine on that side of the ball. It's always been the defense holding the Saints back and this year they've obviously dedicated themselves to improving it through the draft so I'm happy with their effort.
What do you guys think? What grade would you give Mel Kiper's grade?