What's up Who Dats! The 2016 NFL Draft is complete and the way-too-early draft grades are already plentiful. While it can be consider futile to grade a draft class before any of the draftees play a down in the NFL, its still fun to do. What's even more fun is reflecting on those grades a few years later and considering where we were right or wrong. Sports Illustrated recently re-visited the 2013 draft and the Saints received the second highest (tied with the Detroit Lions) overall re-grade with an A. As a few of you remember, I ran a Rookie Run-Down series and gave a final season grade after the post season. Let's look back at my original grade versus where SI graded the picks then and now!
So in 2013, SI's preseason draft grade for the New Orleans Saints was a firm C.
And here's what they though at the time:
The Saints ought to be thrilled with S Kenny Vaccaro, their first-round selection. They were not on the clock for 60 selections after that and only made five total picks. The best of the rest might be DT John Jenkins, who's faster than he looks. OT Terron Armstead was a value at 75, but he will not help the Saints' issues at tackle until at least 2014.
After the playoffs, I graded the whole draft as a C.
And here were my thoughts on each:
Kenny Vaccaro, S – Season Grade: A- (9/10)
This one makes me sad because I have been a Vaccaro supporter since before the draft, so not having him for the playoffs really took some of the luster off for me. Moving forward, a look at Vaccaro’s body of work through 14.25 games leaves high hopes for the future. Depending on how you might personally grade defensive backs, you may either be very happy with Vaccaro or somewhat disappointed.
Terron Armstead, OT – Season Grade – C- (7.6/10)
Mr. Armstead has officially arrived at left tackle for the New Orleans Saints. It was the tale of two halves in week 16, then a solid performance in week 17 for Armstead. Armstead has athleticism and appears to have the disposition to battle with some of the best edge rushers in football, but there were plays in both games where his youth was evident. In a perfect world, the 2013 season will serve as a learning experience for our young LT and he will be even better in 2014.
Johnathan Jenkins, NT – Season Grade – C (8/10)
John Jenkins’ season in review should be kept in perspective. What I intend to convey is that a realistic expectation should be placed on a rookie nose tackle. With that said, I honestly believe that Jenkins had a solid introduction to the NFL and has a high ceiling in terms of potential. The big man didn’t overwhelm the box sheet with statistics, but he did perform at a level that would remove any doubt of his ability to play at the professional level.
Kenny Stills, WR – Season Grade – D+ (7.3/10)
Kenny Stills really impressed me this season. He has explosive speed, solid catching skills, and above average route running. Unfortunately, he also demonstrated quite a few rookie tendencies such as misjudging the ball in flight or sitting down in the wrong zone instead of working to get open. The good news is that he will get better and should build upon a strong rookie season in which he surpassed most fans’ expectations. The 2013 season saw Stills flash brilliance in his precise route running and spectacular body control while adjusting to awkward passes, but also revealed the reasons that Stills ended up a 5th round pick. Kenny is not a one trick pony, contrary to what many have said – he is in fact a two trick pony.
Now in 2016, the SI grade is an A.
Apparently they now love Terron Armstead:
First-round pick: S Kenny Vaccaro (No. 15).
Best pick: OT Terron Armstead (third round).
Worst pick: None.
Comment: Really good draft for the Saints, who got two very good players in Vaccaro and Armstead within their first three picks. Third-round pick DT John Jenkins is also serviceable, as was WR Kenny Stills, who is now on the Dolphins.
My re-grade lands the Saints at a B- based on them trading Stills away and Jenkins' performance. I'd drop Vaccaro to a B+ (8.75/10), bump Armstead to an A (9.3/10), drop Jenkins to a C- (7.5/10), and lift Stills to a C (8.3/10). Guess I'm in love with the Armstead pick now too!
So what do you guys think? Three seasons later, did your grade for this draft class improve or decline? As always, Thanks For Reading and Be Cool Who Dats!