I always get a chuckle out of the ridiculous rush by NFL analysts like Mel Kiper and others to grade drafts. You see those ratings almost as soon as the picks are in, and it's nothing short of stupid.
There is no way you can really judge a draft until you get the players on the field and see how they perform.
Well, I have finally come across a set of draft grades I can put some stock in -- for the 2005 season.
Associated Press football writer Dave Goldberg has gone back and looked at the 2005 draft , and concluded that the Giants, Chargers and Cowboys are the only teams who deserved 'A' grades for what they did that year.
Goldberg's reasoning is as follows:
Drafts can’t be rated with grades the day after the draft although fans seem to consider them must reading. But NFL personnel consider three years the period needed to determine who can play and who can’t. So 2005 grades are the ones given this year.
Here is what he said about the Giants '05 draft.
San Diego (13-6), New York Giants (14-6). These are related because of the deal during the 2004 draft that landed Eli Manning with the Giants and Philip Rivers with the Chargers.
Ernie Accorsi, then the Giants general manager, included his first pick in 2005 instead of a raw young defensive end Osi Umenyiora, whom the Chargers said they would take instead.
It worked for both teams: Umenyiora developed into a two-time Pro Bowler and is one of those fearsome pass rushers who terrorized Tom Brady in the Giants’ Super Bowl upset. The Chargers used the pick obtained from New York on Shawne Merriman, the game’s best pass-rushing outside linebacker—Ware is probably the second best.
New York had only four picks in 2005. But its second-rounder was cornerback Corey Webster. Its third was defensive lineman Justin Tuck, and its fourth was starting running back Brandon Jacobs.
Tuck had two sacks of Brady in the Super Bowl. Jacobs was a solid replacement for Tiki Barber with help from one of the 2007 rookies, Ahmad Bradshaw.
Webster is an example of why draft analysis must wait. He was a disappointment until late in his third season, when he had an interception return for a touchdown against Buffalo in the win that clinched a playoff berth. He added two more INTs in the playoffs, including the one in overtime off Brett Favre that set up the winning field goal in the NFC title game.
By the way, Goldberg's worst draft grades for 2005 went to Oakland, San Francisco, Detroit and St. Louis, which went a combined 19-45 in 2007.