Draft season is upon us as free agency quiets down and prospect watch goes into overdrive. But the reality for us is that we’re not that involved in the College side of things, but that doesn’t mean we’re not fans of the draft.
For me though that means reflecting back on drafts gone by to tell you which teams made the best picks and which ones the worst. So as I do every year I’m grading every draft pick from 2009 through to 2011 on the PFF rating scale (-2 to +2), factoring in where they were drafted, injuries and a host of other things.
Up now? Well we’re moving in draft order so it’s the Miami Dolphins.
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
Nor here …
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Brian Hartline, WR (108th overall pick in 2009): It’s been a gradual rise to prominence for Hartline, impressing in limited action as a rookie before gradually seeing more playing time until his big break out year in 2012. If anything, that has served to push him forward even further, becoming his quarterback’s favorite target and an impressive starter.
Reshad Jones, S (164th overall pick in 2010): Jones is coming off a tough year but any fifth rounder who has the 2012 that he had is going to be verging on this category regardless. An impact player who thrives when used to his strengths.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Vontae Davis, CB (25th overall pick in 2009): A win because Davis was a good (if not consistent) corner who the team was able to get something back for when they realized he no longer fit what they were looking for. Picked up a healthy +19.2 grade in 2,431 snaps for the team.
Chris Clemons, S (165th overall pick in 2009): I’ll take a fifth round pick who develops into a solid, if not limited, starter. Clemons never looked like the kind of long term solution that would force your hand come contract negotiation time, but the deep safety didn’t let his team down in his 3,277 snaps.
Koa Misi, LB (40th overall pick in 2010): Have we seen the best from Misi? Perhaps not with his 2,066 snaps a little on the low side as he’s been reduced largely to early downs after an impressive rookie season. Still an early second-rounder who goes onto become a good two down player. Yep that’s handy.
Nolan Carroll, CB (146th overall pick in 2010): Never the most consistent of corners on a week to week basis, Carroll would fluctuate between being the toast of the town and just being toasted. But all things considered you have to appreciate the good value in a fifth round corner who plays 1,871 snaps without becoming a liability.
Mike Pouncey, OC (15th overall pick in 2011): Really caught our eye with a big second season that earned him Pouncey of the Year honors. Has quickly become a top 10 center which represents good value, but he’ll need to do a little more to jump a category.
Charles Clay, TE (174th overall pick in 2011): A player with the upside to take a leap forward. The position flexible Clay took his time becoming the player he now is but the team is grateful. His blocking might not be up to much but in the increasingly pass happy NFL he’s a nice pick up.
Jimmy Wilson, DB (237th overall pick in 2011): I’m not sure Wilson will ever be a guy you’d be happy starting. What I do know for sure is that if you gave me a guy who could play slot cornerback, safety and contribute on special teams while playing 1,446 defensive snaps in exchange for the 237th pick I’d take it.
0.0: It could have been worse
Sean Smith, CB (61st overall pick in 2009): Close to a positive, Smith was about what you’d expect out of a second round pick. Sure there were certainly times where he was eye-catching, but whether it was how he was deployed or just struggles against some better opposition, it was generally considered best for all when he bolted after 2012.
J.D. Folsom, LB (214th overall pick in 2009): Spent most of his rookie year on the practice squad before being let go in year two.
Jared Odrick, DL (28th overall pick in 2010): A player who is definitely trending upwards. Played just 22 snaps as a rookie before making a bigger impression in his second year. A move to a 4-3 end role in 2012 didn’t get the best out of him but kicking back to tackle full time in 2013 gave us a long look at a man who deserved to be taken in the first round. Another year like that and the only question will be what positive grade he gets.
John Jerry, OG (74th overall pick in 2010): Ignoring the off field problems, Jerry became a below average starting guard. Some years he was better than others as he mounted up 3,081 snaps and he was never such a liability that you were screaming for him to be ditched then and there. Par for the course in the third.
Chris McCoy, LB (213th overall pick in 2010): Spent part of his rookie season on the team’s practice squad as he tried to transition from defensive end to outside linebacker. Never developed into anything more and was released.
Austin Spitler, LB (253rd overall pick in 2010): 15 snaps on defense and 25 special teams tackles. There’s a case for the team getting more out of him than you’d expect, but he’s not quite done enough to justify a positive grade.
Frank Kearse, DT (233rd overall pick in 2011): Was ticketed for the practice squad and would spend a couple of weeks on it before the Panthers stole him away.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
John Nalbone, TE (161st overall pick in 2009): Fifth rounder who would feature 34 times on offense, spending most of his year bouncing between the practice squad and active roster.
Andrew Gardner, OL (181st overall pick in 2009): Didn’t last long with the team, nor did he manage a single snap on offense.
A.J. Edds, LB (120th overall pick in 2010): Tore his ACL during his rookie training camp and was then cut before the start of his sophomore season.
Daniel Thomas, RB (62nd overall pick in 2011): Expected to be the plug in and play type, Thomas isn’t quite the liability some would have you believe, nor has he taken his chance to become a feature back in this league. Turned his three years in the league into just 1,057 snaps and a -9.4 grade.
Clyde Gates, WR (111th overall pick in 2011): I’m not a huge fan of fourth rounders cut before the start of their second season. Consider Gates lucky not to be a category below.
-1.0: What a waste!
Patrick Turner, WR (87th overall pick in 2009): Still, at least Gates got on the field. Turner was never deemed ready and was cut before the start of his second season with the team. Consider him lucky not to be a category lower.
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
Not here but …
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
Pat White, QB (44th overall pick in 2009): A total brain fart of a pick. The team, high on the wild cat, figured White would add an element to their offense no defense could contend with. It didn’t work out with White playing just 52 forgettable snaps before being ditched.
Here are the teams we’ve covered so far:
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