Pay no attention to experts' draft grades

Since the NFL draft was completed April 21, every major media outlet, like ESPN or CNN/SI, gave out grades on each team's draft. The grades should be looked at for entertainment purposes only, but some fans take these opinions to heart.<p>

Days after the draft, I received many e-mails about concerned Packers fans, who read somewhere the Packers didn't fare well with their six selections. I don't believe I saw anybody give the Packers a B. Most gave them a C or C-minus.

Here's what ESPN said: Mike Sherman, who wears both the coach and the general manager hats, paid a steep price to move up eight spots and land wide receiver Javon Walker in the first round. In a draft deep in second-round picks, the Packers sacrificed their No. 2 as part of the ransom to deal up in the first round. So here's hoping Walker, who has had some problems with the cerebral side of the game in the past, is better than 2001 No. 2 wide receiver Robert Ferguson was as a rookie. Personally scouted by Sherman, and mightily endorsed by the head coach, Ferguson played in one game as a rookie and had zero catches. Third-round safety Marques Anderson was a solid, if unspectacular, pick. Defensive end Aaron Kampman was a very nice choice in the fifth round but quarterback Craig Nall was a real stretch in the same stanza. Grade: C-minus.

This is one man's opinion, and I'd bet Packer Report editor Todd Korth's annual salary, which I could retire on, that these people grading the drafts don't have people like Mark Hatley, John Dorsey, Reggie McKenzie, John Schneider, and others breaking down every draft prospect to the level if he wears boxers or briefs.

These graders do have good knowledge and gain their opinions by talking to many NFL personnel people, but they don't see these players up close and personal like NFL teams do. For example, fifth-round pick, Craig Nall probably wasn't on anybody's radar screen before the draft, but the Packers caught wind of this possible diamond in the rough, thanks to scout Alonzo Highsmith. The information Highsmith gave Green Bay prodded offensive coordinator Tom Rossley to work out Nall personally and the Packers decided he was worthy of being drafted.

If you need more proof that these grades are bogus, just look back to last year when many of these same people grading the Packers' draft this year called defensive end Jamal Reynolds a great pick at No. 10. Now Reynolds might turn things around and become a quality player, but after one year it's not looking like he'll come close to playing like a top 10 player.

I guess you can compare draft grades to preseason top 25 polls in college basketball and football. Many times there are some top-ranked teams in the preseason which end up out of the poll at the end of a season. This just proves you can't take to heart preseason predictions or draft grades, because until players hit the field, anything can happen.

A, B, C, D or F. Who cares?

Oh, as for my draft grade. I give the Packers a B. Take that for what you want.


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