Now that the 2016 NFL Draft is in the rear view mirror and we have taken some time to look a little deeper than just a name on a draft card and a loosely written player bio, here are some thoughts on the newest additions to the roster of the Tennessee Titans.
The first thing I want to address is the plethora of draft grades that can be found from every major media outlet around. I look at those grades with the same value of the plethora of pre-draft mocks that flood the internet. They are fun to read but about as valuable as a wooden nickel.
Like their counterpart- the mock draft- draft grades are subjective and based on opinions developed by the writer in advance of the draft on the value and talent of a particular player. Those values are an opinion and not necessarily one-hundred percent accurate and correct.
My advice to you the reader comes in the form of a famous Latin phrase.
Caveat emptor- Let the buyer beware, and since most of these draft grades are free on the internet, you didn't pay a lot, thus you shouldn't expect much in return.
The simple fact is that the only true way to grade a draft class is after their third season in the league when there is a true gauge of how they have learned and grown as a player from draft day through their rookie season till year three.
While it's all the rage to grade a class now, it's really not fair to the players and the teams that drafted them to decide just how good a talent a player will be before they ever have their first practice with their teams.
When I look at the Titans 2016 NFL draft class I offer my grade based on what the team did in addressing the needs of the team with players at the positions of need. That's a fair expectation to me.
By grading a draft class on filling the team's needs it puts the emphasis and pressure on the general manager and team to fill those needs, and doesn't make a judgement on the players unfairly.
I'm not immune to making judgement on the players as they are drafted, and did so during the three days of selections. After all, I consider myself a bit of a draftnik who spends far too much free time reading reports, watching film and making my own evaluations on players prior to the draft.
I have opinions and my own draft board where I rank players by position and overall, so I am as opinionated as any media member. I will also readily admit that I questioned some of the Titans selections as they were made because I felt that the Titans left better players, or a player I ranked higher on the board during their picks.
Terry McCormick, the publisher and author of TItansInsiders is one of my closest friends in the media -we coach Little League baseball together- and he is my sounding board for all things draft as we sat inside St. Thomas Sports Park watching the draft unfold between selections, interviews, press conferences, conference calls and writing about everything that transpires.
The difference between my opinions and others is that while I might have a different thought that the Titans in the selection, I will not write that opinion openly and question the effort and integrity of those selecting simply based on my opinion.
Remember also that NFL teams have had the opportunity to sit and talk with players. They have medical profiles and other information that we in the media, and fans at home are privileged to have. They have done their homework and spent countless hours as a collective group ranking those players as they fit their specific team.
I know that the Titans have been porous of late in their drafts, with more failures that successes that have lead to skepticism among both media and fans. I also know that Jon Robinson, in his first NFL draft as a general manager deserves the right to make his mark and select his players without me judging the merits of his selection before any of them have stepped on a practice field.
His results will be easily evident in the coming years based on how those players perform on Sunday's. Then and only then can I say with certainty how good, or bad Robinson did in a particular class.