In the eyes of most NFL observers, three years is the minimum amount of time necessary to evaluate the quality of a draft class. The report cards given out less than 24 hours after the conclusion of this year’s proceedings should be regarded as little more than something to feed the voracious media beast.
Football author Sean Glennon puts it in his own words:
I'm always amused by the absurd practice of "experts" applying grades the day after the draft, These players have done what in the #NFL?— Sean Glennon (@SeanGlennon) April 28, 2013
What is fascinating is the divergence of opinions regarding the choices of the Houston Texans. There are those who believe they filled glaring gaps in their roster, while others contend they did little to address their real needs.
Here is a recap of who was selected and when:
|2||57||D.J. Swearinger||S||S. Carolina|
|3||89||Brennan Williams||OT||N. Carolina|
|6||176||David Quessenberry||OT||San Jose St.|
|6||195||Alan Bonner||WR||Jacksonville St.|
|6||198||Chris Jones||DT||Bowling Green|
You can experience for yourself how differently analysts can judge the same collection of players.
No one in the NFL or the city of Houston has his finger on the pulse of the Texans more than Chronicle beat writer John McClain.
Some accuse him of being too close, going easy on coaches and management just so he can maintain access. When Houston lost to Minnesota 23-6 in Week 16, his review of the declared,” The Texans’ offense hasn’t been this bad since David Carr was the quarterback."
Invoking the dreaded specter of David Carr to criticize the Texans of today grants him a measure of credibility.
He seemed to like what the team did in his brief summation:
Analysis: DeAndre Hopkins gives them the kind of receiver they need opposite Andre Johnson. Swearinger should play a lot off the bench and be groomed by Ed Reed. Williams may challenge Derek Newton at right tackle. Montgomery or Trevardo could move Brooks Reed inside.
It is possible McClain scaled back his grade from an “A” to avoid the homer label he has often been tagged with.
Swearinger will compete with Eddie Pleasant for the dime-package safety. Instead of rotating with Ryan Harris, Newton could be on the same merry-go-round with rookie RT Williams.
It must be assumed former DEs Montgomery and/or Trevardo are going to have learn to play without their hands in the dirt as stand-up pass rushers. Since no inside linebackers were drafted, Reed seems destined to start alongside Brian Cushing as the other ILB.
For those within the Bleacher Report family, Schottey gave out individual player grades. From top to bottom the overall grade for each new addition went like this:
- DeAndre Hopkins: A
- D.J. Swearinger: A-
- Brennan Williams: B+
- Sam Montgomery: A-
- Trevardo Williams: B
- David Quessenberry: B-
- Alan Bonner: D
- Chris Jones: C-
- Ryan Griffin: C-
It seems only natural the top portion of their draft is more highly regarded. Using the Quality Points System, the Texans accumulated 24.8 points for "B-" based on an average of 2.75. Schottey was particularly down on Bonner, even though he described him as “productive.” He then said, “Don't see him on the roster in three years, however.”
Montgomery might be overvalued when his reputation at LSU is considered:
This is the sign LSU strength & conditioning coach posted re. Sam Montgomery. Last line is, um, interesting: twitter.com/LopezOnSports/…— John P. Lopez (@LopezOnSports) April 27, 2013
Likewise, Quessenberry may be undervalued if he remains at OT. He has been described as versatile enough to move to guard.
Based on what Ty Schalter put on the Texans’ report card, it’s hard to see where Houston went so horribly wrong. A team really has to blow the majority of its picks to earn a “C” grade. Only four of its nine picks merit a mention in his analysis.
If DeAndre Hopkins has to play Robin to Andre Johnson’s Batman, is that somehow a bad thing? If D.J. Swearinger “will look great next to signee Ed Reed,” does that mean the rookie has the goods or that Reed is so old and decrepit anyone would look great in comparison?
Because Brennan Williams was taken in the third round, the fact “he'll have to earn his way into the starting lineup” is a surprise? Since when is the 89th selection guaranteed a free pass onto the first string?
Schalter’s primary beef seems to be there was no successor to Matt Schaub among the chosen. He might not be alone in that regard, as longtime Houston radio personality and football expert Lance Zierlein pleaded on the final draft day:
Texans, go ahead and draft Zac Dysert.PLEASE!!!!— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) April 27, 2013
Dysert was taken by Denver in the seventh round, so he was there for the taking by Houston in the sixth. A cliché like “throwing out the baby with the bath water” comes to mind when an entire draft is characterized by a move not taken instead of the ones that were.
Houston Texans GM Rick Smith
Instead of grading players, Andrea Hangst decided to assign her marks to the general mangers. Her three categories were “Needs Met, Value and Depth and Boom/Bust Potential.”
By these standards, the needs for a wide receiver and strong safety were satisfied by Hopkins and Swearinger. She also mentioned “front-seven depth,” but was not specific beyond the value of OLB Trevardo Williams.
The Boom/Bust Potential was judged “very low, overall” but laid it all at the feet of first-round pick Hopkins. A somewhat contradictory view when you take into account there were nine draftees chosen.
In the end, Hangst awarded Smith a "B+" for his three days of work.
Sam Montgomery LSU
He saw Hopkins and Swearinger as worthy understudies to Andre Johnson and Ed Reed. RT Williams is the alternative the Texans needed if they did not feel confident going forward with Derek Newton.
OLBs Montgomery and Williams look like a more than adequate two-for-one replacement now that Connor Barwin has moved on. Iyer seemed so excited about their top five picks he reserved comment on the other members of their draft class.
That’s a pity because if just one of the Texans’ four sixth-round palookas turns out to be a solid contributor, it would be truly exceptional draft. And Iyer could say, “Told you so.”
Swearinger was described as a “highly physical safety,” Montgomery as a “more consistent and productive defender at LSU than Barkevious Mingo” and that Brennan Williams was first-round material but lasted until the third due to a torn labrum.
Andre Johnson now has a promising running mate in Hopkins, and Rang gets it exactly right when he says the former Clemson wideout has “better field-than-40 speed.” The top-20 leaders in career receptions include few track stars, and what you do after you catch the ball is not always determined by straight-line acceleration.
The Texans might have earned their "A-" grade from Mr. Rang with a combination of astute scouting and good fortune. Now it is up to the players and coaching staff to justify the praise he lavished upon them.
The Texans earn two grades from Chris Burke, something along the lines of “the best and the rest.”
DeAndre Hopkins receives his own evaluation, largely on the basis of its necessity. When the Texans' offense coughed and sputtered over the final third of the 2012 season, the absence of any credible outside receiving threat other than Andre Johnson was blatantly obvious.
“This was the pick everyone knew Houston needed to make,” or so says Burke. Because Hopkins was the second receiver taken, this must mean his ability and potential are second only to Tavon Austin. Only time, playing time that is, will reveal whether this is true. And whether the “A” grade granted him by Burke was warranted.
Strangely though, when Hopkins is lumped together with the rest of his fellow draftees the overall grade for Texans drops to a “B.”
Swearinger seems to be held in the same high esteem as their first-rounder. But the offensive linemen and outside linebackers are all tagged with the “potential” sticker, as if their position in the draft makes them indistinguishable.
Overall, Burke earns a “B-” for what feels like a quicky report card so he could get on to the next one. It’s hard to blame him, what with the onslaught of information over the course of the last three days. Still, SI usually does a better job.
This report card starts off with the grade, then an confusing disclaimer.
2013 NFL Draft Grade: A
"Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals."
It goes on to leave those “other things” unmentioned.
The authors, who are sited as just “Charlie and I,” were told Justin Hunter would go to the Texans. Then go on to say, “Well, the Texans lucked out and got their man.” A nice non-sequitur to start things off with.
We are told Swearinger was drafted to play both safety positions, and “definitely qualifies for that.” They are dismayed with the choice of Montgomery by an organization that values character so highly. Maybe GM Rick Smith is throwing a bone to all those fans that think the Texans employ too many choirboys.
The value in the case of Trevardo Williams is seen as a plus, and Quessenberry is a steal in sixth round. The remainder of the class was drafted just where it should have been by virtue of its talent.
Here are the players and their grades:
- DeAndre Hopkins: A
- D.J. Swearinger: B+
- Brennan Williams: B-
- Sam Montgomery: C-
- Trevardo Williams: B+
- David Quessenberry: A
- Alan Bonner: B
- Chris Jones: C+
- Ryan Griffin: B-
To summarize, individually the Texans drafted a group of players that collectively earn 27 quality points for a “B” average. By the result of some indescribable added value, their overall grade is an “A.”
It’s been said drafting professional athletes is an inexact science. These same holds true for writing about it, or so it seems.
This ESPN poll is included just for its visual appeal. As you can see, 40 percent of the nation is red and gave the Texans a grade of "B." The green or "C" states represent 28 percent of the total votes while only 19 percent were blue or "A" voters.
Of the more than 5,400 votes cast, 725 were from Texas. A slim majority of 51 percent turned the Lone Star State into a blue state, the first time that has happened since the election of LBJ. Accept my apologies for injecting politics into sports discussion.
The most peculiar blue state is South Carolina, where 41 percent of the 56 votes gave the Texans an "A." West Virginia, Kansas, Arizona and Alaska are all gray, meaning they abstained from the vote.
Even though they have had more recent success than the Dallas Cowboys, the Houston Texans are not yet America's Team.