Colts 2013 Draft: Aggregating Report Card Grades from Around the Web
Everybody claims to hate draft grades that are released immediately after the draft.
Yet, every year, people read the grades released by the national and local media. Perhaps it's more of a guilty pleasure, people just like to complain and argue about them.
Personally, I like draft grades. Are they really all that useful? Probably not. The popular saying is that you can't truly grade a draft for three years. I'd rather wait four or five years.
But instant draft grades do have value, depending on how you view them. They're a picture in time, a way to look back and remember how prospects and teams were viewed at that moment. It's often more of a critique of the team-building strategy than it is a grade of the specific players drafted.
So, with that all being said, here is what analysts are saying about this year's draft for Indianapolis. It may not accurately describe what this draft will look like in five years, but it's interesting nevertheless.
ESPN's Mel Kiper: C+
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Not in love with the first pick, and I'm pretty surprised the Colts didn't get a cornerback or a wide receiver -- I saw both as needs. But they got two of the more intriguing players in the draft with Hughes and Williams.
Kiper's biggest reason for not loving the draft was the first round, where the Colts drafted Bjoern Werner. Personally, I like Werner as a pick there. I think he's a perfect long-term fit at SOLB, which will allow the Colts to get rid of Erik Walden. Like Kiper, I was a little perturbed they didn't select a corner and wide receiver, but I'm not sure it warrants a C+.
CBS' Pete Prisco: C+
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Third-day gem: Sixth-round safety John Boyett was a good choice that late in the draft. He should be a good special-teams player early in his career.
Analysis: I have been impressed with most of what second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has done, but this wasn't a "wow" draft for me. Call it solid.
Prisco, like Kiper, doesn't like the Werner pick. But Prisco's logic is a little off. Erik Walden isn't a long-term starter, and he's not a pass-rusher. The Colts have a huge need at pass-rusher, and they were right to address that. I agree that the draft wasn't "wow," but C+ seems a tad low.
CBS' Rob Rang: B
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Critics say Bjoern Werner isn't a great athlete ... but it wasn't just terrific instincts and technique that resulted in his leading the ACC in sacks in 2012. He's a bit stiff but locates the football quickly, uses his hands well to rip free from blocks and pursues with passion. I think he'll perform well as a rush linebacker.
Here we get to the first analyst that actually liked the Werner pick and graded the Colts higher as a result. This is right about where I had them, and his analysis makes sense to me. Although I will add that Werner's ability to stop the run is going to be key in his fit in Indianapolis.
Bleacher Report's Ty Schalter: C+
The Colts had to wait a while to pick up their second selection, third-round pick Hugh Thornton. Thornton was a bit of a reach, but if he solidifies the guard spot opposite new signee Donald Thomas, it's a good pick. Similar thoughts apply for center Khaled Holmes: taken a little too early, but he could help quickly.
Schalter's feelings seemed to match a lot of Colts fans: the Colts addressed needs, but may not have gotten the best value with those mid-round picks.
I agree with Schalter on those mid-round picks; not my favorite value of the draft, but I don't think it warranted a grade below a B-.
Rotoworld's Evan Silva: C-
Keep in mind Colts GM Ryan Grigson also surrendered a 2014 fourth-round pick in the trade up for Hughes early in round five. I'm surprised Grigson mortgaged part of his future for a small-schooler with a checkered character background. Not only is Werner an odd fit for Chuck Pagano's 3-4 defense, but his tendency to give up on plays after initially being blocked was disconcerting on game film.
Like Silva, I don't like the Khaled Holmes pick in the fourth, but I disagree with a lot of his other logic.
Trading a future fourth-rounder isn't "mortgaging your future." Fourth-round picks have a low success rate, and Hughes has a lot of upside. He was at a small school in 2012, but he was at Tennessee previously and was successful on the field.
I actually heard good things about Werner's motor and think he'll be successful in a Paul Kruger-type of role.
Fox Sports' Alex Marvez: C+
They hope they’ve found the replacement for Dwight Freeney at outside linebacker in Florida State’s Bjoern Werner. Illinois guard Hugh Thornton (third round) and Southern Cal center Khaled Holmes (fourth) could quickly push for snaps on an offensive line that allowed Luck to get hit too many times in his rookie season.
Marvez doesn't really explain why the grade is low; in fact, the things he lists seem positive. Marvez's colleagues on the same article had varying thoughts.
Jen Floyd Engel gave the Colts a C for not drafting an offensive lineman before the third round (they didn't have a second and the value in the first wasn't there, so I don't get that logic). Peter Schrager gave the Colts a B for "staying the course."
Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke: C
Burke runs the an NFL blog for SI called Audibles.
Their top pick, Bjoern Werner, has a long way to go before he can be a reliable 3-4 OLB — he was a better fit for a 4-3. And just about every pick here comes with some hesitation. G Hugh Thornton is pretty raw, DT Montori Hughes carries significant red flags and S John Boyett had issues with both knees. Hard to see it all falling into place for this group.
I'm not disagreeing that each of these picks are a little risky, but I don't have nearly the reservations that Burke has about Werner, and the flags with Hughes and Boyett are fine with me for late-round picks with the upside that they have.
Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer: B+
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Sporting News executive of the year Ryan Grigson took care of the offensive skill players in '12, starting with Andrew Luck. This April was all about nuts and bolts, led by giving coach Chuck Pagano a top edge pass rusher (Florida State's Bjoern Werner) and promising nose tackle (Tennessee-Martin's Montori Hughes) made for his 3-4. On the not-as-sexy-but-still-effective front, they gave Luck two solid interior offensive linemen in Illinois guard Hugh Thornton and USC center Khaled Holmes.
Iyer is a little higher on these prospects than I am. Holmes is far from a sure thing as a center, and Montori Hughes has a lot of character issues to overcome. Nevertheless, it seems like a fair grade, although a touch high for me.