Detroit Lions 2013 Draft: Aggregating Report Card Grades from Around the Web

Dean Holden@@Dean_HoldenAnalyst IApril 29, 2013

Detroit Lions 2013 Draft: Aggregating Report Card Grades from Around the Web

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    Draft grades are like mock drafts. They're premature, rarely accurate and only really relevant after several iterations and a whole lot of time.

    But they're fun, and football fans want an instant return on what was an interesting (if nothing else) draft process. And sources around the web will grant you just that.

    But rather than give my own draft grades, let me pull some down from around the web and critique them. It worked perfectly well when I plastered Mel Kiper for suggesting that the Detroit Lions trade up to the No. 1 overall pick to get a cornerback who went ninth overall.

    So surely this will be fine. And if not, we'll find out in some three years, right? By that point, I'll come back to this and call myself out, like I still do with my shortsighted pre-draft opinion on Matthew Stafford.

Andrea Hangst (Bleacher Report)

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    Overall Draft Grade: B

    Bleacher Report's very own Andrea Hangst graded every GM's draft in terms of overall effectiveness, rather than by individual picks.

    She gave the draft overall a "B," citing their first two picks as the biggest "boom or bust" candidates. It's hard to argue that, with Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah's lack of experience and Darius Slay's meniscus tear.

    Being not too high or not too low on the Ansah pick is where most fans and analysts seem to be at the moment. There's no doubt the man has talent, but whether it translates or not remains to be seen. He has a lot to learn, but he has the physical talent and sharp mind to do it.

Mel Kiper Jr. (ESPN)

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    Mel Kiper Jr. should mock draft the way he grades them.

    As I mentioned before, Kiper's mock was a travesty, but I don't mind the way he graded the Detroit Lions' draft, which breaks down as follows:

    Needs: A-

    Value: B-

    Overall: B

    This is spot on. The Lions didn't really get huge value with their picks, aside from Larry Warford. This was more the type of draft that fans clamor for every year: drafting need positions with the best player available at the moment.

    Either the Lions have moved far away from the pure "best player available" strategy, or their draft board looked very different from everyone else's. It seemed for sure like the Lions drafted for needs in this draft, taking whichever player seemed to represent the greatest value at a need position.

    The only thing the Lions didn't take that was a perceived need was an offensive tackle (which is, I assume, why Kiper gave an "A-" for needs instead of an "A").

    But by taking a guard who will start from day one, all they've done is quiet the fan talk about Riley Reiff moving inside, which has also been floating around within the organization according to Ian Rapoport's tweet. That's not what they drafted him for, and so now he'll play tackle like he was always intended to.

    Ultimately, this seems exactly where it should be. The Lions did well at filling team needs without reaching too much. Every pick makes sense, but doesn't blow the doors off.

Chris Burke (Sports Illustrated)

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    Overall Draft Grade: B-

    Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated gives the Lions a "B-," and like most, he really likes the third-round selection of Larry Warford and the seventh-round selection of Michael Williams. Both should help the Detroit Lions bolster the run game.

    Burke says that the defensive picks in this draft, Ezekiel Ansah, Darius Slay and Devin Taylor, "could help," but that each of them "have warts." That's a fair assessment. Warford is, perhaps, the only prospect in this draft who could play at the same level as he did in college and be a solid pick.

    The Lions are banking on upside in this draft, because they took a lot of people whose physical traits don't match up with their college production. There was no flawless prospect in this draft, so it stands to reason that the Lions' picks "have warts."

    The Lions are just hoping that their draft picks have more talent than they have issues.

Pete Prisco/Jason Chilton (CBS Sports)

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    Draft Pick Grades

    5. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU: A+

    36. Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State: B-

    65. Larry Warford, G, Kentucky: B

    132. Devin Taylor, DE, South CarolinaC+

    165. Sam Martin, P, Appalachian State: D

    171. Corey Fuller, WR, Virginia Tech: B

    199. Theo Riddick, RB, Notre Dame: C

    211. Michael Williams, TE, Alabama: C

    245. Brandon Perburn, ILB, Florida A&M: B

    Pete Prisco (Rounds 1-3) really likes the top of the Detroit Lions' draft, and Jason Chilton (Rounds 4-7) is lukewarm on the rest of it.

    The good news is, Prisco loves Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, calling it "my favorite pick of the draft." The bad news is, he's frequently wrong about everything. In 2006, he chastised the Lions for passing on Matt Leinart, saying, "You don't pass up franchise quarterbacks when you don't have one."

    He went on to say "Second-round pick Daniel Bullocks was a nice pick." In other news, he talked about how Charlie Whitehurst has "big-time skills" as a passer.

    So I'm actually tempted to think that the vote of confidence on Ansah is actually a bad sign. Hopefully, this is one of those times Prisco is right about something.

    Also, he said nothing but good things about Larry Warford, yet graded him a "B." Not sure what's up with that.

    Check out the CBS Sports grades with analysis right here.

Michael Schottey (Bleacher Report)

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    Draft Pick Grades

    5. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU: A

    36. Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State: B-

    65. Larry Warford, G, Kentucky: A

    132. Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina: B-

    165. Sam Martin, P, Appalachian State: D-

    171. Corey Fuller, WR, Virginia Tech: C

    199. Theo Riddick, RB, Notre Dame: C+

    211. Michael Williams, TE, Alabama: C

    245. Brandon Perburn, ILB, Florida A&M: B-

    Michael Schottey, himself a former Detroit Lions Featured Columnist, is a much bigger fan of the first two days of the Lions' draft than the third.

    He's higher on the Ezekiel Ansah pick than most, citing the Lions' top-notch defensive line coaches (Jim Washburn and Kris Kocurek) as perfect to bring Ansah along in his career.

    Opinions on Ansah vary wildly, but most agree he'll either be among the best pass-rushers in the draft, or completely useless. If there's any situation that is most likely to maximize his potential, it's the one in Detroit, where the interior of the line is the focus, and Ansah can let loose in the quarterback-driven wide-nine.

    Incidentally, Schottey gives Michael Williams of Alabama a lower grade than most, citing his lack of downfield receiving ability. But hey, it's a seventh-round pick, and there's a clear role for him on the team as an in-line blocker.

    Williams' overall impact may be minimal and situational, but they managed to fill an immediate team need with a seventh-rounder. Doesn't that automatically make him a decent pick?

    Schottey's full seven-round grades can be found in the following locations:

    Round 1

    Rounds 2-3

    Rounds 4-7

Walter Cherepinsky (Walter Football)

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    Draft Pick Grades

    5. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU: B+

    36. Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State: B-

     65. Larry Warford, G, Kentucky: A

     132. Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina: B

    165. Sam Martin, P, Appalachian State: C-

     171. Corey Fuller, WR, Virginia Tech: B-

    199. Theo Riddick, RB, Notre Dame: B

     211. Michael Williams, TE, Alabama: A-

     245. Brandon Perburn, ILB, Florida A&M: B

    Walter Football is one of those draft resources that is lesser-known, but one of the hardest-working outfits on the web, especially during the NFL offseason. If you're not already a fan, I recommend you become one.

    The draft grades (which you can read with analysis here) across the board are pretty even, with the highest grade going to Larry Warford, who was a steal at a position of need in the third round and the lowest grade going to Sam Martin, who is a punter.

    Of course, picking Martin at the end of the fifth round isn't as egregious as the Jacksonville Jaguars picking Bryan Anger at the top of the third in 2012, but it's understandable that it would be panned.

    Michael Williams was also considered: "This is a solid pick. I thought Michael Williams would go earlier than this. Detroit got a good look at him at the Senior Bowl. The team needed some tight end depth."

    I agree with the assessment; Will Heller is gone, and Williams could be in line to play a lot of good football for the Lions.

    For those of you who are wondering how the Lions' draft grades would look if I did them, it's something like this, but with a lower grade on the Martin pick and a little more love for Theo Riddick.

Dean Holden (That's Me!)

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    Overall Draft Grade: B

    Not to be boring, but I happen to think that most of the draft graders are right where they should be on this.

    On Twitter, I deemed this draft the Detroit Lions' "All-Upside Team."

    That's exactly what makes this draft so difficult to grade. If you go by how well these players all did in college, this is probably a "C+." But if you take into account the sky-high physical talent that these players sport, it's closer to an "A-." Split the difference.

    The important thing is that the Lions got talent that fits their scheme. It's impossible to tell exactly how high these draft picks will go (as with most drafts), but the onus is truly on the Lions' coaching staff to maximize the potential talent joining the team.

    If they can help a group of phenomenal athletes translate their abilities to the football field, this will be a great draft.

    But there's an operative word there, one that sums up the nature of this entire draft in just two letters.

    Ultimately, this draft comes down to the word "if."

    Best Pick: Larry Warford

    Larry Warford is seemingly the only player who isn't an "if" player. He's a big guy who can move other big guys—end of story. Plus, the Lions didn't have to overdraft to get the third-rated guard in the draft.

    All-Pro guards go in Rounds 3 (Marshal Yanda), 4 (Jahri Evans) and 5 (Carl Nicks), and while Warford's draft position was technically higher than any of them, the range is still appropriate. This is an ideal combination of need, value, proven college production and upside.

    Worst Pick: Sam Martin

    Not to pile on here, but let's consider this for a moment.

    After the Lions took Sam Martin, there was not another punter taken in this draft—not one. Martin was the second of two punters drafted in 2013. In addition, Martin wasn't even considered the best punter available.

    So doesn't it seem logical that the Lions could have gotten Martin in the seventh round? Or undrafted entirely? And even if they couldn't, even if another team grabbed Martin in the sixth round, would it have been the worst thing in the world to get Brad Wing or Quinn Sharp as an undrafted free agent?

    Martin may turn out to be a fine punter, but this is a lazy pick.