The typical argument against draft grades is, "Mel, you can't grade a draft for at least a few years." And while that's absolutely fair for some obvious reasons, you can hand out grades based on how much value teams got during the draft based on where they picked. It's not called "Pick Your Favorite Player" -- it's called the NFL draft. There's a process to maximizing value based on where a team selects, and initial grades are all about that and the degree to which a team attacked needs, as well as other factors such as scheme fits, building depth and adding value from trades.
But with a year of results, we can add some weight to the performance aspect people really think makes more sense. And I don't disagree. So let's see how the grades look after close to a year.
Summary: I loved the Seattle draft, not just because of the safe talent it acquired, but because it didn't trade away picks to maneuver within the first round and still got its guys. Russell Okung didn't have a dynamic season, but a lot of that is health-related. The guy should be an anchor for years to come. Earl Thomas racked up five INTs, and his development is extremely promising. Golden Tate struggled, particularly early. He showed some maturity issues, but the feeling is he can bounce back as his work habits get better and skills develop. There is not a lot after that, so the overall grade drops, but the top-two picks still look great.
Draft grade: A | Current Grade: B-plus
Summary: As much as the Ravens got great value, this is one that backfired a bit. Sergio Kindle got hurt off the field, and it seems as though his career is in jeopardy at this point. Terrence Cody is blocked by the great Haloti Ngata, and even good value pick Ramon Harewood was on the injured reserve. I still think the tight ends the Ravens got in Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta can help out, but this class is off to a tough start overall.
Draft grade: A | Current Grade: C-minus