We changed the draft grades a little this year. Now, the obvious complaint we always hear is, "You can't really grade a draft for a few years." Not true. You can't assess the performance of the players drafted for a few years, but you can assess the degree to which teams maximized value while filling needs. That's what this is. I ask: To what degree did teams fill roster gaps? And with each selection, did they get the most possible value out of that spot on the board? Then we balance the two.
To make the process a little more clear in 2011, we added grades for both "Needs" and "Value" which factor into the overall grade. On my scale, a B grade is pretty solid. It means you consistently hit needs and found value in the process. Higher than that implies exceptional value at need positions; below that means there was more hit and miss. So don't see a "C" grade and assume a bad draft. It simply implies more of a mixed bag. With an explanation in place, let's hand out some grades for the 2011 NFL draft.