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As I mentioned in the first part of the article, one of my frustrations w/draft grades is that the grades have no basis on actual performance. Now that I have revisited the teams and given them performance based grades, let’s see how the experts did w/out the benefit of hindsight...

In Part One of my article, I explained my reasoning for looking back upon the 2011 draft and gave grades to the NFC. Hopefully, you’ve read it (if not, you can read it here) and are now looking forward to seeing the AFC grades. Without further ado, the grades:

Team

Division

Grade

Buffalo Bills

East

C

Miami Dolphins

East

B+

New England Patriots

East

D+

New York Jets

East

A-

Baltimore Ravens

North

C

Cincinnati Bengals

North

B+

Cleveland Browns

North

A+

Pittsburgh Steelers

North

C+

Houston Texans

South

A

Indianapolis Colts

South

F

Jacksonville Jaguars

South

B-

Tennessee Titans

South

C+

Denver Broncos

West

A+

Kansas City Chiefs

West

C-

Oakland Raiders

West

C-

San Diego Chargers

West

A

Overall the AFC had twice as many A’s at the NFC, but the AFC also had the only F and have lost four of the last five Super Bowls. Don’t get hung up on trying to make any correlations on the information above or you’ll end up like Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. If you’d like to know more details about how the grades were determined, my grading criterion was outlined in my first article (e.g. please read the first article if you haven’t yet). Details on the players selected by each team are available below. All of the teams are broken out by their Division and preceded by a chart that illustrates the following:

  • How many picks the team had in the 2011 draft
  • How many of the draft picks were 6th or 7th round draft picks
  • How many of the players from the draft are currently on that team
  • How many of the players from the draft are currently starters on that team

 

It’s April and forecasting rain isn’t the only popular pastime in this month. The 2014 NFL Draft is two weeks away along with the media storm that accompanies it. After the Super Bowl ends, the NFL media machine knows that there will be six months before preseason games start and they have to do their best to keep fans interested until then. Things that used to be ignored 10-15 years ago now have gained a tremendous amount of coverage. The NFL Scouting Combine, free agency and pro days have all become major events. However, they are nothing compared to the three day spectacle that is now the NFL Draft. Analysts begin to determine where teams are deficient and prognosticate as to what players they will pick within mere days after Super Bowl. Then, from March through May, countless hours of television programming and an exponential number of articles will thoroughly examine every aspect of how well these rookies will or will not potentially adjust to the speed and size that is the NFL. Finally, it will come time for teams to pick their first round at Radio City Music Hall and after the players are selected, analysts will scrutinize the pick to the Nth degree, fans will boo and/or cheer the selections and the three days will pass ever so quickly.

However, unlike the game of football, the draft has no score and that is a problem. How can you have all of this hype and no winner(s)? Since that answer was unsatisfying to fans, analysts decided to provide a score of sorts… draft grades. Every major sports network and magazine offers them now and in fact, many of the grades are given in real time during the draft. I understand that the casual fan wants to know if their team will be better, but all we can definitively conclude during and after the draft is what positions of need were enhanced. For example, if a team that had a poor offensive line took an offensive lineman in the early rounds of the draft, they should have better depth in that area and improve. That’s all we can discern since these grades have no basis on actual performance yet. So what we’re really given is “informed” but idle speculation because the players haven’t even gone to camp much less played a down in the NFL. What’s even more infuriating to me is the how wrong some of these grades can be. I grew up in Houston and one of my favorite examples of this is when the Houston Texans were given a ton of grief for not selecting Mario Williams as the #1 pick over Vince Young and Reggie Bush in 2006. Williams had two Pro-Bowl selections, one All Pro selection and was the 2007 NFL Alumni Defensive Lineman of the Year with the Texans. Even though he is no longer in Houston, he is still playing at an elite level for the Bills. Bush and Young had some accolades, but Bush is now with his third team and Young is out of the league. History has shown that the Texans made the right choice and that’s what drove me to write this article.

Parenting is a thankless job and an endless task, it always has been and always will be, but having a child involved in youth sports can add an enormous amount of stress to the already time consuming, gray hair causing, gas guzzling grind that is raising a child. Managing the way through each new season can be incredibly difficult on both the parent and child, but the manner in which it is accomplished has an immeasurable importance on the outcome of our children's lives in athletics. Athletics are a remarkably unique experience in life, for unlike nearly every other pursuit one might attempt, sports are a short term quest. Professional athletes are considered old by the age of 35, young by any other career standard and years away from retirement. For the vast majority of children their days as an athlete will end with high school and if they're fortunate, college. According to NCAA figures only 3-6 percent of high school athletes continue to play in college, with only men's hockey in the double digits (11%). Only one sport, baseball, has more than two percent of its NCAA players go pro, not to say mine or yours won't defy the odds, but statistically high school is the end game...and the days go by fast so we have to make the most of it by proving ourselves as our children's biggest supporters.

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By Stephen Schulist - 12.29.2013

Whether you follow the NFL or not, it's almost impossible to not be aware of the amazing salaries that NFL players are awarded in contract years. For example, Peyton Manning was signed to a five-year $96M contract in 2012 with $18M of that being his salary for first year1. To the average person, that is almost an unimaginable amount of money. That's lottery winning type of money. That got me thinking, if that's how much Denver spent on a quarterback, how much does a touchdown really cost?