2014 NFL Draft: Selecting Draft Grades, Winners And Losers Far Too Early Is A Waste Of Time

Reading mock drafts proves to be a complete and utter waste of time each and every year. Writing about them is an even bigger waste, but writers and bloggers and so-called experts continue to do so. They also continue to hand out grades based on each player selected by their new team. The 2014 NFL Draft is no different. After Round 1 on Thursday, analysts and writers and bloggers and broadcasters were all far too quick to hand out grades and project their winners and losers. It is ridiculous. It is foolish. It is a huge waste of time.

Yet, we continue to do it while even more continue to search for it and read about it on the Internet.

How can we, as either bloggers, writers, analysts, broadcasters or even fans say that a team failed on a player without ever seeing them play one single snap for their new NFL team? What certain players do in college does not always translate to what they will do in the NFL. Some college stars will be professional busts. Some under-the-radar collegiate athletes will excel at the next level and wind up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The thing is, none of us know as of this moment which players will take which route.

Most are saying that the Blake Bortles selection at No. 3 overall was a horrible one by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but how do they know that? Would I have drafted Bortles at No. 3? Absolutely not. But, that does not mean that it will be a bad pick. Bortles could turn out to have an excellent NFL career. We just don’t know.

Almost everyone – including myself – felt as if Sammy Watkins was a once-every-10-years type of player. He has been compared to many great wide receivers. He could be an impact player in his rookie season, and a Pro-Bowl player in his second or third. He was going to be taken in the top five of the 2014 NFL Draft, and he was. The Buffalo Bills mortgaged their 2015 NFL Draft by giving up so much to move up to select Watkins. Everyone says that they gave up way too much, but, again, how can they know that? What is Watkins turns out to be the next Larry Fitzgerald or Calvin Johnson or Jerry Rice or Andre Reed? Was it still too much to give up then?

We just don’t know. Nobody does.

We read grades on teams’ picks. We read about who ‘won’ and who ‘lost’ in the NFL Draft. We read all of this within hours of the players being drafted? Nobody knows which team ‘won’ and which team ‘lost’ and what grade they deserve. Only time will tell. Players are drafted in May of 2014, but we will not know for months or even years exactly what impact they will have with their new team in the NFL.

Bortles may be a bad pick. He could be a bust. He may be out of the league or backing up another quarterback on a different team within a few years, a la Blaine Gabbert.

Or, he could lead the Jags back to the NFL Playoffs in a couple of years. He could go on to best Mark Brunell for countless Jacksonville franchise records. He may even play in a Super Bowl.

Watkins could turn out to be a bad gamble for the Bills. They may have another sub-par season and have to watch the Cleveland Browns use their 2015 first round pick to select an impact player as Buffalo missed the postseason once again. Watkins may turn out to be a very good player, but not one who was worth the risk.

Then again, he could also go on to break numerous NFL records for a wide receiver. He could help the Bills finally get back to the playoffs and perhaps even to the Super Bowl. He could be inducted into the Hall of Fame and give one of the best speeches in Canton history.

We just don’t know. That is why we waste our time reading, when what we should be doing is focusing on watching.

In the future.


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About the author

Rob Kelley

Rob Kelley is a sports reporter for various newspapers in Florida, and is trying to break back into the sports writing game after a brief hiatus following the publishing of his first book, I'm Not a Quitter. He recently resigned as Editor-in-Chief and lead writer for The South Shore Magazine to pursue better opportunities. You can follow him on Twitter @RobKelley24.