In most cases, you need at least a few years to accurately grade a team's draft. It takes time for players to develop, and it also takes time for many of them to even see the field. Even so, it's still interesting to go back and examine a draft just one season later, and that's what ESPN's Mel Kiper recently did by regrading the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Detroit Lions originally received a B grade after last year's draft. Kiper downgraded them to a C in his regrade because "the return thus far has been minimal." He admitted that this draft could still end up being pretty good, but the draft class just didn't do a whole lot for the Lions in 2012. Injuries played a big part in that (see Ryan Broyles, Bill Bentley and Chris Greenwood), but that doesn't change the overall grade.
When we look back on this draft class years from now, the top picks (Riley Reiff and Broyles) will really serve as the baseline for any regrade, especially with Reiff potentially becoming the team's new left tackle. The defensive players taken later on will ultimately determine just how good this draft class ends up being, though. We saw flashes from Bentley before he got hurt, and Jonte Green showed tremendous improvement. The jury is really out on Ronnell Lewis, Tahir Whitehead, Greenwood and Travis Lewis, though. They need to have a good offseason and make a big jump from year one to year two.
In the coming weeks, we'll take a more in-depth look back at Martin Mayhew's first four drafts and evaluate each class.