Much like KFC’s “Double Down” sandwich, NFL Draft grades are dumb but irresistible. There is no point to draft grades from a class that was immediately chosen, seeing as those draft grades look foolish when we look back on them three years later. We have no idea how well each of these teams drafted yet, and we won’t know for some time now.
Yet we’re all drawn to draft grades, like moths to a burning candle. I’m including myself in this group, because with no games to be played for another four months, we’re all looking for that validation that the Detroit Lions are on the right trajectory to make next season, and the seasons after that, special.
And the pied piper who leads us in this song and dance is ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. The long-time draft expert of the Worldwide Leader in Sports released his draft grades late on Saturday night (Insider required), and unfortunately, they aren’t the intoxicating music we want to hear.
Kiper gave the Detroit Lions’ draft class a mere B- grade, and while that may not seem all that bad, there were only six teams with lower grades and 20 teams with better grades. Sadly, three of those 20 teams that graded out better than the Lions reside in the NFC North.
The Packers got the highest grade of the group earning an A-, tied with two other teams for the second-best grade in the draft. The Bears were next with a solid B+, and the Vikings rounded out the division with a B.
So why such little love for the Lions? Kiper wasn’t a huge fan of the Kerryon Johnson pick, especially the move up to get him. “Johnson was my ninth-ranked back, and I had higher players on my board, plus the injury concerns at Auburn give me pause,” Kiper wrote.
He also believed, like many, that Detroit reached for safety Tracy Walker in the third round, but admitted that he impressed at the combine.
Overall, Kiper admits that if the Lions truly accomplished their main priority—which seems to be drastically fixing the running game—”this could be a good class.” But it’s clear he has his doubts.