There are moments immediately following an NFL Draft where websites like this one, and a million others, release draft grades. It is a foolish exercise when regarding the athletes being selected, and how they will, or won’t, pan out as professionals.
You can grade the team’s overall decision making to a point, but you need to let these players have an opportunity to develop before grading them. Think about all those late round picks, like Antonio Brown, who would have received average-to-below-average grades only to turn out to be an All-Pro.
So, when is a good time to actually assess these draft picks? 5 years later? 4 years? According to ESPN Insiders, 3 years seems to be efficient enough. In a recent article, done with the help of Pro Football Focus (PFF), they re-drafted the 2015 NFL Draft to see if the picks would be different based on known production.
See what they had to say about the Pittsburgh Steelers, who would have passed on Bud Dupree and gone with a defensive lineman:
22. Pittsburgh Steelers
Actual pick: Bud Dupree, edge rusher, Kentucky
New Pick: Malcom Brown, interior DL, Texas
While Dupree’s 15 career sacks don’t scream “bust,” he has been one of the worst pass-rushers in the league on a per-snap basis since 2015, as he has only 68 other pressures on 946 career rushes. Brown is a cleaner player and a good fit for Pittsburgh’s three-man front, as he can line up in multiple roles and stand firm against the run, having graded above 80.0 in each of the past three seasons.
The re-draft is intriguing, and would have altered the team’s plans in the following years, especially for a player like Javon Hargrave, but this exercise in futility makes you wonder.
What do you think of the new pick in the 2015 NFL Draft? Would you rather have Brown over Dupree? Or do you still think Dupree is waiting to break out in 2018 and be a semi-dominant pass rusher off the edge?
Let us know in the comment section below!