The act of grading an NFL Draft class just one year after they were selected into the National Football League is rather unfair. However, that won’t stop major media outlets, like ESPN, from doing just that on a regular basis.
This was the exact impetus for ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. as he attempts to re-grade the 2018 NFL Draft classes.
Kiper goes back and looks at each draft pick, whether they were big-time players as rookies or not, and sees whether their initial draft grade should be changed.
Here is what he says about the Steelers 2018 NFL Draft class:
Post-draft grade: C+
My two issues with the Steelers’ 2018 class: (1) Terrell Edmunds was a reach at the end of the first round. There were better safeties on the board. (2) They didn’t find a replacement for Ryan Shazier.
Those qualms still hold up a year later. Edmunds was just OK in Year 1, finishing with 73 tackles while playing 92.3 percent of Pittsburgh’s defensive snaps. But the two guys I mentioned last year, Justin Reid and Jessie Bates, both had better seasons. As for the void at inside linebacker, that hole is still open. The team is now trying to fill it in free agency with Mark Barron.
I liked the Jaylen Samuels pick in Round 5 -- I called him one of the most versatile offensive players in the class -- and he is a useful No. 2 back who can help in the receiving game. If James Washington can be even close to a serviceable Antonio Brown replacement in 2019 -- that’s asking a lot, I know -- this grade would shoot up, but he was inconsistent as a rookie. Of course, if third-round pick Mason Rudolph ends up as the heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger, my issues with the class will be silly in hindsight.
For now, let’s keep this grade the same.
New grade: C+
1/28 Terrell Edmunds S VIRGINIA TECH
2/60 James Washington WR OKLAHOMA STATE
3/76 Mason Rudolph QB OKLAHOMA STATE
3/92 Chukwuma Okorafor OT WESTERN MICHIGAN
5/148 Marcus Allen S PENN STATE
5/165 Jaylen Samuels FB NC STATE
7/246 Joshua Frazier DT ALABAMA
So, after all that, Kiper went back and...did nothing.
Of course he leaves the door open for the grade changing if James Washington and Mason Rudolph actually become big-time players in the future for the Steelers, but this just solidifies the silliness which is grading draft classes a year after they were picked. Look at Rudolph as an example. If he has to sit until Year 4 to play, but plays well when given the chance, the grade for him a year after his selection is just ridiculous.
Nonetheless, what do you think of Kiper’s grades in retrospect, as well as the re-grade? Let us know in the comment section below!