OMG, did you hear that ESPN's NFL Draft gasbag Mel Kiper gave the Broncos draft class a C+? What will the organization do after receiving such a mediocre evaluation? Maybe John Elway and other executives will assess the players in training camp, attempt to improve their weaknesses and put them in a position to utilize their strengths -- also known as the exact same thing they would do if Kiper was not a greasy-haired blowhard receiving way too much air time.
The NFL Draft is uneducated speculation and hope-trafficking delivered at its highest volume. Analysts spend months running up to the now three-day-long meat market speculating about the ability of kids in their twenties to adapt to the most violent profession this side of the military. Then the draft actually happens and those same analysts, no more informed about the players they are talking about than they were before, judge each team's draft performance.
All the declarations and grades ignore the simple fact that no one, not the media and not the teams, have more than an extremely vague idea about whether these players will contribute in the NFL. For reference, Kiper gave the Broncos 2009 draft a C. Considering that running back Knowshon Moreno, defensive end Robert Ayers and defensive back Alfonso Smith were the prizes of that class, F- would not have been too harsh.
For fans, the NFL Draft is like a boy waiting for months and months to get a new pet and then, when the day finally comes, he receives a duck. But then he has to wait many more months or even years to realize whether he even likes having a pet duck.
Last year's first-round selection, defensive end Von Miller, was good, but he could have just as easily been Robert Ayers, another defensive lineman the Donkeys took in the first round. And even if a team drafts a good player -- just for example, we'll say a quarterback out of Vanderbilt -- there's no guarantee your Napoleonic coach won't chase him out of town.
The Broncos draft has been called everything from mediocre to worst in the league to Josh McDaniels-esque. Each of those conclusions is right. And wrong. And if Peyton Manning is somewhere close to old Peyton Manning, they will be mostly irrelevant.
The Broncos traded out of the first round and took Cincinnati defensive tackle Derek Wolfe with the 36th overall pick. They followed that up with a six-seven quarterback, Brock Osweiler out of Arizona State, and a five-nine running back, Ronnie Hillman from San Diego State. They also got a 27-year-old Canadian -- Baylor Center Philip Blake. You're not going to believe this, but we have no idea if they're any good (!).
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Wolfe and Hillman figure to see the field the soonest. Osweiler will exist in a glass case that reads "Break glass in the event that Peyton Manning takes a helmet to the neck and gets carted off the field."
The draft is important, but the endless discussion that surrounds it is the opposite of important. Nothing in sports is talked about more with so little of consequence being said.
As for a grade, we'll give the Broncos draft a solid "Shut up until 2014."
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