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Mel Kiper upgrades Seahawks 2018 draft grade on ESPN

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been 11 months since the 2018 NFL Draft as ESPN pointed out on a recent Insider article (I mean, how much different could 11 months be from the end of the season?) and Mel Kiper handed out some new grades for each team’s draft class.

Consider that grades are completely pointless at the time of the draft. Until a game is played, disregard all opinions of how good or bad a team did with their draft class. (But also please come to Field Gulls after and during the draft for grades!) Is it better after only one season? Massively. Is it still a good time to give out grades? Not really. One year of any player’s career can be considered almost meaningless just because of outliers but rookie years are often the most outlier of outliers, it seems.

Still. Grades. Thoughts. Re-evaluations. People like ‘em. I don’t know about the grades but I don’t mind peaking back at the class and thinking about these players again.

After last year’s draft, Kiper gave the Seahawks a C+ for a class headed by running back Rashaad Penny, followed by defensive end Rasheem Green in the third, a player only acquired because of Seattle’s trade down prior to selecting Penny. But Kiper recognized a potential jewel in the fifth and upgraded the Seahawks grade to a B, noting that the worst move was trading a second rounder for Sheldon Richardson.

“You have to hand it to Pete Carroll, who knows what he’s looking for in a defensive back. And the Seahawks found one of the steals of the draft in Tre Flowers in Round 5. He was my 24th-ranked safety, but Carroll saw him as a corner, and the 6-foot-3 Flowers became an instant starter, playing 91.1 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. He broke up six passes, forced three fumbles and had 67 total tackles. You don’t see Day 3 defensive backs make instant contributions like that often.”

Kiper still feels that Penny was a reach, an opinion commonly held at the time of the draft Terms like “reach” and “steal” are also pretty meaningless to me. Reaches and steals go the opposite direction so often that any claim of “I knew it!” is virtually worse than random.

Calls to have drafted someone else (in this case, guard Will Hernandez) might also be ignored without consequence. Not just because of the benefit of hindsight, or because we don’t know how the careers of Penny and Hernandez will actually turn out, but also because teams have internal considerations so unknown to anyone else that Hernandez may have never even been a consideration at all. It’s like telling someone that they should like a movie because you like a movie.

“I don’t like Titanic.”

“You’re wrong.”

“But I don’t like Titanic.”

“Titanic made billions of dollars. It’s insanely popular.”

I’m sure many people even read that reference and thought, “But no, Titanic is a perfectly fine movie to dislike.” It’s not a great movie. But that fictional person is right. It’s popular. So many people have seen it. And you’d probably defend a person’s right to not like it.

This is nothing against Will Hernandez, I don’t know why a team wouldn’t like him, but John Gilbert pointed out before the draft last year a couple reasons why the Seahawks might not draft Hernandez, including conference and experience. They have preferences. Hernandez may not have fit them. Penny did and Penny has not had a chance to start his career yet.

One year. It’s not enough.

Kiper also upgraded the team for finding Poona Ford after the draft, a player who flies in the face of my comment earlier about “steals” because he was the most popular undrafted free agent in the whole rookie class and he came out of his first year as a potential long term starter. Or maybe he’s the exception that proves the rule. Michael Dickson, Will Dissly, and Green also got positive shoutouts by Kiper, but I’m not sure why for Green. I like his potential as much as we were sold out last year, but we haven’t seen anything yet.

Penny and Green are as much scratch tickets today than they were 11 months ago. I can’t imagine their grades changing much, but I guess Kiper saw enough from Michael Dickson to bump them to respectable.

See you in 11 more months.