In the ESPN+ article with his 2023 grades, Kiper says:
Well, if I were doing a regrade, it’d have to be an A+, right? The Seahawks struck gold with cornerback Tariq Woolen and found solid rookie starters in offensive tackles Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas and running back Kenneth Walker. And that quarterback issue? Geno Smith went out and threw 30 touchdown passes, earning himself a big new contract. He is going to be the starter in 2023, though the deal he signed gives the team an out after a year if he doesn’t star again.
Thanks, Mel. The 12s share your sentiment.
Last year’s class was awesome!
And this year’s class . . . it’s way too early to say for sure, but it could be even better.
Don’t take my word for it though, take Mel Kiper’s:
(Seattle) hit a home run in Round 1 with cornerback Devon Witherspoon (5) and wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba (20), both of whom fill an immediate need. They’re going to make an early impact. Seattle landed two of my top 14 prospects.
Kiper wasn’t as keen on the Seahawks’ 2nd-round picks, especially since one of them was a running back (Mel doesn’t like running backs - well, not “early” running backs anyway):
Edge rusher Derick Hall (37) had 16 sacks over the past two seasons, but he went over a couple of other better pass-rushers. And they had bigger needs to fill when they took running back Zach Charbonnet (57). There was a run on defensive tackles in Day 2, and I was surprised Seattle didn’t jump on one instead of taking a second-round running back in back-to-back drafts. In fact, after Pete Carroll & Co. added Kenny McIntosh (237), they have now selected 11 backs in the past 10 drafts, most in the NFL.
Kiper liked the Day Three selections.
The Seahawks went with two Michiganplayers I like on Day 3 — defensive end Mike Morris (151) and center Olusegun Oluwatimi (154) — and LSU’s Anthony Bradford (108) is my fifth-ranked guard. I think Bradford could push for early playing time.
Kiper finishes his write-up with this passage:
This team made a surprise playoff run in 2022, and after it snagged two rookie starters in Round 1, it is primed to compete again in the NFC. While I didn’t love the two running back picks, I’m having a hard time downgrading the rest of this class much. Plus, maybe I owe general manager John Schneider an A after not giving him one last year.
If Mel Kiper were truly contrite about underestimating last year’s draft class and felt that he “owed” John Schneider, he would have given this year’s class an A+ so that the Seahawks didn’t have to share the top grade with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Not that sharing the top spot with the Eagles needs to be viewed as a bad thing.
Howie Roseman has been doing a top-notch job for years, and the Eagles are the defending NFC Champions.
They also have a scary obsession with the Georgia Bulldogs, which the football gods appear to find amusing.
How else do you explain one team adding five defensive players from Georgia’s 2021 National Championship team? And most of them considerably later than they were expected to go.
- Last year, the Eagles landed DT Jordan Davis at R1.13 and LB Nakobe Dean at R3.83.
- This year, they got Jalen Carter at R1.09, watched OLB Nolan Smith fall to them at No. 30, and then added CB Kelee Ringo at No. 105.
As Kiper put it:
With Carter and Smith filling clear needs — and the trade for running back D’Andre Swift filling another — I really like this class. Roseman has done it again.
That last bit is true - Howie Roseman has done it again.
So has John Schneider.
For those who are interested, here’s how Mel Kiper determines his grades:
I grade all 32 classes using my Big Board and position rankings as the prism to gauge how effectively each team addressed key personnel holes as well as how efficient each was in maneuvering the board and adding extra picks or future assets.
And, here are all of the grades that Mel Kiper handed out:
- A: Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks
- A-: Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants
- B+: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans
- B: Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Commanders
- B-: Atlanta Falcons, Las Vegas Raiders, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers
Clearly Kiper grades on a curve since no one got lower than a B-minus.
The Falcons got dragged way down because they dared to select a running back at No. 8; the fact that he’s arguably the best player in the draft be damned.
Detroit earning a B surprised me; seems like Mel gave Detroit GM Brad Holmes the benefit of the doubt on darn near everything - except for drafting RB Jahmyr Gibbs way too high. As Kiper put it: ”Even Gibbs was shocked at being taken so early.”
Seeing the reigning NFC West Champions receive the lowest grade in the division should make every 12 smile.