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2011 NFL Draft: Ignorance Irks Me

Yesterday Brian wrote an article about how draft grades are silly. I wholeheartedly agree, but I still do them because history shows people want to read them, even if only to point out how silly and ridiculous they are. There was some that are thought out and rational, evaluating how a team did based on their needs and perceived value, then there are some that are just completely ridiculous. After the jump is one that is completely ridicilous from a well-known sports publication, and the level of pure ignorance in it just irks me to no end.

Rant, engaged.

What I liked:
Blaine Gabbert has the potential to emerge into the true franchise quarterback the team has always lacked. But I'm concerned that his numbers regressed badly in 2010 after a great sophomore year in 2009.

What I didn't like: Jacksonville management must have confused Gabbert with a shutdown corner. Otherwise, the 2011 draft was a complete failure to address the team's stunning statistical deficiencies. Jacksonville was a complete disaster on defense, and especially in pass defense, last year: No. 29 at pressuring the passer (7.3% negative pass plays), No. 30 in run defense (4.68 YPA), No. 31 in Defensive Passer Rating (98.5), and No. 32 in passing yards per attempt allowed (7.53 YPA adjusting for sacks, 8.29 YPA based just on attempts).

They responded to this need by drafting QB-OL-WR with their first three picks and then devoting their final two picks (fourth and fifth rounds) to second-tier DBs. The Jaguars could have drafted Johnny Unitas, John Hannah and Jerry Rice, but even those guys wouldn't win paired with that defense.

Grade: F- (epic fail)

That is the draft grade given to the Jacksonville Jaguars from Sports Illustrated. Now, I can understand giving the team an F because you've never heard of their last 4 picks in the draft. I can live with that and just laugh it off. However, to give a team an F because they didn't draft how you wanted them too is just the ultimate sign of hubris. It could be because Sports Illustrated dedicated an entire article about how the Jaguars won't draft a quarterback at all, then got smashed in the nose when the Jaguars actually traded up into the Top 10 for one in the first round.

Here's the rub: It's the third draft for Gene Smith. He's yet to draft for need, specifically. Why are you surprised he didn't do it again?

The other thing that really irks me about things like this and shows either flat out ignorance or just willfull ignorance is; the NFL draft is not the only way a team can add talent. The likelyhood the Jaguars were to get a "shutdown corner" as the grade suggests that would be that in his rookie season is exceedingly slim.

On another note, if you knew about the Jaguars outside of their offensive and defensive rankings and actually looked at the team, Gene Smith absolutely addressed "needs".

The Jaguars needed a quarterback of the future.

The Jaguars needed youth/help on the interior of the offensive line.

The Jaguars needed wide receivers, as their group is largely unproven.

The Jaguars needed competition at the defensive back positions.

And finally, the NFL draft is not the only chance a team has to add talent to their roster. There is also something called "free agency", which the Jaguars brass has repeatedly said it will be aggressive in. Maybe Sports Illustrated doesn't realize this magical thing called free agency exists. Free agency is where teams pick up immediate impact players, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Even if the Jaguars had drafted staight 100% defense in the draft, in all likelyhood their defense would still be bad in 2011.

I shouldn't let draft grades bother me so much, but when they're encased in pure ignorance it really irks me.

Rant over.