We’re in the thick of draft season and that means looking back and reflecting on what we thought at this point last year. In that spirit, ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. re-graded all 32 draft classes and the Jacksonville Jaguars were downgraded after an initial A grade from Kiper.
Here’s what Kiper had to say in his column on Thursday:
Kiper’s re-grade of the 2016 Jaguars class
Post-draft grade: A
I'm always fighting with myself on Jacksonville when the draft ends. On one hand, the Jaguars always get some really good, highly-rated players who figure to start. On the other hand, that's sort of inevitable, because they're drafting high every year and they need the help, so you just pencil guys into starting roles and tell yourself they did well. This class is another example. Jalen Ramsey was a stud coming out, figured to start and played well. Again, is that a great pick? Sure. But Ramsey also had his growing pains, and the Jags defense, while better in 2016 than it was in 2015, certainly couldn't do enough to get them to win more games, considering how dreadful the offense was. Yannick Ngakoue had a fabulous rookie year (eight sacks, four forced fumbles), and as a third-rounder, he's an early leader for one of the steals of the draft.
After that? Not much, with the hope that Myles Jack (only 230 defensive snaps) can take his immense potential and become a player assuming he stays healthy. Overall, the draft grade has to drop, because while the Jags got two good players Jack is still a mystery, and the team just hasn't made any on-field strides.
New grade: B
I don’t hate the re-grade and I can’t knock Kiper for hyping us coming out of the draft. We came away with a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback in the first round and an All-Rookie pass rusher in the third round. Many analysts had linebacker Myles Jack as a top-five pick so grabbing him in the second round was a steal.
But with the way Jack was used last year (see: terribly) I think that hampers my overall feelings on the grade. And the fact that the coaching staff didn’t give the Day 3 guys more opportunities (and cut Tyrone Holmes) means that the top half looks good and the bottom half doesn’t.
What do you think? Is a B grade fair from Kiper? Or do the first three picks in Ramsey, Jack, and Ngakoue keep it an A?