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Grade The Class of 2021


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I know grades are premature at this juncture but it is a fun exercise regardless. So now that the draft is wrapped up what grade do you give for the entire class, and what grades do you give for each pick individually based on what we know now. 

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We filled needs and got talented bpa guys I think it's an A.

I can't knock it because we didn't go qb we still got great value. I think fields was viewed less by the league than media and fans tbh.

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I’ll do individual grades later but wanted to acknowledge two things:

1. George Paton turned the 71st pick into Quinn Meinerz, Baron Browning and Jamar Johnson. I can’t remember a draft scenario playing out any better than this. This is lead into gold, water into wine, just freaking incredible. I think you could have made a case for any of those three players being taken at 71 based on draft projections. They turned that pick into all three.

2. I have always felt the best use of 6th/7th “dart throws” is taking the blue chip pedigree guys from elite programs who underperformed. Our last four picks are all highly touted recruits who were expected to be stars at major programs and for different reasons never quite lived up to expectations but still produced plenty of high level tape. (Mississippi State isn’t a blue blood but they’ve produced a ton of defensive talent) I loved the Tyrie Cleveland pick last year for this reason. And relative to where they were expected to go, the first three were steals at the spots we landed them. 
 

When I look at the draft in its entirety, it feels like so many teams were just lost after the 2nd round and we were one of the teams who benefitted from it. I don’t understand that entire 3rd round for a lot of teams. Paton had a great read on the board but I’m sure he was even shocked by how perfectly it played into their hands. Be patient and let other GMs be stupid is a strategy I can appreciate.

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1 hour ago, BroncoBruin said:

I’ll do individual grades later but wanted to acknowledge two things:

1. George Paton turned the 71st pick into Quinn Meinerz, Baron Browning and Jamar Johnson. I can’t remember a draft scenario playing out any better than this. This is lead into gold, water into wine, just freaking incredible. I think you could have made a case for any of those three players being taken at 71 based on draft projections. They turned that pick into all three.

2. I have always felt the best use of 6th/7th “dart throws” is taking the blue chip pedigree guys from elite programs who underperformed. Our last four picks are all highly touted recruits who were expected to be stars at major programs and for different reasons never quite lived up to expectations but still produced plenty of high level tape. (Mississippi State isn’t a blue blood but they’ve produced a ton of defensive talent) I loved the Tyrie Cleveland pick last year for this reason. And relative to where they were expected to go, the first three were steals at the spots we landed them. 
 

When I look at the draft in its entirety, it feels like so many teams were just lost after the 2nd round and we were one of the teams who benefitted from it. I don’t understand that entire 3rd round for a lot of teams. Paton had a great read on the board but I’m sure he was even shocked by how perfectly it played into their hands. Be patient and let other GMs be stupid is a strategy I can appreciate.

And that my friend is a great, accurate post!

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2 hours ago, BroncoBruin said:

I’ll do individual grades later but wanted to acknowledge two things:

1. George Paton turned the 71st pick into Quinn Meinerz, Baron Browning and Jamar Johnson. I can’t remember a draft scenario playing out any better than this. This is lead into gold, water into wine, just freaking incredible. I think you could have made a case for any of those three players being taken at 71 based on draft projections. They turned that pick into all three.

2. I have always felt the best use of 6th/7th “dart throws” is taking the blue chip pedigree guys from elite programs who underperformed. Our last four picks are all highly touted recruits who were expected to be stars at major programs and for different reasons never quite lived up to expectations but still produced plenty of high level tape. (Mississippi State isn’t a blue blood but they’ve produced a ton of defensive talent) I loved the Tyrie Cleveland pick last year for this reason. And relative to where they were expected to go, the first three were steals at the spots we landed them. 
 

When I look at the draft in its entirety, it feels like so many teams were just lost after the 2nd round and we were one of the teams who benefitted from it. I don’t understand that entire 3rd round for a lot of teams. Paton had a great read on the board but I’m sure he was even shocked by how perfectly it played into their hands. Be patient and let other GMs be stupid is a strategy I can appreciate.

Excellent post couldn't of said it better.

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Posted (edited)

In terms of talent, this is clearly an A draft. I’m sure you saw my post in the draft thread, where I found that the surplus value Paton added using consensus rankings was equivalent to an early-mid 2nd rounder. Even when factoring in general needs, all of the day 1+2 picks match up with significant projected holes in 2022, and even the safeties in the 5th have a clear path to long term roster spots. 
 

But everyone here knows, this draft will forever hinge on Justin Fields and Drew Lock. Paton has tied together those two careers in the minds of Denver sports fans for a long long time. Assuming Rodgers is not in the cards, I think this is a pretty clear indication from Paton to Fangio and his staff: this is your evaluation year. If Paton was married to those guys for the long term, I’d be shocked if he didn’t give them a better long term option at QB. But my guess is he, 1. isn’t sold yet and wants to give them a fair shot to prove themselves, and 2. his grade on Fields wasn’t “transcendent QB,” as in, he’ll be a star in any OC’s offence if I’m hiring new coaches next year. I think that’s fair.
 

We also don’t know if a stipulation in Paton’s hiring was that Vic and Co. get another season, which I’d guess was the case. If ‘clean house and start fresh’ was not an option for him, I’d say that pushing the QB decision back a year is a reasonable choice, even if it’s not one I would’ve made myself. Keeping the QB and coaching staff linked together for another year, again, is reasonable. If this season flops, now you’re limiting your new coaching hires to ‘people who believe in Justin Fields.’ And again, do you do that for a QB you don’t have a transcendent grade on? Probably not.

Sorry for the ramble in a draft grade thread, I just think Paton’s decision has answered a few of the big picture questions we’ve had since his hiring, and I think we’ve got to view these picks under this new scope that’s been uncovered.

 

 

Now watch them have a deal in place for Rodgers on June 2nd and blow this all up for me.

Edited by broncosfan_101
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I was initially annoyed we went with Surtain over Fields and with moving up for a RB in the 2nd. That said, having looked at the players we picked, it’s hard to love Surtain and Williams. The Aaron Rodgers news coupled with this - and while I don’t want to get myself too excited, I think the odds are very, very good he ends up here - makes passing on Fields even more palatable. 

Other than Meinerz, all players we drafted were from upper-echelon programs, something that has been a staple of the last few (largely successful) Elway drafts. I like that Paton held true to that approach. 

All in all I’m very pleased, and what Broncos Bruin said I can’t add any more. Well done, George. 

My grade: A-

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Hard to grade this draft for me because the my philosophy of where we're at as a team are completely different than the direction we went.

In my philosophy context of what I actually hoped to have happened, I'd give us a B-. In a semi-rebuild/hedging our bets on Locks development, it made most sense to either draft Fields or accumulate picks next year to give us flexibility if Lock hasn't developed enough. Additionally, taking a RB early isn't a smart rebuild strategy so there would be a ding there as well.

In the context our team actually went, which was to continue to supplement the peripheral team around our current QB situation I'd give us an A-. All of the players we took I like a lot. I love that we continue to value high character guys as I think that was a big reason we saw our team competing hard despite a losing season and is going to be important in changing our current losing culture. Here is hoping Lock makes a big jump or Rodgers is incoming because this team is incredibly talented and just got a whole lot deeper. 

Surtain's character, experience, and fit are all phenomenal and I'm hoping we have a bonafide #1 corner to groom. This year we have a 5 deep depth at the position that should be able to match up with anyone. Also sets us up really well for next year when Fuller and Callahan's contracts are up. 

Love Javonte Williams running style and how well rounded he is. He's going to be an amazing #1 back after Gordon's contract is up. He reminds me of Portis in pass protection (punishes blitzers) and Marshawn in a running style. The only weakness I'd say for him is his lack of top speed. I wish he was a tad faster and then he'd be a perfect back, but if he was, we wouldn't have had him in the 2nd. Also love that he has only had 366 carries in college. That bodes really well for his longevity (and the fact he'll start as a #2 back for us to get acclimated to the NFL). 

Meinerz hopefully turns into our Ali Marpet. He did great in the senior bowl and gives lots of position flexibility inside at C or G. Great value at the bottom of the 3rd. 

Browning I'm not personally a big fan of due to his instincts, but given the players left on the board, he is a good gamble due to his athleticism. 

The rest all are good value picks, no reaches, and shots on potential (ex Caden Sterns, Johnson, and Vincent specifically). 

 

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2 hours ago, AnAngryAmerican said:

I was initially annoyed we went with Surtain over Fields and with moving up for a RB in the 2nd. That said, having looked at the players we picked, it’s hard to love Surtain and Williams. The Aaron Rodgers news coupled with this - and while I don’t want to get myself too excited, I think the odds are very, very good he ends up here - makes passing on Fields even more palatable. 

Other than Meinerz, all players we drafted were from upper-echelon programs, something that has been a staple of the last few (largely successful) Elway drafts. I like that Paton held true to that approach. 

All in all I’m very pleased, and what Broncos Bruin said I can’t add any more. Well done, George. 

My grade: A-

“This was a swing and miss by Paton. Like swing for a 98mph fastball up and away when it’s a slurve at 72 off the bottom corner. His GM tenure is off to a sh***y start.”

“It was a bad pick, good player, back pick, so quit acting like Mike Klis making excuses.”

“George Paton is such an idiot.”

“Listening the press conference, I just keep disliking Paton more and more.”

 


“Initially annoyed” Haha

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Javonte Williams & Meinerz are A picks, with and without context.  

Sterns & Johnson I love both.   A- only because there's more uncertainty, but that's why they are Day 3 picks.

Browning is a B+ pick.  He's got so much potential and tools - but man, the lack of growth has to be poor instincts. That can be taught, and there's no better guy than Fangio to max this out, but it's a risk.   I do think going for a DT difference maker like Nixon would have been the way to go, but it's not a bad pick given it was 3.105.

Surtain is a A pick on talent, a B pick on context - unless Paton knows we're getting A-Rod (I'd say Watson too, but there's no way anyone can know on Draft Day where he's going, same with Russell Wilson since that's an offseason away).   If we end up with A-Rod and find out Paton & GB agreed to in principle, but wanted to wait until after June 1, then all good.   If we never figure out QB, and either Fields is the guy, or ARod/Watson/Wilson end up getting dealt, but to other teams, the fact Paton passed up on Chicago's offer that NYG accepted, will just devalue Surtain.   And it's nothing against him, which is why I say he's an A pick on talent.  But if this ends up being the opportunity we missed on either with Fields or the trade package to win the future sweepstakes, it's going to be downgraded, no way around it.

For the others, I'm completely neutral on.   

Process-wise, I do love the Day 2 willingness to max value, and I absolutely love that Paton kept the old Elway "swing for the fences" on Day 3...but didn't keep it for Day 2.   Swinging for the fences means a high whiff rate - which isn't OK Day 2.   There's real talent to be acquired there.    Swinging for the fences on Day 3, though, is how teams get better quickly - you are OK with a low hit rate, because you get difference-makers instead of roster-filler talent.   

Paton has done a lot to have me encouraged - but in the end, it won't mean anything unless QB is addressed, if we want to be sustained contenders.   At least there, we have options.   Crossing my fingers hard we have A-Rod in orange and blue shortly after June 1.

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2 hours ago, Broncofan said:

Process-wise, I do love the Day 2 willingness to max value, and I absolutely love that Paton kept the old Elway "swing for the fences" on Day 3  

This was my biggest issue with the 2018 draft. Elway went too far the other way, was gun-shy about taking those swings and picked a bunch of no-traits character guys on Day 3. And the best they've gotten out of the group is Jewell as an average starter. 

Then in 2019 it felt like they read too many of the press clippings on their Day 2 haul and just cashed in all their late picks to move up for Juwann Winfree, giving them plenty of time to hit the golf course on Saturday. I'm thinking George Paton would NOT have signed off on that one. 

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That Paton press conference day two was awesome love the guy. He's so close to the vest pre draft and is so transparent after very cool to see. I'm posting some takeaways I found interesting.

- Surtain they disguised their interest had a no contact rule with him and he already knew the family so he seemed to be very high on their board 

- He said he was surprised fields  dropped a little bit but said Surtain was higher on their board. He may be being a little why trash fields if you had a poor outlook on him tho? I generally feel Surtain was probably significantly higher and was the target all along.

- he said when he moved back 20 spots he had 6 players on the board at that time. Said he didn't expect to get the top two players but he was estatic when he didm also they said browning's versatility was a determental to his development.

- the guard from Wisconsin shot up their draft board during the senior bowl.

- was Gushing about the rb we took. Said he's the most physical runner he headed the lady couple of years, says he can do it all, says he's high character, smart , has split touches every level since grade school so he's fresh, said you can tell he was a linebacker the way he runs. Said all three backs offer a different skill set no mention of freeman found that odd. 

 

Explained the dart board throw approach. Said every team goes into a typical draft with 7 picks and if half hit that's 3.5 we had 10 picks if 50percent hit that's 5 said he'd like it to be even higher but compared to 3.5 you do the math.

 

Hard not to lov th guy.

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Posted (edited)

A week later to kinda let everything settle in, my opinions.

 

1.9- PS2- Disregarding the fact that Justin Fields was on the board, I love the pick. I've been a big fan of Surtain throughout and he was my preferred CB. He has the size, technique and athleticism to excel at both man or zone. He's my favorite CB prospect since Marshon Lattimore. He was clearly better than Horn to me and while the ceiling of Farley was tantalizing (pre back injury), I'd have taken the sure thing in Surtain 10/10 times. Not sure exactly where he fits in his rookie year however. Barring injury, you gotta think it'll be Fuller (9.5mil) and Darby (10mil) on the outside with Callahan manning the slot. Drafting a dimeback in the top 10 seems like the ultimate luxury but considering Callahan/Fuller are in the last years of their deals I understand it.

A-

2.35- Javonte Williams- Wasn't the biggest fan of the tradeup for a RB, but I'd be lying if I didn't celebrate with a Tiger Woods fist pump after announcing this selection. I've been intrigued by him since watching him in the 2019 season (watched a lot of UNC games) but he really came on last year. It might sound like hyperbole to some, but he is the most physical back I can remember since AD coming out. Really gained steam after that Miami game, and everyone has seen the vid of him trucking that poor Miami DB, but it's the little things as well. There was a run against Virginia on 3rd and 1, LB had him dead to rights but he makes him miss 3 yards deep in the backfield, then shrugs off two tackles to run for the first down. He wasn't the primary receiving back but he looks natural catching it. Like all college backs, needs more refinement pass blocking but more than willing to and already ahead of most coming out. I love this dude.

A

3.98- Quinn Meinerz- Good value on a guy who could be our starting center going into the season. I'm pulling for Cush, and he's talented, but he just made too many mistakes and wasn't ready to start last year. Meinerz is hard to evaluate playing at such a small school. His tape is him just destroying 210 pound lineman and linebackers. It's almost hilarious at times, similar to Muti last year. Definitely made a lot of money at the senior bowl though, against some solid talent. Can never have too many talented dudes on the OL and good value, good pick.

B+

3.108- Baron Browning- Looking at LB in the 2nd/3rd round area, Browning was one of the more polarizing prospects. Full of highlights and lowlights, I have no idea whether he will pan out and if I were a gambling man, I'd say this is the most likely to bust. But I like the roll of the dice with the last pick on day 2. He's versatile and can be used in a number of ways and I expect Vic to find the best spot for him. Position of need and solid value.

B-

5.152- Caden Sterns- One of the intriguing safety prospects I was looking at as a late day 2/day 3 guy. He has some good tape but a lot of this is projection. Was highly recruited and has great athleticism. Can probably step in on special teams straight away, not sure we'll see him too much year 1. Solid value.

B

5.164- Jamar Johnson- Another safety I really liked. PFF absolutely loved this guy, probably too much, but he definitely showed out this season, especially with his ball skills. Another special teamer as well. Again, I liked the value.

B+

6.219- Seth Williams- Big receiver who is solid all around. 

B-

7.237- Kary Vincent- Callahan is one of the best slot DBs in the game but chronically injured. I really like Bassey coming out but he's coming off an ACL. Special teams to cut his teeth.

B

7.239- Jonathan Cooper- Malik Jackson is the guy who really made me rethink drafting players in the mid/late part of the draft. He was mostly seen as a solid if unspectacular prospect. He went on to become a key cog in one of the greatest defenses of all time. Not saying Cooper is Malik Jackson, but he's a solid guy and a good locker room guy as well.

B-

7.253- Marquiss Spencer- Good athlete for his size, camp body who needs some coaching/refinement.

B-

Edited by rcpbawler
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22 minutes ago, rcpbawler said:

A week later to kinda let everything settle in, my opinions.

 

1.9- PS2- Disregarding the fact that Justin Fields was on the board, I love the pick. I've been a big fan of Surtain throughout and he was my preferred CB. He has the size, technique and athleticism to excel at both man or zone. He's my favorite CB prospect since Marshon Lattimore. He was clearly better than Horn to me and while the ceiling of Farley was tantalizing (pre back injury), I'd have taken the sure thing in Surtain 10/10 times. Not sure exactly where he fits in his rookie year however. Barring injury, you gotta think it'll be Fuller (9.5mil) and Darby (10mil) on the outside with Callahan manning the slot. Drafting a dimeback in the top 10 seems like the ultimate luxury but considering Callahan/Fuller are in the last years of their deals I understand it.

A-

2.35- Javonte Williams- Wasn't the biggest fan of the tradeup for a RB, but I'd be lying if I didn't celebrate with a Tiger Woods fist pump after announcing this selection. I've been intrigued by him since watching him in the 2019 season (watched a lot of UNC games) but he really came on last year. It might sound like hyperbole to some, but he is the most physical back I can remember since AD coming out. Really gained steam after that Miami game, and everyone has seen the vid of him trucking that poor Miami DB, but it's the little things as well. There was a run against, either Virginia on 3rd and 1, LB had him dead to rights but he makes him miss 3 yards deep in the backfield, then shrugs off two tackles to run for the first down. He wasn't the primary receiving back but he looks natural catching it. Like all college backs, needs more refinement pass blocking but more than willing to and already ahead of most coming out. I love this dude.

A

3.98- Quinn Meinerz- Good value on a guy who could be our starting center going into the season. I'm pulling for Cush, and he's talented, but he just made too many mistakes and wasn't ready to start last year. Meinerz is hard to evaluate playing at such a small school. His tape is him just destroying 210 pound lineman and linebackers. It's almost hilarious at times, similar to Muti last year. Definitely made a lot of money at the senior bowl though, against some solid talent. Can never have too many talented dudes on the OL and good value, good pick.

B+

3.108- Baron Browning- Looking at LB in the 2nd/3rd round area, Browning was one of the more polarizing prospects. Full of highlights and lowlights, I have no idea whether he will pan out and if I were a gambling man, I'd say this is the most likely to bust. But I like the roll of the dice with the last pick on day 2. He's versatile and can be used in a number of ways and I expect Vic to find the best spot for him. Position of need and solid value.

B-

5.152- Caden Sterns- One of the intriguing safety prospects I was looking at as a late day 2/day 3 guy. He has some good tape but a lot of this is projection. Was highly recruited and has great athleticism. Can probably step in on special teams straight away, not sure we'll see him too much year 1. Solid value.

B

5.164- Jamar Johnson- Another safety I really liked. PFF absolutely loved this guy, probably too much, but he definitely showed out this season, especially with his ball skills. Another special teamer as well. Again, I liked the value.

B+

6.219- Seth Williams- Big receiver who is solid all around. 

B-

7.237- Kary Vincent- Callahan is one of the best slot DBs in the game but chronically injured. I really like Bassey coming out but he's coming off an ACL. Special teams to cut his teeth.

B

7.239- Jonathan Cooper- Malik Jackson is the guy who really made me rethink drafting players in the mid/late part of the draft. He was mostly seen as a solid if unspectacular prospect. He went on to become a key cog in one of the greatest defenses of all time. Not saying Cooper is Malik Jackson, but he's a solid guy and a good locker room guy as well.

B-

7.253- Marquiss Spencer- Good athlete for his size, camp body who needs some coaching/refinement.

B-

Damn good evaluation 

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