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PFF’s Regrading of the 2019 Draft

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Wild Card Round - Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

NFC West Teams (quoted from the article):

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Round 1 (1): QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

Round 2 (33): CB Byron Murphy, Washington

Round 2 (62): WR Andy Isabella, UMass

Round 3 (65): EDGE Zach Allen, Boston College

Round 4 (103): WR Hakeem Butler, Iowa State

Round 5 (137): S Deionte Thompson, Alabama

Round 6 (174): WR KeeSean Johnson, Fresno State

Round 6 (179): C Lamont Gaillard, Georgia

Round 7 (248): OT Joshua Miles, Morgan State

Round 7 (249): DI Michael Dogbe, Temple

Round 7 (254): TE Caleb Wilson, UCLA

Then: Excellent

Now: Average

It’s important to remember that we’re grading the decisions made and not necessarily the players drafted. While the Cardinals deserve some credit for kicking Josh Rosen to the curb in favor of Kyler Murray, Murray was the no-brainer top quarterback in the class. But despite three other top-65 picks in tow, the Cardinals failed to haul in another quality starter.

LOS ANGELES RAMS

Round 2 (61): S Taylor Rapp, Washington

Round 3 (70): RB Darrell Henderson, Memphis

Round 3 (79): CB David Long Jr., Michigan

Round 3 (97): OG Bobby Evans, Oklahoma

Round 4 (134): DI Greg Gaines, Washington

Round 5 (169): OG David Edwards, Wisconsin

Round 7 (243): S Nick Scott, Penn State

Round 7 (251): LB Dakota Allen, Texas Tech

Then: Above Average

Now: Below Average

Although the Rams were without a first-rounder, we liked Taylor Rapp, Darrell Henderson and David Long at the time. All three essentially lost their roles last season, however. This one is still to be determined, as we’ll likely see much more of Rapp and Long in 2021.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Round 1 (2): EDGE Nick Bosa, Ohio State

Round 2 (36): WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina

Round 3 (67): WR Jalen Hurd, Baylor

Round 4 (110): P Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah

Round 5 (148): LB Dre Greenlaw, Arkansas

Round 6 (176): TE Kaden Smith, Stanford

Round 6 (183): OT Justin Skule, Vanderbilt

Round 6 (198): CB Tim Harris, Virginia

Then: Above Average

Now: Excellent

Everyone knows the impact studs at the top of the draft — Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel — but the 49ers also found a late-round gem in Dre Greenlaw. He made Kwon Alexander an afterthought, posting coverage grades of 72.6 and 65.3 in his first two NFL seasons.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Round 1 (29): EDGE L.J. Collier, TCU

Round 2 (47): S Marquise Blair, Utah

Round 2 (64): WR D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss

Round 3 (88): LB Cody Barton, Utah

Round 4 (120): WR Gary Jennings Jr., West Virginia

Round 4 (124): OG Phil Haynes, Wake Forest

Round 4 (132): S Ugo Amadi, Oregon

Round 5 (142): LB Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington

Round 6 (204): RB Travis Homer, Miami (FL)

Round 6 (209): DI Demarcus Christmas, Florida State

Round 7 (236): WR John Ursua, Hawaii

Then: Above Average

Now: Above Average

This is basically the grade you get when you find D.K. Metcalf at the back of the second round. The rest of the draft class has been nearly a complete wash at this point, but you don’t find players of Metcalf’s caliber every year.

Commentary:

OK, so let us get this straight —- PFF ranks the NFC West 2019 Drafts as:

  1. SF - Excellent (initial grade: Above Average)
  2. SEA - Above Average (initial grade: Above Average)
  3. AZ - Average (initial grade: Excellent)*
  4. LA - Below Average (initial grade: Above Average)
  • Note: in the PFF Tweet they have the Cardinals listed as: Below Average, as their main example of Below Average and yet in the article they grade the Cardinals’ as Average.

To these PFF regrades, I say poppycock.

For all of the following reasons:

  1. The MVP in the NFL West of 2019 draft picks thus far is Kyler Murray. Not sure how anyone can argue otherwise.
  2. How can the 49ers get an excellent grade when their top two picks, Bosa and Samuel, both due to injuries, have played in 18 and 22 of the team’s 32 regular season games respectively? Durability has to be a factor in draft grading, right? As the expression goes, “You can’t help the club from the tub.”
  3. How can PFF give the Seahawks an above average grade for simply drafting D.K. Metcalf? They even say “the rest of this draft has been a complete wash at this point” and yet the Cardinals drafted the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year and two other starters in Byron Murphy and Zach Allen, plus a third if you count Jalen Thompson, whom the Cardinals selected in the 2019 supplemental draft. To say that Murphy and Allen are not quality starters is questionable.
  4. Technically, as the nickel CB, Murphy hasn’t been the starter, but he’s played over 67% of the snaps and has earned the highest CB grade (64.7) on the team in 2020. As for Zach Allen, he struggled as a rookie, as the majority do, but he came on like gangbusters down the stretch last year. His 12 tackle. 1 sack performance in the Cardinals’ late season win over the Eagles was pretty special.

These regrades, in my opinion, are biased and highly premature.

The greatest irony is that PFF’s regrading of the Cardinals’ 2019 draft class can actually be seen as an indictment of PFFs own draft ratings:

QB Kyler Murray: #1 —- drafted #1

CB Byron Murphy: #6 —- drafted #33

WR Andy Isabella: #30 —- drafted ##62

DE Zach Allen: #40 —- drafted #65

WR Hakeem Butler: #42 —- drafted #103

S Deionte Thompson: #66 —- drafted #139

WR KeeSean Johnson: #173 —- drafted #174

C Lamont Gaillard” #106 —- drafted #179

T Joshua Miles: NR —- drafted #248

DE Michael Dogbe: #133 —- drafted #249

TE Caleb Wilson: #121 —- drafted #254

These draftees have only two seasons under their belts to this point. Ten of the twelve (counting Jalen Thompson) players are still on the Cardinals’ current 90 man roster.

Obviously, some of these draftees have not produced yet as well as many of us had hoped. And yet, understandably, so many fans remain upset about Andy Isabella being taken before D.K. Metcalf —- but then again, fans of every team that passed over Metcalf feel the same.

If you are a 49ers’ fan right now, who would you rather have Deebo Samuel or D.K. Metcalf?

At the end of the day, these regrades don’t mean diddly squat —- but I felt the urge to defend the Cardinals with what appear, at least to me, to be biased conclusions from Michael Renner, one of PFF’s best analysts, imo.

This time, however, I believe that Renner is in error.

Perhaps Renner is pissed that the Cardinals haven’t struck gold as yet on morer of his highest ranked players in the 2019 NFL Draft?