Giving The Chargers An NFL Draft Grade Is Dumb

We need to have some patience with these players

How did the Chargers grade out in this year's NFL Draft? In this commentary, NBC 7's Derek Togerson asks ... Who Cares?

Giving teams grades on their NFL Daft classes on the same weekend the NFL Draft happens is stupid. But, doing that gives people something else to talk about and keep the shield in the public consciousness, so it happens every single year.

Usually the same people who offer those grades will, in the very next breath, tell you we can’t truly evaluate a Draft class for about three years. Still, here’s a quick sampling of some the grades the Chargers received for their work over the 2015 NFL Draft:

NFL Network = B-
CBS Sports = B+
SB Nation = Player Grade, B+; Strategy Grade, C
ESPN = “Thumbs Up”

It pains me to say it but ESPN is closest to getting it right with their “Thumbs Up” evaluation. It’s a lot less specific and it would seem the Bolts did a fairly good job with putting together their Draft board this year. Heck, getting Melvin Gordon alone is enough to warrant a thumbs up for the entire event.

At the risk of an almost immoral level of hypocrisy, NBC 7 Sportswrap is also giving the Chargers a grade this year:


In fact, the entirety of the Tom Telesco tenure in San Diego is still incomplete because this year will be the third season of his first class. Finally, after this season, we’ll be able to fully evaluate how he’s doing as a talent evaluator.

More immediately, there were a few picks this year that had people scratching their heads. One was defensive back Craig Mager in the third round. Looking at some online scouting reports, several people had Mager graded as a fourth or fifth round talent. So why did the Bolts take him in the third round?

“Because we had him in the third round,” said Telesco smiling. It seems he gets a bit of a chuckle out of all the naysayers and second-guessers on the internet come NFL Draft time. “It’s scouting. Everybody has different feels. I mean, I had one draftnik tell me he (Mager) was the 10th guy on his list in the whole draft. Now, that may be a little high. I don’t know where he was in ours overall, but we see a player that can come in and play a role and he may have starting ability down the road. There’s nothing that says he can’t. Now he’s gotta come in and prove it.”

See, scouting and talent evaluation and fit for your ball club are all 100-percent subjective. Unless we’re talking about Andrew Luck or Calvin Johnson … the outliers … nobody knows for sure if a good college player is going to be a good NFL player. And that’s just half of it.

The Bolts have taken a lot of grief for not addressing what’s perceived as a sub-par (if not outright bad) offensive line during the Draft. Telesco’s response to that assessment was diplomatic.

“I will say this … maybe what we think are needs and weaknesses and strengths may differ from what other people think. We think we have some guys here, some depth in the offensive line that was already here that we like.”

The Bolts added massive guard Orlando Franklin and re-signed left tackle King Dunlap and backup center Trevor Robinson. Plus they have last year’s undrafted free agents like Jeremiah Sirles and Craig Watts who developed quickly under the tutelage of offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris. Of the 21 undrafted rookies San Diego signed this season, three are offensive linemen.

So that need WAS, indeed, addressed. It simply was not addressed during the spectacle that is the NFL Draft. It’s not an exact science. Even the Chargers themselves will tell you they aren’t sure how this year’s Draft class will work out.

“You never know until you get them on the field and see them playing,” said Telesco. “Some of these guys will develop quicker than others. We have a very patient coaching staff that develops and works with these kids because it does take time.”

Yes, it takes time to develop players and time to honestly and accurately grade a Draft class. So let’s leave that alone for a while, shall we?

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