By Greg Arias
Day one of the 2017 NFL Draft is less than 24 hours old, and yet some in the media are already critiquing teams and giving grades on what they think teams did right and wrong with their first-round selections.
One case in particular was food for thought about the inexact science of grading a team’s draft before the players have even tried on their new team’s jersey for the first time.
Corey Davis, the fifth overall selection and the first of two first round picks for the Tennessee Titans, was considered one of the top three wide receivers in the draft class, with some “experts” listing him as the top talent at his position.
Adoree’ Jackson, the 18th overall selection and the second first round selection by the Titans is a cornerback who was considered one of the top five corners in the class.
Entering Thursday night’s first round, the Titans had two dire needs to fill on their roster – wide receiver and cornerback.
General manager Jon Robinson filled both those needs with the additions of Davis and Jackson, yet some in the media gave the two selections less than high marks.
In reading some of these reviews I was struck by terms like “reach” and “value” used to describe their selections.
According to some, the Titans “reached” for Davis at number five. Those “novice” talent evaluators felt that Davis was not worth the fifth pick, yet he was considered by many as the top receiver in the class, and he filled a direct and dire need for the Titans.
His selection was given a B- by more than one publication.
The same type things were said about Jackson. The Titans “reached” for him. Yet once again, he was one of the top corners and was a first-round projection by the top media pundits prior to Thursday night.
He too filled a dire and direct need for the Titans, but his selection was given a C by multiple “evaluators.”
So how is it that two players are both considered first-round talents, are taken in the first round, and fill the biggest needs of their new team but aren’t worthy of the place they were selected?
I understand as a member of the media that we have to have things to talk/write about, but let’s be real in evaluating these young athletes.
Were there players on the board when the Titans selected both Davis and Jackson who many had rated higher overall, Yes, but did all those players fill the Titans biggest needs?
Players like Jonathan Allen, O.J. Howard and others were on the board when the Titans selected Davis. Howard still remained when Jackson was taken, but neither of those players were wide receivers or corners.
Yes, you can make the case for Howard as a tight end that you could take him as a talented offensive weapon, and there is little doubt that he could have helped the Titans. But he is not a wide receiver.
In the case of Jackson, you can even argue that there were potentially more talented, and bigger players available and perhaps the Titans should have taken one of those taller guys over a 5-10 Jackson who will face taller receivers in the NFL.
That’s a legitimate point and a valid evaluation. Saying the Titans “reached” for a player who was projected as a first-round talent and fills a major need is not a valid evaluation.
The only true way to evaluate these young men will come in four to five years when their first contracts are expiring, and the Titans must decide to re-sign them or allow them to move on.
All this 24-hour evaluation is nothing but “clickbait journalism,” designed to draw views to the author’s publication.
Unfortunately, it’s part of the business we are in during this day and age when it comes to the NFL and the throngs of fans clamoring for any bit of information about their favorite teams.
Regardless, it’s my opinion that it’s time for it to stop.
Stop being lazy and looking for more clicks and do some real evaluation.
Stop evaluating players before they’ve tried on their new jersey.