For their work in the 2021 draft NFL, the Green Bay Packers received mostly Bs and Cs with a few Aces and Fs mixed together for good measure.
Each year, Rene Bugner drafts grades from 18 different sources to help establish a consensus grade. This year, the Packers ranked 26th overall in terms of the 32 NFL teams.
Let’s say this right off the bat: Instant draft classes are mostly pointless little things. For most, it’s basically an exercise in looking at the general consensus about a player, finding out if the player was a reach or a steal and then doing it several times, all while trying to understand if the team was addressing the perceived draft needs. And it is almost impossible to factor in how each player will evolve into a million different variables.
True grades can not be established until two or three years down. But instant drafts are undeniably fun. They can be informative if done correctly. Evaluating the process is valuable. We do not know what the players will be, but we can try to understand what the team was thinking during each part of the event. And if an expert really knows the players, the classification value in each draft slot can be achieved to some degree.
So take the grades for what they are and do not be bothered in any way. This is especially true this year.
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But the class was also somewhat polarizing. Two analysts gave Packers an A. Two others gave Packers an F.
Chad Reuter of NFL.com loved what the Packers did during all three days of the draft. Thor Nystrom from NBC Sports hated the value of the entire draft class.
It is reasonable to wonder whether the bombing of Aaron Rodgers swayed the perception of the class. The Packers took love in the first round last year and began the whole process, and on the day it was reported that Rodgers wanted out of Green Bay, the Packers picked a cornerback who was not a consensus first-round pick. A day later, they took a center, and not everyone was convinced it was right center. The long-awaited weapon for the quarterback arrived first (gasp!) The third round. So it’s not hard to determine why the characters did not glow across the board.
But it’s all background noise. The Packers selected nine players who they believe will help the football team in 2021 and beyond. In a few years, we’ll look back at the class and see what the Packers did right and wrong.
The process looked fine. The Packers got an elite athlete with the upside in a prime position in the first round. They loaded up on big people. They were given a castle weapon that resembles an ideal fit in the offense. They added depth to posts that needed help. It was not a sexy draft. But it will be surprising if they do not get a few skilled starters out of the mix and it is possible that the first three picks will be instant impact players.
Just have fun with the drafts. Getting an A does not guarantee anything. Getting an F will not condemn the class. Have patience and enjoy the ride.