For their work during the 2021 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers received mostly Bs and Cs with a few As and Fs mixed in for good measure.
Every year, Rene Bugner compiles draft grades from 18 different sources to help establish a consensus grade. This year, the Packers ranked 26th in overall grade among the 32 NFL teams.
Let’s say this right off the bat: Instant draft grades are mostly meaningless little things. For most, it’s basically an exercise in looking at the general consensus on a player, figuring out if the player was a reach or a steal, and then doing it several more times, all while trying to understand if the team addressed the perceived draft needs. And it’s nearly impossible to factor in how each individual player will develop amidst a million different variables.
True grades can’t be established until two or three years down the road. But instant draft grades are undeniably fun. They can be informative if done correctly. Evaluating the process is valuable. We don’t know what the players will become, 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, grading value in each draft slot can be accomplished to some degree.
So take the grades for what they are and don’t be bothered either way. That’s especially true this year.
Of the 18 draft grades compiled, the Packers received 14 grades in the B or C range. Clearly, the majority of analysts agreed that this was a solid but unspectacular draft class. We tend to agree. The Packers hit on needs with solid players. It was, if nothing else, a safe and sensible draft for a contender.
But the class was somewhat polarizing as well. Two analysts gave the Packers an A. Two others gave the Packers an F.
Chad Reuter of NFL.com loved what the Packers did during all three days of the draft. Thor Nystrom of NBC Sports hated the value of the entire draft class.
It’s fair to wonder if the bombshell reporting on Aaron Rodgers swayed the opinion of the class. The Packers took Love in the first round last year, beginning this whole process, and on the day it was reported Rodgers wanted out of Green Bay, the Packers picked a cornerback that wasn’t a consensus first-rounder. A day later, they took a center, and not everyone was convinced it was the right center. The long-awaited weapon for the quarterback didn’t arrive until (gasp!) the third round. So it’s not hard to ascertain why the grades weren’t glowing across the board.
But it’s all just background noise. The Packers picked nine players they think will help the football team in 2021 and beyond. In a couple of years, we’ll look back on the class and see what the Packers did right and wrong.
The process looked fine. The Packers got an elite athlete with upside at a premium position in the first round. They loaded up on big people. They got a slot weapon that looks like an ideal fit in the offense. They added depth at positions needing help. It wasn’t a sexy draft. But it’ll be surprising if they don’t get a couple of capable starters out of the mix, and it’s possible the first three picks will be instant impact players.
Just have fun with the draft grades. Getting an A won’t guarantee anything. Getting an F won’t doom the class. Have some patience, and enjoy the ride.