Draft grades are meaningless when it comes to the actual performance of the picked prospect, either as a rookie or over his entire career. Immediate draft grades, which only take into account a player’s name and the presumed needs for a team, are really a fruitless exercise, except for one thing. They give us, as fans, a chance to discuss the merits of the prospect and our favorite team’s needs
That brings us to last night’s 2017 NFL Draft first-round, 22nd overall, pick by the Miami Dolphins, who grabbed Missouri defensive end Charles Harris. The selection gives Miami a young defensive end who will be able to work as a situational pass-rusher, giving Cameron Wake and Andre Branch a rest when needed, and have time to develop his play against the run and improve his pass rush technique. The Dolphins wanted Harris, and he fell perfectly to them. It appears to be a great pick, despite come criticism of it not being a “position of need” or helping Miami stop the run.
SB Nation’s Dan Kadar released his immediate draft grades for all 32 of last night’s draft selections, and he likes Miami’s pick, but thought they could have done better. Assigning the team a “B-” grade, Kadar writes of the Dolphins using their pick on Harris, “The Dolphins needed another player who can get after the quarterback, and that is Harris’ specialty. Harris will probably start his career as a rush specialist, which makes him a player who can come on the field when William Hayes comes off it. I still think getting a guard here was the smarter choice.”
I cannot fault Kadar’s logic, Miami could use a guard in this year’s Draft. However, the team has been saying for a long time that they believe Ted Larsen, Kraig Urbik, and Anthony Steen can battle for the starting left guard position and the team will be fine with one of them earning the final starting spot on the line. The first offensive lineman selected in this year’s draft was at pick 20, when the Denver Broncos grabbed Utah tackle Garrett Bolles. No offensive lineman in the top 19 picks is a record for the Draft, and, with only one more offensive lineman, Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk selected 32nd by the New Orleans Saints, picked in the round, there are still a ton of offensive line options in the second (and potentially third) round.
Miami wanted to come into this Draft with the flexibility to do anything they wanted. When they came on the clock with the 22nd overall pick and had a chance to grab a player the entire organization seemed to covet, they pulled the trigger and got the player they wanted. Using that logic in free agency has made them seem like a smart front office, but apparently using it in the Draft earns them a lower grade and ridicule from some fans.
Welcome to the Draft! On to day two!