It is fun to offer immediate grades for Draft classes. It really takes years to evaluate a class, though. Yes, it does matter how a player looks as a rookie and a second year guy. You cannot totally ignore or dismiss struggles or successes in the first year or two. Things can change over the long haul. A year ago, a lot of people would have told you Jace Amaro looks really promising, while Calvin Pryor seems to be heading for a disappointing career. Today you might flip the two. Maybe next year Pryor takes a step back, and Amaro breaks out. We don't know.
To fully evaluate a class, it takes around four years. That is the length of the rookie contracts of players in a given class. The 2012 class is seeing rookie deals expire across the league. Let's see what the Jets got from that class.
I have modified the John B Grading System to account for Draft grading.
A - An enormous success by any definition
B - Happy with the production
C - Not terribly thrilled; not terribly upset
D - A disappointment
F - A total catastrophe
The round in which a player is chosen matters. Get a special teams ace in the seventh round, and that player is heading for an A or a B. Take a guy who can only play special teams in the first round, and that guy is a D or an F.
Let's get to the grades.
Quinton Coples; Grade: D
When talking about Coples, I cannot help but think about Joe Klecko's criticism of him from two years ago. Coples had all of the tools to dominate. On his best day, he was a decent player. He never had more than 6.5 sacks in a season. Yes, the move to linebacker was a mistake. You know what, though? The Jets finally abandoned that this season. Know what happened? Coples saw his playing time cut to zero and was cut because he wasn't as effective as the other interior linemen the Jets had. That is more or less the explanation Todd Bowles gave for letting him go, although Bowles was more diplomatic.
Stephen Hill; Grade: F
There really isn't any other way to grade Hill. The pick was a disaster. The team gave up on him after two seasons. He only caught 45 passes and showed virtually no growth over those two years. The day he was cut, he was the same drop-prone player who did not know how to run a route. He then went to the Carolina practice squad. Even though the Panthers had few quality receivers last season, Hill could not play his way onto the active roster.
You hear a lot about how former Jets executive Terry Bradway "loved Russell Wilson" during the 2012 Draft. You don't hear as much about his love for Hill, a player he actually pounded the table hard enough for the Jets to take.
"Well, nothing told me he would (contribute),'' Ryan said. "Nothing. When I saw the tape (of his collegiate play) I was concerned. But (Jets general manager) Mike Tannenbaum and (senior personnel executive) Terry Bradway and all our scouts were adamant about this guy."
Demario Davis; Grade: C-
Davis was a third round pick in 2012. While he was not a strong coverage linebacker when the Jets drafted him, there was hope they could use his speed and mold him into a good pass defender. It never panned out that way. Davis never developed the cover skills or the instincts to be an effective guy in coverage. He did start for close to three years and at times showed a nose for the ball. This pick was not a disaster. There is value in having a guy who plays passable ball on a cheap third round rookie deal. Davis was never a great player, though, and he saw his playing time diminish in his final season.
Josh Bush; Grade: C
Bush was a sixth rounder who stuck on the team for a few years. He was all right as a special teamer, nothing more. That seems fine for a sixth round pick.
Terrance Ganaway; Grade: F
A running back out of Baylor, Ganaway was cut after preseason. He ended up playing one year with the Browns.
Robert Griffin; Grade: F
This was the other Robert Griffin from Baylor in this class. Along with Ganaway, the Jets seemed to develop this fixation in the sixth round on Baylor players who were not RG3. Like Ganaway, he failed to make the 53 man roster as a rookie.
Antonio Allen; Grade: B
I don't think Allen was anywhere near as good as people made him out to be during 2013 and 2014. At safety, his inability to cover in either man or zone really limited the ways the Jets could use him. The move to cornerback was a Hail Mary try to find some productivity out of him because he lacked the skills to be a full-time safety. He did have a half season of quality play in run support in 2013, though. That beats most expectations for a seventh rounder. He still might have some sort of future as a subpackage guy playing limited snaps.
Jordan White; Grade: D-
I won't give White a failing grade because you can at least understand the thought behind the pick. White had prolific production in college and one major statistical projection indicated he had sleeper potential. Still, he only caught one pass in the NFL and played three games. Plus, it is not THAT uncommon in the seventh round.
What does the total class get? There was a clear lack of any sort of impact talent in this class. The first two picks were major disappointments. Only two of the last five picks showed enough potential to last for more of a season. You might be tempted to give the Jets a passing grade because Davis was passable, and Allen was a bit of a success. Just remember, the Jets also didn't have a fourth round pick because they traded it for Tim Tebow. That is enough to make me say this.
Final Grade: F