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#pounditWednesday, June 7, 2023

Robert Saleh has great cautionary tale about draft grades

Robert Saleh looks on

Feb 2, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh during Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Many NFL analysts have begun grading each team’s draft classes, with the New York Jets receiving particularly good reviews. That is completely irrelevant to Jets coach Robert Saleh.

Saleh was asked Sunday about the team’s widely-praised draft and how it felt to get so much positive feedback in the media. The coach was unmoved, and he cited an example to demonstrate why draft grades are not something that concern him.

“That’s for you guys,” Saleh said, via Randy Lange of the team’s official website. “I’ve also been in places where we’ve been universally mocked. I think we took Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson in the first three rounds and got a D-grade.”

Saleh is referencing the Seattle Seahawks’ 2012 draft. Saleh was a defensive quality control coach for the team at the time. Sure enough, that draft class was not immediately well-received, with Athlon Sports giving Seattle’s class a D. In fact, few experts were particularly fond of the Seahawks’ selections that year.

Opinions certainly changed quickly once Wagner and Wilson became core players on a Super Bowl team. Irvin had a productive career in his own right.

Saleh’s warning is definitely justified. One of the team’s new draftees may not want to hear it, but only time will tell if the Jets’ draft class winds up looking as good as it does on paper.


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