Head of the ClassEven though I somehow became a “writer,” I was more obsessed with numbers than words as a kid. That’s probably why I was drawn to sportswriting. I’d spend hours at a time organizing my baseball, football and basketball cards while doing my best to memorize all the stats.

In school it was more of the same, except the only stats I was truly interested in were my own. I’m pretty sure that if I spent less time calculating my Grade Point Average possibilities (“I have a B+ right now in Biology, but if I get an A on the final I’ll move that grade up to an A-, which will in turn raise my overall GPA to…”), and more time actually listening to my teachers and taking notes, my GPA probably would’ve been significantly higher every semester. Maybe watching sports all the time instead of doing homework at the last possible minute would’ve helped, too. Oh well.

Since it’s been a while since I was in school — plus I graduated from UC Santa Cruz, a school where grades didn’t really matter when I attended — I haven’t calculated any GPAs in a while. Until today!

Grading an NFL team’s draft hours or days after the fact is a silly exercise for a variety of reasons, but editors make football writers do it anyway so we might as well have some fun with it. And while one writer’s grade doesn’t mean a whole lot, I thought it might be interesting to average out several grades to come up with a GPA for each team in the NFC West. I went a full schedule of “classes” for each team, which means grades from seven different “professors.”

I calculated each team’s overall GPA using this scale:








Nobody scored lower than a C, so no need to go any further with that. No academic probation for any of the NFC West squads, but only one averaged higher than a B+. Let’s start with the team that earned the lowest GPA and work out way up.

Seattle Seahawks

62. Christine Michael, running back, Texas A&M
87. Jordan Hill, defensive tackle, Penn State
123. Chris Harper, receiver, Kansas State
137. Jesse Williams, nose tackle, Alabama
138. Tharold Simon, cornerback, LSU
158. Luke Willson, tight end, Rice
194. Spencer Ware, fullback, LSU
220. Ryan Seymour, guard, Vanderbilt
231. Ty Powell, defensive end, Harding
241. Jared Smith, defensive tackle, New Hampshire
242. Michael Bowie, tackle, NE Oklahoma State

  • Rang: B
  • Kiper: B
  • Walter: C+
  • Burke: B-
  • Davis: C+
  • Silva: A-
  • Cole: B

Overall GPA: 2.86

Notes: Most of the graders allowed for the fact that Seattle traded away their first rounder for a pretty good player in Percy Harvin, with Silva even noting that, “The Harvin acquisition is factored into Seattle’s grade.” Others thought that taking Christine Michael in the second round was a gamble considering they’re already pretty well set at running back.

Arizona Cardinals

7. Jonathan Cooper, guard, North Carolina
45. Kevin Minter, inside linebacker, LSU
69. Tyrann Mathieu, free safety, LSU
103. Alex Okafor, outside linebacker, Texas
116. Earl Watford, guard/center, James Madison
140. Stepfan Taylor, running back, Stanford
174. Ryan Swope, receiver, Texas A&M
187. Andre Ellington, running back, Clemson
219. D.C. Jefferson, tight end, Rutgers

  • Rang: A-
  • Kiper: B
  • Walter: B
  • Burke: B+
  • Davis: B
  • Silva: C+
  • Cole: A

Overall GPA: 3.19

Notes: Cole called first round pick Jonathan Cooper “an extraordinary guard,” while Rang said it was “easy to fall in love with the Cardinals’ guts to gamble on Tyrann Mathieu, who’ll be moved to free safety.” Silva wondered why they didn’t draft a quarterback or address their need at offensive tackle.

St. Louis Rams

8. Tavon Austin, receiver, West Virginia
30. Alec Ogletree, linebacker, Georgia
71. T.J. McDonald, safety, USC
92. Stedman Bailey, receiver, West Virginia
113. Barrett Jones, center/guard, Alabama
149. Brandon McGee, cornerback, Miami
160. Zac Stacy, running back, Vanderbilt

  • Rang: B+
  • Kiper: A-
  • Walter: A-
  • Burke: A
  • Davis: A
  • Silva: B-
  • Cole: B

Overall GPA: 3.48

Notes: Burke’s colleague Peter King spent time in the Rams’ war room (a pretty interesting story I read over the weekend in the print version of the magazine — it sounded like Jeff Fisher spent the entire time rubbing a 100-year-old gold coin for good luck), and Burke loved how the Rams “traded up for electrifying WR Tavon Austin.” Nearly all the graders mentioned how even though Ogletree comes with character concerns, Fisher has had success with those guys in the past.

San Francisco 49ers

18. Eric Reid, free safety, LSU
40. Tank Carradine, outside linebacker, Florida State
55. Vance McDonald, tight end, Rice
88. Corey Lemonier, outside linebacker, Auburn
128. Quinton Patton, receiver, Louisiana Tech
131. Marcus Lattimore, running back, South Carolina
157. Quinton Dial, defensive end, Alabama
180. Nick Moody, linebacker, Florida State
237. B.J. Daniels, quarterback, South Florida
246. Carter Bykowski, tackle, Iowa State
252. Marcus Cooper, cornerback, Rutgers

  • Rang: A
  • Kiper: B
  • Walter: A-
  • Burke: A
  • Davis: B+
  • Silva: A
  • Cole: A+

Overall GPA: 3.76

Notes: Now you know why I went with the GPA scale that has “A+” as a higher score than a standard “A.” While Kiper thinks Reid “wasn’t as good as maybe five other safeties that went after him,” most of the other graders loved what Trent Baalke did with his surplus of picks. “The rich got richer,” wrote Silva. “They stole DE Tank Carradine at 40, TE Vance McDonald at 55 and WR Quinton Patton at 128,” wrote Burke. “The 49ers came into this draft with four pretty obvious needs: Safety, defensive end/line, second tight end and the eventual replacement for Frank Gore. Check, check, check and check,” wrote Cole.