Pro Football Focus released their grades through eight weeks of the season for all of the first round players, and it was not kind to the Chiefs first overall pick Eric Fisher.
Fisher’s -17.9 grade is the worst of any of the 32 first round picks, including the tackles who went immediately after him. Only Lane Johnson and E.J. Manuel have negative grades in double figures.
Some of this is a little bit misleading though. While Johnson has played better than Fisher, he has been horrible while also being healthy. Fisher has been battling injuries since training camp.
Second overall pick Luke Joeckel has only a -6.1 grade, but he is out for the season with a broken ankle. Had he played the whole season to this point – he’s had half the snaps as Fisher – he could have had a grade almost as bad as Fisher’s.
Also consider that of the 32 first round picks, only 10 have a positive grade, and only one of the players drafted in the top 10, Dion Jordan, has a positive grade.
And, again, context means everything. Fisher has played 466 snaps this season, surpassed only by Johnson among top 10 players (he’s graded at -11.7). Jordan, who was the only player in positive figures, has played 145 in situational settings, and has not been asked to do much other than to rush the passer on obvious passing downs.
The only player selected in the first round that has played close to as many snaps as Fisher and had a grade over 10 is former Missouri lineman Sheldon Richardson. Other than Richardson, almost every other first round player with a positive grade is not a starter and is played only in situational settings.
It is sort of stunning how bad 2013′s first round crop has been.
More surprising is the revelation of Chiefs corner Marcus Cooper, who has the third highest grade of any rookie on PFF’s grading system. Drafted by the San Francisco 49ers, Cooper was picked up after he was cut by the 49ers during the scramble to get down to a 53-man roster. This left him exposed to the Chiefs who quickly scooped him up.
Perhaps the most surprising name here, Cooper has been a revelation since working his way into the Chiefs’ heavily used sub-package lineup. You could say he benefits from those around him, but so far he’s picked off two balls and broken up another six while allowing 36.7% of throws into his coverage.
Without Cooper there wouldn’t be a lot of early production from the Chiefs rookies. Travis Kelce is out for the season with a knee injury; Knile Davis has been limited in a backup role; Nico Johnson‘s impact has been on special teams; Sanders Commings has missed virtually the entire season, including the preseason, with a broken collar bone; and none of the Chiefs late picks, aside from Mike Catapano, who has seen limited action, have done much either.
This draft class as a whole was always considered to be a weak one, and there has not been a lot of immediate impact scattered throughout the draft. The first round grades help solidify that assertion. But it doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be expectations of the Chiefs’ 2013 group.
There’s still time for everything to work out.