1st Round 7th Overall — Jonathan Cooper OG, North Carolina — B
Cooper will likely be a very good guard in the NFL and really fits a need, but 7 is too early to take a guard. Had they been able to trade back and grab a guard then this would be an A grade. Still Cooper should help protect Palmer and open up running lanes for all of their backs.
2nd Round 45th Overall — Kevin Minter ILB, LSU — A-
Minter was thought be be a late 1st round pick, so this is good value. It also fills a real need of a linebacker being able to start opposite Daryl Washington.
3rd Round 69th Overall — Tyrann Mathieu CB/SF, LSU — A
Mathieu is a steal at this point. There is the risk of him being able to stay off of drugs, but him agreeing to as many random drug tests as they want shows he wants to stay clean. He is a playmaker who will really help this defense and special teams with his instincts and big plays.
4th Round 103rd Overall — Alex Okafor DE/OLB, Texas — A+
This was one of the best value picks of the draft. Okafor was a late 1st/early 2nd round prospect. Getting him in the 4th round is unbelievable. He will fill a huge need as a pass rusher from the OLB position. He is also very stout against the run.
4th Round 116th Overall — Earl Watford OG, James Madison — B-
The Cardinals did need 2 guards coming into the draft, but I thought they would try and take a tackle somewhere. Watford has some talent, but one has to wonder how he will do with the huge step up in competition.
5th Round 140th Overall — Stepfan Taylor RB, Stanford — A-
Taylor was one of the best all around backs in the draft. He does everything well. He may never be a feature back, but he is good in pass protection and catches the ball really well.
6th Round 174th Overall — Ryan Swope WR, Texas A&M — B+
Swope has the talent of a 3rd round player, but with the injury risks he dropped to the 6th. He surprised a lot of people with a 4.34 40 at the combine. The Cardinals were reportedly going to draft Marquise Goodwin on day too, Swope is a much better value.
6th Round 187th Overall — Andre Ellington RB, Clemson — A+
The Cardinals draft yet another one of the best value picks of the draft. Ellington was my 4th best RB in the draft and a late 2nd/early 3rd round prospect. Ellington is quicker than fast, but catches the ball well and is good in pass protection despite his size.
7th Round 219th Overall — D.C. Jefferson TE, Rutgers — B-
Jefferson is a big guy at 6’6″ and weighing in at 255 pounds. He didn’t have much production at Rutgers so he is going to have to come in and show he can be an asset in the passing game.
Overall — A
The Cardinals had a strong draft. If Lane Johnson fell to them at 7, then I give this draft an A+. However, with taking a guard at 7, I had to downgrade it slightly. Still they had 2 of the best value picks in Okafor and Ellington as well as getting a starting LB in the 2nd and an all around playmaker in Mathieu in the 3rd. Taylor will stick with the team and be a solid contributor from day 1.