Grading the Arizona Cardinals Draft


The Arizona Cardinals eschewed drafting a QB with the #5 overall picks to grab Patrick Peterson. Was that the right call? Today we’ll take a pick by pick look at the Arizona Cardinals draft and grade each pick. I’m going to use two grades. One for the philosophy of the pick and then one grade for the value of the pick. At the end I’ll also give the Cardinals an overall draft grade.

1st Round: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

Arguably the best player in the draft, and was number one our consensus big board. Peterson is an instant starter for the Cardinals opposite Dominuqe Rodgers Cromartie and gives the Cardinals a very talented secondary with Peterson, DRC, Kerry Rhodes, and Adrian Wilson.

Philosophy:  A-You could argue that the Cardinals should have tried to obtain a franchise  Quarterback or a more important position like a pass rusher. Robert Quinn would fit their versatile 34/43 looks scheme but that’s really nitpicking.

Player value: A. I think people do Peterson a disservice. He’s an amazing athlete at the cornerback position and has unlimited upside. But he does have some work to do and needs some refinement. He’s not going to be the best cornerback the minute he enters the N.F.L. and I don’t think he’ll ever cover like Deion Sanders, or maybe even cover as well as Darrelle Revis, but he could be as good a play maker as Deion Sanders was in the return game and once he does intercept passes.

2nd Round: Ryan Williams, RB, Virgina Tech

I thought Ryan Williams was the second best back in this class over Mikel LeShoure and Daniel Thomas. Williams is insurance if Beanie Wells is hurt (again). And a replacement for Tim Hightower. The Cardinals offense was abysmal last year and Williams can help that.

Philosophy: B+. I have no problem taking talented running backs in the draft, but it can be argued that teams that have a lot of needs, and especially teams with bad offensive lines should consider an alternate direction than running back.

Player Value: A-. I don’t think he was the absolute best value available, but he was one of them.

3rd Round: Rob Housler, TE, Florida Atlantic

Housler is an athletic Tight End who can really be a threat in the passing game in the N.F.L. He’s not a good blocker though. He seems best suited controlling the middle of the field in the passing game.

Philosophy: C-. A team that can’t block well already doesn’t need to add a poor blocking tight end if he’s not clearly the best player available, which is the case here.

Player/Value: C. My least favorite pick the Cardinals made in the draft.

4th Round: Sam Acho, DE/OLB Texas

A high character guy who is relentless pass rusher on the football field. He’s not an elite athlete in the N.F.L., but he could be productive as a pass rusher.

Philosophy: A. Grabbing a pass rushing outside linebacker that can fit the system is a smart move.

Player Value: A-. There were players I thought were better, but very few were better at this point and none with less questions about character.

5th Round: Anthony Sherman FB

Sherman was considered by some the best full back in this class (not me) because he is a tough-nosed blocker , but some question his functional strength to be a blocker in the N.F.L. He should at least help out on special teams immediately.

Philosophy: D. If you’re a team that has needs all over the place, taking a full back this early is questionable, especially if he’s not even the top full back (my personal big board). I prescribe to a theory of Best player available, taken in consideration of positional value. I’m not worried about needs there’s too many injuries in the N.F.L. to worry about that-needs change through out the year and during the development of the player.

Player/Value C-. Not anywhere near the best player available at that point. . There were still pretty good offensive linemen available (Marcus Cannon for one) and even better fullbacks). Still this is not a D or lower because if you find a player in the 5th round who can be a long term player in the N.F.L. it’s a decent pick.

6th Round: Quan Sturdivant, LB, North Carolina

Sturdivant is a quality linebacker who fell down in the draft for reasons that I do not understand.

Player value: A. Sturdivant was the best player available, or certainly was one of the best players available. Sturdivant could possibly compete for a starting spot this season, which is nearly unheard of for a 6th round pick.

6th Round: David Carter, DT, UCLA

Carter is a nice prospect at this point in the draft and can probably play some as a 34 DE for the Cardinals though I think his best fit as a 43 interior defensive linemen.

Player Value: B

7th Round: DeMarco Sampson, WR, Arizona State

A player that can be a number 3 or #4 WR. Solid value here.

Overall Draft Grade: A-

I really liked the Peterson, Ryan Williams, Quan Sturdivant, and Sam Acho picks. There were a couple of picks that I didn’t like. I never fault a team for any pick after the 5th round, and generally even after the fourth round, but for an A  grade the first five picks have to make a lot of sense to me and in the Cardinals I question the Sherman and Housler picks. But the Cardinals had a very, very nice draft. The best in the division.

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