The 2011 NFL Draft is complete and now the inevitable draft grades have begun. Yes, even I shall "grade" the draft that the Arizona Cardinals had, even though we can only really judge potential and projections because they have yet to take the field donning Cardinal red. Mel Kiper completed his draft grades, breaking them down into how the teams addressed their needs and how they did with their selections in terms of value. He also gives an overall grade.
Kiper, in grading the Cardinals, gives them a B- overall. In terms of addressing their needs, he was not as kind. The Cardinals earned a C. Passing up on players like Akeem Ayers and others to address an area on the team that was not considered a priority likely is the cause for this.
However, Kiper gives the Cardinals an A- in terms of the value they got. Here is what he said:
The Cardinals can't be graded too harshly when you consider that they got the No. 1 overall player on my Big Board. That they got him at No. 5 even when cornerback wasn't among their top two needs says they showed good discipline when it comes to taking value. When they didn't take a quarterback at No. 5, you also knew this team wasn't going to address its top overall need in the draft. My question, however, is whether the Cardinals did much to help themselves at two other needs, outside linebacker and offensive tackle. The Cardinals were a case study in maximizing value, but needs definitely were sacrificed in a couple of spots. They do add impact, however, which is worth something.
Obviously it is too early to really grade the team's draft. It was just a few years ago when we got what Denny Green called "a gift from heaven" in Matt Leinart. Look how that pick turned out. But at least for now, all indications are leaning towards this draft being pretty solid in getting players that should be able to contribute to the team fairly quickly.