Arizona Cardinals rookie update: Grading out all the first-year players

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Which of the Arizona Cardinals rookies have performed well? Which ones have struggled? We break it all down about 1/3 of the way through the season.

Now that we are 1/3 of the way through the season, I am going to attempt to do something that I probably should not be doing yet. I am going to assess each of the rookies for the Arizona Cardinals and assign them each a letter grade based upon how they have played thus far.

Without further delay, let's jump right in to it.

First round pick: Michael Floyd C

Floyd has been an enigma for the team so far. He is listed fourth on the depth chart and when he gets into single coverage, Kevin Kolb finds a way to get him the ball. Unfortunately, Floyd doesn't always catch it. He has three drops on the season, according to Pro Football Focus. Although he has made some spectacular catches (such as the juggling TD catch against the Eagles), he has struggled to pull down some very catchable balls.

Finding a way to get open more often will be imperative for him. I haven't seem him perform well against the zone defense. Although he was a first rounder, he still has plenty of room to grow. I still expect great things out of this young receiver.

Third round pick: Jamell Fleming C+

Fleming was a player that was being highly touted during training camp, but seems to have fallen off a bit since the regular season began. In the 16 times he has been targeted by opposing quarterbacks, Fleming has allowed 11 catches. He plays well in press coverage most of the time, but lets opposing receivers get behind him all too often. When he started the game against the Patriots in the nickel, he struggled mightily. He also allows quite a bit of yards after the catch. Although he is a very physical corner, he needs to work on his tackling skills a bit. Again, this is a player that I feel will improve drastically with more time.

Fourth round pick: Bobby Massie D

Massie, who was forced to start at right tackle from the very beginning due to Levi Brown's injury, has struggled. He is statistically one of the worst linemen in the NFL, allowing 9 sacks, 2 hits and 19 quarterback hurries. In run blocking, he hasn't been much better. PFF gives him a grade of -20.0 in that category. He is still young, but needs to be coached up (which I don't think Russ Grimm can manage to do). He is often beat by speed rushes on the outside, meaning he needs to work greatly on his lateral quickness. It would have been nice for him to ride the bench this year, but sometimes trial by fire is the best thing for young players. I hope that is the case for young Mr. Massie.

Fifth round pick: Senio Kelemete N/A

Kelemete has been inactive for most games. It would be difficult to give him a grade, but during the preseason, he looked a little raw at the guard position. We will have to wait and see if he develops. It would be nice if he does, though, because Adam Snyder needs to be replaced ASAP.

Sixth round pick #1: Justin Bethel B

Bethel has only seen three snaps on the field and came in as a cornerback instead of a safety. It is his skill on special teams that has everyone excited. He gets around the edge quickly on field goal attempts and has the ability to block punts as well. He only has two tackles on special teams, but if his preseason is any indication of how he will do, I think we have a future special teams ace on our hands. If he can develop into a safety with all of his raw athleticism, the Cards will have drafted a steal.

Sixth round pick #2: Ryan Lindley N/A

Again, Lindley has not seen action during the regular season. He might get his chance if the offensive line keeps playing the way they are, though.

Seventh round pick: Nate Potter N/A

Another player that is often inactive. He needs to bulk up and maybe, just maybe, he can find a spot on this team as a true left tackle.

What do you think of my grades? Do you agree with any of them? Disagree? So far, I think this class has struggled, but again, it is way too early to start calling anyone a failure. Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Thanks to Pro Football Focus for the advanced statistics used in this article.

We invite you to follow Revenge of the Birds on Twitter at @revengeofbirds and like us on Facebook. Also, follow me on Twitter at @TylerNickelASU.

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