Football fans love to hate ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. However, he still is the most well known draft expert. He orginally liked the draft that the Arizona Cardinals had in 2013, initially grading them a with a solid B.
However, with one season in the books with the rookie class, Kiper went back and regraded how things went.
After a season, the grade dropped slightly from a B to a B-. Why?
If not for Mathieu, this class would take a big step back, but there's still a lot of promise, and health played a big role when it comes to early impact. Losing Cooper for the season before he got a chance to show what he was capable of was a big blow early, but he projects to start in 2014 and provide a big upgrade at guard. Minter wasn't as needed as we thought he'd be because Karlos Dansby played so well, but he didn't really play at all. Ellington showed he can be a big part of the offense, not only rushing for 652 yards but also catching 39 passes, and qualifies as a big steal. Mathieu was a stud, and the hope is he can come back from his knee injury and pick up where he left off. The grade slides a notch just because of the questions going forward, but the team took a big step forward, and rookies played a role.
Essentially, Ellington and Mathieu stole the show and almost made up for all the injuries (a retirement, a cut and two spots on injured reserve).
There is yet hope, though. Jonathan Cooper should bolster the offensive line. Alex Okafor can hopefully come back and give some help to the pass rush. Minter might actually see playing time, especially if Karlos Dansby ends up leaving.
The Cards picked up a couple of studs. But it is still far from a great draft. Hopefully the rest of the group can stay healthier and pull a little more weight, instead of having two players carry a class.
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