With the NFL Draft in the books, what everyone wants to do is grade the teams in terms of their draft class. Of course, grading a draft class that has not been on the field yet is silly, but these are grades in terms of potential, value and impact.
The Cardinals took a few chances on draft weekend, but the risks they took were calculated. They addressed needs with high-upside players like Troy Niklas and Kareem Martin. Some may view Deone Bucannon as a reach in the first round, but he should impact the game early for them. John Brown was an interesting pick at the end of the third round. Late in the draft, Arizona took a calculated risk on Logan Thomas, who should have some time to develop under Carson Palmer. Ed Stinson should fit nicely into the team's 3-4 defense.
ESPN's Mel Kiper graded Arizona with a B.
Summary: The Cardinals did pretty well, and hit some needs. If you look across the NFC West, you see safety combinations that balance a big hitter with a guy that can really run, move around, cover the slot and make plays. Last year the Cardinals added Tyrann Mathieu, who was fantastic as a rookie before the ACL injury, and this year they added a hitter in Deone Bucannon. The Cardinals moved down, and that made what you could call a slight reach on Bucannon perfectly reasonable. I list OLB as a need here, but that could also be DE because the Cardinals will mix their base fronts, and an athlete like Kareem Martin is a good fit. He's a better athlete than he is a performer, but he could be good. Bruce Arians absolutely adored Heath Miller in Pittsburgh, and might see some of what he loved about Miller in Troy Niklas. John Brown was a guy I really liked because of the explosiveness -- witness the 4.34 40 time -- and he could become a solid third WR and also take return reps, preserving Mathieu and Patrick Peterson. Logan Thomas is a great developmental shot to take. Bruce Arians worked out Thomas in March, and loves the tools Thomas has. Will Thomas improve his accuracy? That's the question, and it's not at all easy to say he will, because accuracy and ball placement aren't things that often improve a great deal. At worst, he's Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson in practice because he can simulate that kind of athleticism.
General manager Steve Keim has spoken on the goal of getting two or three impact players or starters and a couple of other solid contributors. Both Bucannon and Niklas are expected to be starters or at least compete for the starting job.
What grade would you give Arizona with their picks? They took:
- S Deone Bucannon
- TE Troy Niklas
- DE Kareem Martin
- WR John Brown
- DL Ed Stinson
- WR Walt Powell
- QB Logan Thomas
What grade would you give Arizona for their selection?
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