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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Arizona Cardinals

With the 2011 NFL Draft complete, the most common thing to do now is to grade the teams and their draft. Honestly, it is way too early to do that. But even so, it's kind of a requirement with the draft. Now since I am a teacher by trade, I know a bit about grading (as the pile of Spanish essays sitting on the table next to me right now is calling my name), I will oblige the world out there.

But do note that all grades are more like a projected grade, based on the choices and studying. We don't really know exactly how this these players will turn out. Andre Wadsworth was once a "can't miss" pick, bu his knees betrayed him and he never became what he could have become. So here goes!

Patrick Peterson: A+

I love the pick. He was considered prospect number one in the entire draft by many. It was not necessarily a need, but he is undeniably the best pick that could have been made there. I was just happy that, with him available, they did not trade down.

Ryan Williams: B

This pick was a surprise. With several highly rated pass rushers available and also tight end Kyle Rudolph, we all thought that either one of these needs would have been addressed. Instead, they picked a top-15 rated talent, but a running back nonetheless. Williams could be a very special player, but he also has the "durability questions" label because of his final season at Virginia Tech. Also, the fumbles raise questions. You would think that between Hightoer and Wells, that the team has had its share of fumbles.

Robert Housler: A

No, he is not Kyle Rudolph, but the Cardinals addressed a need with a player that a few consider even a greater prospect than Rudolph. Housler reportedly has exceptional hands, is an adequate blocker and has blazing speed and size. In traditional three-wide offensive sets, it will be like having a fourth receiver.

Sam Acho: B

This grade is only a B because of the fact that first addressing of the pass rush came in the fourth round. Acho is supposedly a very polished player at outside linebacker. He will certainly be a rotation player this year and will likely be the reason either Joey Porter or Clark Haggans is shown the door.

Anthony Sherman: C

It is true that Sherman is a highly rated fullback who can catch the ball well and that he is one of the top two or three special teams players in the draft, but drafting a fullback seems weird because they have not used them much in their offense in the past.

Quan Sturdivant: A

Once you get to the sixth round, expectations are low. However, Sturdivant is not a sixth round player. I'll be honest. when I was working on one of the mock drafts I did, I had to make a second round selection. I looked at him that early. Yes, it would have been a reach, but it would have filled a knee. He offers the defense more speed and playmaking ability.

David Carter: B-

Again, this grade is tempered with the location in the draft. Picking up a guy to develop is always good. You can never have enough help on the defensive line.

DeMarco Sampson: B

In the late seventh round, you can't hope for much. But they get a tall, speedy receiver in Sampson. His scouting report says he has inconsistent hands. The Cardinals potentially could have a shortage at the receiver position.

Addressing needs: C

This is a hard grade to give because the strategy this year was apparently go for best player for each pick. Rod Graves even said that they "let their draft board dictate the picks." They did not address the offensive line or quarterback positions and they waited four rounds to add a pass rushers. However, they added a pass-catching tight end, pass rushers late and an inside linebacker, all that were team needs.

Value: A

In this draft, the Cardinals did not reach for anybody and they have three bona fide "steals" in their draft class. Peterson could have gone number one overall, Williams was a Top-15 talent that went at number 38 and Sturdivant coudl have been picked anywhere between the second and fourth rounds.

Overall grade: B

This was a draft for a thinking fan, not a reacting one. In terms of instant reaction, the Williams, Housler and Sherman picks, I was left wondering what the heck they were doing. But after hearing more about each player and how they rated at their position, the picks made more and more sense. there isn't a single one of them I dislike. The Williams pick is the riskiest. The only reason the grade is not an A is because not all the needs were addressed.