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Grading the Arizona Cardinals draft classes game-by-game

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It was a week to forget for the Cardinals, but that doesn't mean we won't take a look at the recent draft classes and how they played.

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No matter how you slice it the week five game for the Cardinals was a bit of a disaster. The game was much closer than the 41-20 final score indicated, but the final outcome was much worse than the score. More injuries to a team already in flux at many key positions -- a rookie Day 3 quarterback thrust into an almost impossible-to-succeed scenario and a 2013 draft pick now getting thrown into the fire. That's what headlines the draft class analysis through four games.

2012 Cardinals Draft Class

Michael Floyd: Outside of a stupendous block on the Andre Ellington touchdown catch and run, as there much to say about Floyd on this day?

A drop on only five targets, and another game where he just wasn't a factor.

If we are going to call Floyd a top ____ receiver, does he need to start stringing together multiple impressive performances, or are his outlandishly good games enough to gloss over the ones where you have to check if he was on the field?

2014 Grades: 
Game 1- A
Game 2- C
Game 3- A
Game 4- C-

Bobby Massie: Grading offensive linemen can be tough because you are looking at a picture that not everyone agrees with.  Many will say Massie struggled because he was beaten badly on two occasion, but he's not going to stop speed rushers. He's Levi Brown playing the right position, but he is continually keeping the quarterbacks clean. This was, by my grades, his worst performance of the season in run blocking, which is unfortunate and makes this his worst game of the season, but it wasn't terrible.

2014 Grades: 
Game 1- B
Game 2- A
Game 3- A
Game 4- C

Justin Bethel: Injured on one play covering a return, Bethel's absence on an ensuing return was obvious. He came back in the game, and continued to shine as a gunner, which he is the best at in the NFL for my money. He played two snaps at CB, but his game there was basically non-existent.

2014 Grades: 
Game 1- A
Game 2- A
Game 3- A- (B in coverage) 
Game 4- A

2013 draft class

Jonathan Cooper: He did not play vs. Broncos, which may be the worst thing to come of this game, outside of the injuries, as Paul Fanaika was not great in the game, and yet it still didn't give Cooper the opportunity to play.

It begins to beg the question, is Cooper still mentally not there, is the cohesion on the offensive line more important or is Cooper just not as good as Fanaika and Larsen?

Kevin Minter: Minter's snaps were the lowest of the season, and the lowest percentage played all year. His 17 snaps on 82 possible defensive snaps means he only played in 21 percent of possible snaps, and his overall snaps played is down to 33%.

He continues to show the ability to come down hill and stop the run, which he does really well. He just needs more time on the field.

2014 Grades: 
Game 1- C+
Game 2- A-
Game 3- C-
Game 4- B (Would be higher if his snaps were higher)

Tyrann Mathieu: He played three snaps (for Rashad Johnson) before the Peterson injury then saw the rest of his 15 snaps after Peterson went down and he was inserted into the starting nickel spot.

At this point, I have no idea at this point why he has not gotten more work. In a game with Wes Welker, Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas and Ronnie Hillman, it felt like the perfect time to deploy Mathieu. Alas.

2014 Grades: INC

Alex Okafor: Okafor makes the list for his 10 snaps, but will not be graded because his real test starts next week when he's being thrown to the wolves with Matt Shaughnessy injured.

He had some nice up field burst on his pass rushes, but he'll need to continue the trend of stuffing the run.

2014 Grades: INC

Stepfan Taylor: Taylor had an excellent six yard run, and picked up a blitz well in his one pass blocking snap, but outside of that, he only played two other snaps.

It's getting difficult and maybe a little unfair to grade these bit pieces now.

2014 Grades
Game 1- A
Game 2- D
Game 3- C
Game 4- B

Andre Ellington: He had the type of explosive, big play game we expect, at least as a receiver. The Cardinals continue to wait for that big rushing game, but Ellington's ability to make plays in the passing game had Arizona fans excited this week.

The thing that keeps this out of being as good as Week 2 for me is he's a running back. I'd rather him have 112 yards rushing on 20 carries than 112 yards receiving on four catches, but that is just me.

2014 Grades
Game 1- B
Game 2- A
Game 3- C+
Game 4- B+

2014 Cardinals Draft Class

Deone Bucannon: Without a doubt this was "Drone's" best game as a pro. He played the most snaps of his career, 63, and was able to show he can play very well against the run, getting 21 snaps against the run compared to 24 snaps the first three games combined.

Bucannon continues to impress in his zone coverage ability and is growing as a pass rusher, and by growing I mean going through growing pains.

2014 Grades
Game 1- B-
Game 2- B+
Game 3- C
Game 4- A-

Troy Niklas: He only played five snaps due to an ankle injury, so this week he gets an incomplete.

2014 Grades
Game 1- B
Game 2- B-
Game 3- D
Game 4- INC

Kareem Martin: Martin has some big shoes to fill, even if he will not be taking over from a positional standpoint, the Cardinals need Martin to shoulder some of the production workload that they will miss with Calais Campbell injured.

Martin saw an astronomical jump in snaps played, 66, after playing 46 in the first two games combined.

He has done well against the run, but took a step backwards in rushing the passer this week. That has to change, and quickly.

2014 Grades
Game 2- INC
Game 3- B
Game 4- B

John Brown: After what was his best game as a pro, Brown had perhaps his worst, going along with the rest of the receivers' forgettable work in Denver.

This had to be expected from a rookie, so it'll show in the grades, but not because it is surprising.

2014 Grades: 
Game 1- B+
Game 2- C+
Game 3- A
Game 4- D

Logan Thomas: What can you say? There were two drops, two sacks (one his fault) and a game plan that was not predisposing of Thomas having success. His one completion may have been the best completion of any Cardinals quarterback all season, but he has to get into a rhythm and throw the ball well if he starts this week.

I'd like to see something like a 20-25 pass attempts, 35+ rushing attemps type of balance.

2014 Grades:
Game 4- C+

Ed Stinson: I think I was too harsh on Ed last week. I need to look at not playing right now as not a negative but more in terms of, this is the reality when you do not perform up to the standards, or there is no one that can rush the passer, and you can't, so enjoy the bench.  Anyway, I am revising last week to an incomplete along with this week.

That's what this week in total feels like, incomplete, except for you, Deone.

2014 Grades: 
Game 1- C
Game 2- B
Game 3- D *INC
Game 4- INC


It wasn't the prettiest week from the draft classes and with the injuries; urgency may be kicking in for these guys to start playing more and playing better.

What were your thoughts of the draft picks this week?