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Arizona Cardinals Draft Classes through 3 Games

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What have the last three draft classes done for the Cardinals in their first three games? Quite a bit.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Within the first three weeks of the 2014 season we have seen the impact that the last Graves/Whisenhunt draft will have on the Cardinals, hopefully for the foreseeable future, and how good the first of what we hope will be many Keim/Arians draft classes will be for the Arizona Cardinals.

The weekly grind of the NFL season gave way this week as the Cardinals were able to get a little healthier (maybe) and get some of those draft picks some much needed rest.

How have the picks still on the roster done through three games in 2014?

2012 Cardinals Draft Class

Michael Floyd: After a down week two against the Giants Floyd showed his big play capabilities in week three with a stellar performance against the division rival 49ers.

Floyd’s productivity is off the charts despite only having 11 catches on the season, as he is currently ranked 25th in yards receiving on the season and first in yards per catch, but is tied at 90th in catches and has failed to reach the end zone through three games.

Much of the "issue" with Floyd comes from where he is getting his catches, as most of the balls he is catching are down the field 50/50 balls that lead to him being unable to make a play after the catch. To take advantage of Floyd’s immense talent, the Cardinals need to make a concerted effort to get him the ball in space and let him make plays more, because his 34 yards after the catch are a gross misrepresentation of what he can do with the ball in his hands.

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

Bobby Massie: Welcome to the Cardinals right tackle for the next five years…hopefully.  Massie has played extremely well through three games, allowing the one sack in week one, but after that you have not hear much about him.

His ability in the run game is being hindered slightly by the Cardinals interior offensive line, but he’s doing well in zone stretch and power lead plays towards the right, getting on his man and keeping them from making plays.

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

Justin Bethel: Admittedly it can be hard to grade a special teams ace, but Bethel has played 25 snaps defensively this season, and has looked good in that time. It is important that Bethel continues to develop as he can give the Cardinals the leverage they desire against players like Cromartie and Powers as it comes to contract talks.

More snaps are needed on defense to paint a clearer picture, but Bethel continues to be a star on specials, so his grades are mostly that, with his defensive grades in parenthesis.

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

2013 Cardinals Draft Class

Jonathan Cooper: He’s played three snaps, but with an apparent issue with Paul Fanaika maybe this week he gets his shot…maybe.

2014 Grades: INC

Kevin Minter: He played his most snaps and extremely well in New York, then seemed to regress in both playing time and impact against the 49ers. Minter’s inability in coverage was shown in his 17 snaps against San Francisco, and it led to him not seeing much time in the game.

Minter is a half-time player who can play on run downs in a passing league, but his biggest impact SHOULD be against the division opponents.

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

Tyrann Mathieu: There is still so much we have to learn about Mathieu, but so far we know this -- he isn’t "healthy" enough to be the playmaker he was in 2013.  He has taken 20 snaps on the season and they have been mostly uneventful.

He has surrendered five catches on all five pass attempts thrown his way, but he has only surrendered 35 yards on those five catches.

It’s tough to give him a grade right now because it’s a work in progress more than what he is (at least we all hope this), so for now he gets an incomplete for now.

2014 Grade: INC

Stepfan Taylor: At this point it looks like Taylor is a glorified fullback, not a guy who is going to get many, if any carries. But he is useful in the passing game as a blocker and has good hands out of the backfield.

He’ll stick on the roster for that, but the constant churning of running backs should tell you that the staff does not feel like he is an option as a runner.  He’s played 22 snaps on the season, he’s carried the ball twice, caught the ball three times (all in game one) and blocked nine times.

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

Andre Ellington: The Cardinals' bell cow has 55 touches through the first three games for 259 yards, but no touchdowns so far.  Ellington averages about 18 touches and 86 yards per game so far, putting him on pace for just under 1,400 total yards of offense.

The problem this year is that Ellington is not as explosive as he was in 2013, that may be that defenses are keying on him, or that he has played with an injured foot through the entire season, but so far he is averaging "only" 4.7 yards per touch compared to 6.5 last year.

He’s been very good thus far and we had to expect a slight regression, so maybe we need to readjust our expectations.

There are two concerns right now for Ellington and that is the lack of touchdowns, zero, and that he has fumbled once and dropped two passes through three games.

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

2014 Cardinals Draft Class

Deone Bucannon: The first round rookie has played nearly 60 percent of the defensive snaps in 2014, splitting those with 2013 second round pick Kevin Minter, as Bucannon has played a lot of snaps near the line of scrimmage, until the San Francisco game, where Tony Jefferson was playing more in the box.

Bucannon has blitzed or dropped into coverage on nearly 80 percent of his snaps, which is odd seeing as how he plays the run so well.

The things Bucannon needs to work on the most right now is man to man coverage, and finding a way to make an impact when he does rush the passer, but he’s playing solid football through three weeks.

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

Troy Niklas: Much was made of the Cardinals finally getting the two-way tight end that Bruce Arians offense so covets, but through three games it seems like as much upside as Niklas has, it remains solidly as untapped potential.

He’s played in 57 snaps through three games, mostly working as an extra blocker in the run game, where he looked good in game one and solid in game two before having some issues against a physical 49ers defense in game three.

Niklas has run 12 routes on the season, catching one pass for 16 yards on his lone target of the season.

There is work to be done, but if Rob Housler is sidelined for any length of time, they’ll need Niklas to mature much quicker than initially expected.

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

Kareem Martin: After being inactive in game one of the season, Martin has seen his playing time increase in each of the next two games, playing eight snaps in game two and 38 snaps, mostly working as a pass rusher, in game three.

Interestingly enough, Martin helped what was a rather anemic pass rush unit in his snaps against the 49ers, which should bode well for his continued maturation and increased playing time.

The Cardinals DESPERATELY need a pass rusher to play with Calais Campbell along their frontline; it is going to be Martin’s job to lose.

2014 Grades
Game 2- INC
Game 3- B

John Brown: What can you say?

He hass caught a touchdown every three catches. He needs to clean up his drops, but that is nitpicking at this point in the game.

The most astounding thing through three games: Brown has only "blocked" 26 percent of his snaps, yet teams cannot contain him knowing that when he is in the game, the Cardinals are going to throw the football.  That’s impressive.

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

Ed Stinson: One of the guys I thought would be the main cogs in replacing the Darnell Dockett production after the veteran was lost because of his prowess in the run game, but he saw his playing time plummet in Week 3.

Stinson is a one-trick, run-stopping force at this time, so if the Cardinals are going heavy into pass defense, Stinson will not be on the field.

2014 Grades:
Game 1- C
Game 2- B
Game 3- D