We are approaching the 2016 NFL Draft, but we can also look back at last year's draft and how things turned out. For the Arizona Cardinals, they got some very good contributions from several rookies. As a result, they have one of the best draft classes from last year, at least according to NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks. He gives the Cardinals a B+ for their draft class last season.
The Cardinals have emerged as a heavyweight in the NFC behind a talent-laden roster loaded with young playmakers. The "Birdgang" will remain among the NFL's elite with a rookie class that showed tremendous promise throughout the season. David Johnson is an impressive all-purpose RB1 with the size, strength and speed to deliver explosive plays as a runner or receiver. He amassed over 1,000 scrimmage yards -- and really delivered the goods as the Cardinals' feature back down the stretch of the season. J.J. Nelson flashed big-play ability as a deep threat on the perimeter. Although he only snagged 11 receptions during the regular season, seven of those grabs went for 20-plus yards, showing a glimpse of his impact potential. Markus Golden was a nice find as an energetic pass rusher off the edge. He not only has a knack for getting home (four sacks, to go along with two forced fumbles), but he plays with a relentless spirit that energizes the unit. D.J. Humphries failed to make a positive impression as a rookie, but he remains a talented prospect with immense potential. Grade: B+
Even Humphries should impact 2016. He is expected to be the starter at right tackle. If that happens, it could mean that five of the team's first six picks last year will be making significant contributions. If Shaq Riddick can contribute at all, then that makes six making a contribution. That's just what you want to see.
It is early, but the 2015 draft class might go down as one of the better ones for the Cardinals in recent history.