May is always a fun time in the NFL. Hope springs anew. Any team can win the Super Bowl. Heck, if Leicester can win the Preimere League, even Cleveland can win.
With Arizona, the hope is a bit more founded. They were one step away from the Big Game last year. So, the thought is a good draft should move right into a great offseason.
Problem is, many draft experts gave the Cardinals fairly bad grades. I saw everything from a B to a C-. I'm not surprised mind you. It's easy to look at at least 3 of the draft picks and say who? We all knew Arizona was going to do it.
Land so far it has worked pretty well for them. In Keim we trust right?
So what about this years group? Is there a David Johnson? A John Brown? Or on the other side, a Kareem Martin? Let's take a look.
Robert Nkimdiche: It's easy and a cop out to say that the first round pick was the best one. This might be their riskiest, because the spot light is bright on any first round pick.
But it seems like Nkimdiche can handle that. He had it as the number one recruit out of high school. He had it when he fell out of a hotel window. And he had it on him every game, and sometimes required 3 guys to join him in the spotlight to block him.
The good news is he won't see those in the NFL. Not with Calais Campbell on the other side. Not with Chandler Jones now coming off the edge. He's a great fit in the 3-4 scheme the Cardinals run, and his versatility is a big bonus.
The biggest concern might be from his game tape where he appears to take plays off. The Cardinals don't have to worry about that as much as they shuffle In and out lineman to keep them fresh.
Best case scenario: he is the second coming of Darnell Dockett, but bigger and faster. (Wow, what a thought.)
Worst case scenario: he becomes a decent part of the defensive line rotation this year and has another three years to grow and get better.
Brandon Williams: I scoured the CB listings for the 2016 draft before it happened. I never read about Williams, so to most people it would appear a reach. He is fast and will immediately step in on special teams as a gunner. I saw a tweet the other day that compared him to Justin Bethel (at least I thought I did). That seems somewhat valid, given Williams well known propensity to want to play special teams. That's very valuable to have.
He probably won't step in right away, which I'm sure a lot of Cardinals fans want with a 3rd rounder. Especially one in a need area like this. But remember that the Cardinals love to sign free agents in July and August to fill holes. They will probably do that again at CB this offseason. (Jerald Powers is still out there)
That helps Williams, who is athletic enough for the position, but needs seasoning. But if there is a guy that I wouldn't be shocked he doesn't do well, it's Williams -- despite the fact that he was picked in Arizona's magic round.
Best case scenario: He dominates on special teams with Bethel and sees the field as a nickel or 4th CB.
Worst case scenario: He doesn't pick it up as quickly and ends up not dressing for most of Arizona's games.
Evan Boehm: Boehm appeared on a short list of centers the Cardinals could fall in love with -- tough, competitive and a team captain. It's like having Lyle Sendlein from several seasons ago.
He seems to be a great fit, especially if he is surrounded by athletic guards. There is a reason Boehm wasn't as regarded as Ryan Kelly. But, the Cards can make it work.
Best case scenario: he becomes the starter right away, and eventually becomes the signal caller on the line. I think if he starts at first though, Evan Mathis would do that job.
Worst case scenario: he struggles and merely cecomes a swing backup lineman or even worse, cut. He seems far too competitive for this, but you never know.
Marqui Christian: Adrian Wilson loves him. That should be enough for me. If nothing else, I think towards the end of this year, he pushes Tony Jefferson for playing time.
Of all the guys in this class, I really do believe he could be a John Brown type find. He may not have the impact this year, but he could be Zona's future SS.
Best case scenario: He takes some time away from Jefferson and DJ Swearinger and becomes a valuable part of the secondary rotation.
Worst case scenario: He doesn't develop as quickly and sits because he isn't the special teams ace that Williams is, ends up not dressing for a game.
Cole Toner: He, along with Harlan Miller, are probably my favorite draft picks, mostly because they seem to be more known commodities and they have a higher floor.
Toner, for a comparison, should be the new Bradley Sowell. He is probably better suited for guard, but I would imagine he could play tackle in a pinch. And he may need to if DJ Humphries doesn't work out.
Best case scenario: He becomes a high quality backup and even makes a couple of starts due to injuries this year (hey I'm not hoping -- just saying it could happen!)
Worst case scenario: He barely makes the team and doesn't dress for a game.
Harlan Miller: You know, when I was doing all of the mock drafts, I kept seeing Harlan Miller. He intrigued me, because of his playing in the Senior Bowl for one, and another because of the small school he was from.
Many have said that his tape is better than his combine numbers, and if that is the case, this is a good pick. If he figures it out, he could very well see more playing time than Williams.
Best case scenario: He figures out the NFL and becomes a decent 2nd CB across from Peterson.
Worst case scenario: We find out why he went in the 6th round, and he becomes no better than the 4th CB, sitting behind Peterson, Bethel, and a free agent CB.
So what are your thoughts on the Cardinals draft class? Who can you see stepping in right away? Who could be this year's David Johnson? What about Kareem Martin?