What's more fun than immediate draft grades? Looking back and comparing original grades to how things turned out three years later. SI.com regraded the 2013 NFL Draft, which was the first as general manager for Steve Keim and for Bruce Arians as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
The draft class of Jonathan Cooper, Kevin Minter, Tyrann Mathieu, Earl Watford, Alex Okafor, Stepfan Taylor, Andre Ellington, Ryan Swope and D.C. Jefferson got an original grade of a B+.
The headliner here is CB Tyrann Mathieu, but it's actually what Arizona did elsewhere that made this a very solid draft. G Jonathan Cooper (and later Earl Watford) will improve an awful O-line, while LB Kevin Minter was a solid add in Round 2 and DE/OLB Alex Okafor a steal in Round 4. Don't sleep on the Stepfan Taylor-Andre Ellington duo at RB.
The story of that class is known. Cooper never panned out after injuries. Minter has contributed. Mathieu is a star, but has had two major knee injuries. Okafor had one good year. Taylor has been steady, but not special. Ellington looked special, but couldn't be a star. Swope never made it out of his first practice before being concussed again and Jefferson was cut during his rookie season. Watford has been depth and even started a couple of games.
So how does the class grade out after three years? SI's Greg Bedard's review downgrades the initial mark to C-.
The best pick was Mathieu, while the worst was Cooper -- the top 10 pick.
This draft is being undersold a little bit because of the time Mathieu missed due to injury, but there's no question that Cooper was a flop for the Cardinals before he was traded to New England in search of a career resuscitation. LB Kevin Minter, OLB Alex Okafor and RB Andre Ellington have all become contributors.
Cooper's injuries and inability to return to the form he showed in college really puts a damper on the draft. He was supposed to be a sure thing. Mathieu, though, saves the class. The rest have been mostly nice, but Mathieu keeps it from being "meh."
Is Bedard's regrade too harsh?