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Arizona Cardinals 2015 Draft class made a leap in year two... Now the 2016 class needs to

The Arizona Cardinals got great contributions from their 2015 class in year two, they need a similar jump from the 2016 class.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The draft is an interesting process.

You watch a player from day one of their NFL career and try and make sense of what they are and how they will develop.

When that development occurs at glacial pace, it is difficult, especially when things are starting to go bad.

David Johnson was a part time and special teams player early in 2015, he had an amazing ending to the season, but no one was really clamoring for more Johnson until the injury to Chris Johnson occurred. The Cardinals 2015 offensive line was playing well, so no need to insert D.J. Humphries and Markus Golden was a nice part time player.

There was not a ton of contributions, until Johnson took the NFL by storm to end the 2015 season, but there was also not a need for the players.

Fast forward to the end of the 2016 season and David Johnson is a top three player at his position, Humphries is being billed as the future left tackle, starting in 2017, and Markus Golden helped form one of the greatest pass rushing duos in Arizona Cardinals history.

Add in the fact that J.J. Nelson is actually a wide receiver threat and Rodney Gunter is a good rotational piece on the defensive line, and the 2015 class is special.

The ‘14 class could be the worst of the early returns if John Brown is unable to return to form and Troy Niklas never gets on the field, but injuries are a tough nut to crack.

If you look at the 2013 draft class, sure Jonathan Cooper was a colossal bust, but Kevin Minter, Tyrann Mathieu, and Alex Okafor are all players who could garner or have garnered second contracts from the Cardinals, while Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington were nice value picks in round five and six.

All of this to say, sometimes, judging a draft class takes time.

I have seen a number of ideas of drafting defensive lineman, corners, and centers early, yet it ignores the 2016 class.

If we go back all the way to last year, the Cardinals would have needed an offensive tackle if we just chalked up Humprhies to a loss.

Should the Cardinals draft a cornerback? Sure, you can never have enough of those and going into the season with Williams along with Justin Bethel and Patrick Peterson could lead to issues, but is it a must pick? Do they need more defensive line depth if Calais Campbell leaves? Absolutely. Yet, at some point the players you evaluated and invested in need to be leaned on.

The Cardinals need to continue to develop their talent and fans and analysts, myself included, need to have faith that 2013 and 2015 is more likely to be the outcome of the 2016 draft class, not necessarily the sour milk of 2014.