For the Arizona Cardinals, the 2017 NFL Draft fell in a really good way for them. However, the NFL draft experts didn’t love what the Cardinals did and it showed in their grades.
They liked the Cardinals selections, outside of Chad Williams, but wanted to see the aggression in getting a quarterback, not moving up to get a potential defensive star like Budda Baker.
From Kiper’s Insider Grades:
Arizona Cardinals: B
Top needs: Quarterback, inside linebacker, cornerback
With the top three QBs off the board at No. 13, Arizona stuck with a position of need and got versatile linebacker Haason Reddick, a former walk-on and superb athlete who absolutely nailed the pre-draft process. He had a great week at the Senior Bowl, and was one of the MVPs of the combine, running a 4.52 40 with a 36½-inch vertical and 11-foot-1 broad jump. He's probably an inside player in the Cardinals' 3-4, but he can get after quarterbacks from outside linebacker, too.
Arizona gave up three picks to trade up for Budda Baker, but I love the player. He might have been a top-15 pick if he had been bigger -- he's only 5-10, 195. The comparison I made before the draft? Tyrann Mathieu. Now Arizona has both of them, and after losing Tony Jefferson and D.J. Swearinger, a plug-and-play safety was needed. Baker has cornerback-type cover skills, and he's not afraid to tackle. He could be Arizona's slot corner. I'm going to make an early prediction and say he ends up on my Rookie Big Board next season.
Trading up for Chad Williams was a reach -- I pegged him as a late-Day 3 guy. Amara Darboh and Mack Hollins were among the wideouts higher on my board, and there are some off-field concerns, as Williams was arrested last May for possession of marijuana and possession of a firearm with drugs. Dorian Johnson was my No. 5 guard and a three-year starter on the right side. T.J. Logan was my top-ranked kick returner.
The lingering question over this class is the Cardinals' not getting a quarterback and having no potential long-term starter who could replace 37-year-old Carson Palmer, but other teams traded up in front of Arizona, so I can't fault them for holding steady. I would've liked a potential replacement for Calais Campbell, as well.
Kiper liked at least 12 teams drafts more than the Cardinals:
LA Chargers - A
Patriots - A
Bills - A
49ers - A
Buccaneers - A-
Broncos - B+
Packers - B+
Vikings - B+
Jets - B+
Steelers - B+
Eagles - B+
Redskins - B+
And had five teams graded equally with them: Ravens, Browns, Colts, Saints and Titans.
Everyone knows my disdain for draft grades, but I find it interesting that the Cardinals were... right in the middle of the pack.
We hear a lot about letting the board fall, getting their guys, etc. Yet, GM’s and head coaches are not going to come out and say, “We couldn’t get our guy” so that is why it is at least entertaining, if not slightly annoying, to see what impartial judges think.