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Arizona Cardinals

Updated May 12, 2014 - 12:43 pm

Sports Illustrated grades Cardinals' draft as middle-of-the-road

The first NFL Draft grades are starting to trickle out after its conclusion on Saturday, and one publication rated the Arizona Cardinals' draft as the third-best in the NFC West.

Sports Illustrated released team-by-team grades on Sunday, and while the Cardinals earned a 'B,' they still didn't place in the top-half of their vaunted division.

The St. Louis Rams earned an A-minus, while the San Francisco 49ers earned a B-plus. The only NFC West team that SI rated behind the Cardinals is the defending world champion Seattle Seahawks, who earned a B-minus grade.

Here's what SI had to say about the Cardinals' draft, which addressed most of the team's needs -- including quarterback, safety and defensive front-seven depth:

One thing is for sure ó if you're a receiver and you're facing Arizona's defense, keep your head on a swivel. Between second-year safety Tyrann Mathieu and 2014 first-rounder Deone Bucannon from Washington State, the Cardinals are looking to scare enemy offenses with their safeties. Bucannon plays at full speed and with killer intensity at all times, and if he ever finds his sense of direction, he's going to be even more dangerous.

Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas is a big blocker and burgeoning receiver who will take time to develop. North Carolina end Kareem Martin is a huge (6-foot-6, 272) defender who could back up Calais Campbell. Pittsburg State receiver John Brown will help take the top off enemy defenses. Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas is a developmental prospect who might find his way at another position and Murray State receiver Walter Powell is a smaller slot man. Overall, the Cards added some targets and got meaner in the defensive backfield; two musts as they try to move atop the NFC West.

Much of the success of this draft class may hinge on the development of fourth-round pick Logan Thomas, a quarterback out of Virginia Tech. Thomas has physical tools that are off-the-charts, and could become a game-changing quarterback in the NFL.

But Thomas could also never take a snap at the next level. First-round pick Deone Bucannon should see immediate playing time at safety, and tight end Troy Niklas, defensive end Kareem Martin and Thomas all represent players with huge upside.

About the Author


School: University of Akron, University of Arizona When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: Sept., 2013 Favorite sports memory: Tie between flying from Akron, Ohio to Phoenix to be at the 2008 NFC Championship and being at Game 7 of the 2001 World Series Favorite all-time athlete: Jim Thome Favorite sports movies: Tin Cup, Major League, The Waterboy Most crushing sports moment: Santonio Holmes' go-ahead touchdown in Super Bowl 43

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