Evaulating an NFL draft is a lot like handicapping a marriage as you're driving home from the reception (a twisted concept for sure, but admit it…you've done it too).
Is it love? Will it last? Will she get on his nerves, will he stay faithful? Shoot, they haven't even opened their presents yet and already we're discussing whether they're going to need to call the legal firm of That's-Mine-This-Is-Yours in a few years. Evaluating an NFL draft the day after is just as subjective.
As the draft grades come pouring in the next couple of days, the savvy fan will realize that we won't know the true success of this draft for a couple of years. So take the following analysis with not only a grain of salt, but a whole shaker of salt:
I like what the Cardinals did. I think they were patient and lucky (mainly lucky) in getting NT Dan Williams in the first round. They addressed a need with their second round pick LB Daryl Washington out of TCU, got a punt returner (Andre Roberts) to take the burden off Steve Breaston in the third round.
But more than the football players the Cardinals selected this past weekend, I'm enamored by the conviction with which they made those picks. They had a plan. They identified guys they wanted. And most importantly, they were willing to take risks to get those players.
In other words…..they weren't afraid to fail. They have enough confidence in who they are, how they scout, analyze and coach that they're not scared to take a risk or two to obtain that which they covet. The organization is oozing confidence right now. They trust themselves and based off their success, they should.
They were so sure about Washington, they sacrificed a coveted third round pick to move up and nab him. They spent a 4th round pick (again, in a deep draft those picks have value) on pass rusher O'Brien Schofield - great numbers with Wisconsin but he might not even play this year with a torn ACL. They moved up to get a project-type QB in the 5th in John Skelton, who has been compared to a poor man's Joe Flacco. They endorsed their draft pick of a year ago, Greg Toler, by handing him the starting CB job when they traded Bryant McFadden. They drafted not one, but two players who had (or have) serious knee injuries. You want risk? In the sixth round they took a cornerback who was ineligible last year.
I guess, once again, the question becomes one of trust. Do you trust the Cardinals? Back in 2003, they had a top ten pick in the draft but opted not to select local product and pass rush monster Terrell Suggs. Instead they traded down and took Bryant Johnson and Calvin Pace, leaving most of their fans to wonder aloud if this team knew exactly what the hell they were doing.
I don't wonder that any more.