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ESPN analyst: Cardinals, NFC West improved through draft

LISTEN: John Clayton, NFL ESPN Insider

The reviews continue to pour in for the Arizona Cardinals’ efforts in the 2013 NFL Draft, and they continue to be positive.

ESPN analyst John Clayton joined Doug and Wolf Tuesday on Arizona Sports 620 and became the latest to laud general manager Steve Keim and his staff for what they accomplished over the three days.

“I thought it was a very good draft,” Clayton said. “First off, they get one of the best pass-blocking guards coming out in the last who knows how many years. Jonathan Cooper can flat-out pass block.

“I thought getting the third round pick was great. Honey Badger (Tyrann Mathieu) can come back and be a backup free safety or a starting free safety, I think he’s a good fit. I think overall, it was a very good draft.”

That seems to be the consensus, which is good news for the Cardinals. The bad news is the consensus also believes that the rest of the already-tough NFC West helped themselves as well.

Clayton believes the up-and-coming St. Louis Rams had the best draft in the division.

“Just from the standpoint that they were able to get two first round picks and first strategy got them them Tavon Austin, who I the is the most exciting player in the draft,” he said. “Think about this division now. Good luck with the coverage because now you’ve got Tavon Austin and Percy Harvin. Wow. That’s speed, explosiveness, all those different things. That’s going to be coverage nightmares.”

Clayton also applauded the San Francisco 49ers’ draft class, which included LSU safety Eric Reid, Florida State defensive end Tank Carridine and South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore.

“This division is just amazing for the drafts, the aggressiveness — all the things that didn’t maybe four years ago — it’s happening now and it’s happening in the right way.”