Now that the dust has settled and the Arizona Cardinals have made all their selections in the 2011 NFL draft, it’s time to grade just how well they did. We here at ArizonaSports.com have assembled the usual suspects from our staff and Sports 620 KTAR’s to breakdown the good, the bad, and the interesting from the Cards eight selections.
After this weekend’s NFL Draft I feel the Arizona Cardinals made themselves a better football team. I do have a few questions about a few of the picks and mainly because I thought they could have addressed a few important areas of need. I don’t like that they didn’t get a single offensive lineman in this draft. I am however pumped that they took Patrick Peterson. I guarantee that he is a pro bowler within two years. RB Ryan Williams shocked me mainly because there were so many good LB’s still on the board. My second favorite pick this weekend was the 4th round pick of Sam Acho from Texas. I think he will turn out to be a good one. Overall I give the draft a B plus. It would have been an A if they took at least one O-Lineman.
Final Grade: B+
This draft by the Cardinals seemed different from the past because they went after the top players on their board rather than their biggest needs. With no free agency yet, I liked the strategy. They can work backwards and use free agency to fill their needs after now getting who they thought were the best players available to them regardless of position. If you get five of the top 60 players on your board and 136 players have been taken, it’s a great draft.
Final Grade: For that, I give them an A-.
Am I grading the Cardinals on how they filled their needs? Because they didn’t. The Cardinals needed pass rushers, linebackers, offensive lineman, a tight end and a quarterback. They got a pass rusher and a linebacker later in the draft. A tight end I’ve never heard of. No offensive lineman, no quarterback. Or, am I grading the Cardinals on the talent they acquired, regardless of position (lookin’ at you Patrick Peterson)? That’s a different story and one that requires time. I liked the Sam Acho and the Quan Sturdivant picks but I hope they don’t live to regret not taking Brooks Reed in the second round instead of the curious case of Ryan Williams.
Final Grade: I (Incomplete)
The Arizona Cardinals treated the NFL draft with the same mentality a person treats a garage sale, searching for the best hidden value. Although they didn’t address the glaring need at quarterback and took a guy in Ryan Williams that will gain rushing yards in the second round instead of addressing their pass rushing needs, they got great talent that should help them moving forward. They claim in the first five rounds they got five guys in their top 60. That’s some impressive shopping. The most intriguing player of the group was Texas defensive end Sam Acho. He has a unique combination of athleticism and smarts as he graduated from Texas with 20 career sacks and a double major. The Cardinals draft, like Acho, wasn’t what you’d expect but should turn out to be pretty smart in the end.
Final Grade: P+ for excellent potential
At first I was nervous the Cardinals would trade down from number five or use the pick to reach for positions of need. That they went with a best player available approach, need be damned, was as surprising as it was refreshing. Five win teams need to add plenty of talent, so I’m not worried about where they added it at.
Final Grade: B+