The Arizona Cardinals’ six-player draft class earned mixed reviews, with there being little consensus as to how Steve Keim and Co. fared over the three-day event.
The team’s haul of Robert Nkemdiche, Brandon Williams, Evan Boehm, Marqui Christian, Cole Toner and Harlan Williams appeared to fill some of the team’s immediate needs as well as offer solid potential for down the road, yet not everyone was a fan of the group.
You can put the analytics site ProFootballFocus.com in the group of doubters.
The site’s Mike Rennor on Tuesday released a list of the best and worst draft picks made by each NFL team, and for the Cardinals, he has sixth-round choice Harlan Miller as the best and third-round pick Brandon Williams as the worst.
Of Miller, who was taken 205th overall out of Southeastern Louisiana, he writes:
Miller flashed at times down during Senior Bowl practices, doing enough to warrant his sixth-round selection. But the fact that he is appearing in this “best” spot gives you an idea of what we generally thought of Arizona’s draft — first-rounder Robert Nkemdiche, a relative reach based on where he was picked, was the only Cardinals draft pick to even appear in our top 250 prospects list.
The 6-foot, 182-pound Miller tallied 11 interceptions and 22 passes defensed in three college seasons, and was a second-team AP All-American in 2015. He has good size, though his 4.57 40-yard dash time did not do him any favors come draft day.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians felt like that element of his game was a bit overblown.
“But if you look at his numbers, he ran faster than Richard Sherman and Josh Norman, long, tall guys that play pretty good in this league, so his numbers kind of equated to theirs,” he said last week during the team’s rookie mini-camp. “But everybody’s looking for a 4.3, 4.4; but he plays so fast.
“And in his defense, he’s coming from somewhere he hadn’t trained to run the 40-yard dash, but he plays really fast. Senior Bowl, nobody ran past him.”
The coach expressed confidence in Miller, saying he has all the tools in the world, and was impressed with his work early in practice sessions.
But while Miller may be the team’s best pick, it was another cornerback — third-round choice Brandon Williams — who Rennor chose as the worst selection.
A freakishly athletic former running back with one year of unimpressive college work at cornerback is fine for a late-round flier, but we can’t get on board with taking him in the third round.
Williams notched 37 tackles, seven passes defensed and one tackle for loss in his first season as a cornerback, but his size — 6-foot and 200 pounds — and 4.37-second 40-yard dash speed make him a very intriguing prospect to develop down the road.
At any rate, it does not really matter so much what analysts are saying now about the team’s draft, given that everyone knows it will take at least a few years to really know what kind of players the Cardinals landed.
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