A lot of analysts and pundits like to evaluate and grade a given team’s draft within 15 minutes of the draft ending. It’s all speculation, and preseason evaluations are more often wrong than right. That being said, over the course of the next week I will be doing 2013 draft evaluations and grades for each of the NFC West’s four teams. Let’s start with the Arizona Cardinals.
1st Round, 13th Overall, WR Michael Floyd: Looking at his stat line you could make the case for his season having not been all that bad. Only one problem, though: he got almost a third of his yardage in just one game. Floyd finished the season with 562 yards, and 2 TDs. Statistically, like I said, that’s none too shabby – but he was a virtual no show for the first half of the season. The atrocious quarterback play by the Cardinals makes it incredibly hard to evaluate receiver play, so he kind of gets a pass on this season.
Final Grade: C+
3rd Round, 80th Overall, CB Jamell Fleming: His stats line doesn’t really say a whole lot. Fleming had 23 tackles and 1 pass defended, which really tells you more about the playing time he received than anything else. He had a pretty unremarkable run overall, playing occasionally in nickel packages while Greg Toler was battling injury. He wasn’t noticeably bad, nor was he was noticeably good. You know what, though, not being noticed as a nickel corner can sometimes be a good thing. Almost a given he’s not screwing up if you don’t hear his name often.
Final Grade: B-
4th Round, 112th Overall, OT Bobby Massie: Considered the Cardinals’ steal of the draft, he may have been the lone good part of the Cardinals offensive line all season. The projected 2nd rounder -- who many had pegged as the Cardinals 3rd rounder -- somehow slipped to the fourth round and the Cardinals couldn’t be happier. He wound up being a starter in week one, and would keep the job throughout the entire season. He is a great run blocker, but still needs to get better in pass defense. As does everyone on the Cardinals line.
Final Grade: B-
5th Round, 151st Overall, OT/G Senio Kelemente: Hard to put a grade on somebody who doesn’t play. Kelemente’s problem is he lacks the athleticism and speed to play tackle, and isn’t big enough yet to move to the inside. He was inactive just about all season.
Final Grade: F
6th Round, 185th Overall, QB Ryan Lindley: If there were a letter grade worse than F, surely he’s earned it. After being given the starting job (he sure as hell didn’t earn it) in Week 12 against the Falcons, it only took him 3 weeks to lose it. He was so bad they went back to Skelton. Then eventually back to Lindley. Then he lost his job again to Brian Hoyer. I’m sure Cardinals management wishes they could take a mulligan on this one. His stats line reads: 752 yards, completion % of 52, 0 TD and 7 INT. You are reading that right, not a single touchdown.
Final Grade: F-
7th Round, 221st Overall, OT Nate Potter: The Cardinals’ last pick of the draft, was oddly enough one of their better ones. Projected to only be a depth option -- if he ever got size that is -- he surpassed all expectations, and landed a starting gig by Week 12. He has good upside as a pass protector, and with a little more size could become a reliable option at left tackle for the foreseeable future with the Cardinals.
Final Grade: A (If you get a first year starter out of the seventh round, kudos to your scout team)
If you’re a Cardinals fan (sorry about your team) the last draft of the Rod Graves, and Ken Whisenhunt era was a good one. You got 3 starters out of it in the first year alone, and I think by the time it’s all said and done this draft will have produced 4. Can’t do much better than that.
Final Grade for the Cardinals 2012 Draft: B-