I'm not a fan of grading draft classes after one year in the league, so I decided to piggyback on the idea of my colleague Erik Frenz. He waits three seasons, and then goes back to the draft class and assess its value.
With some draft selections, patience is the key. Not every player is going to play at Pro Bowl level during their first season, nor are they going to be starters right away. Different circumstances dictate different results. That is exactly why some of the NFL's best players don't rise to the top until later in their careers.
Let's take a look at who earned a passing grade from Arizona's 2010 draft class.
Even though nose tackle Dan Williams doesn't garner attention the same way Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett do, he is every bit as important to Arizona's defensive line. Over the course of his three-year career in the desert, he has recorded 56 defensive stops and six tackles for loss.
He's not much of a player in pass-rushing situations, but he imposes his will against the run. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Williams finished as a top-10 run-stuffer at his position in both 2010 and 2012.
At 25 years of age, his best football seems to be ahead of him. Not only should Williams' play continually improve, but he should expect be on the field more with Ray Horton out as defensive coordinator. Horton often liked to use a 2-4-5 look on third down, which ultimately meant No. 92 would be watching from the sidelines.
Overall, Williams has been a very good player on a steadily improving defense.
Now onto the best player from the Cardinals' 2010 draft class, Daryl Washington. Much like Williams, Washington has outplayed everyone's expectations by consistently finishing as one of the top inside linebackers, year-after-year.
This past season was by far the best of his career. He was named a second-team All-Pro member and was voted into the Pro Bowl for the first time. By the end of the 2012 season, he had amassed 108 solo tackles, 61 defensive stops, nine quarterback sacks, four quarterback hits and 10 quarterback hurries.
No inside backer rushed the passer as well as he did, and very few played the run better than he did. No. 58 has the makeup to become an even better player in due time. Yet it will all hinge on how much talent the organization places around him, both offensively and defensively.
One should expect more All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections for years to come.
The 88th pick of the 2010 draft netted the Arizona Cardinals Andre Roberts. Roberts has seen his fair share of ups and downs from year one to year three, but as of late his numbers have continued to trend up.
As a rookie he only made two starts while catching 24 passes for 307 yards. But in year two he almost doubled his production by catching 51 passes and amassing 586 yards. Even though his touchdown numbers stayed the same in 2011, Roberts saw more playing time in red-zone opportunities than he did in 2012.
Yet Roberts saved his best for last. Despite the Cardinals' poor quarterback play in 2012, he led the team in touchdown receptions with five and only finished 39 yards behind Larry Fitzgerald for the team lead in receiving yards.
It's doubtful that Roberts will ever become a Pro Bowl caliber player, but he has solidified himself as a solid No. 2 option for Arizona's offense.
Coming out of college, O'Brien Schofield was regarded by many as a first-round talent, but his draft stock ultimately fell due to an ACL tear he suffered at the Senior Bowl. The pre-draft injury cost him at least a couple of million dollars, and a shot at being a day-one selection.
However, Arizona decided to take a chance on Schofield in the fourth round despite his injury. To start the season he was placed on the physically unable to perform list while his knee healed. After his time on the PUP was up, the Cardinals activated him for the final 10 games of the season.
He finished his rookie campaign with two sacks and six pressures total. The following season (2011) Schofield became a situational pass-rusher off the edge and logged 449 snaps. He upped his sack total to five while making a case for more playing time in Horton's defensive system.
His impressive sophomore season helped him grab a hold of the starting left outside linebacker position in 2012. He started the first nine games of the season and played 503 snaps before getting hurt during the Green Bay game. He was subsequently placed on injured reserve with ligament damage in his ankle.
It's unclear if Schofield will be given a chance to start in 2013. Rumors have it that the Cardinals may look to draft a pass-rusher on Day 1 or Day 2 of the draft.
After the 2011 season "big" John Skelton was making a strong case to be the Cardinals' starting quarterback of the immediate future. While Kevin Kolb was healing from an assortment of ailments, Skelton was busy putting together a 5-2 record as a starter.
His impressive play helped Arizona finish 8-8 after starting the year 1-6. The Cardinals came up just short of playoff contention after losing the final game of the season to Cincinnati. Yet Skelton made enough of impression in his short time as a starter to challenge for the starting job in 2012.
Without much of a surprise, No. 19 did in fact win the starting job. However, injury and poor play led to him getting benched in favor of Ryan Lindley down the stretch. As a spot starter Skelton is at his best because we all know he's not going to win the Cardinals any Super Bowls in the near future.
All signs point towards Drew Stanton starting for Bruce Arians' club next year, so Skelton will be pushed back to the bench.
Jorrick Calvin never took a snap for the Arizona Cardinals and is now in the Arena Football League.
It's often hard to find value picks in the seventh round of any draft, but Jim Dray has found his niche as the Cardinals' third tight end. He hardly sees many snaps over the course of a season, and it's rare if he catches a pass, yet Dray has shown promise as a blocker.
Pro Football Focus graded him out at a plus-one as a run-blocker and a plus-0.3 in pass protection. Arians doesn't typically like using a fullback—he prefers a versatile, blocking tight end. So it's safe to assume Dray may end up making the roster again in 2013.
Arizona has to be pleased with the value No. 81 brings as a former seventh-round pick.