NFL Draft 2011: Arizona Cardinals Grades by Pick

Jack LondonCorrespondent IMay 2, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: Arizona Cardinals Grades by Pick

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    TEMPE, AZ - APRIL 29:  (L-R) Head coach Ken Whisenhunt, first round draft pick Patrick Peterson and general manager Rod Graves of the Arizona Cardinals pose together during a press conference to introduce Peterson at the team's training center auditorium
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    What a draft huh?

    From the quarterback mess in the first round, to Ryan Mallett falling, to Daquan Bowers falling to others that were taken way too soon (i.e. Christian Ponder and James Carpenter), it was a fun draft to follow.

    The Cardinals? They didn't make a huge splash.

    And that may be a great thing.

    If there's one thing that everyone seems to remember about Arizona's drafts, it's skipping on Adrian Peterson to go with Levi Brown a few years ago.

    This time around?

    It appears like they weren't going to make that mistake again.

    Did they get a QB? No, but I didn't expect them to.

    Did they get help on the O-Line. No, and while that was disappointing, they appear to have gotten a lot of bang for their buck in this draft.

Round 1: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

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    TEMPE, AZ - APRIL 29:  First round draft pick Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals speaks during a press conference to introduce him at the team's training center auditorium on April 29, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Ima
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The one pick I actually got right in my latest mock.

    When Peterson fell to Arizona, it seemed there was no question this time around.

    No reaching for an OLB.

    They took the best player available (and maybe the best guy in the draft), and I'm thinking they won't regret it.

    While not a desperate need, Peterson should be starting midway through the season, and gives the Cardinals a possible shutdown corner for years to come.

    Not to mention a solid punt returner for years.

    In a draft where the Cardinals seemed to get many versatile players who could contribute in a number of ways, Peterson was clearly the gem.

    Grade: A+

Round 2: Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 04:  Ryan Williams #34 of the Virginia Tech Hokies runs with the ball against the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Get
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Now comes maybe the most shocking pick in years for the Cardinals.

    It was frustrating to me when I first saw it in many ways.

    For one, the Cardinals didn't need a RB. I was thinking they desperately needed an OLB, or a guard or tackle on the offensive line.

    And two, I wasn't all that high on Williams. If they had gotten Mark Ingram, maybe I'd have been pumped. But Williams, in a fairly deep RB class, was an afterthought, someone who I thought would go in Round 3.

    Shows what I know.

    The good news? He was the best player available according to the Cardinals scouts, and was their top-rated running back.

    Now that I think about it, it's easy to understand why the Cardinals like him.

    He's everything Beanie Wells isn't. And he's Tim Hightower without the fumbling issues.

    Will Williams be starting by the end of the year? Maybe not. But I have a feeling it's him, and not Beanie Wells, that will be the future at running back.

    Grade: B+

Round 3: Rob Housler, TE, FAU

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    GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 17:  Rob Housler #81 of the FAU Owls runs for a touchdown during a game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 17, 2007 in Gainesville, Florida.  The Gators won the game 59-20.  (Photo by Sam Greenwoo
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    As confusing as the Williams pick was, this was both exciting and disappointing to me.

    It was exciting because the Cardinals could maybe have a legitimate tight end finally.

    The bad news is that I, again, hadn't heard much about Housler, and really wasn't high on him. I thought the Cardinals needed to address their other needs at this point, and thought they could have waited on Rob.

    If this pick works out for them though, it will be huge in the offense this year. It will add a dimension the Cardinals simply haven't had for a while.

    But it looks like it will take time for sure.

    And with the Cardinals not even sure who their QB will be, one has to wonder how effective Housler will be.

    Grade: C

Round 4: Sam Acho, OLB, Texas

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    HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 04:  Quarterback Taylor McHargue #16 of the Rice Owls loses the ball after he is sacked by defensive end Sam Acho #81 of the Texas Longhorns at Reliant Stadium on September 4, 2010 in Houston, Texas. Texas recovered the fumble and scor
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Now, this pick?

    Wow.

    Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I saw this pick for the Cardinals—especially in the fourth round.

    I had projected the possibility of them taking him in the third, but not the fourth.

    Either way, Acho is a guy who knows how to get to the quarterback. He should help the Cardinals issues at linebacker in the 3-4.

    He's also very smart from what I understand, winning the Scholar Athlete Award this year for football.

    Whisenhunt loves smart guys, doesn't he?

    Grade: A

Round 5: Anthony Sherman, FB, UConn

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Anthony Sherman #49 of the Connecticut Huskies stiff arms Tom Wort #21 of the Oklahoma Sooners in the fourth quarter during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Now we get back to the unexpected picks.

    Granted, at least this one fills a definite hole, and the fact is that Sherman is a great special teams player.

    But still...I thought they'd wait another round—if they even drafted one at all.

    The Cardinals, though, feel like they got someone. He was their top-ranked fullback.

    The problem? The Cardinals don't use a fullback much.

    Grade: C+

Round 6: Quan Sturdivant, ILB, UNC

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    ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Quan Sturdivant #52 of the North Carolina Tar Heels against the LSU Tigers during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Georgia Dome on September 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    I really, really like this pick.

    Sure, Sturdivant had some off-the-field issues. But he seems to be open about his mistakes, and he plays hard and is willing to learn on top of it.

    Even more so than that, if you ever watched any UNC games, you know that Sturdivant was always making plays.

    He might not have been the most talented guy on the defense, but he ran the show.

    He could replace Paris Lenon at the end of the year.

    Grade: A

Round 6: David Carter, DE, UCLA

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    KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 12: David Carter #85 of the UCLA Bruins sacks Jonathan Crompton #8 of the Tennessee Volunteers on September 12, 2009 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)
    Joe Murphy/Getty Images

    I'll admit, I wondered what the Cardinals were doing when they drafted Carter—who wasn't even graded on some websites.

    But apparently they did their homework on him, visiting with him, and they liked the guy.

    They, along with myself, think that he could provide valuable depth on the D-Line.

    Heck, at 6'4", 297 lbs., he could be a backup nose tackle too.

    If he works into the rotation, the Cardinals look smart with this pick.

    Grade: B-

Round 7: Demarco Sampson, WR, San Diego St.

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    SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 7:  Wide receiver DeMarco Sampson #1 of  the San Diego State Aztecs reacts after making a touchdown catch against the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs on November 7, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.   TCU won
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    I'll admit it...I know absolutely nothing about him.

    But surely he can't be as bad as Stephen Williams during the regular season, right?

    Grade: C

Overall

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  Patrick Peterson, #5 overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals, holds up his jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    I think that it will take some time to figure out about this draft, as with any draft.

    It was filled with players the Cardinals were high on, which means that many of them should contribute next season.

    But it really could've filled a few more holes.

    I really like Sam Acho and Patrick Peterson. And even though it's crazy, I like Williams, considering the Cardinals inability to run the ball last season.

    What I don't like is the lack of offensive lineman. And I'm just not that crazy about Housler.

    But, as I said, time will tell.

    Grade: B