Arizona Cardinals Draft Picks 2011: How Much Impact Will Rookies Make in Desert?
It's kind of a letdown actually.
The end of the NFL draft.
Now all the excitement about who your team could get is done, and football is months away from starting.
Okay, enough of that.
While we're still in the aftermath of the NFL draft, let's talk for a minute about the rookies and what impact they'll make.
Or at least we can imagine the impact they'll make.
I'd like to cover two types of impact, however—the short-term and the long-term.
Patrick Peterson, CB
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Boy, you have to love what Peterson brings to the table.
He's athletic, fast, seems like a nice guy off the field, etc.
So let's daydream for a moment shall we?
Short-term impact: Peterson will have a bit of a learning curve in the NFL, as good as he is.
Why? Well, because he'll be going against much better receivers.
The good news is though that he's faced more NFL-ready receivers than the average cornerback, as he played against both AJ Green and Julio Jones.
Either way, I think he doesn't start the season but takes Greg Toler's place before the season is out.
And I think he does the same with returning punts.
If the NFL weren't in a lockout struggle, I might say he does those both sooner because of his immense talent.
Long-term impact: Speaking of his immense talent, if the Cardinals can have him the desert for 10 years, I'd say we are blessed.
But, really, I do think he's a future Pro Bowler, which is scary because the Cardinals have another corner in DRC who's a potential perennial Pro Bowler (and already been to one).
And in fact, if we are talking best care scenario, the Cardinals will have the best corners in the league within two years.
Not to mention maybe the best secondary if Adrian Wilson can play a few more years, and Kerry Rhodes stays around.
Ryan Williams, RB
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This is where it gets sticky for the Cardinals. They knew they were going to get some flak for drafting Williams—and rightfully so.
And now, it's come out that they had him as the top running back on the board, surprising since there was a former Heisman trophy winner in the draft in Mark Ingram.
So what does Williams do for the Cardinals?
Short-term impact: Best case scenario, Williams is the starter in the middle of the season. And I could see it happening.
And while I was very wrong on the lack of fumbling issues, he's more pro-ready than Tim Hightower was and is a lot tougher than Beanie Wells.
So he could even be the Cardinals best running back this year.
As far as what I expect to happen, I expect him to get around 500 yards after Hightower inevitably fumbles and Wells inevitably gets hurt.
Long-term impact: The Cardinals had to be thinking long term when they took Williams. Had to be.
And I'll admit, if in five years, it's WIlliams and the Hyphen as a one-two punch, I'd be pleased.
I think, unlike with drafting Wells, they sought out Williams and drafted him not because he fell to them but because they liked him.
While I don't know that he'll be a Pro Bowler, he could be a solid running back for several years for the Cardinals.
Rob Housler, TE
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I'll still be frank with you; I didn't like this pick.
Not when the Cardinals could've used another pass-rusher, or more importantly, an offensive lineman.
And he wasn't their top-rated tight end. I know they needed one, but they could've got one in free agency in my opinion, as well as taking the time to bring along Jim Dray.
I hope I'm dead wrong, because the Cardinals desperately need a receiving tight end to help whoever their QB is.
Short-term impact: He'll see just as much action as any of the rookies, as the Cardinals will probably have him and Dray on the field more often than not.
The question is whether he'll make an impact. Best-case scenario is him catching 40 passes. I don't see it happening because the Cardinals don't really use their tight ends much.
So, realistically he'll probably have maybe 20.
Long-term impact: It really all depends on Hausler. The Cardinals will only give him so many chances in their offense.
If he makes a few key drops, or doesn't learn how to block, he'll be gone in two years, which is disappointing for a third rounder.
Here's to hoping he's that missing option on offense.
Sam Acho, OLB
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I've been high on Acho for a while, and as I said in my draft grades article, I believe he was a steal in the fourth round.
Short-term impact: More likely than not, he'll be splitting time with Will Davis or O'Brien Schofield.
At least this year.
He could very easily be the starter by the end of the year though.
It really depends on how much work he's able to get in during the offseason.
Worst case scenario, he's a decent backup that gets a sack or two in relief.
If he can get on the field though, look for maybe 5-6 sacks, maybe more.
Long-term impact: This is a guy who has the potential to get 8-10 sacks a year for a few years.
Also known as maybe the best pure pass-rusher that the Cardinals will have had since Betrand Berry in his prime.
If this is the case, they'll be pleased.
Worst case, he's a guy that's around for a few years that gets a few sacks a year. I don't think that will happen though.
Anthony Sherman, FB
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While I'm glad the Cardinals finally got a fullback, I do have my doubts about Sherman.
Does this mean they're finally going to try to pound the run?
Short-term impact: He'll probably be the starter next year. In fact, he's probably the best fullback on the roster right now.
But the thing is, the Cardinals don't use a fullback that much.
He should make a good impact on special teams.
Worst case scenario, he makes the practice squad.
Long-term impact: He could be a great special teams player, which the Cardinals love.
But unless they start using a fullback, or he capitalizes on limited opportunities, it's tough to see him making a huge impact.
Quan Sturdivant, ILB
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This was a great pick in the sixth round.
Some teams might have been scared off by his arrest over the summer, but he seems to have handled it well, and amidst all the trouble at UNC, played some solid football.
Short-term impact: I think he'll see the field a few times a game at first, and if the Cardinals don't have a great season, will be the starter I would think at the end of the year.
Paris Lenon isn't getting any younger, despite a solid year last year.
Sturdivant isn't flashy like Washington, but he's a tough playmaker, which is exactly what Arizona needs.
Worst case scenario, he rides the bench all year.
Long-term impact: I do think, though, that he's a future starter. If he does become one, that's tremendous value in the sixth.
Character concerns could be an issue, but I think he'll play some kind of an impact over the years.
David Carter, DE
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I'll make these next two quick.
Short-term impact: I feel a little better about this pick than I did at first.
But I don't see him making any starts this year.
In fact, he could maybe see 50 plays this year.
Long-term impact: He'll probably be a role player for a few seasons. That's really the best case scenario.
Demarco Sampson, WR
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I'll make this even shorter.
Unless there's injuries, I don't see him on the field this year.
In the future?
Maybe he makes the team as a fourth receiver.
I hope I'm wrong.