Patrick Peterson was the best player in the 2011 NFL Draft.
It’s hard to believe that the Cardinals are just a few years removed from being a Super Bowl-caliber team. It’s even harder to believe that they could take such a free-fall in the standings after losing just two or three big-name players.
But the hardest thing to believe is that the Arizona Cardinals walked out of the war room on Saturday without drafting a quarterback.
It’s clear that losing Kurt Warner has shown to hurt even more than initially expected. Linebacker Karlos Dansby was severely missed in 2010 as well.
But can a quarterback-less draft help this team improve?
NFL Soup breaks down Arizona's draft:
Round 1, Pick 5: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
It’s easy to see that Patrick Peterson was simply the best player on the board for the Cardinals.
While they have a tough, improving cornerback in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, they can’t pass up on the pure talent of Peterson who could also move to free safety if need be.
Peterson is an explosive kick returner as well and offers an extreme amount of versatility and athleticism.
Round 2, Pick 38: Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
I’m not a huge fan of Williams overall, but I think that he does have a great amount of potential to become a stud running back.
The Cardinals are finding out that the Beanie Wells project isn’t going as planned, as Wells can’t seem to stay on the field. Williams has great vision and patience when running the ball. He can catch out of the backfield as well and will be in the mix early for Arizona.
However, I think they could have found better value later in the draft.
Round 3, Pick 69: Rob Housler, TE, Florida Atlantic
Housler is extremely athletic and posted the best 40 time at the NFL scouting combine amongst tight ends.
He’s a raw pass-catcher and needs to get a better understanding of how to properly run routes, but the potential to be a legit tight end at the next level is big. The Cardinals haven’t had a legit pass-catching tight end for quite some time.
This could be a breath of fresh air for Arizona quarterbacks. However, there was much better value in the third round, including a few other quarterbacks that had yet to be selected.
Round 4, Pick 103: Sam Acho, DE/OLB, Texas
I’m not crazy about this selection, mostly because I’m not an Acho fan. I think he has the ability to become a solid pass-rusher, but I don’t think he’s quite cut out for a role as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
He’s a bit stiff, and I question his ability to play in space.
Round 5, Pick 136: Anthony Sherman, FB, UConn
Sherman is an interesting selection in Round 5, as the Cards get a solid run-blocker and a guy who can catch out of the backfield a little bit as well. I think the value was solid, although I find it hard to believe that he was a heavy target to many other teams in the fifth round.
Regardless, Sherman has some upside, especially as a blocker.
Sturdivant is a second-round talent, in my opinion, and for the Cards to snatch him up in the sixth seems like excellent value.
Sturdivant is versatile, can play in coverage and plays sideline to sideline. He will have to learn to play inside in a 3-4 defense, but he’s had no problems playing each 4-3 linebacker position, so I don’t doubt his abilities.
I see him as a potential Lawrence Timmons-type inside backer.
The Cardinals were looking for defensive depth, and you can never have enough rotational defensive ends. Carter can eat space but also has some penetrating ability.
Look for him to be tried as a 5-technique.
Round 7, Pick 249: DeMarco Sampson, WR, San Diego State
The pick of Sampson didn’t participate in combine drills, but he does have some solid athletic ability.
The flier in the seventh round was well worth it for Arizona as they look to potentially replace Steve Breaston and don’t have much depth aside from Andre Roberts and potentially Stephen Williams.
Overall Grade: B
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