Arizona Cardinals 2012 NFL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis

Darin Pike@darinpikeContributor IApril 26, 2012

Arizona Cardinals 2012 NFL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis

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    2012 NFL draft updates and analysis will be provided to fans of all 32 NFL franchises by Bleacher Report. This article will provide the information you need for the Arizona Cardinals.

    Pages will be added for every pick and move made by Arizona. Check back often for updates, including player information and analysis on every drafted player.

    Don't forget to look at the final slide. Draft grades will be assigned for every selection and move along with an overall grade for the Cardinals' 2012 draft.

Cardinals Draft Plans

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    The Cardinals have made a few moves in free agency to plug bodies into a few of their holes, but they haven't managed to attract top-flight talent to makeover their roster. While they managed to sign Levi Brown to a more team-friendly contract, the addition of Adam Snyder won't provide a significant boost to the offensive line.

    There were several high-profile guards on the market, but the Cardinals either chose to not pursue them or were not able to entice the likes of Carl Nicks, Ben Grubbs or even Mike Brisiel.

    On the positive side, Arizona had an under-appreciated defense in 2011. They should be able to pick up where that unit left off, but the addition of some help at linebacker would certainly help. They will also need to plan for the future and look at the defensive line.

    The Cardinals managed to fill several holes through the first two days of the draft, but their biggest need was addressed on Day 3. They found several quality options on the offensive line in the later rounds.

    Draft grades and analysis will operate with the following team needs in mind:

    Offensive Tackle

    Offensive Guard

    Wide Receiver

    Linebacker, Inside and Out


    Offensive Line Depth

    Defensive Line Depth

Round 1, Pick 13: Arizona Selects Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

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    The Cardinals answered a need by selecting Michael Floyd. They need another option across from Larry Fitzgerald and Floyd will certainly fill the need.

    They also need to look at needs on the offensive line, but there are several players that will be there in the third and fourth rounds.

    Floyd has the skill set to be an elite receiver in the NFL. He had 100 receptions and 1,147 yards last season. At 6'3" and 225 pounds, he and Fitzgerald will create major matchup issues for most secondaries. 

Round 2: Arizona Trades Pick to Philadelphia as Part of Deal for Kevin Kolb

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    Last summer Bleacher Report ran an article claiming trading for Kevin Kolb would be a disaster. I stand by the concerns in that article, mostly that the asking price was way too high. 

    There is still time for Kolb to prove himself in the desert, but the Cardinals must find some offensive line help in the middle rounds of the draft.

    There was one factor with the Cardinals acquiring Kolb:

    Others recognize the need to add someone to the lineup that will convince Larry Fitzgerald to stay beyond the 2011 season.  Some believe Kolb is the answer, and giving up a first round selection for Kolb would be the same as giving up a first round pick for Kolb and Fitzgerald.  If that is enough to convince Fitzgerald to stay, the trade is a value. 

    Shortly after acquiring Kolb, Fitzgerald did, in fact, sign a long-term extension. There is reason to believe that would not have happened without Kolb being acquired.

    There are still concerns that the Cardinals spent way to much on the contract for Kolb, and the financial terms are impacting the team's ability to sign other talent because of his cap hit. However, this franchise is built around Fitzgerald. 

    The trade for Kolb was worth it to keep Arizona's star at home.

Round 3, Pick 80: Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma

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    The Cardinals have pulled off one of the first major value picks in the 2012 NFL Draft.

    Jamell Fleming was my fifth-ranked corner and some analysts had him rated above Dre Kirkpatrick. I summarized him as follows:

    Fleming will attract the attention of defensive coordinators looking for a corner that excels in man coverage. He has an amazing backpedal that allows him to face the receiver and the play, allowing him to follow the quarterback and study how plays are developing. When needed, he turns his hips quickly to stay on his man downfield.

    Fleming should also transition well if asked to play zone. His ability to cover a lot of ground could make him an elite prospect in zone coverage, as he also transfers weight and direction quite well. This showed up on the field and in his shuttle time.

    This is a great pick for the Cardinals in terms of the player they acquired. He can be an impact player and will improve Arizona's secondary.

    The only concern is they still have not addressed the offensive line. Their eventual grade will depend on their ability to find a quality blocker later in the draft.

Round 4, Pick 112: Bobby Massie, OT, Mississippi

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    The Cardinals do recognize their need to add offensive linemen. It took them until Round 4, but there is a quality mix of players that were expected to be available here.

    Massie wasn't one of them.

    Bobby Massie is a big blocker at 6'6", 316 lbs. He was so solid at Ole' Miss that he was projected as a second-round pick.

    Arizona found great value with this pick and could have a quality starter on-board, improving their overall draft perception.

    CBS Sports sees great potential, but also has some concerns on his ability to play in the NFL:

    Positives: Prototypical size with long arms and big hands to be a starting NFL right tackle. Very good initial quickness off the snap; consistently among the first linemen off the ball regardless of the competition. Very good upper-body strength and good hand placement.

    Latches on to the defender and can control his opponent as long as he keeps his feet moving. Is surprisingly effective against speed rushers due to his length, balance and fluidity. Light on his feet for such a large man. Can knock defenders off the ball as a run-blocker. Combines quickness with power to create a surge.

    Negatives: Relied on his size, strength and athleticism. Hasn't shown a great deal of improvement, causing questions about whether his work ethic can ever match his physical talent to help him realize his vast potential. Long limbs give him a higher center of gravity and he struggles with pad level, losing the leverage battle.

    Stiff at the second level with only average short-area quickness to re-direct and hit the moving target. Lunges and winds up on the ground too often.

    The Cardinals are obviously banking on him living up to his potential.

Round 5, Pick 151: Cardinals Select Senio Kelemete, OL, Washington

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    The Cardinals continue to find value on the offensive line late in the draft. They were able to secure fourth-round talent in Senio Kelemete.

    After grabbing a tackle in Round 4, adding Kelemete creates some reason for optimism for Cardinal fans. Neither are sure-thing starters, but both can be coached up in the NFL and be serviceable starters.

    With the state of the Cardinal line over the last few seasons, serviceable is still an improvement.

    Kelemete was one of my favorite guard prospects in this draft, albeit a bit slanted given my familiarity with the Washington Huskies. He is a steal at this point in the draft and will bring a nasty streak to the Cardinal offensive line.

    Instead of just relying on my perspective, CBS Sports also speaks highly of Kelemete:

    POSITIVES: Versatile player who has started at a high level outside and inside for Washington. Good initial quickness to seal defenders from the action. Powerful hands which he uses well to get an initial jolt to the defender.

    Flashes some nastiness to his play and seems to enjoy the physicality of the trenches. Isn't satisfied with just blocking one man; will peel back and look for defenders pursuing from the backside, as well. Good lateral agility and balance to mirror the defender when protected, though he does not have the length or agility to remain at left tackle against NFL speed.

    Possesses light feet and the ability to get out and block at the second level. Was occasionally asked topull from left tackle and serve as Chris Polk's lead blocker, showing very good agility and physicality when meeting linebackers in the hole. Two-time team captain.

    NEGATIVES: While light on his feet for a guard prospect, Kelemete does not possess the range or size to remain outside against NFL speed. Has to do a better job of keeping his eyes up and feet moving on contact as he'll lose defenders too often when in position to control them by supplying a strong initial punch but failing to remain in control when doing so.

    Possesses good strength in his upper body but needs to continue to improve his core strength. Better suited to a zone blocking system due to his athleticism rather than simply driving defenders off the ball at this time.

    Speculation prior to the draft was that the Cardinals would take advantage of mid-round talent on the offensive line and re-tool skill positions early. Mission accomplished.

Round 6, Pick 177: Justin Bethel, CB, Presbyterian

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    Justin Bethel is a talented option that ended up not getting a shot at a FBS school coming out of high school. He showed well in college and the combine. Him being drafted in Round 6 isn't a surprise, but going back to the well at corner is.

Round 6, Pick 185: Ryan Lindley, QB, San Diego State

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    The Cardinals are showing they could be making a drastic decision at some point over the next year. They have two quarterbacks that will be battling in camp to be the starter in Kevin Kolb and John Skelton.

    Adding a quarterback is a bit of a surprise.

    However, the team may have a plan to move away from one of the two aforementioned throwers. Kolb will have $50 million remaining on his contract for 2013-16; the Cardinals have to be certain he is their future to part with that amount of money.

    Skelton's deal expires in 2013. If they aren't going to use him going forward, they may want to attempt to work out a trade with a team needing a backup or competition at quarterback.

    Either direction, the Cardinals will need a new backup in 2013.

    Lindley has great physical tools and is a strong thrower. However, he has a tendency to make poor decisions. 

    If his decision making tools can be sharpened and tuned he could become and NFL quarterback. He will also have to work on accuracy, as he occasionally throws balls that are well off the mark.

    In an article on 2012 draft prospects at quarterback, Lindley was deserving of mention.

    Anticipated Draft Position:  Sixth-Round Pick

    I really try to like Ryan Lindley as a draft prospect. He has a great arm and works out of a pro style offense. 

    That is about where the praise comes to an end.

    Lindley has struggled with accuracy issues in college. He is a bit slow, even for a quarterback. His production has also declined his senior season, which will raise a few red flags.

    This is the right place to draft Lindley, and he does have the tools to develop into an NFL quarterback.














































Round 7, Pick 221: Nate Potter, OT, Boise State

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    The Arizona Cardinals managed to find a solid prospect at a position of need in the seventh round of the draft. The fans can't ask for much more than that.

    Nate Potter was projected as a fifth- or sixth-round product and was a productive blocker in college. He'll be playing a tougher blend of competition in the NFL, but has the tools to make the step. 

    He started every game for Boise State at left tackle the last two years. He gets a good jump at the snap and can deliver a powerful blow at first contact. This aids him very well in run-blocking.

    Potter has solid mechanics and technique. He would have been ranked higher but concerns with him being undersized hindered his ranking. He was 6'6" and 303 lbs at the combine. His arms measured a solid 35".

Arizona Cardinals 2012 NFL Draft Report Card

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    Bleacher Report will be providing a grade for each pick and draft move. The Cardinals were judged in the first round on their ability to either grab a high-profile player.

    Later rounds looked at filling holes with players of value, and the team certainly managed to do so.

    Round 1: Cardinals Select Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

    Grade: A-

    Round 2: Cardinals Trade pick for Kevin Kolb

    Grade: B+

    Round 3: Cardinals Draft Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma

    Grade: A- (This could move to a D if Fleming can't get passed his legal issues).

    Round 4: Cardinals Draft Bobby Massie, OT, Mississippi

    Grade: A-

    Round 5: Cardinals draft Senio Kelemete, G, Washington

    Grade: A

    Round 6: Cardinals draft Justin Bethel, CB, Presbyterian

    Grade: C

    Round 6: Cardinals draft Ryan Lindley, QB, San Diego State

    Grade: B

    Round 7: Nate Potter, OT, Boise State

    Grade: A

    Overall Draft Grade: B+

    The primary outstanding issue for the Cardinals is at linebacker.