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 Arizona Cardinals Draft Review


Team Needs:  S OLB CB


Selections:


Rd 1. 29 Robert Nkemdiche DT Ole Miss

Rd 3. 92 Brandon Williams CB Texas A&M

Rd 4. 128 Evan Boehm C Missouri

Rd 5. 167 Marquai Christian Midwestern State

Rd 5. 170 Cole Toner OT Harvard

Rd 6. 205 Harlan Miller CB Southeastern Louisiana


Recap:

A benefit of picking late is that team’s have greater permission to take a risk on a great player, with huge upside, without risking a premium contract. Such is the case with Robert Nkemdiche. The Ole Miss defensive tackle would have, and probably should have, been a top ten selection but concerns about his off field behavior, and on field effort, led him to plummet to the bottom of the first round. Nkemdiche has all the talent in the world and the veteran Cardinal defense should help him learn to make better decisions. He’s still a risky selection in the first round, although one worth taking for Arizona. Brandon WIlliams has great speed and athleticism but his tape shows a very unpolished, albeit talented, cornerback. His reaction times are inconsistent - he struggles with route recognition - and his recovery speed isn’t good enough to overcome his lapses in coverage. If he can develop the ability to decipher double moves and fake outs, however, he has the potential to be a great NFL cornerback. Evan Boehm is a blue collar center that could develop into a starter for the team. He shows the ability to turn his man in run blocking situations and plays with an impressive physicality. Boehm is a great value at 128. Marquai Christian was a productive small school player that looks limited to an in the box role. Unfortunately, he is a little small for that position in the NFL. He’ll need to earn his keep by playing special teams at the outset of his career. Cole TOner is an athletic offensive tackle that has the quickness to stay with elite pass rushers. Like many late round linemen he has a lot to learn but he is well worth the 5th round selection. He should, at worst, find a home on the practice squad. Harlan Miller is another practice squad candidate. Miller has great size and speed but the Cardinals defensive backfield is stacked with talent and he’ll have a hard time earning a roster spot without excelling on special teams.

Analysis:

  1. The SEC seems to always have the most players drafted, and this year was no exception, and the Cardinals spent their first three selections on SEC players.

  2. With a playoff team the Cardinals don’t need a lot of immediate help. They also had few selections, all of which were near the end of each round. Choosing to take fliers on players with a lot of upside is an oft used strategy. Doing that with each of your picks is….bold.

  3. Other than Nkemdiche it’s tough to see anyone of these players making an immediate impact in 2016. The contract status of their offensive linemen and the age of their defensive backfield might buy some time for these players to develop. The Cardinals could have no starters from this draft in 2016 and as many as 4 in 2017.

Grade: C


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