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Grading the Arizona Cardinals’ 2014 NFL Draft

May 15th, 2014 at 5:41 AM
By Steve Smith

'NFL Draft' photo (c) 2011, Zennie Abraham - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
The 2014 NFL Draft is in the books and the Arizona Cardinals addressed a variety of needs to improve a squad that finished 10-6 and were in the playoff hunt until the last game of the 2013 season.

Who better to grade the Red Birds' draft then Mel Kiper, Jr., the 53-year-old ESPN draft guru. The Baltimore, MD native has been on the job since 1984 and is an iconic figure at this point in time.

Kiper, Jr. gave Arizona an overall grade of B for this year's draft. That's a solid grade and seems quite accurate.

Here is Kiper's analysis of the Cardinals' draft via arizonasports.com:

The Cardinals did pretty well, and hit some needs. If you look across the NFC West, you see safety combinations that balance a big hitter with a guy that can really run, move around, cover the slot and make plays. Last year the Cardinals added Tyrann Mathieu, who was fantastic as a rookie before the ACL injury, and this year they added a hitter in Deone Bucannon. The Cardinals moved down, and that made what you could call a slight reach on Bucannon perfectly reasonable. I list OLB as a need here, but that could also be DE because the Cardinals will mix their base fronts, and an athlete like Kareem Martin is a good fit. He's a better athlete than he is a performer, but he could be good. Bruce Arians absolutely adored Heath Miller in Pittsburgh, and might see some of what he loved about Miller in Troy Niklas. John Brown was a guy I really liked because of the explosiveness — witness the 4.34 40 time — and he could become a solid third WR and also take return reps, preserving Mathieu and Patrick Peterson. Logan Thomas is a great developmental shot to take. Bruce Arians worked out Thomas in March, and loves the tools Thomas has. Will Thomas improve his accuracy? That's the question, and it's not at all easy to say he will, because accuracy and ball placement aren't things that often improve a great deal. At worst, he's Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson in practice because he can simulate that kind of athleticism.

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Tags: Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Bruce Arians, Deone Bucannon, Football, John Brown, Jr, Logan Thomas, Mel Kiper, NFL, Patrick Peterson, Troy Niklas, Tyrann Mathieu

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