Football Memo

NFC West Draft Grades: Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals will be picking from the twentieth position in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Safety Deone Bucannon

Safety Deone Bucannon

Arizona Cardinals
With their first selection, the Cardinals brought in an enforcer to patrol the secondary. Deone Bucannon is an old-style safety, in the mold of a Brian Dawkins or Dashon Goldson. He’s an intimidating hitter, but was also effective coming up with interceptions. He’ll never be an outstanding man-to-man coverage safety, but will likely be used as an in-the-box defender, who also has the versatility to play deep on occasion. The Cardinals already have a good defense, and Bucannon should only help. Tight end Troy Niklas was Arizona’s second selection (52nd overall), and fills a need. Niklas is a dual-threat tight end, and can play either in-line, or split out wide. Niklas could contribute early, but has a chance to be a very good tight end after a few seasons of seasoning. In the third round, the Cardinals grabbed defensive end Kareem Martin (84th overall), and receiver John Brown (91st overall). Martin will immediately gain a role as a rotational defensive end. He is equally efficient against both the pass and run, but needs plenty of work to become a force at the NFL level. If he gets stronger to hold up against the run, and adds some refinement to his pass-rushing skills, Martin will become well worth a third-round selection. Brown is a small, but lightning-quick receiver that projects to the slot for the Cardinals. Arizona has Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd on the outside, and Brown should join Ted Ginn Jr. as the third and fourth receivers. The Cardinals added depth with their remaining selections, bring in developmental quarterback, Logan Thomas (4th round), defensive end Ed Stinson (5th round) and receiver Walter Powell (6th round). I really liked what the Cardinals accomplished in this draft; though I’m a bit surprised they didn’t upgrade the offensive line, which is one of the weaknesses of this much-improved roster. Had they brought in a tackle or guard, this grade would be higher.
Grade: B

Arizona Cardinals – 2014 Draft Selections
1 (27) Deone Bucannon, DB, Washington State
2 (52) Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
3 (84) Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina
3 (91) John Brown, WR, Pittsburg State
4 (120) Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
5 (160) Ed Stinson, DE, Alabama
6 (196) Walter Powell, WR, Murray State

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