With the 2011 NFL Draft in the books, inevitably the immediate grades have come out. While they are a lot of fun to pick over, deep down we all know that it takes at least three years for a draft to develop. So with three years of game time experience lets look at the 2008 class. We'll take a look at each team's class individually, as a whole, and take a look at what they were saying immediately after the 2008 draft.
First up, the Arizona Cardinals!
Round 1 16(16) Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie CB Tennessee State Grade: A-
- A starter in year one and a star not long after that. DRC plays at a high level and was an injury scratch for the 2010 Pro Bowl
Round 2 19(50) Calais Campbell DE Miami(FL) Grade: B
- A starter since 2009, Campbell is a good starting end in the Cardinals 3-4. A solid starter for years to come.
Round 3 18(81) Early Doucet WR LSU Grade: C+
- Is generally the 3rd wide receiver on the field, but he has yet to play a whole season or break the 300 yard barrier
Round 4 17(116) Kenny Iwebema DE Iowa Grade: D
- A rarely used back-up with 2 career sacks. He accounted for one tackle in 2010.
Round 5 14(149) Tim Hightower RB Richmond Grade: B+
- Has been a part of the starting rotation since day one. Recent 1st and 2nd round selections will continue to diminish his role, but he has been productive when playing.
Round 6 19(185) Chris Harrington DE Texas A&M Grade: F
Round 7 18(225) Brandon Keith OT Northern Iowa Grade: D+
- Keith is still on the Cardinals roster, but is not listed on the two-deep
One Pro Bowler, 4 Starters, and 2 Back-ups - A solid, but not much better than average draft.
Overall Draft Grade: B-
Here is what Mel Kiper had to say after the 2008 draft:
Arizona Cardinals: GRADE: B-
I like CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but I thought Arizona would take a running back (Ray Rice?) in the second round. Instead, Arizona drafted DE Calais Campbell. If Campbell reverts back to his 2006 form, this will turn out to be a good pick. LSU WR Early Doucet will be a slot receiver and was a good third-round pick. I like RB Timothy Hightower, although he doesn't have a lot of speed. I like their sixth- and seventh-round picks (Christopher Harrington and Brandon Keith), but the Cardinals didn't get a quality running back to complement Edgerrin James, unless Hightower is able to play the part.
Here is what Pete Prisco had to say after the 2008 draft:
Best pick: They wanted Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and landed him with the 16th pick in the first round. He has the skills to start as a rookie.
Questionable move: Taking Miami defensive end Calais Campbell in the second round. What is he, an end or a tackle? If he's an end, he has to lose weight to become quicker. If he's a tackle, he needs to gain weight.
Second-day gem: Iowa defensive end Kenny Iwebema has injury issues that hurt his production, but when he is on the field he can be a solid defensive end. He could end up being better than Campbell.
Overall grade: B. They addressed the defensive side with three of their first four picks and then got receiver Early Doucet in the third round. Solid.