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Cardinals Gab Grades the Teams Picks in the 2011 Draft

By Abe Munch

1st – Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
2nd – Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
3rd – Rob Housler, TE, Florida Atlantic
4th – Sam Acho, DE/OLB, Texas
5th – Anthony Sherman, FB, Connecticut
6th – Quan Sturdivant, LB, North Carolina
6th- David Carter, DT, UCLA
7th- DeMarco Sampson, WR, San Diego State

Synopsis: The Cardinals did a very good job sticking to their board and not reaching for ‘need’ positions. The front office didn’t believe there was a quarterback available worthy of the 5th slot despite the obvious hole. Cornerback was less of a priority than outside linebacker but Patrick Petersen was worthy of the #1 overall selection. Arizona added good value in every slot while also filling holes on their roster.

Best Selection: Patrick Petersen. Darrelle Revis and Nnamdi Asomugha have shown that a cornerback who can close off their side of the field limits an offense while also improving the pass rush. Petersen is a better athlete with better size than both of those players, and paired with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the Arizona Cardinals could have the most athletic quarterback tandem in the league.

Biggest Risk: Ryan Williams. The Cardinals are only two years removed from spending a first round pick on Beanie Wells, and both runners have problems staying healthy. Tim Hightower has been productive in spurts and Ryan Williams didn’t seem to be a necessary pick here with other needs and players available that could fill those needs.

Sleeper: Quan Sturdivant. It wasn’t ability that caused Sturdivant to fall, but size and his role in specific defensive structures. Arizona will likely ask Sturdivant to play inside in their 3-4 alignment alongside Daryl Washington and Paris Lenon. Sturdivant has good instincts and attacks downhill, but will still need to add bulk to hold up inside; a reliable starter with time if he picks up the nuances of the system.

Grade: B
I really liked the Patrick Peterson and Sam Acho picks. They’ll both be productive early.

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