Arizona Cardinals 2017 NFL Draft: Analytics Evaluation

The Arizona Cardinals had a good draft if you view a good draft as one filled with starters and a few potentially high quality contributors. But let’s start with Temple’s Haason Reddick.

Reddick’s production is impressive as a 3-4 outside linebacker to 4-3 Sam linebacker. Which is the role I believe he will eventually blossom into.

His natural ability to cover on film is probably why they drafted him to bolster their linebacker corps. But Reddick’s best usage should be similar to Jamie Collins as a recent example.

That linebacker who plays close to line of scrimmage to blitz and has enough speed to cover the flats/seams if needed. This brings us to his athleticism overall.

Reddick has plenty of athleticism to fit whatever role you want him to. However, to maximize his skill set he should be a pass rushing linebacker that could turn him into a budding star.

Next up is Washington’s Budda Baker. His biggest issue is only production.

Baker has above average production, but he didn’t meet elite production thresholds. An inverse of T.J. Ward is the best way to describe Budda Baker.

And compared to Tyrann Mathieu, there are similarities. But Mathieu had significantly higher solo tackle market share than Baker.

The only big positive about Baker is his athleticism is very similar to Eric Weddle. Their production doesn’t compare, but this just shows the athletic upside that Baker can bring to the table.

Ultimately you should expect Baker to be a T.J. Ward light contributor with a decent chance to become a Pro Bowl outlier due to his athleticism and age. Not a bad pick, but there were many defensive backs with higher upside potential at that spot.

Now we have Chad Williams, wide receiver from Grambling State. Continuing the trend of this Arizona organization of taking small school talents in Day 2.

And in this case, I really like the player and his potential. The best aspect to consider with Williams is his athleticism.

Williams is a tremendous athlete with near elite explosiveness and speed. Coupled with his good production at the FCS level, he’d be a perfect replacement for Michael Floyd.

Then we get to Dorian Johnson, offensive guard from Pittsburgh. He’s one of my favorite guards on film.

But testing wasn’t as kind to him. Johnson has elite explosiveness for his size, but it would be unprecedented for him to become a starter based on his flexibility score.

There are enough positives on film and his explosiveness score is high enough that I could see outlier potential in Johnson. However, Johnson does have some bust potential.

Moving onto to Will Holden, offensive tackle of Vanderbilt. He is purely a zone blocking tackle only.

His significantly below average speed and below average flexibility will make him a liability against most athletic Edge types. So I see him at best a reserve to spot starter only.

The Cardinals followed Holden with North Carolina’s T.J. Logan. His production is only backup to committee level.

But he does have some elite athleticism marks to his game. And compared to Saints’ earlier pick of Alvin Kamara, Logan is superior as an athlete and production wise.

And to finish the class, the Cardinals selected Johnathan Ford, DS, Auburn. Ford’s production is not winning him any awards.

However, on film he was a versatile defensive back who played a similar role to Jabrill Peppers at Michigan as a Edge safety. Ford could at worst be a versatile backup, and at best a long-term starting nickel defender.

In conclusion, I like the Arizona Cardinals’ draft class. I didn’t like it based on value and maximizing potential.

However, they walked away with a decent amount of starters. And I think the class replaces what they lost in free agency.

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