The Arizona Cardinals have received very high praise from all over the NFL for what they accomplished in the 2013 NFL draft. Media and NFL personnel agree, Steve Keim had a great first draft as the Cardinals GM. However, as with any draft, there is a potential for picks to bust. While we really can’t make a determination until three to four years from now, here is what I feel were the Cardinals three worst draft picks this season.
(NOTE: I know some were probably expecting Tyrann Mathieu to be on this list, but with his relationship with Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals strong veteran presence in the locker room and on the coaching staff, I thought the Tyrann Mathieu pick was one of the Cardinals best.)
1. Earl Watford- G/C James Madison- Round 4 Pick 116:
Watford came into the draft process relatively unknown and from a small school. But after a strong showing at the senior bowl and then at the combine Watford was able to boost his status and get into the fourth round of the draft. Like many I had to do my research on Watford as I knew nothing about him before the Cardinals picked him. After reading about him I liked him as a player more and more. However, I still feel he may have been a slight reach, and also felt like the Cardinals could have addressed the tackle position here after already taking Jonathan Cooper in the first round.
2. Andre Ellington- RB Clemson- Round 6 Pick 187:
Ellington had a very productive career at Clemson and was projected to go as high as the late second, early third round, so needless to say Keim and co. got great value with this pick. Ellington possesses good speed and very good hands, so he could play a big role on third down and on special teams. However, the reason I listed this pick was because the Cardinals had just used their fifth round pick on running back Stepfan Taylor from Stanford. While Ellington did provide great value in the sixth round, I felt that the Cardinals could have gotten just as good value, and filled a bigger need by taking University of Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo who was taken just four picks later by the Washington Redskins.
3. Ryan Swope- WR Texas A&M- Round 6 pick 174:
Again, Steve Keim was able to find great value in the sixth round with this pick. Swope was a very productive player at Texas A&M. He averaged 78 receptions per year over his four year career, and provides great speed in the slot to compliment the big Cardinal receivers like Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd outside. However, after suffering multiple concussions during his college career, Swope reportedly is still dealing with the effects of his previous concussions. Swope, as with any player, does the Cardinals no good if he is constantly in the training room as the Cardinals have seen first hand with players like Kevin Kolb, Ryan Williams, and Beanie Wells. I think it was probably worth the risk in the sixth round as Swope is a very talented receiver. But if he cannot stay healthy, he will be a waste of a pick.
At this point, it is so hard to judge a draft class as we have not even seen them play a preseason game yet, much less make an impact when the games count. However, I, like many others, loved what Steve Keim and the rest of the organization was able to do in the draft. Only time will tell if these picks are able to pan out.