Grading Arizona Cardinals 2014 Draft Class

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Sep 8, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals safety Deone Bucannon (36) against the San Diego Chargers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Though they’ve only played nine games at most, it is worth looking back to see how the Cardinals 2014 draft group has performed up to this point 

The draft is an important thing for every team. The future of the league at any given position can pop up in any year, in any draft class, with any pick. For the Cardinals, they’ve had a pretty solid few drafts over the past few years. How has the 2014 draft class held up?

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Deone Bucannon (First round)

The Cardinals traded down to 27th overall to get this pick, and I’ll be honest, I had barely heard of Bucannon when the Cardinals opted to take him. The pick did make sense though. The Cardinals had Tyrann Mathieu and Rashad Johnson, but needed another safety with the ability to make some big hits and help on elements like  tight end coverage.

After nine games and five starts, Bucannon has fit that bill well. He’s not blowing minds, but with 44 tackles, one sack, two passes defensed, and a fumble recovery, his stats show that he has proved that he is worth the pick used on him. He has good instincts in stopping the run, making him an important contributor in the Cards nearly impenetrable run defense. As he did in college, he also delivers a few big hits.

Grade: B+

Troy Niklas (Second round) 

Over the last few years, the Cardinals tight ends have not been able to get involved in the passing offense much. The primary use of them has been blocking.When the Cardinals drafted Troy Niklas out of Notre Dame, it was clear they wanted to continue that.

Niklas has unfortunately been unable to contribute much. He’s played in six  games with two catches for 33 yards.  A high ankle sprain kept him off the filed for a few weeks, which limits how much analysis can really been done.

He’s still got the athleticism and size that compelled Arizona to draft him. His help in blocking has yielded some benefits. Still, the evolution of his raw talent has been hindered by injury, but that’s not to say he can;t grow into a proven, solid NFL product.

Grade: C-

Kareem Marton (Third round)

Martin has shown a little  bit of pass rushing talent, but hasn’t been consistently on the field. Eight tackles and one sack is not a very good sample size. He has played in eight games though, so he has had some opportunity to contribute.

He has a great vertical height. and good speed for pursuing rushers and mobile quarterbacks. He just needs more time to show that he can make something of it.

Grade: D+