2024 Draft Grades

daves

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I think some grades have been mentioned in various threads, but wanted to create a thread just for draft grades / reviews.

In Monday's article in the Athletic, Dane Brugler wrote up his 2024 NFL Draft team-by-team rankings:
This is my spin on draft grades. After the NFL Draft each year, I rank my favorite (and least favorite) draft classes, from 1 to 32.

I don’t use any special formula or analytical metric to come up with the order — I simply go by which team got me the most pumped about their draft hauls. Obviously, teams with multiple early-round picks will show up higher in the rankings than those with fewer selections.

1. Chicago Bears
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
3. Detroit Lions
4. Philadelphia Eagles

5. Arizona Cardinals

Favorite pick: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

The unwritten goal for NFL teams is to come away from each draft with four starters. With 12 selections this year, there is a good chance the Cardinals exceed that number. There is no doubt that the Cardinals considered the other top receivers in this class or trade-down options, but ultimately, they weren’t going to overthink this selection. The No. 2 player on my board, Harrison has a skill set reminiscent of Larry Fitzgerald and will upgrade the Arizona offense immediately.

Day 3 pick who could surprise: Xavier Thomas, Edge, Clemson

The Cardinals addressed defensive end in Round 1 (Darius Robinson), but it wouldn’t be a shock if they get more immediate pass-rush production from Thomas. More of a subpackage rusher, he is straight-line explosive with active hands that can affect backfield action.

...

30. Cleveland Browns
31. Denver Broncos
32. Atlanta Falcons
 
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daves

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ArizonaSports.com collected draft grades from several sources: NFL Draft grades: Arizona Cardinals receive high marks for 2024 class

[Edited to add excerpts from the comments each evaluator made. Pretty much everyone praised Ossenfort for sticking and picking Harrison Jr., so I'll skip over those comments!]
The Ringer’s Danny Kelly
Grade: A+
"The Cardinals came into this draft with a ton of firepower, and GM Monti Ossenfort used his picks wisely.... Arizona turned around later in the first round and grabbed a long and powerful defensive lineman in Darius Robinson, who brings versatility and disruptiveness to their defensive front."

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.
Grade: A
"While the Cardinals surprised most everyone by winning four games last season, this is still a team with a below-average roster. They really needed a talent infusion in this draft, and they entered Thursday with 11 picks, tied for the most in the league. So, yes, general manager Monti Ossenfort could have traded down from No. 4 to add even more capital, but I like that he went with both the best prospect available and the team’s biggest need.

All in all, Ossenfort used 12 picks and hit all of the Cardinals’ top needs, including throwing four defensive backs at a porous pass D. This is a well-rounded and super-talented class."

Pro Football Network’s Cam Mellor
Grade: A
"Not only did the Cardinals have a massive haul of 12 picks, but they also hit on most of their picks.... Arizona refilled their talent pool and all their positions of need."

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco
Grade: A
"The Cardinals had a lot of ammunition with 12 picks and Monti Ossenfort used it well. I liked a lot of their picks.... They added a bunch of potential starters the rest of the way, giving this rising team a lot of talented players. They also added four defensive backs, which was a must."

Fox Sports’ Eric Williams
Grade: A
"Ossenfort’s moves helped Arizona secure a handful of impact players, led by the best receiver in this year’s draft.... Arizona drafted much-needed pass rush help in Missouri DL Darius Robinson and Clemson’s Xavier Thomas. The Cardinals also added an explosive running back in Florida State’s Trey Benson and two cover corners in Rutgers’ Max Melton and Boston College’s Elijah Jones."

CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso
Grade: A-
"Holy gigantic class for the Cardinals. But I love it. The more rolls at the table, the better.... Robinson can make noise Year 1 if he’s deployed inside more than on the edge, and Trey Benson was my RB1 in this class. So fast and elusive.

Reiman is enormous and provided glimmers of receiving prowess, and the Melton and Jones pairing gives the Cardinals two highly explosive outside cornerbacks. Thomas can be a useful situational outside rusher, and Jones has starter upside. Arizona added athletic specimens at a variety of positions to a roster that desperately needed an infusion of sheer talent. Go have a beer, or two, Monti Ossenfort. On me. You crushed this draft."

NFL.com’s Chad Reuter
Grade: A-
"The Cardinals did a nice job over the first two days of the draft. They acquired picks via trade, found home-run hitters on offense in Harrison and Benson and added an inside/outside pass-rush threat in Robinson. They landed athletic corners in Melton and Elijah Jones, as well. Adams and Reiman also met needs, though they were picked a bit earlier than I expected.

Taylor-Demerson was my pick for the Cardinals in the fourth round of my seven-round mock draft because of his quickness as a slot defender and tackling ability. Thomas is athletic enough to stand up on the edge for the Cardinals, while Christian Jones and Palmer have the talent to take back-end roster spots and compete for playing time down the road."

SI.com’s Matt Verderame
Grade: B+
"Arizona dominated the middle rounds and did a great job of obtaining some players who will compete for starting jobs before the projected talent cutoff, which drops significantly after Round 3."

Yahoo! Sports’ Charles McDonald
Grade: B+
"They took some chances with the selections of Max Melton, Trey Benson and Xavier Thomas, giving them more credible prospects to continue this rebuild. The Cardinals might not win the division this season, but this draft class should help them get to competing for the playoffs soon, especially if Kyler Murray can build on his late-season resurgence."

Bleacher Report staff
Grade: B+
"Missouri DL Darius Robinson may have been a reach at No. 27 - he was the 45th-ranked prospect on the B/R board - but his ability to fill a variety of roles along the defensive front will aid head coach Jonathan Gannon’s defense."
 
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CardsSunsDbacks

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Would rather see good grades than bad grades. Hopefully we are still getting good grades for this draft 3 years from now..
 

CardsSunsDbacks

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Only looked at the Kiper grades as I don't feel like spending forever looking it up.

2019 B+, 2020 B, 2021 B-, 2022 B, 2023 A-.

The way I see NFL draft grades is A=A, B=C and C=F since they pretty much never give out anything under a C.
 

oaken1

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Im gonna give us a solid A-

I think we pulled a fat stack of starters out of this draft. some who will start right away and others who will be entrenched before the rookie contract expires.

Maserati Marv slides right into X1... he is a custom fit...theres a learning curve even with a HoF daddy... so I aint expecting 1400 yards and 15 TD's...plus,as he is the only "name" he is gonna draw coverage even as a rook...900 yds and 10 TD's would be a fantastic rookie season.
Starter.

Darius Robinson...gives us much needed length along the defensive front. Folks can debate what they consider a starter all day but Im pretty sure Darius will be in for base defense then slide inside for nickle...40% snaps seems like a low estimate... but rookies tire out after 12 or 13 weeks and need some rest to get their second wind.
Starter.

Max Melton....tenacious. Dude sticks to a WR like a fly to a pic nik hotdog... generally two corners and two safeties are starters...but with the rabid abuse of nickle defense maybe three corners...I dunno... but until he proves he dont belong in the league Mad Max is our guy on the outside. Starter.

Thats three starters in three picks...great start for Monti.

Trey Benson...with RBBC RB by comitee..its hard to not consider them all starters... but Conner is clearly our guy at this point. However...if we look like we are in the WC hunt later in the season I would expect to see Benson and Carter get an increased load as they try to keep JC fresh and healthy for the playoff... in which case at seasons end...the number of touches between Conner and Benson might be closer than we expect at this point.
Rotation/future starter?

Isaiah Adams... it took our LG by commitee about 14 weeks to not be putrid. Go back and look at the 2022 tape for Adams and it seems pretty obvious that his worst case scenario is a better LG than those guys and he has room to improve. I expect him to earn the position in camp and keep it.
Starter.

Tip Reiman.... JTT(Just the Tip) is a beast. a tremendous blocker with very sure hands. Not as graceful as Trey McBride but when called upon could actually be just as productive... and he is a blocker first. TE's traditionally take a long time to develop into NFL players...to counter that I expect JG and the boys to keep JTT focused on what he does best...blocking...work on the rest later. Then you get into,..how many TE's are starters? We run a lot of multi TE sets..but its still less than 50% of the snaps... however, in 12 and 13 personnel JTT is the intended player to be in the lineup..he isnt backing anyone up..he is our starting #2 TE/Blocking TE...Wiggins is the backup.
Starter

Elijah Jones. Solid athlete with ball skills... kind expect to see him on the field right away as the nickle back...he is an older prospect so the biggest jump we will see from him is from coaching and experience. is a nickle/slot corner considered a starter? Because I think he will work his way into starting there.

This is where I see the rookie season starters ending...7 picks..each should make major contributions this year and only get better over the next couple seasons

Dadrion Demerson. safety with speed and ball skills.I expect he will see about 25% of the snaps this season.

Xavier Thomas. Linebacker.... lots of backers come into the league late and turn out great...sip a glass of hopium laced kool aid on this guy, the potential is there.

Christian Jones. not a heralded OT but a solid player none the less. IMO he was picked to take over at RT when Jonah Williams two year contract is up. He might just make it.

Tay Juan Parker....seen guys debating Greg Dortch...Parker may just be the guy who takes his spot. Slot is generally reserved for either a big possession receiver or a Burner...Parker is a burner. He came out of UAB...so he will have to adjust to the higher level of competition a bit more than Marv... but he could be our WR3 OTF

Jaden Davis... I think his best shot is at safety but he should hang around as a backup DB
 

Krangodnzr

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Im gonna give us a solid A-

I think we pulled a fat stack of starters out of this draft. some who will start right away and others who will be entrenched before the rookie contract expires.

Maserati Marv slides right into X1... he is a custom fit...theres a learning curve even with a HoF daddy... so I aint expecting 1400 yards and 15 TD's...plus,as he is the only "name" he is gonna draw coverage even as a rook...900 yds and 10 TD's would be a fantastic rookie season.
Starter.

Darius Robinson...gives us much needed length along the defensive front. Folks can debate what they consider a starter all day but Im pretty sure Darius will be in for base defense then slide inside for nickle...40% snaps seems like a low estimate... but rookies tire out after 12 or 13 weeks and need some rest to get their second wind.
Starter.

Max Melton....tenacious. Dude sticks to a WR like a fly to a pic nik hotdog... generally two corners and two safeties are starters...but with the rabid abuse of nickle defense maybe three corners...I dunno... but until he proves he dont belong in the league Mad Max is our guy on the outside. Starter.

Thats three starters in three picks...great start for Monti.
I expect these three to be starters pretty much right away, or play close to starter snaps immediately.
Trey Benson...with RBBC RB by comitee..its hard to not consider them all starters... but Conner is clearly our guy at this point. However...if we look like we are in the WC hunt later in the season I would expect to see Benson and Carter get an increased load as they try to keep JC fresh and healthy for the playoff... in which case at seasons end...the number of touches between Conner and Benson might be closer than we expect at this point.
Rotation/future starter?
Future starter who will get 5-10 touches per game.
Isaiah Adams... it took our LG by commitee about 14 weeks to not be putrid. Go back and look at the 2022 tape for Adams and it seems pretty obvious that his worst case scenario is a better LG than those guys and he has room to improve. I expect him to earn the position in camp and keep it.
Starter.
I think he'll be starting by mid season. I wasn't immediately excited about him until I read Jim Nagy's comments, and now I'm pumped up. I think there is an outside chance he starts early though.
Tip Reiman.... JTT(Just the Tip) is a beast. a tremendous blocker with very sure hands. Not as graceful as Trey McBride but when called upon could actually be just as productive... and he is a blocker first. TE's traditionally take a long time to develop into NFL players...to counter that I expect JG and the boys to keep JTT focused on what he does best...blocking...work on the rest later. Then you get into,..how many TE's are starters? We run a lot of multi TE sets..but its still less than 50% of the snaps... however, in 12 and 13 personnel JTT is the intended player to be in the lineup..he isnt backing anyone up..he is our starting #2 TE/Blocking TE...Wiggins is the backup.
Starter
Naw he's a rotation guy, but I think he plays quite a bit and he is more of a future pick. You trade for an extra third, it means you can get a high end role player which is what I expect from him.
Elijah Jones. Solid athlete with ball skills... kind expect to see him on the field right away as the nickle back...he is an older prospect so the biggest jump we will see from him is from coaching and experience. is a nickle/slot corner considered a starter? Because I think he will work his way into starting there.
Jones is boundary CB #3. Injury insurance and performance insurance. I think he still gets to play here and there and factors as a special teamer.
This is where I see the rookie season starters ending...7 picks..each should make major contributions this year and only get better over the next couple seasons

Dadrion Demerson. safety with speed and ball skills.I expect he will see about 25% of the snaps this season.
3rd safety when they roll out looks that call for three safeties, and he gets a shot to replace Budda.
Xavier Thomas. Linebacker.... lots of backers come into the league late and turn out great...sip a glass of hopium laced kool aid on this guy, the potential is there.
Edge rotational guy. He brings much needed speed.
Christian Jones. not a heralded OT but a solid player none the less. IMO he was picked to take over at RT when Jonah Williams two year contract is up. He might just make it.
OT swing back up.
Tay Juan Parker....seen guys debating Greg Dortch...Parker may just be the guy who takes his spot. Slot is generally reserved for either a big possession receiver or a Burner...Parker is a burner. He came out of UAB...so he will have to adjust to the higher level of competition a bit more than Marv... but he could be our WR3 OTF
Tejhuan is a developmental WR. Probably ends up being WR #4 or 5.
Jaden Davis... I think his best shot is at safety but he should hang around as a backup DB
He's clearly an NFL nickel. Way too small for safety. CB #5.
 

Proteus

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I like the overall Cards draft and give it an A/A-. :D :thumbup: I think there's a good chance that we end up with 6 or 7 starters from this draft (not immediately though). :thewave:
The wide receiver and edge groups still concern me but this seems like a roster that could win 8 or 9 games! :D:cheers:
 

BACH

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Naw he's a rotation guy, but I think he plays quite a bit and he is more of a future pick. You trade for an extra third, it means you can get a high end role player which is what I expect from him.
I Think he Will be the one having most playing time outside the top Two Pick from the start. We play so much 12, that Reiman Will be playing a lot. He is already an awesome blocker. The question marks were in the passing game.
 
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Some more interesting takes on the Cardinals' draft: in today's The Athletic, Mike Sando gathered "unfiltered thoughts" on on the NFL Draft from anonymous NFL execs. Here's what they had to say about the Cards' draft:
This draft was an extension of the 2023 version for the Cardinals.

It’s time for an accounting.

Arizona held the third pick in the 2023 draft and could have selected elite defenders Will Anderson Jr. or Devon Witherspoon. Instead, the Cardinals traded the No. 3 pick (and No. 105) to Houston for selections netting six players after additional trades:
“I’d rather have Will Anderson, but you have to know your team, too,” an exec said. “They might have wasted four years of Will Anderson while constructing their roster.”

The Cardinals emerged from this draft with seven of the first 90 selections, most since the 1991 Cowboys.

“That is well-played because they need as many NFL-quality players as they can get,” another exec said.

The haul could have been stronger if Houston had not outperformed expectations in 2023, leaving Arizona with the 27th pick (Robinson) instead of the top-10 selection many forecast.

Arizona played it straight this year, taking receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. at No. 4 instead of moving back and/or selecting a different wideout. Choosing a receiver other than Harrison, built up for months as the top receiver, could have heightened risk.

“If (Harrison) turns out to be less than what you hoped, no one is going to say you tried to outsmart yourself,” a third exec said. “If you bust going away from the consensus best player at a position, people will say, ‘You *******, everyone knew Marvin Harrison was going to be great.'”
 

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