Digging Deeper with the 2014 Arizona Cardinals Draft Class

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By now if you are a Cardinals fanatic or any NFL fanatic of any kind you have probably seen and read a million initial grades and reviews by every NFL analyst, talent scout and blogger that is worth their salt (and a few that probably aren’t) giving their analysis of each teams draft grades and which teams “won” the draft. Although it is almost impossible to avoid peeking at a few of these articles or watching the omnipresent Todd McShay or Mel Kiper give their analysis, the fact of the matter is the exercise is mostly futile as no one really knows how well they drafted in a specific class until a couple years down the line.

With that being said I thought instead of giving you my draft grades and spewing out my synopsis of what different draft evaluators have said about each selection, I thought I would do a little research and give you some nuggets of information and numbers that are relevant to the Cardinals 2014 NFL Draft selections.

Here are some numbers that describe the Cardinals draft picks in 2014:

75: That is average height in inches (or 6’3”) of the players the Cardinals drafted in this year’s draft. The Cardinals drafted three players that measure 6’6” including tight end Troy Niklas, defensive end Kareem Martin, and quarterback Logan Thomas. At the very least the Cardinals drafted a great pickup basketball team.

14: That is the number of players the Cardinals have drafted in their past two drafts that were team captains on their college teams. That’s 14 of 16 players drafted in the Keim era as GM. It may be coincidence but it seems that having a locker room of good character guys is very important to building a winning organization in the eyes of Keim and the Cardinals personnel department.

27: That is the number of bench press reps at 225 lbs. by 2nd round draft pick Troy Niklas at the combine. That was the top number for any tight end at the 2014 NFL Draft combine.

4.34: That was 3rd round selection and wide receiver out of Pittsburgh St. John Brown’s 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combine. That was the 3rd fastest time in 2014 behind Dri Archer 4.26 and Brandin Cooks 4.33

60: As in 60 MPH, that was how fast Cardinals 4th round selection Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas could throw a football. The fastest recorded velocity in the 8 years they have tested that at the scouting combine. The other guys who have had the most zip on their throws in the past few years include: Colin Kaepernick, Tyler Bray, Zac Dysert, Brandon Weeden, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Mallett and Austin Davis. As you can see, having an extreme amount of zip on your ball doesn’t itself equate to success in the NFL.

55.9%: That was the completion percentage of Logan Thomas in 3 years as starter at Virginia Tech. As a frame of reference Ryan Lindley’s college completion percentage was 55.5% in college (not an encouraging sign). Here are the completion percentages of some other notable players that Logan Thomas is compared to because of his size and skillset: Terrelle Pryor 60.9%, Cam Newton 60.0%.

36.5:  That was the vertical leap at the NFL Scouting Combine for 6’6” Logan Thomas. That combined with his 4.61 40-time means that out of all prospects over the past 5 years or so Logan Thomas’s combine numbers most closely aligned to Jimmy Graham, hmmmm…. If Thomas doesn’t develop as a quarterback he may have the natural abilities to develop into a nightmarish tight end in the NFL.

24: Troy Niklas was the 24th ranked offensive lineman prospect in the country in his high school class and was initially recruited as an outside linebacker at Notre Dame. This unique background, size, toughness and seemingly limitless potential as a top blocking tight end and good intermediate receiving target is exactly why Bruce Arians was salivating about the prospects of drafting Niklas. He should be a key contributor as an extra blocker and a receiving threat in the Cardinals power running packages, a role backup tackle Bobby Massie filled last year.

3: That is how many seasons 6th round pick Walt Powell lead Murray St. in receiving

33 3/4: That is the arm length of 5th round pick out of Alabama Ed Stinson. Stinson was a leader at Alabama is seen as being able to play all three position in a “30” front of a 3-4 defense. Making him a potentially valuable piece for the Cardinals defensive line.

11.5: That is how many sacks 1st Team All-ACC and 3rd round pick Kareem Martin had at North Carolina last season. Martin projects as a good run-stopping end.

6’1” 212 4.49, 6’3” 213 4.51:  These are the respective combine measurements for Cardinals 1st round pick Deone Bucannon and former Pro Bowl Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson. Bucannon has the same gritty, “head hunting” mentality and could develop into the next Adrian Wilson in the desert.

36: That is the number of combined Pro Bowl seasons for NFL safeties drafted since 2000 who were a 1st Team All-American in college like Deone Bucannon. Notable names include Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, Earl Thomas, Roy Williams, Antrel Rolle, Sean Taylor and Eric Weddle.

11: That is how many small school wide receivers have been drafted in the 3rd or 4th round of the NFL Draft from 2004-2013, much like Cardinals 3rd round selection Division II receiver John Brown. Notable success stories include T.Y Hilton, ( the player most often compared to Brown, including by former Colts and current Cardinals coach Bruce Arians) Cecil Shorts, Emmanuel Sanders, Andre Roberts, Jacoby Jones and Laurent Robinson. Let’s hope Brown follows this trend.

There you have it a completely different and unique way to view the Cardinals 2014 draft class by the numbers. Here’s to hoping some of these guys can have a real impact on the field and in the Cardinals organization in the coming years.

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  • Mike Jones

    Interesting article. Keep up the good work!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you I appreciate that!