Background: Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee
ESPN’s Mike Clay recently posted his post-draft position rankings. Let’s take a close look at how he rates and ranks the Cardinals position groups. As you can see, I made an attempt to ask Mike why he rates the Cardinals’ safety group, considered by a number of us as being worthy of a top 3 ranking in the NFL, as below average.
Thanks for these superb charts, Mike. One question about your grade for the Arizona Cardinals’ safety tandem of 2nd Team All-Pro Budda Baker and ascending star Jalen Thompson. Why is your grade so low?
— Walter B J Mitchell (@WBJMItch) May 2, 2022
If you would like to check out Ourlad’s current depth chart for the Cardinals, they do a super job:
- QB: 2.9 (10th) —- FAIR (This is right about where Kyler Murray has graded thus far)
- RB: 1.3 (22nd) —- FAIR (The depth behind James Conner is uncertain, as of yet)
- WR: 3.8 (3rd) —- ENCOURAGING (Hopkins’ absence affects this high of a ranking)
- TE: 3.4 (6th) —- FAIR (Who would have thought a year ago that TE would be graded this high? And there is potential for this group to ascend into the top 3)
- OL: 1.5 (28th) —- QUESTIONABLE (18th in pass blocking, 31st in run blocking, per PFF, but 5th in pass blocking and 24th in run blocking in 2020 —- 4 of 5 starters remain)
- DI: 2.4 (14th) —— FAIR (J.J. Watt is a significant factor here)
- EDGE: 1.3 (24th) —- FAIR (Unproven youth behind Markus Golden)
- LB: 3.0 (9th) —- ENCOURAGING (Clay must see the potential of Simmons/Collins tandem)
- CB: 0.1 (32nd) —-FAIR (no proven veteran on roster as of yet)
- S: 2.0 (17th) —- QUESTIONABLE (The Cardinals’ pass coverage struggles are affecting this grade, no question. But, Budda Baker is a 2nd team All-Pro and Jalen Thompson is an ascending talent who has not gained national attention as of yet —- if one asks WRs and TEs around the league what safety tandems are the most intimidating, one would imagine that Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson would garner a number of votes)
- Total Ranking: 17th
- Offensive Ranking: 9th
- Defensive Ranking: 26th
- These overall rankings are reasonable, considering the Cardinals young talent is still developing. If the young talent emerges this year, then those rankings could look a whole lot different this year.
What are your reactions to Mike Clay’s rankings?