Arizona Cardinals 2017 NFL Draft retrospective

Arizona Cardinals, NFL Draft Retrospective

How should the Arizona Cardinals feel about their 2017 NFL Draft class after three years? We take a deep dive into it.

Going into the 2017 season, the Arizona Cardinals were a year removed from the 2015 NFC Championship games. As time passed, they found themselves with more and more needs. With the 2017 season on the horizon, there was already a feeling it was time to start thinking about replacing the aging Carson Palmer at quarterback. However, the Cardinals felt they could keep riding that horse and focused on other needs on both sides of the ball.

The Cardinals passed on guys like DeShaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. Houston and Kansas City jumped in front of them, so the Cardinals went and took care of other needs, completely ignoring the quarterback position — something we gathered didn’t make then head coach Bruce Arians happy. Turns out he wanted a quarterback based on comments made recently.

Original Grade

FanSided: A

“Reddick is a great fit for what the Cardinals want to do on defense. From Chandler Jones to Deone Bucannon and Tyrann Mathieu they have players at every level who can perform multiple roles and show a variety of alignments. Reddick absolutely adds to this with his versatility.”

Draft Class

Round 1 (No. 13)

Haason Reddick

LB, Owls

CURRENT TEAM: Arizona Cardinals

Reddick was a highly touted, hard hitter who could make an immediate impact. He didn’t become the full-time starter many expected him to be right away. Although he played in all 16 games, he started in just three of them. He had 36 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in his rookie season. Needless to say, after watching his rookie season vs. what Watson and Mahomes started doing their rookie seasons, Cardinals fans were not happy.

Reddick is still a member of the Cardinals, but he still has many questions going into the offseason. He played more in his second season with Steve Wilks as head coach, starting 12 games, and he had 80 tackles and 4.0 sacks. He regressed in 2019 though, starting in just five games. It seems as if the Cardinals are not quite ready to give up on him. For now, his re-grade in 2019 would be a solid C-.

Round 2 (No. 36)

Budda Baker

S, Huskies

CURRENT TEAM: Arizona Cardinals

Baker is the home run pick of this draft. He’s turned out to be a steal, even with the 36th pick overall. Baker has made the Pro Bowl in two of his three seasons since joining the Cardinals. Baker had seven passes defensed in seven starts in 2017. He also came away with 76 tackles that season. He has continuously progressed each season, getting better as time has gone along.

In 2019, he was the best defender behind fellow Pro Bowler Chandler Jones. He had 147 tackles in 2017, and 104 of them were solo tackles. That was good enough to lead the NFL as started all 16 games this past season. Baker is going to get paid when his rookie contract is up and most people would agree in a re-grade of this draft, Baker deserves a definite A.

Round 3 (No. 98)

Chad Williams

WR, Tigers

CURRENT TEAM: Indianapolis Colts

The Cardinals needed to improve the receiver room, but Williams had a hard time staying out of Arians’ doghouse. He played in just six games in 2017 and had just three receptions. For a third-round pick, he had bust written all over him.  In 2018 when Wilks took over, it didn’t get much better. He managed 17 receptions for 171 yards with one single touchdown. With the Cardinals drafting three receivers in the 2019 draft, his time in Arizona immediately had an expiration date written on it.  He didn’t make it out of training camp and was cut.

Round 4 (No. 115)

Dorian Johnson

G, Panthers


The Cardinals desperately needed depth on the offensive line and thought they were getting one of the best offensive linemen in the draft. The fourth round seemed to be the right landing spot for Johnson, but he wasn’t able to even make it out of training camp with the Cardinals in 2017. That wasn’t the last the NFL would hear from him, as he came back as a practice squad player for the Cards in 2017 before being released once again. He spent time with the Houston Texans and has been shifted around different rosters with the Carolina Panthers since. Now Johnson is going to get a fresh start in the XFL.

Round 5 (No. 157)

Will Holden

OT, Commodores

CURRENT TEAM: Baltimore Ravens

Yet another lineman that didn’t pan out for the Cardinals.  He was as big as they got at 6’7″ and 311 pounds, but the size turned out to be less of an advantage than the Cardinals had probably hoped. He didn’t make it out of his initial training camp with the team in 2017, though he would return at one point. After he left Arizona he moved around practice squads from the New Orleans Saints to the Colts. The Cardinals signed him to their active roster for the last month of the 2018 season but the second time around proved to be just as fruitful as the first.

Round 6 (No. 179)

T.J. Logan

RB, Tar Heels

CURRENT TEAM: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Running back was not necessarily a position the Cardinals needed but depth is always a good thing.  Logan was explosive and could return kicks. His small frame made it harder for guys to tackle. At 5’11” and 195 pounds, he was fast. His rookie season was cut short quickly after breaking his wrist in the preseason opener. He returned in 2018 but was mainly relegated to kick returns. He returned 12 kicks in 2018 and had 7 receptions but just two carries as a back that season. That was the end of T.J. Logan in Arizona.

Round 6 (No. 208)

Rudy Ford

S, Tigers

CURRENT TEAM: Philadelphia Eagles

Ford was a safety in college, but the Cardinals wanted him as a cornerback complement to Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson. It would seem a late sixth-rounder converted from a college safety to an NFL cornerback wouldn’t have much success attached to it. Over his two seasons in the desert, he didn’t find himself on the field much. He played in 10 games as a rookie and 13 in 2018, but only had 14 tackles in his two seasons and started just one game. Though Ford played sparingly in Arizona, he found another opportunity in Philadelphia in 2019.

Bottom Line: With just two of the seven picks still with the team, it wasn’t an overly successful draft for Keim and the Cardinals. The jury is still out on Reddick, while Baker has turned out to be a star that continues to rise. Baker’s presence lends some legitimacy to the draft. However, only hitting on one or two out of seven picks exhibits the biggest reason why the Cardinals have had difficulty getting back to the level they were at in 2015.

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