The Arizona Cardinals got significant contributions this season from only three of their 2017 draft picks: first-rounder Haason Reddick, second-rounder Budda Baker and fifth-rounder Will Holden. The Cardinals' other rookies were injured, cut or disappointments.
Grade: Below average
Best rookie: Baker, a safety out of the University of Washington, didn’t get his first start until Week 11, when fellow defensive back Tyvon Branch went down with a knee injury. From then on, Baker flourished in his role, improving every game and impressing in the process. Baker also shined on special teams, making 13 tackles and earning a Pro Bowl nod.
Most improved rookie: Holden. Even though the fifth-round offensive lineman out of Vanderbilt played in just seven games this season, he improved throughout the season, mainly because he was baptized by fire. Holden started his first NFL game in Week 2 and got four more starts after that, including the last three at left tackle.
Most disappointing rookie: Chad Williams. The receiver out of Grambling State broke the Cardinals’ streak of third-round gems this season. Williams was inactive for 10 of the 16 games this season and finished with just three catches for 31 yards. A learning curve was expected from Williams, mainly because he went to a small school, but the Cardinals had hoped for more -- much more -- out of the speedy and explosive Williams.
Jury is still out on: Reddick. The first-round pick didn’t explode onto the scene this season, but it wasn’t entirely his doing. The Cardinals played Reddick at both inside and outside linebacker throughout the season, moving him around just enough that he couldn’t get comfortable at one position. There were times when Reddick, who was drafted as an inside linebacker after playing defensive end toward the end of his college career at Temple, shined. His quickness and speed are evident. But he didn’t have the weekly impact many expected, considering he was the No. 13 overall pick in the draft.
Undrafted rookie evaluation: The biggest star among the undrafted Cardinals was tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, who finished his rookie season with 12 catches for 201 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games. He found a rhythm with third-string quarterback Blaine Gabbert, with whom he developed a rapport on the Cardinals' scout team. Other than Seals-Jones, no undrafted rookie free agent had much of an impact for the Cardinals.