One way to measure NFC West draft value

The Arizona Cardinals said they had cornerback Patrick Peterson, running back Ryan Williams and fullback Anthony Sherman rated No. 1 at their positions in the 2011 NFL draft.

The Seattle Seahawks said they had James Carpenter rated as the second-best offensive lineman.

The chart takes a different approach to ranking players. It shows how NFC West draft choices ranked in terms of where they were drafted. For example, the Cardinals selected the first cornerback (Peterson), the second running back (Williams), the third tight end (Rob Housler), and so on. Carpenter, though ranked second on Seattle's list of offensive linemen, was the fourth tackle selected. The Seahawks liked his versatility, demeanor and physical approach enough to value him more than other teams valued him.

Some positions are more clearly defined than others. I tried to label positions based on how teams planned to use the players they selected.

There were some trade-offs associated with this approach. For example, the St. Louis Rams' Robert Quinn and Seattle's Pep Levingston both became defensive ends, even though they are vastly different players. Linebacker was another difficult position to evaluate -- some play on the outside, some play inside, some play in 3-4 schemes, etc. Had a 3-4 team drafted Quinn, he would have projected at outside linebacker, not defensive end. Interior offensive linemen can also project at multiple positions.

Overall, the rankings provide a general feel for where NFC West draft choices ranked among their peers. The Cardinals held the highest selections in the draft. That fact, combined with what seemed to be a value-oriented approach, allowed Arizona to select the first cornerback, second running back, second fullback and third tight end.

2011 NFL Draft: Positional Ranks