This has been the most unproductive Arizona Cardinals rookie class of the coach Bruce Arians-GM Steve Keim tenure. None of the five still on the roster has been an active part of the offense or defense.
First-round pick Robert Nkemdiche has been dealing with maturity issues. Third-round pick, cornerback Brandon Williams, was thrown into action as the starting corner in Weeks 1 and 2 but struggled. Fourth-round pick Evan Boehm, an offensive lineman, has developed and will be a starter in the future.
Best rookie: It’s tough to pick the best rookie when none of the rookies is playing on a regular basis, but it appears Boehm may be the best of the bunch at the moment. He has the best chance of seeing the field in the event center A.Q. Shipley goes down.
Most improved rookie: It’s Boehm. Coaches have said he has grown considerably from the time he was drafted in the spring through this season. He’ll be a starting offensive lineman in the future, but for now he’s learning how to play center at an NFL level, as well as other positions along the line.
Most disappointing rookie: Without a doubt, it’s first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche. The defensive tackle has been inactive for nine of 13 games, and has been criticized for his play as well as his maturity. The expectations for Nkemdiche were high. He was a projected top-five pick who fell to the Cardinals at No. 29 because of an off-field incident, but he hasn’t lived up to the hype or his potential.
The jury is still out on ... Brandon Williams: He had an impressive training camp and began the season as the starting cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson, but his inexperience at the position showed. Williams had just started playing cornerback during his senior year at Texas A&M and was thrown into one of the NFL’s toughest positions in a defense that asks its cornerbacks to play on an island, and he simply wasn’t ready. He might be a starting cornerback in the future, but Williams still has plenty to learn.
Undrafted rookie check-in: The Cardinals haven’t turned to undrafted rookies as much this season as they have in the past, with only two on the roster: WR Marquis Bundy and TE Hakeem Valles. Neither has had a role in the offense since they have been on the active roster.