You could say that Arizona took Levi Brown too early. You could say that they should have gone for Adrian Peterson as someone to help shoulder the load for Edgerrin James and eventually be his successor. You could say they could've gone for LaRon Landry and had two dynamic safeties in the secondary. You could also say that if they really wanted Brown, they should have traded down.
However, that would be ignoring the bigger picture. The bigger picture is that it was unlikely that Arizona heard an offer that they liked from the teams that contacted them to trade down. The bigger picture is that they had Brown rated ahead of Joe Thomas and Joe Staley on their board.
And, most of all, Thomas was already long gone to the Browns and they needed a tackle. And they needed one badly.
While Brown might not have the draft experts up in a lather, he actually is a good fit for the Cardinals. The important distinction is that he's a good fit for what they're going to be, not what they currently are.
Brown has the prototypical size and athletic ability that Russ Grimm and Ken Whisenhunt look for in a right tackle (leave us not forget that Matt Leinart is left-handed). He also possesses the mentality (he uttered the word "dominate" roughly 42,153 times during his Combine press conference) that Grimm and Whisenhunt look for.
As the fifth overall selection in this year's draft and someone that is likely to be under tremendous pressure in the coming seasons, Brown also has the attitude to handle the press, handle the fans, and handle the stress. He's a likeable, gregarious, and funny guy. He's the kind of guy players will gravitate towards in the locker room. He's the kind of guy players will follow on the football field.
He's also the kind of guy that could shake things up on the Cardinals offensive line, increase the level of competition, tenacity, and nastiness of the unit in general.
Looking at the pick in terms of how it will affect the team and particularly the offensive line as a whole makes this pick make a lot more sense. Looking at it long-term, as opposed to not "getting value" or "reaching," it makes a lot of sense.
Draft experts and fans alike thought that the Cincinnati Bengals reached when they took Levi Jones 10th overall in 2002. Now, I don't think anyone would disagree that he was the best tackle in 2002 period, not just the best tackle available.
Hopefully, Brown and Jones will share something more than their first name before all is said and done.
History should prove that this was the right player, right time, right situation.