The Arizona Cardinals made, for the most part, the right choices in this year’s draft. They definitely surprised with a couple of picks, but they managed to find guys who will fit what they are trying to do all the while meeting some needs. They may have even ended up with a couple of steals when it is all said and done. I give them an A, something I haven’t been able to say too often in the past.
Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina – Although I feel the greater need was at tackle, they got an impact guard. A guard being picked this high must be nothing less than an immediate impact player. His presence will be immediately felt.
Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU – Minter ultimately will most likely prove to be a better pro than Manti Te’o, the player the San Diego Chargers got in exchange for the 45th pick the Cards took Minter with. Another great pick up. With Daryl Washington out for the first four games of the 2013 season, they needed an immediate impact player at linebacker. Minter could be that guy.
Tyrann Mathieu, DB, LSU – I’ve spoke at length about my thoughts on this pick already. I will add I think he will surprise some people, on and off the field. I truly believe he matures and does a great job being moved to safety.
Alex Okafor, DE, Texas – Another guy who I was surprised was still around at the time the Cards got him. He will fit the 3-4 system very well.
Earl Watford, OG, James Madison – Not much known about him around here. A little of a surprise only in the fact it was another guard. Given his pre-draft ratings with high durability marks, this pick makes sense.
Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford – Cards finally got their RB in the 5th round. In my estimation, a steal. He was a producer at Stanford. He had 13 TD’s and over 1500 yards last season. I’m good with that for a 5th round guy. You should be too.
Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M – He’ll be a great special teams player. He has a concussion history, so that is most likely one of the reasons he dropped to the 6th round.
Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson – Here’s another guy picked later than I expected. Ellington was a little bit of a surprise only in that the Cards had just drafted Taylor. However, despite his small size, he still produced over 1,000 yards rushing in 2012.
D.C. Jefferson, TE, Rutgers – He adds depth at a position that figures to not see the ball as much as it has the past couple of years. Known for his great blocking abilities.
All in all, this is definitely a draft class I won’t forget anytime soon, especially if they turn all these expectations now into results once September rolls around.