Arizona Cardinals’ Late-Round Draftees Could Be Nice Surprises
By Scott Allen
Jan 1, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal running back Stepfan Taylor (33) runs under pressure from Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Mike Taylor (53) during the 2013 Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
In the NFL Draft, teams usually look for depth once the last four rounds come into play. In the late rounds, teams look not only for that depth, but valuable depth. Not too often does a late-round pick make an immediate impact on his team, but in the Arizona Cardinals’ case this year that might end up being different.
Take the fifth round for instance. The Cardinals took running back Stepfan Taylor from Stanford. Taylor is a guy that could legitimately share carries with Rashard Mendenhall. Taylor ran for 1530 yards and 13 TD’s – in the Pac-12. That’s pretty darn good in my book. He carried the ball 322 times in 14 games. That’s 23 carries per game. That’s production.
You can say the same thing about running back Andre Ellington from Clemson, who was taken in the sixth round. He rushed for 1,081 yards, and he could be one of those guys that could come in and spell both Mendenhall and Taylor and not lose much in the process.
Wide receiver Ryan Swope from Texas A&M, who was also taken in the sixth round, also figures to be a competitor for the number four wide receiver. He caught 72 passes last season for 913 yards, and he can go up and get the ball just like Larry Fitzgerald. He can be flexible to catch the ball just about anywhere an that’s what impresses me about him.
Look for these guys to make the team and also contribute pretty heavily in 2013. The Cardinals need some depth at wide receiver, and they need a solid running back. Arizona was able to obtain playmakers late, and that’s going to help a lot in 2013.