Arizona Cardinals Guide to Small School Scouting


The Arizona Cardinals are mining draft gold from unlikely places

For the past few years, the Cardinals have found solid acquisitions from the smaller FCS and beyond. I find it interesting that most scouts on NFL Network or ESPN were puzzled by who some of these guys are. Most recently, some were baffled by the selection of Rodney Gunter, the young man from Delaware State, and you could see the surprise of many when there was no video of Gunter when they announced the pick.

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

During the Whisenhunt administration, the Cardinals selected a young man from Presbyterian, and many scoffed because of the lack of position for the next level. Now, there seems to be sense of accomplishment for the corner who had no position, and was rewarded with a 3-year $15 million dollar contract.

It could be the type of money that a corner signs, but not a special teams ace signs. Some would be surprised about the commitment that Steve Keim displayed for Bethel, but he is believing in what Bethel can become.

That’s the thing for most of these under-evaluated prospects from small schools, Steve Keim see’s a certain type of development that these kids can take, and Keim believes they could be something very special. Keim once said something that stuck with me about last years phenom John “Smokey” Brown. “I haven’t seen a rookie come in and do what he’s doing…and it’s still early…but since Anquan Boldin” courtesy of Darren Urban of

The fact remains clear, Steve Keim’s small school scouting is almost unfair to the competition, and he is seeing what a lot of other GM’s are missing.

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  • Another potential starter for the future, David Johnson, was selected after 6 running backs, and so far seems to be the ideal running back for the Cardinals system. No offense to Todd Gurley, but David Johnson has better hands out of the backfield since he played wide receiver in college.

    He is the prototypical running back that Bruce Arians loves in his system, a screen-catching gym rat who can tote the ball 25 times a game. Another perfect example of the small school scouting that is on display in Arizona.

    This isn’t just another big year for Steve Keim (possible Executive of the Year), but it’s a big year for the small school guys involved. There are question marks being brought up, and it’s this, what does Steve Keim see that the rest of the scouting world doesn’t? We will continue to ask this throughout his illustrious career in Arizona.