With the 2017 NFL Draft just a few months away the Arizona Cardinals fortunes rest on the choices of their general manager
The Arizona Cardinals’ offseason is officially underway. Time for GM Steve Keim and his cronies to start putting in the overtime, the goal of getting the club back to the postseason in their sights.
A huge part of the offseason is the NFL Draft. It’s through this event that the league’s best teams are built. Free agency is another tool of course, but the draft lays the foundation for any successful organization.
Since 2013, Keim has been running the Cardinals’ drafts with varied results. His first pick as head honcho, guard Jonathan Cooper, was not a good one. The seventh overall pick of the draft battled injuries and a reported lack of confidence before being traded away in the Chandler Jones deal.
Six of the club’s nine selections in the ’13 draft are still with the team (at least at the moment). Tyrann Mathieu and Kevin Minter have been the most successful of the six. Andre Ellington, Alex Okafor, Earl Watford and Stepfan Taylor round out the list, and all have made decent contributions over the last four years.
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2014’s first-round pick, Deone Bucannon, has made an impact. Drafted to play safety, he instead has been a leading tackler on the team at inside linebacker. The third-round pick that year, John Brown, had two exhilarating seasons at wide receiver, but was hampered by a mysterious sickle cell condition in 2016.
The second-round pick from 2014, Troy Niklas, has had a promising career at tight end derailed by injuries. Fourth-round quarterback Logan Thomas was a waste of time, a raw prospect who beared very little resemblance to an NFL signal-caller. Kareem Martin and Ed Stinson have maintained backup roles on defense the last three seasons.
D.J.Humphries, 2015’s top selection, didn’t play at all during his rookie campaign. He was better this past year, starting games at both right and left tackle. Markus Golden, the second-rounder, brought down opposing quarterbacks 12.5 times in 2016.
David Johnson may go down as one of the best draft picks in Cards’ history. The fact that they got him in the third round makes his selection even more impressive. Wide receiver J.J.Nelson is emerging and Defensive lineman Rodney Gunter has played well when called upon.
The jury is still out on the 2016 class, with first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche having no impact whatsoever this past season. Third-round cornerback Brandon Williams looked like a bust early, but showed some promise later on. Offensive lineman Evan Boehm and defensive back Harlan Miller got some playing time late in the year, but didn’t show enough to be viewed as sure things.
Overall, Keim’s drafts have been a mix of good and bad. The trick, of course, is to have more hits than misses. The future of the franchise depends on it.