Arizona Cardinals: Rodney Gunter Has Chance to Shine
Arizona Cardinals’ Defensive Tackle Rodney Gunter finally has a chance to shine with the departure of Calais Campbell
Former 4th round pick Rodney Gunter came to the National Football League from the small school of Delaware State. Weighing in at 6’5″ and 305 pounds, the defensive lineman made the first All-MEAC team in 2013, and the second team All-MEAC team both in 2012 and 2014.
"“I wanted to come back and tell somebody I might have seen one of the best defensive line prospects in this draft,” Cardinals’ scout Buckner said."
The selection of Gunter could be attributed to his accolades from the college ranks, such as his aforementioned all-conference selections, or it could be due to his game day statistics. Even with the accolades and statistics, many people, including Gunter himself, were surprised when the Cardinals selected him with their 4th round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
As a four year starter, Rodney Gunter produced 188 tackles, 18 sacks, and 37 tackles for loss in college. These stats average out to about 47 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 9.25 tackles for loss each season. For a down lineman of Gunter’s size, these numbers are impressive, and his pro-day performance explains how he was able to put up those numbers.
More from Raising Zona
- Shane Waldron can help Arizona Cardinals offense get back on track
- Arizona Cardinals overlooking darkhorse candidate in coaching search
- Is the Arizona Cardinals head coaching search a two-man race?
- Why the Arizona Cardinals should steer clear of each head coach candidate
- Why each head coaching candidate is a good fit for the Arizona Cardinals
During the Delaware State pro day, Gunter posted a 5.00 second 40-yard dash, an astounding time for someone over 300 pounds. He also posted a 27 inch vertical, a number that is only 1.5 inches less than running back Leonard Fournette posted in this year’s combine. This type of athleticism that the defensive lineman has displayed shows flashes of his enormous potential.
To this point in Gunter’s career in the desert, he has failed to receive an excess of playing time or a permanent starting role. According to NFL.com, Gunter has played in all of his 32 career games (two seasons), and has started 12 (11 his rookie year). In this time, Gunter has recorded only 34 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
This role could change in 2017. With the departure of Calais Campbell and the uncertainty surrounding former first-rounder Robert Nkemdiche, Gunter could find himself in a starting position for one of the league’s premier defenses. This is Rodney Gunter’s time to shine. Let’s hope he takes advantage of it and makes the fans proud.