Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft Preview: Haason Reddick

Haason Reddick Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Haason Reddick Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports /

Linebacker Haason Reddick is one of the most talented players in the entire draft

Much of the focus on the Arizona Cardinals, as far as the draft is concerned, has been mainly on the quarterback spot. Cornerback is right behind it. However, that doesn’t mean the team is set at every other position going into the 2017 season. Linebacker is a position to watch as well.

The inside linebacker group for the Cardinals isn’t particularly strong or deep. Deone Bucannon has been very good, but the other spot is a huge unknown. Kevin Minter has manned the position for the past four seasons, but he left via free agency this offseason. The team re-signed Karlos Dansby, but he’s 35 years old and hasn’t played well recently.

Behind Bucannon and Dansby is Zaviar Gooden, Gabe Martin, and Scooby Wright. They have a combine three career starts, all by Gooden in 2013-2014. If Dansby struggles, the Cardinals are in trouble.

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One potential target for the Cardinals is Haason Reddick. His wasn’t a well-known name when the college football season ended. However, he has rocketed up draft boards as the off-season has progressed.

At Temple University, Reddick played on the edge, with rushing the passer as his main job. He did it well, amassing 9 1/2 sacks in his final season with the Owls. He’s projected to make a move as a professional, though.

At 6’1″, 237 lbs, Reddick doesn’t have the size teams like outside. Luckily for him, his talent is off the charts, and he looks more than able to move inside.

Obviously, Reddick’s raw talent is his biggest selling point. He blew up the combine, posting a 4.52 40-yard dash. Then he posted a 36.5 inch vertical and an explosive 11’1″ broad jump. He also looked terrific in all of the drills.

It’s easy to think he’d struggle with a move, but Reddick’s skill set suggests otherwise. He did drop into coverage some of the time in college, so he’s not completely without experience. He also shows great movement skills, which will help in translation. Clearly, he also possesses the ability to rush the passer if asked.

There is always some degree of concern with a player having to learn a new position going into the NFL. Reddick simply doesn’t have the bulk to play on the edge. There will be talk about his ability to meet big running backs in the middle and make the tackle as well.

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There is no doubting that the Cardinals could use more talent at linebacker. Even in Dansby plays well, he’s a temporary fix, and they’ll need someone for the future. Reddick is almost certainly a first round pick, and might be the first linebacker off the board. If Steve Keim and company decide to wait on a quarterback, and the cornerback they like is gone, an ultra-talented linebacker could be just what the doctor ordered.