The Arizona Cardinals may once again look to the draft to fill their need for a starter at the number-two cornerback spot
One of these offseasons, the Arizona Cardinals are going to find a number-two cornerback who’ll stick around for awhile. It seems that every year there’s a new starting cover guy lining up across from the great Patrick Peterson. Not surprisingly, 2018 will be no different.
With the meaty part of the free agency period now pretty much complete, the next option for filling that hole in the defensive backfield will be the draft. Luckily for the Cardinals, there will be some impressive corners to choose from next week when the event gets under way.
Iowa’s Josh Jackson was a starter in college for just one campaign (2017), but the redshirt junior made quite an impression during that time. The 6’1″, 190 pounder was magnificent, tallying eight interceptions (two for touchdowns), 48 tackles and a whopping 18 passes defensed in 13 games. Jackson’s fantastic performance may make him the first player drafted at his position in ’18.
Denzel Ward didn’t put up the gawdy numbers that Jackson did in ’17, but the Ohio State Buckeye is a tremendous prospect, nevertheless. The 5’10”, 193 pounder recorded two interceptions, 15 pass breakups and 37 tackles last season. Like Jackson, Ward started for just one campaign as well, but what the junior lacks in experience, he makes up for with skill.
Jaire Alexander played in just six contests in ’17, but the 5’11”, 191 pounder turned in an excellent performance the year before. As a sophomore in 2016, the Louisville Cardinal registered five picks, nine passes defensed and 39 tackles. Alexander missed five games with a knee injury last season, so his medical is somewhat of an issue.
There are other good cornerbacks entering the league in ’18 who aren’t necessarily first-round talents. Players like Mike Hughes, Donte Jackson, Isaiah Oliver and Anthony Averett are grabbing the attention of many. Some other possibilities for the later rounds include Carlton Davis, Holton Hill, Duke Dawson and M.J. Stewart.
Arizona general manager Steve Keim looked to the draft to find a compliment to Peterson back in 2016. Brandon Williams was selected in the third round of that draft, but has been a colossal disappointment ever since. The club will have to much better than that if they hope to finally put this ongoing cornerback conundrum to rest.