The Arizona Cardinals will attempt to select a draft class in April that’s as productive as the 2018 group turned out to be
The countdown is on for the front office of the Arizona Cardinals. In just under four weeks, the team’s brass will once again be bringing fresh, young talent into the nest. With a little luck, the Cards’ 2019 draft selections will have the same impact on the playing field that last season’s class did for the club.
Steve Keim, Arizona’s general manager since 2013, has not always received rave reviews for the drafts that he has orchestrated. A couple of his first-round selections, Jonathan Cooper and Deone Bucannon, are no longer playing for the squad. Keim’s 2016 group, which featured the underachieving Robert Nkemdiche, could quite possibly be the worst set of picks in Cardinals’ history.
Last year was a different story, however. Keim drafted six players in 2018, five of which performed admirably during their rookie campaigns. Will the Cards be able to duplicate that high of a success rate when the draft rolls around again next month?
The gem of last season’s contingent appears to be quarterback Josh Rosen. The former UCLA Bruin, who Keim traded up to nab with the 10th-overall pick, experienced some bad moments during his 14 appearances. Despite his struggles, Rosen’s arm strength, toughness and intelligence are traits that have many Arizona fans excited about the 22-year old’s future with the franchise.
Keim’s second-round offering, Christian Kirk, also has Cards’ followers enthusiastic. The former Texas A&M wide receiver’s excellent hands and breakaway speed were on full display for a good portion of ’18. Unfortunately, a broken foot ended Kirk’s season in week 12.
Center Mason Cole, a third-rounder out of the University of Michigan, was the only Cardinal to play every snap last season. Fourth-round selection Chase Edmonds proved to be a capable change-of-pace option for running back David Johnson. Seventh-rounder Korey Cunningham showed promise at the left tackle spot during the six starts he made for an injured D.J. Humphries.
Can Keim find a way to repeat the success he had with last year’s draft? Arizona did some real good things in the “war room” last year. Now it’s time to keep the momentum going.