Cardinals seeking more production out of 2020 draft class

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Leki Fotu
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Leki Fotu /

The Arizona Cardinals will be looking for their 2020 draft class to take the next step when the regular season gets underway.

The front office of the Arizona Cardinals got lots of solid reviews for the selections they made during the 2020 draft.

It normally takes a few years to properly grade an NFL franchise on each and every group of prospects that they pluck out of the college ranks. However, the Cards could be looking to accelerate the progress of last year’s highly-touted class of draftees when they take to the playing field in 2021.

If that occurs, Arizona will be looking for a talented group of youngsters to take a significant next step during their sophomore campaign. The club is aiming to break a playoff drought that has lasted for five long seasons and could use all of the help they can get to achieve that goal.

Impressive crop of 2020 draft picks are ready to go for the Arizona Cardinals

Last year’s contingent is led by Isaiah Simmons, the Cardinals’ No. 1 draft choice out of Clemson University. The 6-foot-4, 238-pounder will team with another first-rounder, Zaven Collins, to form one of the most athletic and youthful inside linebacker tandems in the league. Simmons registered decent numbers last fall (54 tackles, two sacks, one interception), but the Cards will be expecting much more out of the 23-year-old in 2021.

Arizona’s next selection came in the third round when they grabbed the University of Houston’s Josh Jones with the 72nd-overall pick. The right tackle was in on just a handful of plays last year, but the 24-year-old’s role could increase dramatically during the upcoming season. Jones has looked extremely impressive at the right guard spot thus far, competing with Brian Winters and Justin Murray for the starting gig.

Fourth-round addition Leki Fotu got his feet wet last fall, but the defensive tackle is capable of so much more. Another defensive tackle taken in round four, Rashard Lawrence, is also ready to make more of an impact for the Redbirds. The presence of free-agent pickup J.J. Watt can only help this pair of second-year defenders.

The sixth-round pick from a year ago, Evan Weaver, could face some tough competition for playing time at the inside linebacker position. A former tackling machine out of the University of California, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Weaver’s main contributions to the Cardinals will likely come as a special teams performer this coming season.

Eno Benjamin, a seventh-round selection from last year, has turned some heads during the Cards’ first two preseason contests. The 5-foot-9, 207-pounder, the number-three running back on the team’s current depth chart, has carried the rock eight times for 68 yards and a touchdown this summer.

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It appears that general manager Steve Keim and his cohorts did a fine job in Arizona’s “war room” during the 2020 draft. The team will hoping to reap the rewards of all of that hard work this coming fall.