Steve Keim has supplied the Cardinals with second-round steals

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) Christian Kirk
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) Christian Kirk /

General manager Steve Keim has been absolutely fantastic for the Arizona Cardinals during the 2nd round of several NFL Drafts.

During his nine-year stint as the general manager of the Arizona Cardinals, Steve Keim has missed on more than his fair share of draft picks.

Some of Keim’s most costly mistakes were made with valuable first-round selections. Opening-day flops like Jonathan Cooper (2013), Robert Nkemdiche (2016), and Josh Rosen (2018) immediately come to mind.

Those blunders aside, there is one area of the draft where Keim has absolutely shined. During his time with Arizona, the team’s top talent-evaluator has hit home runs during the second round of several drafts. Take one look at Keim’s decorated history of plucking blue-chip prospects out of that particular round and it would be difficult to argue with that assessment.

Several second-round picks of the Arizona Cardinals have flourished in the NFL

When the second round of the 2013 draft rolled around, Keim found a productive inside linebacker out of LSU for the Cards. Kevin Minter, the 45th-overall choice, would go on to appear in 61 matchups (37 starts) for the Redbirds. The 6-foot, 246-pounder racked up an impressive 223 tackles, five sacks, and 16 quarterback hits during his four campaigns in the desert.

In 2015, Keim grabbed outside linebacker Markus Golden with the 58th-overall pick. Six years after entering the league, the University of Missouri product remains a vital part of the Cardinals’ defensive unit. In 67 career appearances (37 starts) with the club, Golden has registered 157 tackles, 32 sacks, and 11 forced fumbles for “Big Red”.

Two years after acquiring Golden, Keim moved up nine slots in the second round of the 2017 draft to nab a safety out of the University of Washington. With the 36th-overall selection, Arizona acquired three-time Pro Bowler Budda Baker. In 73 games (63 starts) with the Cards, the 5-foot-10,195-pounder has tallied an eye-popping 510 tackles, five interceptions, and 24 pass breakups.

One year later, in 2018, Keim drafted wide receiver Christian Kirk with the 47th-overall choice. In 12 games (eight starts) this season, the Scottsdale, Arizona native has hauled in 50 passes for 632 yards and four touchdowns. Kirk has appeared in 51 total matchups (38 starts) for the Cardinals, and he has been credited with 209 receptions, 2,552 receiving yards, and 16 scores.

Keim struck gold again the following offseason, grabbing cornerback Byron Murphy during the second round of the 2019 draft. The University of Washington product has been outstanding in 2021, totaling 45 tackles, four picks, and 10 pass breakups in 11 starts. During his three professional campaigns, Murphy has recorded 174 tackles, five picks, and 28 pass breakups for Arizona.

This past spring, Keim acquired a speedy wideout with the 49th-overall pick. Rondale Moore, a 5-foot-7,180-pounder out of Purdue University, has caught 47 passes for 413 yards and a touchdown in 12 contests for the Cards this season.

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That’s quite an array of talent, to say the least. Keim has not always been “spot-on” with some of the players he’s selected out of college, but his tremendous track record with second-round targets speaks for itself.