Now that Christian Kirk and Chase Edmonds are gone, the Arizona Cardinals have nothing to show from their 2018 NFL Draft class.
Back in April of 2018, Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim was armed with six picks to utilize in the NFL Draft. Now, in March of 2022, every prospect that the Cards selected in 2018 is no longer with the organization.
On Monday, Arizona lost the last two remaining members of that ultimately-doomed draft class when Christian Kirk and Chase Edmonds were lured away in free agency. Is there anything more pathetic than a franchise that has nothing left to show from a draft that took place just four years ago?
One of the most glaring weaknesses of Cardinals general manager Steve Keim has been his inability to build the squad through the draft. Kirk and Edmonds are good players who the front office would’ve probably preferred to keep around. A lack of adequate salary-cap space prevented that from happening, and that ultimately is Keim’s fault as well.
When a team struggles to acquire talent through the draft, the GM is forced to delve into the free-agent market for reinforcements. The result of replenishing a roster in that way is that it can deplete a club’s salary-cap funds. When the rookie contracts of talented individuals like Kirk and Edmonds expire, organizations (like the Redbirds) that don’t benefit from their drafts will most likely be out of money when their valuable players need new deals.
Every individual from the 2018 Arizona Cardinals draft class has moved on
The Cards’ first-round pick in 2018, quarterback Josh Rosen, was an utter disaster. The former UCLA product lasted just one season in the desert before Keim and his cohorts brought in Kyler Murray to replace him. Rosen spent time with three other franchises before landing with his current squad, the Atlanta Falcons, last year.
Arizona’s second-round choice from four years ago was Kirk, a wide receiver out of Texas A&M University. On the first day of the league’s “legal tampering” period, the 25-year-old inked a four-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars that could be worth as much as $84 million.
The club’s third-rounder in 2018 was Mason Cole, a center who the Cardinals traded to the Minnesota Vikings in March of 2021. The 6-foot-5, 292-pounder has moved on again, signing a three-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers this past Monday.
In the fourth round of the ’18 draft, the Cards landed running back Chase Edmonds. The Fordham University product was handed a free-agent contract by the Miami Dolphins this week that will pay him $12.6 million over the next two campaigns.
Sixth-round choice Christian Campbell came to the desert from Penn State University, but he was quickly cut by Arizona in September of 2018. The cornerback was drafted by the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits this past February.
Seventh-round selection Korey Cunningham stayed with the Cardinals for one season, logging six starts at left tackle (in place of an injured D.J. Humphries) as a rookie. In August of 2019, Keim traded the 6-foot-6, 311-pounder to the New England Patriots for a sixth-round choice.
Incredibly, the Cards have nothing left to show from a draft that took place such a short time ago. Keim needs to be a better judge of talent and do a better job of balancing the franchise’s budget if “Big Red” hopes to win a Super Bowl championship any time soon.