Arizona Cardinals: Ranking each first round pick of the Steve Keim Era
By Sion Fawkes
The Steve Keim Era may be a topic most Arizona Cardinals fans would love to forget about. But he still had a few solid picks in the first round. Let’s rank them.
If you’re an Arizona Cardinals fan, the Steve Keim Era was yet another ill-fated time for the Redbirds. But the former Cardinals executive lasted for an entire decade with the organization, and in nine of those seasons, he had a first round pick.
So which pick fared as the best of the bunch, and who was the worst? Keep reading to find out.
Ranking the Arizona Cardinals draft picks from the Steve Keim Era
9 - Josh Rosen, QB/UCLA (2018)
I’m racking my brains, because as it stands, I cannot name a single first round draft pick from the 2010s worse than Josh Rosen. And only one, Isaiah Wilson (2020, Tennessee Titans) is probably the only draft pick worse than Rosen since the former UCLA product was drafted.
Upon entering the league in 2018, Rosen wore a cocky demeanor. Since his ill-fated one year in the desert, the only NFL record Rosen is on pace for is the number of organizations signed with. Which, after five seasons in the NFL, sits at seven. That could change by the time you finish reading this section.
8 - Robert Nkemdiche, DL/Mississippi (2016)
Like Rosen, Robert Nkemdiche has bounced around from team to team since his arrival in the desert seven years ago. Next to his three-season stint with the Arizona Cardinals, Nkemdiche has spent no more than one season anywhere else.
He most recently signed with the USFL’s Michigan Panthers, but lasted just under three months before they released him. Unless someone wants to take a flier on the former 29th overall pick, Nkemdiche’s career is finished.
7 - Jonathan Cooper, OG/North Carolina (2013)
Like the two players above him, Jonathan Cooper also journeyed around the NFL for seven unsuccessful seasons. He was a phenom in college, and the Arizona Cardinals did not hesitate taking him seventh overall.
Unfortunately for Cooper, an injury derailed his rookie season, and things didn’t get much better for the former North Carolina standout in 2014 as he continued to fight through injuries. Injuries once again hampered his 2015 campaign, and by 2016, the Cards admitted their mistake and traded him to the New England Patriots.
The only upside in all of this? At least the Redbirds got Chandler Jones in that trade, as they also sent a second round pick to the Northeast.