PHOENIX - Cardinals Draft Review 2014
The Arizona Cardinals have completed the 2014 NFL Draft and although you may not recognize the names, the Cardinals were able to fill some holes and needs on both sides of the ball.
Remember that the Cardinals traded their seventh round pick last year to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for quarterback Carson Palmer, so we knew they would be one pick short heading into the 2014 draft.
General Manager Steve Keim kept telling us that he wanted more picks this year so he traded down in the first round from 20 to 27 and managed to pick up an extra third round pick from New Orleans.
When it was all said and done, Arizona picked up seven players, four on offense and three on defense:
Round Overall Name Position College
1. 27th Deone Bucannon Safety WSU
2. 52nd Troy Niklas TE ND
3a. 84th Kareem Martin DE UNC
3b. 91st John Brown WR Pittsburg St.
4. 120th Logan Thomas QB Virginia Tech
5. 160th Ed Stinson DE/DT Alabama
6. 196th Walt Powell WR Murray St.
After the draft, G.M. Steve Keim said, “You know what I love about it is I look at all those names and I see guys who are big-time competitors, who love the game and bring an element of toughness to our locker room, which I don't think you can ever have enough of."
And as it always goes with the NFL Draft, it’s hard to pass judgment until you actually see them take the field in the fall.
So it’s clearly way too early to evaluate this year’s draft class, but I will say I like the team’s first round pick. The Cards went with an All-Pac-12 defensive safety and with all the passing that Pac-12 schools are doing now, it’s hard not to like that pick. The one knock on Bucannon is that he’s more of a hitter than a pass coverage guy, but with the players the Cardinals have on defense, that may fill a huge need.
While head coach Bruce Arians kept telling us that with the quarterbacks he already has on the roster, he didn’t see a reason to draft a quarterback, but wouldn’t you know it, with the team's fourth round pick, Arizona went with Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas.
The other curious pick came in the second round, with the Cardinals going with tight end Troy Niklas out of Notre Dame, a player that by most accounts, is more of a blocker than a receiver. Perhaps the Cardinals are thinking he can help out with blocking from the fullback position when needed. But the pick still concerns me when I think about how many tight ends have come through Tempe in the last few years.
By three o’clock Saturday, the Cardinals were done and while Coach Arians said they didn’t have any glaring needs, they did add some needed depth at a number of positions.
With the selection of two defensive ends, it’s obvious the Cardinals are thinking about the future of Darnell Dockett with him entering his 11th year in the league.
Two wide receivers wasn’t unexpected given the loss of Andre Roberts in the slot position and the fact that Arians likes to throw the ball deep and with John Brown running the third fastest time at this year’s NFL combine, it’s another reason to believe that Arians wants a deep threat on offense.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the fact that the Cardinals didn’t draft an offensive lineman. With Jonathan Cooped coming off a serious knee injury and the team releasing guard Daryn Colledge, I would have thought the Cards would have drafted someone up front. I get the feeling they’ll try to do that by signing some undrafted free agents or wait and see which veterans get cut later this summer.
When the final pick had been made, Keim said, “I've walked out of this building for many years when we got A’s and B’s and those players didn't turn out to be good players. So you have to just trust what you're doing and trust your board. And I trust the people in our room. And again, you have to avoid the noise sometimes and avoid what people are saying and you can't get caught up in some of the hype.”
"Again, I've always trusted what I see on tape, and I think that we came away with a pretty good class," Keim added.
Time will tell if this year’s class turns out to be an “A” or a “B," but at this point, I’m thinking it may be closer to a “B-“.
Not one big name on the list and from the outside looking in, the Cardinals passed on some players that may have been able to help. But again, the draft is an inexact science and the proof of how good this year’s class really is, won’t be seen for at least another year.