In the course of one year, the Cardinals have gone from a lightly regarded bottom feeder, to a team back on the rise. Last year, they hired CLIFF KINGSBURY as their Head Coach, and then drafted KYLER MURRAY, the Heisman Winner from Oklahoma, with a little help from GM STEVE KEIM. Then last month, they brought in WR DeANDRE HOPKINS in a seemingly lopsided trade with Houston. And now, they have the 8th Pick in a loaded Draft Class. They may not be a Super Bowl contender quite yet, but lots of pro football fans will be anxious to get a peek at KYLER MURRAY throwing to HOPKINS and LARRY FITZGERALD this season.
Round 1, Pick 8 JAVON KINLAW DL South Carolina 6’5/325 (PP#9) They need more talent protecting their young QB, but they also look pretty thin on the D-Line. And accordingly, KINLAW looks too good to pass up on here. KINLAW is a monster talent, and a physical specimen. Not unlike another former Gamecocks defender named JADEVEON CLOWNEY, KINLAW may not post headline grabbing stats each game, but he has to be accounted for, and influences opposing offenses. He is another guy who must be located on every down or he will blow up your Offense. The tale of the tape during measurements at the Combine were awe inspiring; 10 1/2″ hands, 34 7/8″ arms, 83 3/4″ wing span. His 2019 stats give a clear impression of his versatility: 12 Games, 35 T’s, 6 TFL, 6 S’s, 4 QBH’s, and 2 PBU’s. He should immediately upgrade the DL group room.
Round 3, Pick 72 LUCAS NIANG OT TCU 6’6/315 (PP#73) This massive guy was highly regarded entering the 2019 college season, but after struggling with a pre-existing hip injury, he underwent season ending surgery early in the Fall. I recently read a report that he had cleared his Combine medical, and would be ready to play football in 2020. They will be counting on the big, but mobile, NIANG to win the RT slot from JUSTIN MURRAY and upgrade the protection of valuable QB KYLER MURRAY. You can also count on him clearing the way for an improved running game as well.
Round 4, Pick 114 JOSHUA KELLEY RB UCLA 5’11/214 (PP#125) Kelley had an injury marred college career for the Bruins, but was healthy overall in 2019. He carried for 1,060 yards at 4.6 ypc and 12 TD’s. That was done impressively behind a less than stellar OL unit. Then KELLEY really lit things up. He excelled at the Senior Bowl, rushing for over 100-yards in the actual game. He also has very large (9 5/8″), and soft hands. He ran a solid 4.49/40 at the Combine and a 6.95 3-Cone drill. Any number under 7-seconds in the 3-Cone is noteworthy, especially for a RB, since it measures change of direction agility. KELLEY should make a very nice compliment to KENYAN DRAKE in the Cards backfield.
Round 4, Pick 131 JAVARIS DAVIS CB Auburn 5’9/183 (PP#127) Davis jumped out to yours truly this past season. What I felt that I saw in his play in 2019 was verified in Star Game and Combine work in January. Davis burned a 4.39/40 at the Combine, while posting a Vertical Jump of 35 1/2″. He was popular as the Star games unfolded, being on the Shrine roster, then earning himself a promotion to a Senior Bowl roster slot. He displayed his speed, good ball skills, and a feisty attitude for his size in Mobile. At the least, DAVIS will likely see plenty of time as a Nickel-Slot Corner as a Rookie in Arizona.
Round 6, Pick 202 JULIAN BLACKMON S Utah 6’0/187 (PP#204) The former Utes CB made the move to S for the 2019 college season. He had struggled on the Corner with his technique, and after the move to S, he seemed to make progress in his overall performance. He brings uncommon ball skills, and may make quite a turnover machine as a S. He needs to clean up his tackling, but he’s above average athletically and speed wise for a S spot. His 2019 stats for the Utes were impressive: 12 Games, 60 T’s, 4 TFL’s, 1.5 S’s, 2 FF’s, 4 INT’s, and 8 PBU’s. If push comes to shove, he might also be able to help out on the Corner when injuries bite into their overall secondary depth.
Round 7, Pick 222 CHARLIE TAUMOEPEAU TE/H-B Portland State 6’2/244 (PP#225) I never saw any game tape of CHARLIE from 2019. But luckily for me, I did watch him show impressive versatility, energy, and controlled violence in his work during Senior Bowl week. He showed good hands and the ability to run through tacklers in the secondary. He was an effective and tenacious blocker for his size. And his overall energy is infectious to those around him. He can’t miss as a Special Teamer, in my eyes. I felt like he played faster than his Combine 40-time of 4.75, but I might be influenced by his energy. Highlight numbers from the Combine: 9 1/2″ hands, 36.5 vertical, 7.00 3-Cone. The guy is an old fashioned football player and will provide incredible energy and positional versatility to their roster!
This would be a solid talent influx for a team that looks to be going in the right direction recently .