2012 NFL Draft: Breaking Down the Newest Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals chose seven players at the 2012 NFL Draft in New York.
Arizona is coming off of an 8-8 season, including seven wins in their last nine games to erase a 1-6 start. Four of those wins came in overtime, setting an NFL record.
The Cardinals are ready to build off their success last season, and this crop of rookies will certainly help. Here’s a look at who they are and what they can bring to the team.
Round 1: Michael Floyd WR Notre Dame
The NFL has truly become a passing league and for the Arizona Cardinals, one stud receiver just wasn't enough. With their first round pick, the Cardinals took WR Michael Floyd from Notre Dame.
No one could be happier than All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald and Floyd are similar in many ways. Both are from the Minneapolis area. Both are tall receivers who are willing to go over the middle to make catches. Both are willing to do what it takes to get the Cardinals back to the playoffs.
Floyd (6'2", 220) holds Notre Dame records for catches (271), receiving yards (3,686) and touchdowns (37). In 2011, he recorded 100 receptions and 1,150 yards so he is capable of putting up the big numbers.
Look for Floyd to almost immediately jump to the No. 2 spot on the depth chart behind Fitzgerald. In addition to his receiving skills, Floyd is also a strong run-blocker and that should make RB Beanie Wells smile.
Wells racked up 1,047 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. With Floyd's blocking and drawing defenders out of the box, Wells has a chance to improve upon his strong 2011 campaign.
Early Doucet will shift from an outside wide receiver to the slot which is a more natural fit for him.
Floyd will need to carry the ball closer to his body to reduce his chances of fumbling the ball. He also needs to avoid a repeat of the three alcohol-related offenses in two years at Notre Dame.
Round 3: Jamell Fleming CB Oklahoma
Arizona took Jamell Fleming in the third round and added depth to their cornerback corps.
Fleming looks comfortable playing press coverage and is strong whether he's playing zone or man-to-man. He also is quick in closing in on receivers, especially on plays over the middle.
Fleming can also play up in the box as well and is not afraid to take on the bigger ball carriers. Look for him to add to the blitzes the Cardinals run, as he's got the speed to get into the backfield.
Fleming can also add to special teams as a backup returner behind Peterson the Pro Bowler.
With Patrick Peterson and William Gay as the anchors at that position, Fleming could be challenging for a role as a nickel or dime cornerback in 2012.
Round 4: Bobbie Massie T Mississippi
The Cardinals started to address the well-documented struggles of their offensive line when they drafted Bobbie Massie in the fourth round.
The fact that Massie was available in the fourth round shocked many draft observers. Massie was expected to be a top-40 overall draft pick yet was still available to the Cardinals at pick 112.
Tackles that stand 6'6" and weigh 316 pounds don't come along that often—especially not ones who can get the edge rushers outside and find their way to the second level when they run block. Massie faced stiff competition in the SEC and should be well-prepared for the NFL.
Arizona allowed 54 sacks last season and was just one behind St. Louis for the worst performance in the league, so Massie could be part of the solution. Expect Massie to challenge Jeremy Bridges for a starting spot at right tackle.
Round 5: Senio Kelemete G Washington
Arizona continued to address its offensive line by taking Senio Kelemete, a guard out of Washington, in the fifth round.
Kelemete is good at being a pulling blocker and getting downfield. He also finishes his plays and keeps his feet moving. Both are key positives for the offensive lineman who was second-team All Pac-12 in 2011.
Kelemete has a lot of potential but needs time to develop. His small size (290 pounds at pro day) makes him more likely to play at guard than tackle.
Round 6: Justin Bethel S Presbyterian
Arizona drafted Justin Bethel in the sixth round.
Justin Bethel can jump high, really high. In the video, he executes a 60-inch vertical. Yes, a five-foot vertical jump. He scaled it down at the combine and officially recorded a 39.5 inch vertical. He's turned in a 4.58 40-yard dash time as well.
The safety from Presbyterian in Clinton, S.C. is known as a strong tackler and drives through his tackles consistently. He's also a special teams stud, having blocked nine kicks in four seasons for the Blue Hose.
Look for Bethel to be a special teamer as the Cardinals are solid at safety with Pro Bowler Adrian Wilson.
Round 6: Ryan Lindley QB San Diego State
With their second pick of the sixth round, Arizona took San Diego State quarterback Ryan Lindley.
Lindley will challenge Richard Bartel for the third quarterback spot on the Cardinals' roster behind Kevin Kolb and John Skelton.
Lindley threw for 12,690 yards and 90 touchdowns in four years with the Aztecs but never completed more than 58 percent of his passes in any season.
Lindley has the arm to hit the deep ball every time but lacks the consistency with his accuracy. He tries to throw every ball at full speed instead of using touch passes. If he gets flushed out of the pocket, Lindley doesn't have much scrambling ability.
Look for Lindley to spend 2012 in development and not see any playing time, barring injuries.
Round 7: Nate Potter T Boise State
With its final pick, the Cardinals took Nate Potter from Boise State.
Potter was a unanimous first-team selection in the Mountain West Conference. He anchored a Broncos' line that gave up the second fewest sacks in the NCAA at 0.67 sacks per game. Potter started all three years at Boise and avoided injuries.
His strength is defending the edge rushers but sometimes has difficulty containing power rushers.
Don't expect Potter to see much playing time in 2012.