Arizona Cardinals Draft Picks: Results, Analysis and Grades
Hello, and welcome to the 2014 NFL draft. The Arizona Cardinals are in a prime position this offseason to get better with what picks they have, and this piece will feature their results, analysis of the results and a grade for each pick or trade.
It’s possible that the Cardinals have had the best offseason of all NFL teams to date, as they filled a huge need in signing left tackle Jared Veldheer and had cornerback Antonio Cromartie fall into their laps after the Jets released him.
You would be hard-pressed to pick out a “glaring” need on Arizona’s roster, so general manager Steve Keim can truly work off his big board and pick the best players available each time his team is on the clock. That is something Cardinals fans are not used to just yet, so it would not be a surprise if some of Keim’s picks seem confusing.
For example, the Cardinals are set along the defensive line this season and probably for the 2015 season. If the best player on Keim’s board is a defensive tackle like, say, Aaron Donald, when Arizona is on the clock, he very well may pull the trigger on the former Pittsburgh standout.
It goes the same way with a potential trade back. If on Keim’s board there are six or more players he would take when he is on the clock at 20 and a team asks about a trade so it can guarantee itself the player it covets, he might trade back if the asking team is no more than six picks back of the Cardinals. That way, Keim guarantees the team one of his top remaining players, while possessing an extra pick or two in later rounds.
That is a win-win scenario for all parties. The team trading up gets the guy it wants, and Arizona does too; plus, the Cardinals have the luxury of having extra picks in this very deep and talented draft.
Arizona Cardinals Trade with New Orleans Saints for No. 27 Pick
General manager Steve Keim worked some magic on Day 1, trading the No. 20 overall selection to the New Orleans Saints for their No. 27 overall pick and the 91st pick (Round 3).
The Cardinals now own the 84th and 91st pick in the third round.
Round 1 (No. 27 Overall): Deone Bucannon, SS, Washington State
It's pretty exciting to announce that the Cardinals have taken strong safety Deone Bucannon with the 27th overall pick. I have been calling this for months, and he's the perfect pick for a defense trying to replace Adrian Wilson.
Bucannon immediately upgrades a secondary that is chock-full of talent on the outside but needed a bruiser up the middle. He will step in and start at strong safety from Day 1 and provide in-the-box help with the run game and in covering tight ends.
Round 2 (No. 52 Overall): Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
Solidifying the tight end position, Keim takes perhaps the tight end with the best upside in Troy Niklas. With Rob Housler a severe disappointment, Niklas could work his way to a starting role quickly. Free-agent signee John Carlson and Jake Ballard are similar players to Niklas, but the rookie is a better athlete and bigger target.
It's possible Housler could be released now that Niklas is on the roster.
Round 3 (No. 84 Overall): Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina
The defense gets another weapon with defensive end Kareem Martin. He is a defensive end who will keep his hand in the dirt in coordinator Todd Bowles' 3-4 scheme as both a 3- and 5-Tech end. Early on, he likely will play more behind Darnell Dockett, and he could eventually replace him.
This is a solid pick, and with great players flying off the board, it was time to get a pass-rusher.
Round 3 (No. 91 Overall from NO): John Brown, WR, Pittsburg State
The third-round pick Arizona received for No. 20 overall is spent on speedy Pittsburg State wide receiver John Brown. Coach Arians loves his speed receivers, and Brown has a surplus—he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the combine and showed an impressive 36.5-inch vertical.
He won't be the No. 3 receiver, but as a No. 4 or No. 5 guy (depending on opponent and package), Brown could find the field quite a bit as a rookie.
Round 4 (No. 120 Overall): Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
We know Arians was at Logan Thomas' pro day at Virginia Tech, and there apparently was more to it than just being back at his old stomping ground for a day. Thomas is now a Cardinals quarterback.
Does he play in 2014? No. Does he play in 2015? He could. That will depend on how he develops under Arians, Tom Moore and Co. as a rookie.
Round 5 (No. 160 Overall): Ed Stinson, DE, Alabama
Keim is thinking about the future of the defensive line with his pick of former Alabama defensive lineman Ed Stinson. He is an older rookie and will be 24 years old when the season kicks off, but as a three-year starter for one of the nation's best defenses, he has the experience as a run stopper to transition well to the NFL.
Darnell Dockett's replacement could have just been found in Round 5, but it will take Stinson a year or longer to become a worthy starter.
Round 6 (No. 196 Overall): Walt Powell, WR, Murray State
Likely a draft board selection, wide receiver Walt Powell is a curious pick to say the least. After drafting receiver John Brown to serve as competition on special teams and in the slot for Ted Ginn Jr, Keim follows it up by ending the draft on a player who will struggle to make the roster.
Powell is 5'11", 189 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.63 seconds. That's not very exciting.