Arizona Cardinals' Day 2 2014 NFL Draft Primer
The Arizona Cardinals and general manager Steve Keim made a Day 1 trade, moving from the 20th pick and taking the New Orleans Saints' 27th and 91st picks. Arizona then drafted strong safety Deone Bucannon at No. 27.
Filling a need while taking the best player on Keim’s draft board would have been good enough, but adding an extra third-round pick put Day 1 over the top for the Cardinals. Day 2 should be a fun one, as Arizona has pick No. 52 of Round 2 and picks No. 84 and No. 91 of Round 3. In such a deep draft, there are sure to be great players available at each pick.
Get geared up for all the action by reading through the Cardinals’ Day 2 primer!
Day 1 Recap and Analysis
As mentioned at the outset, the Cardinals added an extra third-round pick by trading back seven spots in Round 1. In some ways, Bucannon was the perfect pick for Arizona. The defense needed a thumping strong safety, and it got one.
Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles will insert Bucannon into his starting lineup immediately, and he should be there for a long time.
While the Washington State product is a bit stiff in the hips, that’s not a big-time worry because he’s not going to be turning and running with speed receivers down the field. In coverage, he will mostly be paired up with tight ends and bigger slot receivers—and press-man coverage will be a rarity.
Arizona’s secondary is among the best and deepest in the NFL right now, and because of the Bucannon pick, teams will not have the luxury of padding tight end stats when playing the Birdgang.
Updated Needs for the Cardinals
Filling arguably the biggest need on defense gives Keim and Co. free rein to do what they want on Day 2. That said, there still are some needs to be discussed. Here they are.
The defense is a premier pass-rusher away from being on the level of the division-rival Seahawks and 49ers after the Bucannon pick. Guys like Kony Ealy, Jeremiah Attaochu, Kyle Van Noy (personal favorite) and Demarcus Lawrence are still on the board, so there’s a chance at No. 52 Keim could make one of them the next Arizona Cardinal.
It’s possible the Cardinals draft a tackle, and if they so choose, there could be a good one available when they’re on the clock at No. 52, and even at either No. 84 or No. 91. A player like James Hurst of North Carolina, who is recovering from a broken leg very similar to Jonathan Cooper, could fall to Arizona in Round 3. If Keim chooses a pass-rusher at No. 52, you should expect a tackle with one of the later Day 2 picks.
This one could be addressed in Round 2 depending on who falls. For example, former UCLA Bruins OG Xavier Su’a-Filo could potentially fall to No. 52, and if that happens, there’s a good chance he will be the best player on Keim’s board. Speculation suggested he could be a late first-round pick, and he’s likely the most athletic guard available.
3-Tech Defensive End
Somewhat unexpectedly, Ra’Shede Hageman fell out of Round 1. Will he be there at No. 52 for the Cardinals? Not likely, no. But in Round 3, guys like Kelcy Quarles, Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson could be around. Any of the three, plus others, could make sense for Arizona late on Day 2 or early on Day 3.
Top Day 2 Targets
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Not mentioned in the needs is tight end. That’s because tight end truly isn’t a need. Yes, Rob Housler has been a major disappointment thus far, but with John Carlson and Jake Ballard on the roster, there isn’t an immediate need.
That being said, if Seferian-Jenkins is there at No. 52, Keim could have a tough decision to make.
Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
He’s similar to Ryan Shazier in his coverage skills, but Van Noy is a better edge-rusher than Shazier is. He does a lot of things well that a 3-4 outside linebacker is supposed to do, like get to the quarterback and drop into coverage. Where he is a bit underrated, however, is in his leadership. Possible Round 2 pick if there.
Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
The Cardinals need depth at wide receiver, and Andre Ellington’s cousin, Bruce, could be that depth. He has star slot receiver potential, and he could fall to Round 3 with all the other good receivers still on the board—Davante Adams, Marqise Lee and Donte Moncrief, just to name a few.
What Are the Experts Saying?
We’ll take a look at a few picks for the Cardinals from experts Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, Mel Kiper of ESPN and one from Drafttek.
Round 2 (Miller): Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
Again, this is a great pick should Van Noy be there at No. 52 for the Cardinals. He is instinctive and quick to react, and as a leader he could become a future team captain. Hopefully, he’ll be there.
Round 3 (Kiper): De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
I don’t really see the pick here, but Kiper does what he wants. The Cardinals already have a De’Anthony Thomas-type running back on the roster in Andre Ellington, so this is sort of a wasted pick.
Round 3 (Drafttek): Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
It’s not a bad pick, really. Zach Mettenberger could be a future franchise quarterback if he can stay out of trouble. But that’s the question: Can Mettenberger stay out of trouble?
3 Predictions for Day 2
Arizona Will Address the Pass Rush at No. 52
John Abraham could be on his last legs as an NFL player, and Sam Acho, Alex Okafor and Lorenzo Alexander don’t exude a lot of confidence in the pass-rushing department.
Getting a guy like Van Noy, Lawrence or Ealy at 52 would address the pass rush and complete the defense.
Keim Will Trade Back Again
Don’t assume that, because Keim traded back in Round 1, he’s done and will be content with the picks Arizona has left. If he can trade back and add another late pick or two—look for a seventh-round pick here—he will. This draft is deep, and players are bound to fall later than first thought.
A Quarterback Will Be Taken on Day 2
It’s not mentioned in the potential targets, but it’s possible the Cardinals add a quarterback at some point on Day 2. With three picks, any of them could net the team a signal-caller, but watch out for that 91st pick. Should a quarterback Keim likes be around then, he could give him a call.
Updated Cardinals Mock Draft
Round 2, Pick 52: Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
Love this pick. Van Noy fills another defensive need with depth and improved athleticism at outside linebacker. He is a future leader in the locker room with a good head on his shoulders and a lot of experience in the 3-4 defense.
Round 3, Pick 84: Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia
Arthur Lynch hasn’t gotten much publicity this draft season, but he’s a guy who will be able to contribute early despite the recent signings and is an underrated blocker to boot. If he’s on the roster in 2014, Rob Housler is likely not.
Round 3, Pick 91 (from Saints): Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
I was on this pick early in the draft process and shied away from it to be different, but I really think the Cardinals take Mettenberger at some point this weekend. If he’s there with New Orleans’ third-round pick, watch for Keim to pull the trigger on the signal-caller.
Round 4, Pick 120: Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
Sticking with LSU here, Johnson is a solid nose tackle/3-technique defensive end who could develop into a run-stuffing monster for the Cardinals. He was a nearly every-down player for the Tigers in 2013, playing defensive tackle in 4-down linemen sets and dropping down to nose tackle in the traditional 3-4 look.
His versatility is intriguing.
Round 5, Pick 160: Walt Aikens, CB, Liberty
I can’t remember seeing him in any mock drafts, but mark it down: Walt Aikens will be drafted at some point this weekend. It would be great if the Cardinals jumped on it and took him late on Day 3 as a developmental guy. He has great upside and could have Richard Sherman-type potential. He’s physical and long, and he excelled at press-man coverage at a small school.
He’ll need some seasoning, but the skill set is there.
Round 6, Pick 196: Dakota Dozier, OG, Furman
Mr. Dakota Dozier played left tackle at Furman and succeeded wildly. But most see him as a guard at the next level, and he could be a good one at that. Dozier would develop as a right guard and would be a two-year insurance policy for Earl Watford.
As in, the Cardinals give Watford two years to become what they think he can be, and if he doesn’t live up to the billing, you move on and slide Dozier into the spot.