Arizona Cardinals Undrafted Free Agents: Need-to-Know Info for Every Signee
The Arizona Cardinals entered the 2014 NFL draft with only six picks after giving up their seventh-round selection to the Oakland Raiders for quarterback Carson Palmer. General manager Steve Keim pulled off a trade with the New Orleans Saints, swapping first-rounders and grabbing a third-rounder in the process.
With New Orleans' original first-round pick, Arizona selected strong safety Deone Bucannon out of Washington State, confusing some fans and even a few "experts" but elating most. Bucannon is one of the hardest hitting defenders in the draft, and he will start from Day 1 and provide in-the-box and tight end coverage help.
In Round 2, Keim nabbed former Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas, all but bringing to an end the Rob Housler experiment in Arizona. Niklas will start immediately, though it's unknown which other tight end will start next to him at this point.
Former North Carolina defensive end Kareem Martin was the first third-round pick for the Cardinals, at No. 84 overall. He will be a rotational pass-rusher early on.
From there, Keim added another defensive lineman in Ed Stinson, two receivers in John Brown and Walt Powell and quarterback Logan Thomas of Arians' alma mater, Virginia Tech. Thomas will fight with Ryan Lindley for the No. 3 spot on the roster. It's doubtful both are kept, so that does not bode well for Lindley.
Look for the Cardinals to add offensive linemen, running backs and pass-rushers, among other positions that will be addressed in undrafted free agency.
Here is a run down of every player added through UDFA.
Kevin Smith, WR, Washington
Source: Fox Sports' Mike Jurecki
Standing 5'11" and weighing 208 pounds, Kevin Smith caught 72 passes for 1,059 yards (14.7 yards per catch) and four touchdowns. Get used to the term "Camp body," because it will be used here a lot. Smith has some return ability, and he could see some time there during camp—as well as other places on special teams—to see if he adds anything the Cardinals are missing.
He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds at his pro day, and he's the third wide receiver added on draft weekend between the draft and undrafted free agency.
Zach Bauman, RB, Northern Arizona
Source: Zach Bauman
He's a smaller running back, but Zach Bauman is shifty and runs with a low pad level, making him even harder to tackle. The offensive backfield is in need of another playmaker, as other than Andre Ellington, the team has a bunch of unknown commodities.
Jonathan Dwyer isn't a three-down back, and neither is Stepfan Taylor. That's not the type of running back the Cardinals are looking for after Ellington broke out as a rookie in 2013. Bauman could be a nice piece if he has the chance to develop and add muscle. He's 5'7", 194 pounds and ran a 4.50 40-yard dash at his pro day. He's a little wrecking ball on the football field.
Chandler Catanzaro, K, Clemson
Source: Chandler Catanzaro
Camp body alert! Former Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro spent his four seasons kicking footballs for the Tigers, connecting on 67 of 82 attempts (81.7 percent). He won the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl for his team with a 37-yard boot as time expired to beat LSU and had many other big kicks throughout his career there.
Jay Feely re-signed for two more years, and it's protocol to add kickers in the offseason to give him a break and to allow young kickers to make an impression for later, when a team needs to replace someone due to injury or poor performance. This year, Catanzaro gets a chance to make a lasting impression.
Kadeem Williams, OL, Albany State
Kadeem Williams is a large individual. Standing 6'7" and weighing 330 pounds, Williams dominated defenders while at Albany State. He might play at both tackle and guard—wherever he's needed.
For now, he's probably going to be a practice squad guy, but he has upside enough to become a solid backup lineman on Sundays.
Justin Renfrow, DL, Miami
Source: Miami Hurricanes
Justin Renfrow was a part-time player at Miami. He played in 35 games in four seasons, starting just four of them—all in 2013 as a senior. He's another camp body and a big one at that. This defensive end is 6'4" and 305 pounds.
Here's an impressive measurable: Renfrow posted a 33-inch vertical at his pro day. There's a chance he earns a spot on the practice squad, but he'll have to climb a high mountain to make that happen.
Glenn Carson, LB, Penn State
Source: Fox Sports' Mike Jurecki
Former Penn State inside linebacker Glenn Carson is strong and athletic, but he lacks the natural instincts you see in top prospects. It's probably a big reason he went undrafted, but his athleticism makes him an early practice squad candidate.
He stands nearly 6'3" and weighs 238 pounds. At his pro day, he put up 30 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and recorded a 35-inch vertical. His 40 time of 4.70 seconds is merely average, but he shows explosiveness at times in short areas. He notched 249 total tackles at Penn State, including 8.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.
Kelvin Palmer, OT, Baylor
Source: Kelvin Palmer
Former Baylor Bears offensive lineman Kelvin Palmer started 10 games at right tackle as a senior in 2013. He started three games at left tackle as well. Palmer is 6'3-1/2" and weighs 302 pounds, and he ran a 5.03-second 40-yard dash at his pro day.
Unless Arians is unhappy with his situation at right tackle—and judging by the exclusion of a drafted right tackle, Arizona might be OK with it—Palmer could be merely a camp body. He played in 45 games at Baylor, but those 13 starts as a senior were the only of his career.
Jonathan Brown, LB, Illinois
Source: Jonathan Brown
An undersized outside linebacker, Jonathan Brown was a leader at Illinois but could struggle to make the Cardinals' roster. He's 6'0" and 238 pounds and ran an underwhelming 4.98-second 40 at the combine.
Brown led the Illini with 119 total tackles in 2013 and finished his college career third in school history with 45.5 tackles for loss. He shows good football instincts, but the athleticism just isn't there—he'll have a difficult time transitioning to the NFL.
Todd Washington, CB, Southeast Louisiana
Source: Kristian Garic
At 5'11" and 196 pounds, Todd Washington has an athletic build and fluid hips when turning in coverage. He transferred from Memphis before the 2011 season and played two years at Southeast Louisiana.
He showed well at his pro day despite a still-healing toe injury that kept him out of the final six games of the 2013 season. Gil Brandt of NFL.com reported 21 teams in attendance to see him work out. That's very good for a small-school defensive back with an injury issue. Maybe he has a chance to make Arizona's roster as a special-teamer and work his way to playing cornerback.
Brandon Sermons, DB, UCLA
Source: Aaron Wilson
Former UCLA defensive back Brandon Sermons was a part-time player with the Bruins. He played a lot on special teams, so if he squeaks onto the roster (not likely), that would be his "in."
He clocked a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at his pro day, so he does have some speed. Sermons is most likely a camp body, but he will have every opportunity to make the roster as a special teams player.
Anthony Steen, OG, Alabama
Source: Touchdown Alabama Magazine
A three-year letterman at Alabama, Anthony Steen was part of one of the best offensive lines in the nation for three years. He played right guard, which is a position of need for the Cardinals. It's far too early to say for sure, but Steen could compete for a spot on the roster based on that need.
He can also play center, so versatility could help his cause. One thing that won't help is his short arms. His 30.5-inch arms were the shortest among combine linemen, according to Ken Laird of TribLIVE Radio in Pittsburgh.
Tim Cornett, RB, UNLV
Source: Rebel Yell Sports
Stoutly built Tim Cornett stands 6'0" and weighs 209 pounds. He ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at the combine and displays some ability to elude tacklers. UNLV has never seen a more productive running back, as Cornett became the first player in school history to lead the team in rushing four straight seasons.
He owns the school record with 3,733 rushing yards and is second all-time with 4,731 all-purpose yards (Cornett also returned kicks for the Rebels).