2015 Draft in Review: Arizona Cardinals
The NFL draft is over and it suddenly seems like a long time to wait for the next meaningful event on the NFL calendar. But frankly we’re still excited trying to break down what it all means for each team and so we’re going to share some of that excitement.
That’s right every team is going to have each pick broken down as well as a look at their undrafted free agents. Next up we’re looking to the NFC West, where the Arizona Cardinals are looking to improve on 2014, where they made it to the postseason only to lose in the wild card round.
Round 1: D.J. Humphries, T, Florida
The Cardinals took a risk with this pick, with Humphries failing to set the world alight either in pass protection or as a run blocker in 2014. Allowing nine total pressures from 228 pass blocking snaps, he had the 45th-ranked Pass Blocking Efficiency in this draft class as 96.7.
Depth Chart Fit: Right now he’ll likely compete with Bobby Massie to start at right tackle, but may ultimately be the replacement for Jared Veldheer on the left.
Round 2: Markus Golden, ED, Missouri
As big as a gamble as their first round pick was, Golden was a nice value selection in the second round. A very productive player at Missouri, despite being overshadowed by Shane Ray, at least in terms of hype generated. With 61 total pressured from 402 pass rushing snaps, his Pass Rushing Productivity of 12.1 was the seventh-best mark among 4-3 defensive ends in this class.
Depth Chart Fit: He should immediately compete for playing time on the edge, but in the very least should contribute as a situational pass rusher in Year 1.
Round 3: David Johnson, HB, Northern Iowa
While the Cardinals were looking for a running back, they appear to have found someone similar to Andre Ellington as opposed to a complement to him. Much better as a receiver than a runner, he forced four missed tackles from 11 receptions, and just five missed tackles from 41 carries. His standout performance came against Iowa, where he racked up 203 receiving yards on five receptions.
Depth Chart Fit: Will compete with Ellington and Stepfan Taylor for snaps at running back.
Round 4: Rodney Gunter, DI, Delaware State
With just one game against FBS opposition there wasn’t much to see from Gunter, with just 14 snaps against the Temple Owls where he had a very slight negative grade.
Depth Chart Fit: Will have to battle for playing time on the defensive front, with plenty of players competing for snaps.
Round 5: Shaq Riddick, ED, West Virginia
489 snaps in 2014 saw Riddick flash at points and disappoint at others. His 6.8 Pass Rushing Productivity Rating was 17th in the class, a result of the up and down nature of his performances for the Mountaineers last season.
Depth Chart Fit: Likely to be limited to being used as a situational player in 2015.
Round 5: JJ Nelson, WR, UAB
Struggled as a receiver but that’s not likely why they drafted him. Nelson led the nation with four touchdowns on kickoff returns, averaging 37.5 yards on the 22 returns he attempted. Also averaging 11.2 yards per punt return, he can be an impact player for the Cardinals on special teams.
Depth Chart Fit: If he’s as good a returner as he was in college, there’s no reason he shouldn’t start the season as the Cardinals primary kick returner.
Round 7: Gerald Christian, TE, Louisville
A good all round player, who graded positively as a receiver and as a blocker, he’s a favorite of PFF’s Khaled Elsayed. Our ninth-highest graded run blocker, he at least figures to have an NFL future as a blocking tight end, and was an underrated receiver.
Depth Chart Fit: With John Carlson retiring, Christian has a shot to be the team’s No. 2 tight end to start the year.
Andrae Kirk, FAU, LB: Had the fourth-highest coverage grade of any linebacker in this class.
Gabe Martin, Bowling Green, LB: The gem of the Cardinals UDFA class, he had the sixth-highest run defense grade of all linebackers in this draft class.
Edwin Jackson, LB, Georgia Southern: 710 snaps for the Eagles, with a small positive grade against the run.
C.J. Roberts, CB, Colorado State-Pueblo: Zero snaps against FBS opposition in 2014.
Trevor Harman, WR, Shippensburgh: Zero snaps against FBS opposition in 2014.
Damon Powell, WR, Iowa: Four drops from 23 catchable passes in 2014.
Jaxson Shipley, WR, Texas : Played 689 snaps in his final season at Texas.
Cariel Brooks, CB, Adams State: Zero snaps against FBS opposition for Brooks.
Alani Fua, ED, BYU: 611 snaps and a small positive grade against the run for the BYU edge defender.
Zack Wagenmann, ED, Montana: Just one game against FBS opposition for Wagenmann, with two sacks, three hits, two hurries and a batted pass againsy Wyoming.
Gannon Sinclair, TE, Missouri State: Just one game against FBS opposition for Sinclair, where he graded positively as a run blocker.
Paul Lasike, HB, BYU: 719 snaps from the player from Aukland, New Zealand he graded positively as a runner and a run blocker.
Xavier Williams, DI, Northern Iowa: 162 snaps against FBS opposition for the defensive tackle.
Rob Crisp, T, North Carolina State: 913 Snaps for the Wolfpack offensive tackle, he graded positively as a pass blocker.
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