Fantasy Reaction: Arizona Cardinals Select Kevin Minter
With the 46th overall pick (2nd round), the Arizona Cardinals selected LSU ILB, Kevin Minter, in a pick that was acquired from the San Diego Chargers. Minter was lost in a sea of NFL prospects at LSU, with the likes of Barkevious Mingo, Tyrann Mathieu, Morris Claiborne and Michael Brockers so it was tough for him to garner any type of attention during the 2011 season, which was his real crack at playing time after Kelvin Sheppard’s departure. His 2012 season was his first as starter and he earned First-Team All-SEC recognition and was the team’s most valuable defensive player. Despite getting just a 3rd round grade from the Draft Advisory Board, he decided to forgo his senior and enter the draft.
Minter is, arguably, one of the better run stuffers that was available in the draft. He’s a fundamental tackler that isn’t afraid of contact or to take on blockers at the line of scrimmage. When he recognizes run, he’s got good downhill speed and get through blocks to get to the ball behind the line of scrimmage, as his 15 tackles for loss in 2012 indicate. He also uses his football instincts to take better angles to the ball. He’s also got a nose for the QB as he uses his speed to burst through blockers and linemen.
Some of his knocks, are his weakness in pass coverage and is more reactive than proactive and is late getting to the receiver, but he did remain on the field in nickel packages. Even though he has great downhill speed, his sideline to sideline speed is in question and despite taking good angles, he could get outrun by speedier ball carriers in the NFL.
College statistics courtesy of Sports Reference
He comes into Arizona with no off the field baggage and should be able to step in right away as a starter with his run-stuffing abilities. ILB stud, Daryl Washington, will miss the first four games of the season thanks to a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The Cardinals also brought in 2-down LB, Jasper Brinkley and inexperienced ILB, Lorenzo Alexander, so this will have a negative affect on their IDP value.
Minter has a chance to receive significant playing time right out of the gate. Even with Minter’s deficiencies in pass coverage, the Cardinals don’t have anyone currently that can play nickel packages, which Minter handled in LSU and will be instrumental in his early season IDP value. Minter has a nose for the ball and his downhill speed, coupled with his lack of fear to take on contact or blockers, Minter could produce IDP value right away. In redraft formats, I’d be comfortable drafting him as a depth LB4/5 and in dynasty formats, should be one of the first three LBs off the board.
Mike Woellert is a Senior Writer for Pro Football Focus Fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @PFF_MWoellert