2013 NFL Draft Recap: Arizona Cardinals
Round 1, Pick 7 (7): Jonathan Cooper/OG/North Carolina. Star Impact: ✪✪✪✪
Four-year starter who can match up one-on-one with the best of them. Tremendous hip flexibility and knee bender who is versatile enough to play guard or center. Had shoulder surgery after the 2011 season due to inflammation. Projects as starting left guard.
Round 2, Pick 13 (45) (From SD): Kevin Minter/ILB/LSU. Star Impact: ✪✪✪
Read and react instincts are his area of strength; quick to swarm to the ball and fundamentally sound tackling machine (led Tigers with 130 tackles in 13 games this year). Solidifies the middle of their 3-4 defense with Darryl Washington scheduled to serve four-game suspension.
Round 3, Pick 7 (69): Tyrann Mathieu/CB/LSU. Star Impact: ✪✪✪½
High risk/high reward playmaker who changes the momentum of games with his special teams abilities (runner/gunner). Will make switch from college corner to NFL free safety. Some talk that the Cardinals will not offer guaranteed money in his rookie contract. Was dismissed from LSU for failing multiple drug tests. Will be tested weekly by team.
Round 4, Pick 6 (103): Alex Okafor/DE/Texas. Star Impact: ✪✪
Biggest strength is getting after the quarterback, something he did effectively for the Longhorns while playing with his hand in the dirt. A bit too stiff in the hips to cover at the next level. Expected to be used as pass-rush specialist at outside linebacker for Arizona. Considered a potential first rounder in the spring but there’s a reason why he slid.
Round 4, Pick 19 (116) (From Giants): Earl Watford/OG/James Madison. Star Impact: ✪✪
Fiesty, quick-footed behemoth who began to build momentum during the draft process at East-West Shrine Game—where he showed he belonged after feasting on inferior FCS opponents. Third player ever selected from JMU. Developmental guard who may eventually start.
Round 5, Pick 7 (140): Stepfan Taylor/RB/Stanford. Star Impact: ✪✪✪
One of the premier pass-blocking backs in the draft. Hard-nosed runner who keeps it between the tackles. Plays much faster than his 4.76-forty time suggests. Viewed as an insurance policy for injury-riddled backs Rashard Mendenhall and Beanie Wells. Could emerge as feature back.
Round 6, Pick 6 (174): Ryan Swope/WR/Texas A&M. Star Impact: ✪✪✪½
Short, compact receiver who has a knack for finding the open seam underneath. Former running back; ran 4.34 at the combine. Stock slipped due to concussion history and smallest hands of any wide out in the draft. Also suffers from an occasional case of the dropsies but could be money in the slot and pay handsome dividends. Very good blocker.
Round 6, Pick 19 (187) (From NYG): Andre Ellington/RB/Clemson. Star Impact: ✪✪½
A situational change of pace back; elusive in space and reliable in pass protection. Can provide boost in return game but frame will limit his touches at next level. Has past foot injuries.
Round 7, Pick 13 (219) (From CAR via OAK): D.C. Jefferson/TE/Rutgers. Star Impact: ✪
Above average blocker with below average receiving skills. Nearly lost his starting job as a senior due to poor performance. History of chronic knee problems. 50/50 shot he sticks.
UDFA Watch (O): Jaron Brown/WR/Clemson. Ideal size/speed but never fulfilled potential.
UDFA Watch (D): Tony Jefferson/FS/Oklahoma. Short but physical with solid cover skills.
Overall Impact Factor: 4★