Draft review: Arizona Cardinals


After analyzing the draft needs of all 32 teams, PFT will review how well each team addressed those needs. Up next: The Arizona Cardinals.

What they needed: Offensive line, defensive line, running back, wide receiver, cornerback, tight end

Who they got:
Round 1: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Round 2: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
Round 3: Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
Round 4: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas; Earl Watford, G, James Madison
Round 5: Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
Round 6: Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M; Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson
Round 7: D.C. Jefferson, TE, Rutgers

Where they hit: The Cardinals offensive line was a disaster in 2012. Arizona added two players to the line in their first five selections included highly touted guard Jonathan Cooper in the first round. Running back was also in need of an upgrade and Arizona drafted a pair of back in the late rounds. Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington add additional depth behind Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams. Alex Okafor is an intriguing prospect along the defensive line as well.

Where they missed: While they did address the offensive line with Cooper and Earl Watford, the Cardinals needed to add help at the tackle position as well. Levi Brown is coming back from a torn triceps and Nate Potter and Bobby Massie were inconsistent as rookies. While Potter and Massie are still highly regarded by the team, Arizona still could have added to the group in hopes of avoiding the shortfall of talent at the position they experienced last season.

Impact rookies: Cooper will have an immediate opportunity to bolster the Cardinals offensive line. Tyrann Mathieu adds much-needed depth to the safety position and could compete for a starting job. Taylor and Ellington could find roles as part-time backs. With Daryl Washington’s four-game suspension, Kevin Minter may start the season at inside linebacker.

Long-term prospects: Cooper has Pro Bowl potential for the Cardinals at the guard position. Arizona’s offense won’t be able to truly become more consistent until whichever quarterback is under center has a chance to throw without getting drilled every other time they drop back. The selection of Cooper goes a long way toward stabilizing the Cardinals line for many years into the future.