2014 NFL Draft: 5 Late-Round Sleepers Arizona Cardinals Should Target
2014 NFL Draft: 5 Late-Round Sleepers the Arizona Cardinals Should Target
The Arizona Cardinals overachieved last season, in large part due to an easy schedule. After winning ten games, the schedule obviously is going to get a lot tougher, so this year’s NFL Draft is kind of crucial for the team.
The Cardinals seemed to be taking a risk drafting free safety Tyrann ‘Honey Badger’ Mathieu in third round last season because of his off-the-field issues, but he proved to be a model citizen off the field and a playmaker on it. Unfortunately Mathieu tore both his ACL and ACL in December, but he should be ready to go opening day.
The injury definitely hurt the Cardinals, as they failed to reach the playoffs in spite of a good overall record, so it’s probable to believe Arizona will look to add depth to its secondary both early and late in the draft.
The Cardinals are stuck with Carson Palmer, so it is unlikely they will draft a quarterback in this draft. Too bad, because that means Arizona will be missing out on some really sexy quarterbacks who will be available.
NFL teams only get so many draft picks, though. The Cardinals only have six (no seventh-round pick), as opposed to the normal seven, so what this means is the team is not going to be able to wait until the end of the draft to select a player they covet, barring a trade, anyway.
Anyway, the late rounds of the draft are not really about adding luxury to the roster, but more about players who can contribute on special teams or just special players who somehow got slept on. Here are five guys who fit those categories and should be targeted by the Cardinals.
5. Jordan Lynch
Everybody knows who Jordan Lynch is. No NFL team will let him even dream of becoming a quarterback, but his physical beastliness would make him a smart target for the Arizona Cardinals in the late rounds. Lynch could turn out to be a dynamic running back or safety, and would definitely be stellar on special teams.
4. Kirby Van Der Kamp
Who is Kirby Van Der Kamp? He’s a former punter for the Iowa State Cyclones and future legend of the NFL. The beautiful thing about future legendary punters is you can draft them in the sixth round.
3. Chris Boswell
Jay Feely made only 30 of 36 field goal attempts for the Arizona Cardinals last season, which ranked him 21st in the NFL in field goal accuracy. When your quarterback is Carson Palmer, you’re going to need a stellar kicker to make up for red zone inefficiency. Chris Boswell of the Rice Owls is just that. That kid’s leg should be nicknamed ‘Boom’. Don’t sleep on him.
2. DeAnthony Thomas
Former Oregen Ducks running back DeAnthony Thomas didn’t have the fastest 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine, so his draft stock is probably going to slip all the way to the late rounds. However, the Arizona Cardinals, who had an abysmal running attack last season, would be crazy to take Thomas off their radar. Thomas still has the potential to be Darren Sproles times 10, as the film doesn’t lie—the kid is dynamic catching the ball out of the backfield.
1. Bené Benwikere
Such a shame that former San Jose State Spartans cornerback Bené Benwikere was slept on in 2012 because he played in the now defunct WAC Conference. Then, Benwikere had as many interceptions as Manti Te’o and one fewer nonexistent girlfriend, yet he never got anywhere near as much publicity.
The draft experts are probably going to knock his speed and relatively short arms, but the kid is a playmaker. He gets takeaways. In fact, one day everyone in the country will know how to pronounce his exotic name. He’ll get slept on first, though, and if the Arizona Cardinals pair him with Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson, Arizona would boast a secondary that would rival its division rival Seattle Seahawks’. Benwikere will be slept on, though. The Cardinals will live to regret it if they're one of those silly teams that don't wake up. Believe it.