The Arizona Cardinals went with a consistent theme during Friday’s second and third rounds of the NFL Draft: defense and LSU.
General manager Steve Keim used the team’s No. 45 (acquired in trade with San Diego Chargers) and No. 69 picks on LSU inside linebacker Kevin Minter and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu.
Both selections seemed to garner pretty favorable reviews.
Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com
B Cardinals select: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
He’s a solid linebacker who fills a need. With Daryl Washington suspended for four games, it makes sense.
B- Cardinals select: Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
He is a good player, if he can stay out of trouble. But he has Patrick Peterson to keep him in line.
Mike Sando, ESPN.com NFL West blogger
Arizona needed help at the position after moving on from veteran starter Paris Lenon and one-time projected starter Stewart Bradley. Current starter Daryl Washington will serve a four-game suspension opening the 2013 season. Minter should compete for a starting job as a rookie.
Mathieu should bring attitude and ability to the Cardinals’ secondary. It’s up to the team’s coaching staff — and Mathieu himself — to maximize the investment.
Nate Davis, USA Today
Kevin Minter, LB, Louisiana State
Analysis: Interesting choice. Arizona ILB Daryl Washington is one of the league’s best young players at the position but will open the 2013 season with a four-game suspension. The Cardinals also signed Jasper Brinkley in free agency, so Minter will have to compete for a job, at least starting in Week 5. Minter also has to overcome a slight stigma of LSU linebackers who haven’t been impact players in the pros.
Tyrann Mathieu, CB, Louisiana State
Analysis: A stroke of luck for Mathieu since former LSU teammate Patrick Peterson can look after him in the desert. Coach Bruce Arians says Mathieu will play free safety in the NFL, which will certainly help take advantage of his ball-hawking skills.