Following their selection of North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals have set their sights on the defensive side of the football.
Friday, the team selected LSU linebacker Kevin Minter (No. 45) and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu (No. 69) and the trend continued Saturday.
With their first (No. 103) of two picks in the fourth round, Steve Keim and Co. took defensive end Alex Okafor out of Texas.
“Going into the Combine, (the Cardinals) asked me ‘You didn’t play much standing up or as a 3-4 backer in college, do you think you can play there?'” Okafor said in a conference call Saturday. “I looked them dead in the eye and told them I’m confident in my athletic abilities and know I can play that position for them.”
Okafor, who had 52 tackles and 12.5 sacks in 2012, was a first-team AFCA All-American in 2011 and a two-time first-team All-Big-12 member (2011 and 2012).
The former Texas defensive standout will be reuniting with college teammate Sam Acho, who ironically was taken by the Cardinals with the No. 103 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
“One of the transitions in the NFL is making all new friends on the team, getting to know people,” said Okafor. “But I get to come in with a guy I played two years with and who was already a mentor of mine. “It’s a perfect situation for me.”
— Sam Acho (@TheSamAcho) April 27, 2013