The first one is officially out of the way.
Nine selections and nearly 48 hours later, first-year head coach Bruce Arians and first-year general manager Steve Keim left the Arizona Cardinals’ 2013 NFL Draft War Room Saturday with smiles on their faces.
In all, the Cardinals drafted six offensive players (OG Jonathan Cooper, OG Earl Watford, RB Stepfan Taylor, RB Andre Ellington and TE D.C. Jefferson) and three defensive players (LB Kevin Minter, DB Tyrann Mathieu and DE Alex Okafor). And at least on paper, they seem to have taken more or less who they wanted.
“I can’t stop smiling,” Arians said. “Every time we would want a player at a position, the board would just fall for us. I was only in one other draft that was like that and that was last year in Indianapolis.
“I had a dream team, they were all there at the right spot. That’s basically how this one fell.”
While all nine players had attributes and accolades that made them attractive NFL prospects, Arians admitted he was also enamored by the leadership element — especially from those taken on Day 3.
“The theme that keeps running through with each pick, is production and captain,” said Arians. “Every single player we drafted has high, high production and they were captains of their team.”
In addition to getting productive guys, Keim said he was thrilled that selections weren’t made out of any sense of desperation.
“I don’t think we reached,” said Keim. “As a matter of fact, I think we got great value at every pick.”
One position the Cardinals certainly didn’t reach for was quarterback. After making two defensive selections on Day 2, Arizona had a chance to draft the likes of Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib, Tyler Bray and Tyler Wilson Saturday.
But it seems the Redbirds are more than happy with their depth behind center.
“I know that early on in the process, I had talked about subscribing to the theory of taking a quarterback every year,” said Keim. “I still believe in that. The difference is, our draft picks came through free agency with Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton.
“We didn’t feel like that was a necessary move we needed to make.”
Keim added that the organization liked four or five different prospects with the No. 219 overall pick, and that his goal is to try and sign those guys, as well as other undrafted free agents before next week’s rookie minicamp.