Heading into the NFL Draft, inside linebacker was certainly a position of need for the Arizona Cardinals. With Daryl Washington suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season, finding a viable option to fill the void made a whole lot of sense.
The Cardinals didn’t wait long to address the need, but their selection was a bit of a surprise. Despite Manti Te’o and Kiko Alonso still on the board, Steve Keim and Co. ultimately traded down from No. 38 to No. 45 and opted for LSU’s Kevin Minter.
Minter, who was a Butkus Award finalist in 2012, had 130 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss and four sacks during his junior season, but his former college coach said Arizona is getting more than just a guy who can put up stats.
“(The Cardinals) got a guy with a real knack for inline play,” Les Miles told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Tuesday. “It’ll be real difficult for the ball to be run between the tackles, Kevin Minter just knows where to be.
“And when he tackles, he tackles it hard and he tackles it low. He gets into a zone where that guy is sideline-to-sideline, he’s inline and his presence is felt.”
While Miles noted that Minter will need to prove to the Cardinals’ coaching staff that he can play in zone coverage and in man-to-man coverage, he sees the former LSU linebacker playing a lot of snaps right away.
“I think he’ll be an every-down player,” said Miles. “He’s a guy who will make a lot of big-time tackles.
“He’s another one that’s going to be true blue, when the coach says, ‘This is what I’m seeing,’ he’s going to say ‘I agree.’ If the coach says, ‘This is how we’re going to operate and where headed,’ Kevin Minter will follow right in that. He was the leader of our team.”