With the draft a month away, the Arizona Cardinals are revving up their private workouts with prospects.
The Cardinals have met with numerous players at the Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine Game and the NFL Scouting Combine, but only get to have 30 private interviews with potential draftees.
The Cardinals’ list is interesting thus far as they have met with the following.
• Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech (Campus meeting)
• Zach Mettenberger, LSU (Combine meeting)
It’s pretty obvious that the Cardinals are looking for big, strong-armed pocket passers. Thomas is still all potential at this point and is much more athletic in and out of the pocket than Mettenberger is, while the LSU signal caller has shown excellent growth from year to year on the field.
• Tre Mason, Auburn (Combine meeting)
• Terrance West, Towson (Private Workout)
Both running backs are short, compactly built, between-the-tackle-type backs in the Ray Rice/Frank Gore mold, but Mason seems like a day-two lock at this point and West seems to be the rising small school-type who will go early on day three.
• Bruce Ellington, South Carolina (Private workout)
• Ryan Grant, Tulane (Senior Bowl)
• Robert Herron, Wyoming (Senior Bowl)
• Bernard Reedy, Toledo (East-West Shrine Game)
Each of these prospects is what Bruce Arians seems to like in his wide receivers: six-feet tall or under, shifty, good route runners and can take a top off the defense, with the possible exception of Grant.
Ellington and Herron are day-two receivers, while Reedy and Grant likely will be available late on day three.
• Arthur Lynch, Georgia (Senior Bowl)
Excellent inline blocker who can double as an H-Back/fullback. Lynch has good hands, but isn’t a great athlete.
He’s a late day-two, early day-three-type.
• Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, McGill (Canada) (Private Workout and East-West Shrine Game)
Interesting that the only offensive lineman the Cardinals have lined up so far is a Canadian college prospect that struggled with everything at the East-West Shrine Game. However, he did show unbelievable athleticism and foot speed.
Duvernay-Tardif is a day three prospect with untapped upside, but he needs a lot of time and work.
• Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota (Private Visit)
• Cassius Marsh, UCLA (East-West Shrine Game)
Hageman is the embodiment of the younger, longer, faster mantra that the Cardinals are looking for on the defensive side of the ball.
He may be the best pure 3-4 defensive end in the draft, and has Calais Campbell like upside.
An undersized 3-4 defensive end who needs to add weight in order to become a legitimate player, Marsh has an unbelievable work ethic and a drive to do well.
• Ryan Shazier, Ohio State (Private visit)
• Larry Webster, Bloomsburg (Private workout)
• Howard Jones, Shepherd (Private workout)
Shazier is the most dynamic athlete at linebacker in the 2014 draft class, and offers positional flexibility and scheme versatility that the Cardinals and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles love.
Shazier is a name that could be available when the Cardinals are on the clock at 20.
Webster and Jones are two fantastic small school athletic linebackers who have off-the-chart measurables. But like Duvernay-Tardif, both need time and work to make an impact at the next level. The Cardinals could be enticed by their athleticism.
• Jason Verrett, CB TCU (Private Workout)
• Ahmad Dixon, SS Baylor (Senior Bowl)
• Nevin Lawson, CB Nevada (East West Shrine Game)
• Lonnie Ballentine, FS Memphis (Private Workout)
Quite the mishmash of talent here, but Dixon, Lawson and Ballentine are the type of long, athletic defensive backs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and general manager Steve Keim are looking for.
Verrett is interesting because he may be the best cover corner in the draft, but at only 5-9, he’s much shorter than what the Cardinals have talked about looking for.
Verrett would offer an interesting fit in the slot with the ability to slide outside when needed, but he’s a guy who would be in play at 20, while Dixon is a day-two type, and Lawson is a day-three player.
Ballentine is a priority free agent, late-round flyer whose size/length combination is very enticing.
With those names, we know of seven of the 30 possible Cardinals workouts. The names are interesting, because outside of Verrett who is a sure-fire first-round corner, and Ellington, a day-two receiver, the names are mostly day-three, smallschool-types with high upside.
Keep checking back as we update the private workout list and add scouting reports for the Cardinals pre-draft prospect visits.