Steve Keim’s history of NFL Draft-day trades for the Cardinals
Steve Keim hasn’t been afraid to deal during the NFL Draft. In five of his six drafts, the Arizona Cardinals general manager has made a move.
Four of those nine total moves moved the Cardinals up while the other five moved them down.
With Arizona holding the No. 1 pick and nine more after that in the 2019 draft, there’s potential for more maneuvering this year. Here’s a look at the history of Keim’s draft-day trades.
2013 NFL Draft
Keim made two moves, both of them to acquire more picks. The San Diego Chargers bumped up seven spots in the second round for the price of a fourth-round pick to select linebacker Manti Te’o at No. 38.
In exchange, the Cardinals acquired No. 45 to pick linebacker Kevin Minter, and that fourth-round pick would be on the move later.
The New York Giants traded for that fourth-round choice at No. 110 overall to pick quarterback Ryan Nassib.
In what was Keim’s first big win on a draft-day deal, the return was picks Nos. 116 and 187, used on offensive lineman Earl Watford and running back Andre Ellington, respectively.
Watford was a nice depth option for the Cardinals offensive line and did a fine job filling in when needed from 2013-16 and again in 2017. Ellington reached over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in his first two seasons and spent two more years with Arizona before being waived in 2017.
Minter started all 37 straight games for Arizona from 2014-16 before signing with the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency.
2014 NFL Draft
Three picks were in Keim’s only 2014 deal and all three selections became notable names.
The New Orleans Saints wanted a shiny new toy for Drew Brees and used a third-round pick (No. 91) to move up from No. 27 to 20 in the first round and select wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
In moving back, the Cardinals still got their guy in linebacker/safety Deone Bucannon and still got a speedy receiver of their own in John Brown at No. 91.
For three seasons with the Saints, Cooks amassed 2,861 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns in 42 games.
Bucannon had an up-and-down time in Arizona, excelling early on in a specialty role as a box safety, a role that many teams looked to fill and modeled after Bucannon. Injuries and Bruce Arians’ departure hurt Bucannon’s next couple of seasons, though, as he was never able to match his quality of play from 2014 or 2015. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason to reunite with Arians.
Brown’s speed was never in doubt with the Cardinals and his 1,003-yard, seven-touchdown 2015 season is often forgotten in terms of the production he brought. The next two years included injuries and disappointment, however, and he moved on to the Baltimore Ravens last season, getting back to his solid form with 42 catches for 715 yards and five scores.
2015 NFL Draft
In 2016, Keim was happy to move down from No. 55 to 58 in the second round, allowing the Baltimore Ravens to pick tight end Maxx Williams while Keim got his pass rusher in Markus Golden.
The extra asset was a fifth-round pick used on linebacker Shaquille Riddick.
Williams didn’t live up to the hype as the top tight end selected. In four Ravens seasons, Williams caught 63 passes for 497 yards and three touchdowns. He remains a free agent.
Golden, meanwhile, was a legitimate game-changer for the 2016 season, leading the team with 12.5 sacks. He only played four games in 2017 due to an ACL injury and wasn’t the same player the following season, reaching 2.5 sacks in 11 starts. Golden signed with the New York Giants this offseason.
Riddick never played a game for the Cardinals.
In what was Keim’s clearest win of a draft-day trade thus far, the Cardinals worked with the Cleveland Browns to jump from No. 123 in the fourth round to No. 116 to swoop up defensive tackle Rodney Gunter.
The price was a sixth- and seventh-round pick that turned into tight end Randall Telfer and cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. The Browns took tight end Vince Mayle in the fourth round.
Mayle didn’t make the Browns’ roster his rookie year and Telfer had five catches in two seasons for Cleveland.
If Ekpre-Olomu sounds familiar, that’s because the Oregon corner was a potential first-round pick before tearing his ACL and dislocating his knee, an injury that had teams back off. Because of an insurance policy taken out by his family, Ekpre-Olomu was paid $3 million for the disability insurance program. He last played for the Dolphins in February of 2017.
Those three players haven’t done much for the Browns while Gunter has been a reliable depth piece on the defensive line for the Cardinals, notably playing the best football of his career in 2018 and earning a re-up this offseason on a one-year deal.
2017 NFL Draft
The Cardinals made a Keim-era high three deals during this draft, the most memorable being moving up in the second round for defensive back Budda Baker.
To jump from 45th to 36th in the second round, Arizona sent a fourth- and sixth-rounder to the Chicago Bears, along with a 2018 fourth-round selection. The Cardinals also received a seventh-round pick.
There’s an argument the Bears’ selection in that fourth round is the best player we will touch on. They picked running back Tarik Cohen, a vital part of Matt Nagy’s offense in Chicago. Cohen caught 71 passes for 725 yards and five touchdowns last season, along with 444 yards and three more scores on the ground.
As for Baker, he’s been one of the most consistent defenders for the Cardinals in two seasons. He made the Pro Bowl in 2017 as a special teams player, and in 14 games last season, he had 102 total tackles, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and one touchdown.
To make up some ground on the draft selection front, Keim traded down from No. 77 in the third round to 98th while also scooping up a fourth-round selection at No. 115 from the Carolina Panthers.
Wide receiver Chad Williams was the pick for Arizona in the third and has been a disappointment through two seasons, amounting to only 17 catches last season with the spot opposite of Larry Fitzgerald up for the taking.
The pick at No. 115 for Arizona was offensive lineman Dorian Johnson. Seen as a strong value pick at the time for the Cardinals as a second-round-caliber talent, Johnson was surprisingly cut before the start of the season while Hall only made it one season in Carolina and only has four career games played. Johnson, as it turns out, is currently a member of the Panthers.
Another trade-up wrapped up Keim’s activity for the day when he moved from 221st to No. 208 at the price of a seventh-rounder to select defensive back Rudy Ford.
A special teams player, Ford has 13 total tackles in two seasons.
2018 NFL Draft
The biggest move on this list, without a doubt, was the Cardinals trading up last year to pick UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen at No. 10.
The price for five spots in the first round was reasonable and reviewed positively across the league: a third- and fifth-rounder, along with No. 15, all sent to the Oakland Raiders.
Rosen had an inconsistent 2018, throwing for 2,278 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 14 games played.
Oakland’s return included the 15th overall selection of tackle Kolton Miller, whose rookie year was described as “underwhelming” by Pro Football Focus.
The Raiders later dealt the 79th pick they received from Arizona for wide receiver Martavis Bryant. They also traded the fifth-round pick to move up in the third.