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Cards draft CB Jamell Fleming with the 80th pick

The Arizona Cardinals selected cornerback Jamell Fleming from
Oklahoma with the 80th pick overall Friday.

“I am excited to be a Cardinal,” Fleming said in a conference call to
the Arizona media. “It’s a great team and organization and the
defense is just getting better and better, so it’s where I want to be.”

The 22-year-old is one of the most physical defensive backs in the
draft, which appealed to Cardinals General Manager Rod Graves.

“We’re delighted to have him because of what we believe he brings
to the table,” Graves said at a press conference Friday. “He’s a
physical corner with speed and we feel like he can upgrade us at
the position or certainly has the potential to do so.”

Fleming has great quickness and athleticism and is a physical and
explosive threat. He has shown great skill at locating secondary
targets in zone and has an eagerness to get to the ball when it’s in
the air.

Head coach Ken Whisenhunt believes Fleming will fare well against
a wide range of receiving corps in the NFL.

“He’s a physical corner that we think can match up,” Whisenhunt
stated. “I think with today’s NFL, you know you’re going to see
multiple receiver sets and you can’t have enough of these kind of
guys.”

Fleming was impressive in the NFL Combine, pushing 23 repetitions
of 225 pounds.

Last season, Fleming finished with 60 tackles in 11 starts, good for
fourth on the team. He also had a fumble recovery touchdown for
56 yards and two interceptions.

He appeared in 51 games at Oklahoma, starting his last 25. In his
career, Fleming posted 168 total tackles, picked off 7 passes,
including one for a touchdown.

Fleming brings tremendous value to special teams which factored
into the Cardinals decision to bring him into the fold.

“I think another thing he brings as far as immediate value is
contribution on special teams,” Whisenhunt said. “When you have a
guy that may or may not be your starter at that position, he’s got to
bring you some value in special teams.

Fleming echoes the coach’s sentiment and believes his versatility
stood out to the Cardinals.

“I take special teams serious,” Fleming said. “When I was starting at
corner, I was leading tackle on special teams. I think that’s one of
the main reasons that Arizona liked me because I am a hard worker
and I’ll do anything.”

A Dallas native, Fleming was named the 47th-best cornerback by
Scout.com when he was at Seguin High School. A player on both
sides of the ball, he was an All-District and All-State player.

Fleming was an All-Big 12 Conference First Team selection as a
senior.