Arizona Cardinals’ 2015 draft picks overflowing with character

May 4, 2015, 11:05 PM | Updated: 11:14 pm

I despise mock drafts.

I hate them with a passion — and I am not interested in draft grades when these guys haven’t played a down yet in the NFL. No one can really tell us how the Arizona Cardinals’ draft grades out until we have seen these young men play the game a few times at the NFL level.

What I can say that in doing some research and taking a deep look into the Cardinals’ draft picks one thing sticks out to me like a sore thumb — character. The Cardinals didn’t draft any players that are coming here feeling entitled. No one who grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth. No player who has a booster on speed dial when he needs some quick cash.

No, the players the Cardinals drafted got here the old fashioned way. Hard work. Dedication. And you can be assured that this draft class is one that will appreciate the opportunity and bust their ass to make this team.

This draft class didn’t take any short cuts to get to where they are. They may not be the most talented players Arizona could have drafted or the most athletic when their spots came up in each round. But it’s safe to say Arizona won’t get short-changed in the effort department.

All of the Cardinals draft picks have a pretty good story to tell but a few stood out to me.

1) Rodney Gunter, DE, Delaware State — A fourth-round pick who didn’t think he would be drafted that high. Gunter didn’t play high school football until his senior year. Why? Because he was waiting tables and washing dishes to help his single mother pay the bills. Because of that, Gunter had one scholarship offer, just one. From Delaware State.

2) David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa –. A third-round pick who when he wasn’t setting 15 school records was working as a maintenance man for the University, fixing dressers, blinds, faucets and more for all the dorms after the residents left. Johnson was attending a school that hadn’t had a player drafted in the NFL since 2008, so you know he worked extremely hard to make the best of his time at Northern Iowa.

3) Shaq Riddick, DE, West Virginia — How is this for overcoming adversity? Riddick wasn’t one of the 323 prospects invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. He also had no FBS offers out of high school. He had no visits. Riddick attended FCS Gardner-Webb and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Administration in three years before he went to West Virginia for one year of big time college football.

None of the Cardinals’ picks wowed anyone. They didn’t create a buzz. They didn’t sell any tickets. But that is not what they are about.

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Arizona Cardinals’ 2015 draft picks overflowing with character