Cardinals will stick to board in 2nd round, but GM Steve Keim likes a CB

Apr 30, 2021, 11:57 AM
Asante Samuel Jr. #26 of the Florida State Seminoles breaks up a pass against Chase Claypool #83 of...
Asante Samuel Jr. #26 of the Florida State Seminoles breaks up a pass against Chase Claypool #83 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first quarter of the game at Notre Dame Stadium on November 10, 2018 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

There will be no reaching by Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim on Friday.

It’s a helpful reminder that the team doesn’t have draft picks to spare. Arizona traded away its third- and fourth-round selections to acquire starting center Rodney Hudson and star receiver DeAndre Hopkins over the past two years.

The Cardinals surely will think about acquiring more picks if possible. But if they stay with their only Day 2 pick at 49th overall, it will be made with discipline, even if the Cardinals, by need, still need cornerbacks, tight ends and running backs.

“We’ll trust our board. You have to trust the way they’re stacked … I mean, there are a couple corners that are up there who we like,” Keim told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Friday morning. “But we’re not going to pass up a guy who we think is a tremendous talent … to draft for need. You always get in trouble whenever you do that.”

That said, the Arizona general manager did not hide his strong evaluation of one of the top cornerbacks who remained on the board after the first round ended Thursday night.

“I love Asante Samuel (Jr.). A lot of people think he’s probably in the second round because he’s 5-(foot)-10, which they think automatically that’s probably a nickel or a slot corner, which diminishes their value … I don’t agree with that,” Keim said. “I think that he plays big, he can play outside, he can play inside.

“You can think back when we won a number of games here and the NFC West, we had a guy named Jerraud Powers playing corner who was 5-10. And there’s a number of players in the NFL who are 5-10 outside corners.”

The Cardinals had their defensive back coaches at Samuel’s Florida State pro day, where he helped his already strong draft stock. He measured 5-foot-10 and 184 pounds with a 4.45-second 40-yard dash time.

In nine games last season, Samuel recorded 30 tackles with six passes defensed and three interceptions. He allowed the lowest passer rating of any college cornerback who entered the draft, according to Pro Football Focus’ grades.

Samuel, though, might not last 16 picks into the second round.

Here’s a quick glance at other intriguing players who remain available:

Cornerback: Florida State’s Asante Samuel Jr., Georgia’s Tyson Campbell, UCF’s Aaron Robinson

Wide receiver: Ole Miss’ Elijah Moore, Purdue’s Rondale Moore, LSU’s Terrace Marshall

Edge: Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari

Safety: TCU’s Trevon Moehrig

Tight end: Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth

Running back: North Carolina’s Javonte Williams and Michael Carter

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Cardinals will stick to board in 2nd round, but GM Steve Keim likes a CB