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Welcome to the league, rooks: A look at the Cardinals’ 2021 NFL Draft class

The Arizona Cardinals took seven players in the 2021 NFL Draft this weekend.

General manager Steve Keim used five picks to fill out the defense, selecting a linebacker, two cornerbacks, an outside linebacker/defensive end and a safety.

Offensively, the team went with a wide receiver and a center.

With the draft now in the rearview, take a look at the Cardinals’ 2021 picks through the lens of Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

Cardinals 2021 NFL Draft picks

First round (16), Tulsa LB Zaven Collins

(AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

Keim: “I don’t think the learning curve will be very steep for this young man. We expect him to come and play a lot, immediately.”

Kingsbury: “Obviously, you don’t take him with the 16th pick unless you expect him to play. And he isn’t a guy who’s moving positions or had his hand down. He played inside linebacker.”

Second round (49), Purdue WR Rondale Moore

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Keim: “When you see his body type, you see a guy whose on the shorter end but really thick and muscled up. … [His pro day] numbers were off the charts. Very similar measurement-wise, height weight and speed and you look at those numbers, a guy like Tyreek Hill is sort of in that form.”

Kingsbury: “I thought we were gonna have great competition before this pick. You got DeAndre (Hopkins), you got A.J. (Green), then you’ve got some younger guys that are all kinda battling it out. This guy jumps right into the middle of it in that group. The good thing is we believe all of them can play and start and contribute at a high level. Competition only makes that room better.”

Fourth round, Florida CB Marco Wilson

(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Keim: “I think he’s going to be a really good player … With those athletic traits and his passion for the game, I think when you look at the risk-to-reward, it’s pretty high.”

Kingsbury: “Just his athleticism, his workout, what we think of him as a staff and as a personnel department, he’s a big-time talent to get where we got him.”

Sixth round (210), Duke DE Victor Dimukeje

(Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)

Keim: “Victor’s a guy that we liked for the past several months now out of Duke. Reminds us a little bit of Markus Golden when you look at the way he plays the game.”

“High motor, great intensity, around 6-foot-2, but has really long arms. Plays with great leverage and has some niftiness about him as a pass rusher,” Keim added.

Sixth round (223), UCF CB Tay Gowan

(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Keim: “Tay Gowan is a guy who only played one year for Central Florida but at almost 6-foot-1, the guy ran in the 4.4s, he’s got great athleticism as well and he’s a really good press corner, so he fits what we do schematically.”

Seventh round (243), Cincinnati S James Wiggins

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Keim: “He’s a guy who can play on all four core special teams early in his career and hopefully can develop into a starter. Really explosive player, also ran in the mid-4.4s, so brings speed and athleticism to your core special teams units, as well as the ability to back up both free and strong [safety] early on.”

Seventh round (247), Penn State C Michal Menet

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Keim: “When you look at a seventh-round pick and an offensive lineman, you look at certain traits and this guy has great leadership skills.

“Very good technician, very instinctive and smart for the position. Two-time team captain says a lot, especially coming from a program like Penn State.”


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