Cardinals draft SDSU DE Cameron Thomas with 3rd-round pick
The Arizona Cardinals selected San Diego State defensive end Cameron Thomas with their third-round pick (87th overall) in the 2022 NFL Draft on Friday.
The 6-foot-4, 267-pound end won the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year and was an AP All-American.
He recorded 70 tackles with 11.5 sacks and a forced fumble this past season.
Pro Football Focus had him second in the nation with 77 pressures and third with 44 run stops. That was among all edge rushers.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein projects him as a potential outside linebacker in Arizona’s scheme. The Cardinals are hoping to replace All-Pro Chandler Jones, who left for the Las Vegas Raiders in free agency. Thomas could also play an interior line position.
In a perfect world, Thomas adds mass and muscle to develop into a starting 3-4 defensive end with interior rush value in nickel packages. He currently carries a scheme-versatile label, but is more of a base 4-3 end with average play strength and a lack of explosiveness to create fear as an edge rusher. The splashy run-stopping data comes via equal parts scheme and effort but might not be a true indicator of what to expect in the pros.
To begin Arizona’s draft on Thursday, the Cardinals traded the No. 23 overall selection to the Baltimore Ravens for wide receiver Marquise Brown and the 100th overall pick.
Arizona kept its first two picks on Day 2 of the draft Friday. Their second-round choice led them to Colorado State tight end Trey McBride, who was picked 55th overall.
Moving forward after drafting Thomas, Arizona currently has two sixth-round picks and three seventh-round selections.