ARIZONA CARDINALS

Arizona Cardinals go cornerback, EDGE, guard in 7th round of NFL Draft

Apr 30, 2022, 4:21 PM
(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals made three selections in the seventh and final round of the 2022 NFL Draft on Saturday.

The team took cornerback Christian Matthew out of Valdosta State No. 244 overall, followed by Penn State EDGE Jesse Luketa and Oklahoma guard Marquis Hayes back-to-back at No. 256 and 257, respectively.

In Smith’s lone season at Valdosta State — a Division II school in Georgia — Matthew garnered 37 tackles (26 solo), 0.5 sack, one interception and 15 passes defensed — tied for the fifth-most in the nation last year.

Matthew was also named to the All-Gulf South Conference First-Team and played in the 2022 College Gridiron Showcase.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound cornerback signed as a graduate transfer after playing two seasons at Samford and Georgia Southern.

He joins a CB room that includes Byron Murphy Jr., Marco Wilson, Jeff Gladney, Jace Whittaker, Breon Borders and Nate Brooks.

Luketa stands at 6-foot-3, 253 pounds and registered a 4.89 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine.

He is coming off of a 2021 season at Penn State in which he finished as an All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention after compiling 61 tackles (8.5 for loss) and one interception following a position change from linebacker to defensive end.

NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein had the pass rusher projected to go in the fourth round, so this could be a steal for the Cardinals.

Team-first leader who plays every snap like his hair is on fire. Luketa is self-made and known for putting in the work necessary to go from Ottawa tough guy to productive, two-year starter in the Big Ten. He won’t blink in the face of physical challenges, using his leverage and power to hold his ground or come out on top. He lacks instincts and pursuit speed and is best suited as a 4-3 Sam linebacker but his lone season as a 4-3 end could have 3-4 teams exploring his potential as a developmental outside linebacker. No matter the scheme, Luketa’s toughness and talent should make him a good backup or low-end starter with the ability to shine on special teams as early as his rookie season.

The 6-foot-5, 318-pound Hayes started all 13 games at left guard for the Sooners last season en route to coaches voting him Second-Team All-Big 12. He was also an all-conference honorable mention in 2019 when he started 13 games at left guard.

Hayes could be considered another steal by Zierlein, who had the Oklahoma guard ranked as a fifth-round selection and Las Vegas Raiders guard Denzelle Good as a draft comp.

High-cut guard with a tackle’s body type, Hayes could be a measurables winner with size, length and lean mass checkmarks populating his physical profile. He plays the game like a streetfighter, using length and strength to pummel overmatched opponents. However, he lacks the fundamentals to carry it over against pro competition. He’s not much of a bender. Poor footwork and body control lead to inconsistencies in both run and pass blocking. He’s a tough, physical finisher with coveted physical traits but needs to upgrade his hands, feet and contact posture to become more than a backup in the league.

Hayes was the second offensive lineman taken on Day 3 by the Cardinals after the team took Lecitus Smith in the sixth round, joining an offensive guard room already featuring Justin Pugh, Will Hernandez, Justin Murray and Josh Jones.

Arizona came into Saturday with five total picks — two in the sixth round and three in the seventh.

The Cardinals picked running back Keaontay Ingram out of USC No. 201 overall prior to Smith.

Arizona traded its first-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens for wide receiver Marquise Brown and a third-round selection (No. 100 overall) on Thursday.

On Day 2 of the draft, the Cardinals took Colorado State tight end Trey McBride (No. 55), San Diego State edge rusher Cameron Thomas (No. 87) and Cincinnati edge rusher Myjai Sanders (No. 100).

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