Arizona Cardinals take Clemson edge rusher Xavier Thomas with No. 138 pick in NFL Draft

Apr 27, 2024, 11:20 AM | Updated: 2:59 pm

TEMPE — The Arizona Cardinals added Clemson edge rusher Xavier Thomas with the 138th overall pick in the fifth round of 2024 NFL Draft on Saturday.

“Nothing but tears, honestly,” Thomas said on a conference call when asked about his reaction to getting draft by Arizona. “All the things I’ve overcome, it’s just a dream come true to be able to have this opportunity to play at the next level and I’m going to give it my all.”

Thomas spent six seasons at Clemson, recording 116 tackles, 33 of which were for loss, 18 sacks, seven passes defensed and six forced fumbles.

Across his final 12 games as a Tiger in 2023, Thomas registered four tackles for loss, three sacks, two passes defensed and a forced fumble.

He then ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash time with a 1.65-second 10-yard split at the NFL Draft Combine. He also recorded a 32.5-inch vertical and a 10-foot broad jump.

Getting to the quarterback was a big issue for the Cardinals’ pass rush last season, finishing 30th in the NFL in sacks (33) and 31st in opposing passer rating (102.9).

Leading Arizona’s pass rushers in 2023 was veteran outside linebacker Dennis Gardeck, who paced the team with six sacks. Rookie BJ Ojulari and Victor Dimukeje chipped in four apiece, while MIKE-backer-turned-pass-rusher Zaven Collins added 3.5.

All four of those names are expected back in the fold in Year 2 under defensive coordinator Nick Rallis, although the team has a decision to make when it comes to picking up Collins’ fifth-year option.

Arizona also has the versatile Darius Robinson out of Missouri within its ranks after nabbing him with the 27th overall pick in the first round on Thursday.

Cornerback and safety have been two other positions targeted by the Cardinals this draft, with CBs Max Melton (No. 43), Elijah Jones (No. 90) and S Dadrion Taylor-Demerson (No. 104) also heading to the desert.

Where else are the Cardinals picking this NFL Draft?

Arizona’s remaining picks:

– Round 5, pick No. 162 overall (from Houston Texans)
– Round 6, pick No. 191 overall (from Indianapolis Colts)
– Round 7, pick No. 226 overall (from New York Giants)

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Arizona Cardinals take Clemson edge rusher Xavier Thomas with No. 138 pick in NFL Draft