Cardinals GM Steve Keim ribs media; talks offensive line draft option

Mar 17, 2016, 9:02 AM | Updated: 2:54 pm
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It’s been a busy week for Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim.

Tuesday, Keim pulled off a trade to get Arizona the pass rusher it coveted, nabbing Chandler Jones from the New England Patriots for guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft pick.

Wednesday, Keim finalized a deal with guard Evan Mathis, inking the two-time Pro Bowler to a one-year contract.

There had been reported interest on the Cardinals’ part in free agent cornerback Leon Hall and tackle Andre Smith — both of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Keim says that’s not necessarily the case.

“I don’t know if we were interested in either of them to begin with,” Keim told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday. “I talked about that misinformation, (the media) is drumming up names that I don’t know if we were ever talking about.”

In fairness to the media, in Smith’s case, he himself told Chris Thomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he was on his way to visit the Cardinals after meeting with the Minnesota Vikings and that it was a 50/50 proposition between the two teams to land his services.

Keim did say he’s happy with the Cardinals’ roster currently, but as always, he’ll remain aware of any other free agent possibilities.

“We’re going to keep our options open. We’re going to stay active if there are opportunities to strike,” Keim said. “At the end of the day, I feel really good about where we are from a roster standpoint, so I will start to turn a lot more of my attention toward the draft. Our coaches and scouts are at Pro Days right now and they’re gathering all the information. We’ll resume college meetings here at the beginning of April and go through a great process where we read about the players at particular positions, we rank them and build our board.”

The Cardinals still hold the 29th overall pick in the first round. Predictably, Keim was initially a little tight-lipped about options in that draft slot.

“We’re going to pick the best available player,” he said.

The hosts asked Keim about specific players, and the fourth-year GM shared a bit of information on them.

On center Ryan Kelly, Keim said “the kid from Alabama, he’s a lot of fun to watch. He’s big, he’s physical, he’s extremely smart and he’s a great technician. He’s going to have a great career in the NFL, in my opinion.”

The next player discussed was Notre Dame offensive guard Nick Martin.

“He’s another guy who plays with a nasty temperament,” Keim said. “He’s really physical — he’s got great play strength. Another guy who’s extremely smart.”

Keim admitted the Cardinals spoke with a group of six or seven offensive lineman at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last month, and was impressed with their intelligence and maturity.

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