<
>

Arizona Cardinals' 2018 draft: Analysis for every pick

play
Prospect Profile: Josh Rosen (0:50)

Todd McShay describes UCLA QB Josh Rosen as the "most pure pocket passer" in the draft, and says he'll develop into a "really high-level starter." (0:50)

Breaking down the Arizona Cardinals' 2018 draft class.

Round 1, No. 10 overall: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

My take: The Cardinals not only got the player they needed but they didn't mortgage the future to get him. General manager Steve Keim wanted to keep his second-round pick this year and his future first-round picks while securing the franchise's quarterback of the future. He did just that. Rosen is entering one of the best situations for a rookie quarterback by joining a room with Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon. Learning from those two will give Rosen a chance to adapt to the NFL and grow while not having the immediate pressure of playing in Week 1. However, he has the attitude and the thick skin to handle playing as a rookie, if needed.

Rosen is behind Bradford -- for now: Cardinals coach Steve Wilks said Bradford is the starter as of now. That may change come Week 1, however. Wilks made it clear that the best 11 players, regardless of who they are, will take the field against Washington. Rosen said he "obviously" wants to be the starter but won't disrupt the room and will support whoever gets the ball. "I am not Team Josh Rosen playing on the Arizona Cardinals," Rosen said. "I am part of the Arizona Cardinals, and I want to win Super Bowls for the Arizona Cardinals. I think over time that will work. That will happen."

Cards not concerned with Rosen: The rookie QB wants to be himself in Arizona, and the Cardinals will let him do just that. He's gained a reputation for being outspoken and not shying away from controversial or sensitive topics. Keim doesn't mind Rosen's personality. "I think he's the type of guy that believes in his thoughts and in his intelligence," Keim said. "He's not afraid to say what's on his mind, which I don't always think is a bad thing. I think there's been some pretty successful quarterbacks in the NFL in recent years who have been wired the same way -- who've said what's on their mind, who have had a thirst to learn more from their coaches, to ask for more responsibility from the coaches in terms of playcalls and checking at the line of scrimmage. Which, again, I think is exciting because the guy is dialed in mentally."


Round 2, No. 47 overall: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

My take: The former Texas A&M wide receiver has the potential to be an instant-impact player for the Cardinals as a receiver and kick returner. Arizona had a need for a small, quick receiver and Kirk fits that bill. He'll also be an instant fan favorite. He grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona. "It's all so surreal ... I feel like all the stars aligned," Kirk said. At 201 pounds, Kirk is also built to be durable, which the Cardinals are looking for from a receiver.

How he fits: Kirk is built to fill the role vacated by former receiver John Brown. Even though Kirk played in the slot in college, he feels comfortable playing outside and with 4.46-second speed, he can be a game-changer. Kirk said Friday that he and the Cardinals discussed the possibility of playing outside, and with Larry Fitzgerald occupying the slot, Kirk expects to be the edge receiver. But Kirk also gives Arizona an option in the return game. He returned seven kicks in college for touchdowns -- six on punts and one on a kickoff, so he could be Arizona's choice to return punts instead of Patrick Peterson. Kirk said Arizona discussed the possibility of him being both a punt and kick returner during his visit with the Cardinals.


Round 3, No. 97 overall: Mason Cole, C, Michigan

My take: Cole may not be the splash third-round pick the Cardinals have made recently, but, by the looks of it, he'll add some much-needed depth to Arizona's offensive line. He's durable, having started 51 straight games at Michigan, which tied the school record. Arizona has long liked positional flexibility, and that's what Cole brings. With some of Arizona's recent signings and returning linemen coming off injuries, Cole might end up having a larger role than initially expected.

How he fits: Cole said he can play across the line but feels most comfortable at either guard position or center. In college, he made 25 starts at left tackle as a true freshman and sophomore before moving to center as a junior, which was his more natural position, and then back to left tackle as a senior. With Arizona's offensive line currently consisting of D.J. Humphries at left tackle, Mike Iupati at left guard, A.Q. Shipley at center, Justin Pugh at right guard and Andre Smith at right tackle, Cole's flexibility will come in handy.


Round 4, No. 134 overall: Chase Edmonds, RB, Fordham

My take: He might be small, but his numbers show that Edmonds is mighty -- if he can stay healthy. He set the Patriot League record with 5,862 rushing yards, which was good enough for fifth on the FCS's all-time list. But ankle and hamstring injuries limited him to seven games as a senior. He re-aggravated his ankle injury during an East-West Shrine Game practice. He said Saturday he's healthy, but only time will tell.

How he fits: He'll compete immediately to be David Johnson's backup in a running back room that'll see a lot of new faces. Edmonds could see time in the slot, as he spent his pro day working as a receiver to prove he can play the position. Edmonds might also compete to be a returner, given his size (5-foot-9 and 205 pounds). While Johnson will get the bulk of Arizona's carries, Edmonds could find a role as a third-down back.


Round 6, No. 182 overall: Chris Campbell, CB, Penn State

play
0:29

Prospect Profile: Christian Campbell

Take a look at Penn State CB Christian Campbell's college highlights.

My take: There's no better time to peak than the present, and that's what Campbell has done. He started four times in 30 games in his first three years at Penn State but then started all 13 games as a senior. If he can adjust quickly to the NFL, this could be one of the Cardinals' best picks of the draft.

How he fits: One of the Cardinals' biggest needs this year was cornerback and Campbell was the first defensive player Arizona drafted. He has the size at 6-feet to play corner at the NFL level and, unless he can't adapt to pro-style defenses, Campbell should compete for the starting corner job opposite Patrick Peterson. Campbell has been trending upward throughout his collegiate career, peaking as a senior. If he can continue that growth in the NFL, he might play a significant role.


Round 7, No. 254 overall: Korey Cunningham, OT, Cincinnati

My take: The Cardinals headed into this offseason knowing they needed help on the offensive line, and Cunningham gives them more depth. He can play either tackle spot and was getting interest from "eight or nine" teams to sign as an undrafted free agent, so he has a valuable skill set. Arizona learned the past couple of years about the importance of having offensive line talent deep on the roster in case injuries hit, and Cunningham can fill that role.

How he fits: He'll be a project, but Cunningham has a significant upside that could make him a backup option at some point this season if he doesn't get stuck on Arizona's practice squad. His position flexibility will be a major aid to his chances of getting on the field.