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Kevin Minter Will Be an Important Cog for 2014 Arizona Cardinals

April 17th, 2014 at 6:01 AM
By Steve Smith

'IMG_8583' photo (c) 2008, donielle - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
He'll continue to improve and should be an important cog for the 2014 Arizona Cardinals.

The Red Birds are expecting a lot out of him.

Linebacker Kevin Minter, drafted in the second round in 2013, played in just five games this past season for the Arizona Cardinals but coaches and management love his potential.

Let's take an updated look at what scouts are saying about the LSU product via nfl.com:

Strengths: Solid, strong and attacks blocks with extension and hand use. Very good feel in traffic, subtle moves to weave through bodies and recognize run, gets to the ball carrier before teammates despite starting from the opposite side of the formation. Not afraid to make contact with lead blocker between the tackles, keeps outside arm free to scrape off to running back. Takes very good angles and lines. Stops momentum of blockers, rolls into them with an anchor to not lose ground. Finishes off tackles very well. Fights as a blitzer, good motor, attempts to run through or get around contact. Sniffs out screens. When the play is visibly in front of him, the click and close can happen very quickly. Looks very comfortable when using hands to work through blockers. Has just enough speed to undercut blocks and make tackles for loss. Remained on the field in nickel packages.

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Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft Preview: TE Jace Amaro

April 16th, 2014 at 5:23 AM
By Steve Smith

'NFL Draft' photo (c) 2011, Zennie Abraham - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
The Arizona Cardinals could always use some quality depth at the tight end position. Let's take a look at a player they may try to draft in the second or third round if he is still available.

His name is Jace Amaro, a tight end from Texas Tech. Amaro is a junior and is 6-foot-5 and weighs 265 pounds. He is a First-team All-American pick and first-team All-Big 12 selection.

Let's take a look at his profile via our friends at nfl.com:

Strengths Excellent size with a well-proportioned frame and room for added bulk. Releases cleanly into routes. Moves like an oversized receiver. Good balance. Enough foot speed to stretch the seam. Good hands to extend and catch. Gives effort as a move blocker and can block out defensive backs. Flashes nastiness. Historic one-year production

 Weaknesses Was used as a slot receiver and does not show the functional strength and body power to match up with NFL defensive linemen. Is unsudden (average acceleration) and lacks elite top-end speed. Upright, unrefined route runner — shows hip and ankle stiffness in and out of breaks. Struggles to consistently separate. Fairly straight-linish after the catch, as confirmed by an average three-cone time (7.42 seconds) at the combine. Ordinary run strength. Production was inflated by scheme and poor pass defenses. Labored to catch the ball at the Combine and really struggled to consistently haul it in. Draft Projection Rounds 2-3

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Will the Arizona Cardinals Try to Select OT Zach Martin in the NFL Draft?

April 15th, 2014 at 5:50 AM
By Steve Smith

'San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals, September 13, 2009' photo (c) 2009, Michael Wifall - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
It should be quite an interesting 2014 NFL Draft.

The Arizona Cardinals draft 20th overall in the draft in May. Let's take a look at a player that might be available to the Red Birds when they're officially "on the clock".

Today's player is senior offensive tackle Zach Martin of Notre Dame. He is listed at 6-feet, 4-inches and weighs 305 pounds.

Let's take an updated look at his scouting profile via www.cbssports.com:

STRENGTHS: Strong and very good at keeping his feet underneath him while keeping his butt low to handle both speed and power. He does play with gch Martinood quickness (but not explosiveness) off the snap, showing knee bend and core strength to anchor, as well as the lateral agility to mirror more athletic defenders. He also shows better athleticism than you might think when blocking on the move, demonstrating above average straight-line speed to get to the second level, as well as the nastiness to bury his target into the ground.

WEAKNESSES: With less than ideal length and lateral range, Martin's NFL future may lie inside at guard, where he never played in college. The move to guard is necessary because Martin does not possess great height, arm length or foot speed. He chucks his way back (rather than sliding) for an effective if not aesthetically-pleasing form of pass protection.

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Arizona Cardinals 2014 NFL Draft Preview: QB Derek Carr

April 14th, 2014 at 5:00 AM
By Steve Smith

'NFL Draft' photo (c) 2011, Zennie Abraham - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
The Arizona Cardinals have a fine quarterback in Carson Palmer but he is 34 now so the Red Birds need to start planning for the future.

Let's take a look at a player they may select with the 20th overall pick: QB Derek Carr of Fresno State. Would this be a surprise selection?

Here is his scouting profile via nfl.com:

Strengths Athletic with very good feet — can roll the pocket, evade the rush or escape when pocket crumbles. Terrific arm talent — releases from the ear and can make all the throws. Quick-armed with wrist snap. Can alter his platform and throw on the move or off his back foot. Throws come out on time and accurately. Drills short-to-intermediate throws and flashes touch. Likes to play and it shows. Sells out to make a play. Record-breaking production. Adapted to coaching/system change and receiver turnover. Improved ball security — fumbled only once as a senior compared to 12 times the previous two seasons. Desirable intangibles for the position — advanced maturity, leadership and intelligence. Shows poise and moxie. On-field general who commands the huddle. Passionate about the game and works at his craft. Three-time captain.

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Rising NFL Star: Arizona Cardinals’ Andre Ellington

April 13th, 2014 at 5:10 AM
By Steve Smith

'' photo (c) 2008, Seth Page - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
The Arizona Cardinals have a promising young star on their side.

The NFL better watch out.

That player is running back Andre Ellington. Simply said, Ellington may have been the steal of the 2013 NFL Draft.

The University of Clemson product was selected in the sixth round of the draft by the Red Birds and had an excellent rookie season. Ellington led the NFL with a 5.5 yards per carry average and added four total touchdowns. He chipped in 39 receptions for 371 yards and showed tremendous big play ability. He looks like the Red Birds' feature back of the future.

Let's take an updated look at what football scouts are saying about Ellington via nfl.com:

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