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Cardinals Add CB Chris Campbell In Sixth Round

Posted Apr 28, 2018

Notes: Kirk links up with Rosen; offense a draft priority

Chris Campbell joins the Cardinals' cornerback group.

The Cardinals addressed their need at cornerback in the draft, adding Penn State’s Chris Campbell in the sixth round.

He was the team’s first defensive selection and joins a long list of options to fill the No. 2 cornerback role opposite Patrick Peterson. Campbell, listed at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, has a good combination of size, speed and length but spent most of his time as a reserve with the Nittany Lions.

Campbell had 45 tackles, two interceptions and nine passes defensed as a full-time starter for the first time in 2017.

“I worked really hard to put myself in that position” to be a starter, Campbell said.

Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim believes Campbell was a late-bloomer in college and has the potential to make an impact in the NFL.

"Sometimes those young kids, it takes them awhile to understand coverage concepts, spacing and leverage, all the fine details at the position," Keim said. "I think he's a guy that sort of mastered it a little bit later, but has all the physical skills you look for."

Campbell said he tries to pattern his game off that of Peterson.

“He’s a technician,” Campbell said. “I used to watch him every season. I modeled my game after him. Fast player, very skilled. That’s who I used to watch all the time.”

Campbell played safety in high school but believes cornerback is his better position. He joins a crowded room in the fight to replace Tramon Williams as the second outside cornerback. There are nine cornerbacks on the roster, and coach Steve Wilks said it is currently an open competition.

When asked if Brandon Williams had the inside track on the job, Wilks said the former third-round pick is "taking steps moving forward and getting better, but it's too early to determine anything from the standpoint of a starter."

The other cornerbacks on the roster are Bené Benwikere, Jarell Carter, Marcus Williams, C.J. Goodwin, Jonathan Moxey and Lou Young III.

CHRISTIAN KIRK, JOSH ROSEN LINK UP

Early on in the college recruitment process, hotshot quarterback Josh Rosen and stud receiver Christian Kirk talked about joining forces. Rosen was from California and Kirk from Scottsdale, and the destination was going to be UCLA.

The pair took an official visit there, and while Rosen ended up with the Bruins, Kirk ultimately shifted gears and headed to Texas A&M. While they didn’t become college teammates, Rosen and Kirk stayed friends and played each other each of the past two seasons – including UCLA’s wild 35-point comeback to beat the Aggies in September.

When the Cardinals chose Rosen at No. 10 on Thursday, Kirk thought it would be cool to finally play together in the NFL. The Cardinals made it reality by selecting Kirk with their second-round pick.

“He’s an awesome player, and in my opinion, the best quarterback in this draft,” Kirk said. “Being able to have him here and knowing we’re going to be able to build a relationship, and score a lot of touchdowns and catch a lot of passes from him -- I’m just excited for him and excited to have him.”

CARDINALS SELECT TACKLE IN SEVENTH ROUND

The Cardinals wrapped up their draft class by picking Cincinnati tackle Korey Cunningham in the seventh round. The 6-foot-6, 311-pounder started the final two years of his college career for the Bearcats.

Cunningham said he is comfortable at either tackle spot and can play guard if needed. He was beginning to wonder if any team would draft him, since the Cardinals held the third-to-last selection of the last round, and bided his time by playing with his four dogs in the backyard.

“And one of them just had puppies,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham fielded calls from “at least eight or nine” teams interested in signing him as a free agent until the Cardinals swooped in.

“It’s a prayer answered,” Cunningham said.

Keim was surprised Cunningham wasn't invited to the NFL Scouting combine and is excited about his athleticism.

"I'm not sure I've seen a lot of guys test like this," Keim said. "He ran a 4.90 (40-yard dash), vertical jumped 36 inches at that size, which, again, is off the charts. ... He was a former basketball player and we think he has loads of upside."

OFFENSE THE PRIORITY

Each of the Cardinals’ first four draft picks were on offense. Rosen kicked off the spree in the first round, followed by Kirk, center/guard Mason Cole in the third and running back Chase Edmonds in the fourth.

It was the first time since 1993 the Cardinals chose offensive players with their first four selections, and only the second instance since the common era draft began in 1967.

"In a perfect world, Coach and I would have been thrilled to have balance and fill some positions defensively if those guys warranted those picks," Keim said. "We had such high grades on those offensive players, we didn't want to stray away from the board."

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