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Cardinals Draft Haason Reddick First

Posted Apr 27, 2017

Team grabs Temple linebacker with 13th pick of the first round to aid defense

The Cardinals selected Temple linebacker Haason Reddick, here with Commissioner Roger Goodell, with the 13th overall pick in the 2017 draft.

Bruce Arians tried to catch himself, but then he couldn’t – when asked who new linebacker Haason Reddick reminded him of, he said Von Miller.

It’s not a fair comparison, not on the night Reddick was the Cardinals’ first-round pick, 13th overall Thursday in the NFL draft. Reddick, out of Temple, has so much to prove.

Then again, Reddick was invoking Miller’s name himself, saying the Broncos’ all-pro was someone he wanted to emulate.

But in the 6-foot-1, 237-pound Reddick, the Cardinals have a player who is most certainly his own man.

“I’m not one for other people’s opinion,” Reddick said. “I’m not worried about being compared to anybody. I’m not trying to be compared to anybody. I’m just trying to be Haason Reddick.”

That’s plenty good for the Cardinals. General Manager Steve Keim said Reddick was in the top five on the team’s 120 board, and besides, the quarterbacks were cleaned out before the Cardinals were even on the clock.

Whether Keim would’ve gone for a QB at 13 was moot when three QBs went in the first 12, and he wasn’t saying. But he and Arians seem mighty pleased Reddick was there. The Cardinals will use him initially behind Karlos Dansby and Deone Bucannon at inside linebacker in base looks, but he will play as a pass rusher in nickel situations.

“He will have a huge impact at a lot of different positions,” Arians said. “He gives us a lot of flexibility.”

Reddick – who didn’t get a scholarship until after his junior season -- had 65 tackles, 10½ sacks, 22½ tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and an interception as a senior at Temple playing defensive end/outside linebacker.

But at the Senior Bowl, he was asked to play inside, and his ability to do so – well – in a week’s time improved his draft stock and caught the Cardinals’ attention.

“When they told me I’d play inside linebacker, my mind was, ‘Hey, here goes a new position I have to go dominate,’ ” Reddick said. “It’s nothing new to me.”

Then when Reddick, in his own words, “crushed the (Scouting) combine,” his spot early in the draft was all but secured. Keim said he didn’t think there was any way Reddick would be around through 13 picks.

Then again, the early part of the draft didn’t go anywhere near what was predicted.

The early picks were all about offense – eight of the first 12 choices were from the offensive side of the ball. While there was much speculation the Cardinals could select a quarterback, the top three QBs were gone early, all via trade. Mitchell Trubisky went second to the Bears after a trade with the 49ers. The Chiefs traded up from No. 27 to the Bills’ pick at No. 10 to take Patrick Mahomes – the player everyone thought the Cardinals would take.

The Texans then traded from No. 25 to No. 12 with the Browns to take Deshaun Watson, and “I couldn’t get (Haason) on the phone fast enough,” Keim said. Arians said Reddick was the pick over Reuben Foster because Reddick was much more versatile.

Speaking of comparisons, Keim said Reddick is like Bucannon in that both have tremendous passion.

“I don’t want to say it’s not a projection because they are all projections,” Keim said, “but I felt it was a pretty easy pick.”

Regardless, perhaps, of who else Reddick might be like.

“I don’t like comparing him like that,” Arians said of his Miller suggestion, “but that’s the one guy I can think of.”

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