Misinformation is tossed around like candy at a parade leading up to the NFL draft, but when Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim professed the need to get longer and more athletic with this year’s picks, he meant it.
North Carolina defensive end Kareem Martin was the team’s first third-round selection on Friday night and he fits that mold perfectly. The 6-foot-6, 272-pounder was a high jumper and hurdler in high school and showed off that
His broad jump of 10 feet, 9 inches led all down linemen and would have been second among linebackers, behind only Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier (10 feet, 10 inches). His vertical jump of 35 ½ inches was also tops among defensive linemen and he ran a 4.68-second 40-yard dash.
“It’s hard to find guys that have that type of length and speed,” Keim said.
Martin had a breakout senior season, finishing with 11½ sacks after accumulating eight in the first three years of his career. He added 21½ tackles for loss.
Martin could play outside linebacker in the beginning of his career with the Cardinals, but Keim sees a player who still has room to grow physically.
“He’s a guy that really as he has gotten older and progressed, he has continued to grow into his body,” Keim said. “He is 272 (pounds) right now. I think when we drafted Calais (Campbell), he was somewhere around 284. He’s 305 now. The sky is the limit.”
ANOTHER SPEEDSTER FOR ARIANS
Bruce Arians makes no secret of his fondness for certain types of players, and a speed receiver is one of them. Antonio Brown excelled in that role when Arians was with the Steelers, while T.Y. Hilton was that vertical threat in Indianapolis.
The Cardinals drafted little-known John Brown from Division II Pittsburg State with the second of their third-round
“If he’s on the outside, you better give him a cushion,” Arians said. “He’s going to take the top off (the defense) at any point in time.”
Brown finished his Pittsburg State career with 45 touchdowns in 34 games and set a school record with 185 receptions. He said 50 friends and family members came over to watch the draft on Friday, but he was able to keep quiet when the Cardinals called to tell him of the selection.
“I kept smiling and stuff, so they were wondering what was going on,” Brown said. “But I think at the time Indianapolis was on the clock, so they just thought I was smiling for no reason. That’s when my picture popped up on the screen.”
PETERSON MAY STICK TO DEFENSE
With the additions of Brown and free agent
Peterson is a Pro Bowler on defense and one of its most important players. After safety
“We’d like to ease that up a little bit anyway, just because of what happed to Tyrann and let him just focus on taking out receivers and doing his job over there,” Arians said. “But, he’s also still dynamic enough to do it.”
Peterson also saw a handful of snaps on offense the past few seasons, but Arians said “his wide receiver days might be over.”
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
First-round draft pick
“I wish there was,” he said. “Then I could have some backup for it, like this is why. But it’s just a random name.”