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Second Pick Goes To Kevin Minter

Posted Apr 26, 2013

Second-round LSU linebacker figures to fit inside for Cardinals

The Cardinals took LSU linebacker Kevin Minter in the second round.

Kevin Minter had one goal in mind when he declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season at Louisiana State.

He wanted to take care of his mother, Willie May Hollis.

She’s approaching 70 years old, the linebacker said in February, and it was time for him to take care of her.

“I graduated in December, I had a great season and we aren’t necessarily in the best of situations back home, so, you know, it’s nice to be able to retire my mother and take care of her,” Minter said during a conference call after being selected in the second round by the Cardinals Friday. “That pretty much weighed on my decision.”

Minter provided another option at inside linebacker for defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, especially with Daryl Washington suspended the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Minter started all 13 games last season for the Tigers, recording 130 tackles, 15 for losses, four sacks and an interception.

He established himself as first-round prospect and an All-America in just a season-and-a-half at inside linebacker.

“He is not the longest athlete but is a squatty, explosive player on impact,” Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim said. “He’s got some natural explosiveness to his hips.”

The Cardinals took a risk on that explosiveness. They traded the 38th pick to the San Diego Chargers for the 45th, where Minter was chosen, in order to add an extra fourth-round pick from San Diego. The Chargers selected Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o with the Cardinals’ original choice.

Keim said Minter was high on the Cardinals board from the onset.

“We felt his game fit us,” Keim said.

Keim compared Minter’s size and movement to New Orleans Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton. Minter will have a chance to compete for playing time early, coach Bruce Arians said, filling in for Washington and then competing for the other inside linebacker position.

“They said I can be a great fit for the team,” Minter said. “They asked me if I was ready to come down to Arizona to bust some heads, and I told them, ‘Yes.’ ”

It was that power that helped attract the Cardinals to Minter in the first place, and it kept them on his heels through the second round.

“When he strikes you, you go backwards,” Keim said. “He is a physical, downhill player. He has much better range I think than most people give him credit for.”

 

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