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,
Minter provided another option at inside linebacker for defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, especially with
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.”