General Manager Steve Keim upgraded several areas of the roster in free agency, but there is still work to be done. The Cardinals have 10 picks in this month’s draft, including No. 1 overall, as Keim aims to stock the roster for new coach Kliff Kingsbury. We will take a look at each position group heading into the draft, which will be held from April 25-27.
Draft primer: Defensive Line
Players under contract: DT Corey Peters, DE Darius Philon, DT Rodney Gunter, DT Robert Nkemdiche, DE Cameron Malveaux, DT Pasoni Tasini, DT Vincent Valentine.
The Cardinals’ situation: The group was thin heading into free agency, but Keim beefed it up by adding Philon and then re-signing Gunter, a pair of possible starters. Peters is back to anchor the group at nose tackle, while Nkemdiche is a wild card as he continues to recover from a torn ACL. The others will aim to make a positive impression this offseason as they compete for spots on the 53-man roster.
The draft class: Defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is the crown jewel of the class, as he has been discussed alongside quarterback Kyler Murray and outside linebacker Nick Bosa as the potential No. 1 overall pick. The defensive line group is very deep, with players like Houston’s Ed Oliver, Michigan’s Rashan Gary and Clemson’s Christian Wilkins also expected to go early. If the Cardinals trade down in the first round, a defensive lineman could be in play.
The conclusion: While the return of Gunter earlier this week strengthened the group, the position could still use some reinforcement. There aren’t any defensive linemen under contract past 2020 and a long-term building block would be a welcome addition. There are myriad prospects that could pique the Cardinals’ interest, and a draft pick at the position seems likely.
Images of top defensive line prospects heading into the April 25-27 NFL draft