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: Special Teams
Players under contract: P Andy Lee, K Zane Gonzalez, LS Aaron Brewer, K Cole Murphy
The Cardinals’ situation: Lee was tremendous last season and the Cardinals would be thrilled if he duplicated that performance in 2019. Brewer has been the picture of stability for several years and is locked in as the long snapper. The Cardinals added Cole Murphy, a former undrafted free agent out of Syracuse, in free agency but Gonzalez remains the leader in the clubhouse for the kicker job.
The draft class: Teams rarely roster more than one specialist per position, which would rule out drafting a punter or long snapper. Kicker seems like the lone possibility. Utah’s Matt Gay won the Lou Groza Award for college football’s best kicker in 2017 and connected on 86.2 percent of field goals in his career. LSU’s Cole Tracy hit 29 of his 33 field goal attempts last season and is also a candidate to get drafted.
The conclusion: The Cardinals have plenty of needs elsewhere, so they would have to believe one of the kicker prospects represented a clear upgrade at the position. Gonzalez hit 7-of-9 field goals in his five-game audition with the Cardinals and has a powerful leg. The team does have five picks in the final two rounds, which is usually the range where specialists are drafted.
Images of the top specialists heading into the April 25-27 NFL draft