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Quarterback Clayton Tune Highlights Back End Of Cardinals' Draft

Team adds LB Owen Pappoe in 5th; CB Kei'Trel Clark and DL Dante Stills in 6th

The Cardinals provided some young blood in the QB room by taking Houston's Clayton Tune.
The Cardinals provided some young blood in the QB room by taking Houston's Clayton Tune.

Another Texan has entered the Cardinals' quarterback room.

The Cardinals drafted Houston's Clayton Tune with the first of two fifth-round picks on Saturday, the fourth of five QBs with Texas roots -- joining Kyler Murray, Colt McCoy and David Blough. (Jeff Driskel can say he was a Texan too -- a Houston Texan.)

(In an amazing coincidence, Tune's great-great uncle, Jim Lawrence, was the Cardinals' first-ever pick in 1936 when the NFL held their first college draft.)

Murray is rehabbing his torn ACL. McCoy is still not throwing as he recovers from arm issues. In Tune, the Cardinals gain a prolific player who has significant confidence too, calling himself the best quarterback in his draft class.

"If you just look at my body of work, the teams I play on, I elevate everyone around me," Tune said. "I'm a natural leader. People follow me. People see the work I put in and the mindset and they want to follow suit. I have that no-flinch mentality when things get going tough.

"And then being able to make every throw on the field, being able to throw off-schedule and being more mobile than people realize."

Tune threw for 4,074 yards and 40 touchdowns for the Cougars this past season, and 70 touchdowns over the last two seasons.

Cardinals QB coach Israel Woolfolk was still with the Browns early in the offseason and served as Tune's QB coach at the Senior Bowl.

"We are always going to look to add competition to the roster," GM Monti Ossenfort said. "It doesn't matter what position it's at.

"We'll see how it goes. It's a crowded room, but Kyler is working back from that injury (and) competition will bring out the best in everybody."

Tune wasn't yet on varsity when his high school played Murray's once upon a time, but they did cross paths. Tune said he met McCoy a couple of months ago, while Blough shares the same hometown (they went to separate high schools.)

Tune said he even met Blough, but doesn't think Blough will remember. Blough, while in college at Purdue, was in his hometown throwing in the offseason at Tune's high school about six years ago and Tune found out and went to see him. Tune said he introduced himself and the pair threw a little bit.

"That was so long ago, I'm sure he doesn't remember it," Tune said.

Auburn's Owen Pappoe (0) defends during the first half of an NCAA football game against Mercer on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)


With their second fifth-round pick (168 overall), the Cardinals took Auburn linebacker Owen Pappoe, who ran a 4.39 40 at the combine along with 29 bench-press reps. That athleticism caught the team's attention, and it's obviously something Pappoe leans on -- his Twitter handle is @TheFreak.

At 6-foot and playing between 225 and 230 pounds, Pappoe isn't huge but said he expects to play weakside linebacker in Nick Rallis' defense.

"They definitely saw what kind of athlete I am, how explosive I am, how fast," Pappoe said. "I feel like any team that saw what I needed to correct, their coaches could help me. I am a very coachable player and a hell of an athlete. I am appreciative of what JG and the cast saw in me to make this pick."

Pappoe, in holding with GM Monti Ossenfort's vision, also was a two-time captain.

Louisville defensive back Kei'Trel Clark (13) looks over his shoulder as he runs for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Pittsburgh in Louisville, Ky., Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)


The Cardinals went with speed with their first sixth-round pick in Kei'Trel Clark, like his new coach Jonathan Gannon, a defensive back out of Louisville. Clark also said Cardinals cornerbacks coach Ryan Smith also tried to recruit him out of high school when Smith was at James Madison University.

Clark, despite tearing an ACL in 2021, ran a 4.42 40 at the combine. He had five interceptions in his college career and said new teammate Budda Baker is one of the players to whom he admires.

"I'm enjoying this moment," Clark said. "This was God's plan. This is the starting point of my career whether I went first round or like I did in the sixth. It is what it is, and just know the Cardinals got somebody who is going to be a dog and someone who is going to be a leader in this program. I am ready. I didn't care where I went, but I'm glad I went to the Cardinals. I know when I went on my 30 visit and met with coach JG that this was a great fit for me."

West Virginia defensive lineman Dante Stills (55) gets set for a play during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State 31-14. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)


The Cardinals wrapped up the draft with defensive lineman Dante Stills. He had 11.5 sacks and 24 tackles for loss his final two college seasons and was named All-Big-12 both years.

His father, Gary, was a 10-year NFL veteran, and his uncle, Kenny, played six years in the league.

"I had an idea they liked me from the beginning," Stills said. "In my college career I played everywhere but I feel I fit best at three-technique and the five(-technique), but I'll probably play more three inside."