Stanford wide receiver Ty Montgomery is a late-round prospect who excels in the return game
The NFL draft will be held from April 30 through May 2 in Chicago. The Cardinals addressed several needs in free agency and are now zeroing in on their draft targets. We'll take a look at each position over the next few weeks.
Draft primer: Special Teams
Cardinals under contract:K Chandler Catanzaro; P Dave Zastudil; LS Mike Leach; P Drew Butler
Images of the special teams players projected to get drafted
Analysis: The Cardinals' biggest need on special teams is a return man after wide receiver Ted Ginn was released this offseason. Ginn had a crucial punt return for a touchdown against the Giants in Week 2 last year but finished with a career-low 19.0 yards per kick return. Some of that was due to him dancing too much, and some of it was because the holes weren't there. The Cardinals have some options on the current roster, as players like wide receiver John Brown, cornerback Patrick Peterson and wide receiver Brittan Golden have return experience. Another option would be the draft, if the Cardinals grab a speedy wide receiver, running back or defensive back that could double as a punt or kick returner.
Some of the earlier options include USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor,
Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett and Duke wideout Jamison Crowder, but if one of them is chosen in the first few rounds, they would be expected to make an impact on offense, as well. Some later-round options are Stanford wide receiver Ty Montgomery and West Virginia running back Mario Alford.
Kicker Chandler Catanzaro had an impressive rookie debut in 2014 and seems to have a firm grasp on the job. Punter Dave Zastudil is returning from injury and replacement Drew Butler remains on the roster, and punters rarely get drafted even when the need is high. Mike Leach was re-signed this offseason and will resume his long-snapping duties.
The Cardinals seem set in the kicking game, but any player drafted with elite speed will likely be an option in the return game for 2015.