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Draft Primer 2016: Special Teams

Cardinals not expected to choose a specialist but could look after draft

The NFL draft will be held from April 28-30 in Chicago. The Cardinals have addressed many of their biggest needs through the Chandler Jones trade and free agency but will aim to add more impact pieces. We'll take a look at each position group over the next few weeks as the draft beckons.

More draft analysis: QB I LB I WR I S

Draft primer: Special teams

Cardinals under contract:K Chandler Catanzaro; P Drew Butler

Need: Medium

Images of the kickers, punters and long snappers who could be selected in the draft

Analysis: The Cardinals need a long snapper to replace the retired Mike Leach, and could decide to bring in competition for punter Drew Butler, kicker Chandler Catanzaro or both. While the 90-man roster may eventually include more specialists, they probably won't come from the draft. Only a few special teamers get selected each year, as teams prefer to fill holes on offense and defense since those players are more valuable.

The top-rated kicker is Florida State's Roberto Aguayo, who is projected to be chosen as high as the second or third round. That's unusually quick for a kicker, as Sebastian Janikowski (first round), Mike Nugent (second round) and Nate Kaeding (third round) are the only three to get chosen within the first three rounds since 2000. Aguayo was perfect on 198 extra-point tries in college and hit 88.5 percent of his field goal attempts, and the now-permanent 33-yard extra point distance puts more emphasis on having a reliable kicker in the NFL. UCLA's Ka'imi Fairbairn could be a late-round pick.

Utah's Tom Hackett is the top-rated punter and is projected to get selected in the middle rounds, while Texas A&M's Drew Kaser could be either a late-round choice or a priority undrafted free agent. Georgia's Nathan Theus is the highest-rated long snapper but still may go undrafted.

The draft may come and go without a special teams pick for the Cardinals, but this is a spot where they could be active afterward, attempting to sign rookie free agents to compete for a roster spot.

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