With the no. 8 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Cardinals selected LB Isaiah Simmons out of Clemson. Simmons was the first linebacker selected in the 2020 draft and one of five defenders taken in the top-10. In just his second season as a linebacker at Clemson, after switching from safety, Simmons earned unanimous first-team All-American honors and was named the Butkus Award winner as the nation's top linebacker. As a senior in high school in 2015, Simmons was named first-team All-State in both offense and defense, despite it being his first season playing offense. In 2019, Simmons became the first FBS player since Buffalo's Khalil Mack (2013) to record at least 100 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks and multiple INTs in a season. Simmons graduated in December with a degree in Sports Communications, earning his degree on the same day he was named just the sixth unanimous All-American in Clemson history. At the 2020 NFL Combine, Simmons ran a 4.39 40-yard dash, tied for the seventh-best total among all prospects at any position. Simmons played the penultimate game of his college career at State Farm Stadium in the Fiesta Bowl win over Ohio State on December 28, 2019.
With the no. 72 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Cardinals selected OT Josh Jones out of the University of Houston. Jones is just the fifth Houston player drafted by Arizona - and the first since the team selected DB Delrick Brown in the 11th round (282nd overall) in 1980. He is just the fifth Houston offensive lineman drafted in the last 24 years. In four seasons at Houston (2016-19), Jones started all 45 games he appeared in. All of his starts came at left tackle. After finishing his prep football career, Jones was recruited by then-Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury prior to enrolling at Houston. Current Cardinals offensive line coach Sean Kugler, then the head coach at UTEP, also recruited Jones out of high school. As a senior at Houston last season, Jones allowed just one sack, no QB hits, and three hurries. Pro Football Focus gave him a 93.2 grade for the year, the highest grade ever given to a collegiate offensive tackle.
With the no. 114 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Cardinals selected DT Leki Fotu out of Utah. A 2019 All-American and two-time first-team All-Pac 12 selection, Fotu appeared in 45 games (29 starts) in four seasons with the Utes. He totaled 85 tackles, 18.0 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery during his college career. Fotu is the 10th Utah player ever drafted by the Cardinals and the first since the team selected C Lance Scott in the fifth round (165th overall) in 1995. Prior to excelling on the gridiron, Fotu was a star rugby player. He played on the USA Rugby Boys High School All-American team and also trained with the London Wasps' rugby team in 2013.
With the no. 131 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Cardinals selected DT Rashard Lawrence out of LSU. Lawrence was a captain of LSU's National Championship team last season. He was a three-time permanent team captain at LSU (2017-2019) who played in 44 games (34 starts) in four years with the Tigers. He registered 120 tackles, 21.0 tackles for loss, 9.0 sacks, seven passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. In LSU's win over UCF in 2019 at State Farm Stadium, Lawrence earned Fiesta Bowl Defensive MVP honors. Lawrence also stood out in the classroom while at LSU and was a two-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
With the no. 202 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Cardinals selected LB Evan Weaver out of Cal. Weaver played in 49 of 50 possible games in four seasons at Cal, including 31 starts. He started the final 26 games of his college career. He posted 412 tackles, 23.0 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, two INTs (one returned for a TD), 13 passes defended, three forced fumbles and six QB hurries. Weaver led the nation at the FBS level in total tackles per game, solo tackles and solo tackles per game last season. He became the only FBS player with three 20+ tackle games in a season since 2000. In 2019, he was the first Cal player since 2006 to be named a consensus first-team All-American.
With the no. 222 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Cardinals selected RB Eno Benjamin from Arizona State. Selected in nearly the same spot, Benjamin is the first ASU player drafted by the Cardinals since the team took S Pat Tillman (7th round, 226th overall) in 1998. In three seasons at ASU, Benjamin appeared in 35 games and totaled 2,867 rushing yards and 27 TDs on 576 attempts (5.0 average) while adding 82 receptions for 625 yards and four TDs. In 2019, Benjamin became the 20th Sun Devil in program history to reach 2,000 rushing yards and just the fifth three-year player to do so. He joined the all-purpose 3,000-yard club in 2019.
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