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Cardinals tried to trade up for Dupree

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TEMPE, Ariz. — –The Arizona Cardinals tried to trade up in the first round to take outside linebacker Bud Dupree but they couldn’t convince the Cincinnati Bengals to trade back three spots.

The Bengals took offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi at No. 21, and he probably would have been available at 24. The Bengals could have kept the Pittsburgh Steelers, a division rival, from getting the outside linebacker they wanted, Dupree.

–The Cardinals had first-rounder D.J. Humphries rated as the top offensive tackle on their board.

“We feel like if he came back for his senior year, he could potentially even be a top five pick,” said general manager Steve Keim. “We did think he was the most athletic tackle in the draft.”

The NFL Junior Advisory Committee advised Humphries to stay in school.

“Generally, they give them conservative grades, which is probably good,” Keim said. “But when you have that type of skill set and you’re 6-5 and 315 pounds and have 34-inch arms and the movement skills he does, you’re obviously going to higher in the draft.”

–In the fourth round, the Cardinals traded two picks, sixth and seventh rounders, to move up seven spots to draft Delaware State defensive end Rodney Gunter. The Cardinals were convinced a team just behind them, likely either the 49ers or Chiefs, were going to take Gunter.

Gunter played just one year of high school football. The oldest of three sons, he worked as a dishwasher and waiter to help the family make ends meet.

“I eventually played my senior year,” Gunter said. “I love the game so much, it was killing me that I was not playing football.”

–The Cardinals drafted the big back they wanted, Northern Iowa’s David Johnson, in the third round. He’s 6-foot and 224 pounds and an excellent receiver.

“Coming out of high school, a lot of teams asked me to play receiver,” he said. “I was a little bit smaller. I did all my drills as a receiver for the first week and half, until I got a little bigger, and they moved me to running back.”

–Coach Bruce Arians said receiver J.J. Nelson, a fifth-round pick, will be the fastest player he’s ever coached. Nelson’s 40-yard dash time at the combine was 4.28 seconds.

Four or five years ago, Arians was at the Alabama State high school track meet to watch his granddaughter compete. He noticed a kid from Midfield High School was winning almost all the spring events.

“My son and I go, ‘who the hell is that?'” Arians said. “It just happened to be J.J. Nelson.”

A closer look at the Cardinals’ picks:

–Round 1/24 – D.J. Humphries, T, 6-5, 315, Florida

The Cardinals had Humphries rated 13th on their board of 130 players. He is only 21 so there is considerable room for growth. He played left tackle in college but will begin his pro career on the right side, competing with Bobby Massie for the starting job.

–Round 2/58 – Markus Golden, OLB, 6-2, 260, Missouri

The Cardinals love how hard Golden plays and believe he will help their pass rush. Golden will at least play in sub packages, possibly replacing Matt Shaughnessy. The Cardinals needed help at this position, and they’re hoping they added a pass rusher to go along with Alex Okafor. They traded down three spots, picking up a fifth-round pick in return.

–Round 3/86 – David Johnson, RB, 6-0, 224, Northern Iowa

The Cardinals filled another need with a big, physical runner who should help them in short-yardage situations. But Johnson also has decent speed (4.5 at the combine) and is an excellent receiver. He should be an effective complement to Andre Ellington.

–Round 4/116 – Rodney Gunter, DE, 6-5, 305, Delaware State

The Cardinals traded sixth- and seventh-round picks to move up seven spots to take Gunter. He could contend for a rotational spot at end in the base defense and moving inside in sub packages.

–Round 5/158 – Shaquille Riddick, OLB, 6-6, 244, West Virginia

The Cardinals continue to devote resources to solve a problem spot: rushing the passer off the edge. Riddick did it well at Virginia, transferring there after three years at Gardner-Webb. He graduated in three years, which allowed him to be immediately eligible. He could fit as a sub-package player if those pass-rush skills translate to a higher level.

–Round 5/159 – J.J. Nelson, WR, 5-10, 156, Alabama-Birmingham

A speedster, Nelson ran the 40 in 4.28 seconds at the combine. He will contend immediately for both returner jobs. The Cardinals are deep at receiver but Nelson could make it as the fifth.

–Round 7/256 – Gerald Christian, TE, 6-3, 244, Louisville

This year’s Mr. Irrelevant, the final choice of the entire draft, Christian could find a role with the Cardinals as a hybrid tight end/H-back. He had 60 receptions for 800 yards and nine touchdowns over the last two seasons, and is expected to be a willing participant on special teams.


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