The Cardinals now have nine new players that they acquired through the NFL Draft. It was the first draft run by Steve Keim and Bruce Arians. There are some cool facts about the selections made. Right up front, what I really love is that all nine players were captains on their college teams. That is significant because of what it should mean in the locker room and what it likely means in terms of character and heart.
Here are some of the facts from the draft, as shared by the Cardinals to the media:
- After trading down twice and adding picks, the Cardinals drafted nine players in the 2013 NFL Draft. That is the most for the team in a single draft since taking 10 players in 2001.
- All nine of the Cardinals 2013 NFL Draft picks were selected as team captains in college.
- Arizona selected two guards in the first four rounds of the draft for the first time in team history.
- Cardinals fourth round pick OLB Alex Okafor (Pflugerville HS) and Ryan Swope (Westlake HS) went to high school 20 miles apart in Texas and their team's met in 2005 and 2008. In college, Okafor (Texas) and Swope (Texas A&M) faced off three times (2009-11).
- During their college careers, four of the Cardinals draft picks (Cooper, Minter, Mathieu and Taylor) were either finalists or semifinalists for awards that recognize the top player in the country at their respective position.
- Cooper was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy as the nation's top o-lineman.
- Minter was a Butkus Award finalist as the nation's top linebacker.
- Mathieu was a Heisman Trophy finalist in ‘11, the year he won the Bednarik Award as the nation's best defender.
- Taylor was a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back
CARDS MAKE SECOND TRADE DOWN
- On day two of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cardinals entered the second round with the 38th overall selection and traded that pick to the San Diego Chargers for the 45th selection and the Chargers fourth round pick (110th overall).
- In the fourth round, the Cardinals traded that 110th pick to the NY Giants for the 116th overall selection and the Giants sixth round pick (187thoverall).
OKAFOR IS THE PICK AT 103
- With the 103rd overall selection, the Cardinals grabbed Texas OLB Alex Okafor. He was the third Texas player selected this year and the 22ndLonghorn ever taken by the Cardinals in the NFL Draft.
- The Cardinals took Okafor (4th round, 103rd overall) in the exact spot where they drafted his former teammate, Sam Acho, in the 2011 NFL Draft. Okafor and Acho had very similar careers at Texas, starting out at defensive tackles before finishing their careers as defensive ends. Acho's 23.5 career sacks rank 10th in Texas history while Okafor's 23.0 sacks rank 11th all-time.
Okafor and Acho as Longhorns
Stat Okafor Acho
Games Played 52 50
Games Started 33 26
Tackles 150 148
Sacks 23.0 23.5
Tackles for Loss 34 37
Forced Fumbles 7 8
- In four seasons at Texas, Okafor started 33 of the 52 games he appeared in and recorded 150 tackles, 23.0 sacks, 34 tackles for loss, seven forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, four passes defensed and a blocked kick.
- A unanimous first-team All-Big 12 selection and third-team All-America selection by the American Football Coaches Association as a senior in '12, Okafor totaled 54 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles on the year. His 12.5 sacks led the Big 12, ranked ninth in the nation and represented the highest total for a Longhorn player since Tony Degrate posted 13 sacks in 1984.
- In the Longhorns Alamo Bowl win over Oregon State following the 2012 season, Okafor established a game record with 4.5 sacks and earned Defensive MVP.
- Okafor was one of the most highly decorated prep football players in the country while at Pflugerville (TX) High School. A two-time All-State selection, Okafor earned All-American honors as a senior and was ranked by Rivals.com as the top DE in the nation. He was selected to play in the 2009 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and the Hawaii Prep Football Classic following his senior season.
A FIRST FROM JAMES MADISON
- With its second selection of the fourth round, Arizona took G Earl Watford from James Madison with the 116th overall pick. Watford is the first James Madison player ever selected by the Cardinals in the NFL Draft.
- Watford became the first JMU player selected in the NFL Draft since the Jaguars selected DB Scotty McGee in the sixth round in 2010. Watford is just the 13th player ever drafted out of James Madison and the third since 2001.
- Prior to the 2013 NFL Draft (Jonathan Cooper and Earl Watford), the Cardinals had never selected multiple guards in the first four rounds of the draft.
- While at James Madison, Watford appeared in 43 games with 37 starts, including starts in each of his final 35 appearances.
- Watford was invited to play in the 2013 East-West Shrine Game, becoming the first player from JMU to receive an invite to that all-star showcase and the first to play in any all-star game since 2006.
- After allowing just one sack during his senior season at JMU, Watford earned All-American honors from the NFL Draft Report, Walter Camp Foundation, American Football Coaches Association and the Associated Press.
- Watford attended Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia, the same school as Pro Football Hall of Fame RB Leroy Kelly, MLB Hall of Famer Roy Campanella and the NBA's Aaron McKie and Rasheed Wallace.
A RUNNING BACK IN THE FIFTH
- With their fifth round selection (140th overall), the Cardinals picked Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor. The 10th RB selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, Taylor is just the sixth Stanford player ever taken by the Cardinals.
- Taylor's first name is pronounced "stef-FON."
- Started 39 of 53 games played at Stanford and established school career records for rushing attempts (843), rushing yards (4,300), total TDs (45) and 100-yard rushing performances (21). His 40 career rushing TDs rank second in school annals as do his 270 career points.
- Posted one of the biggest games of his collegiate career while playing at University of Phoenix Stadium. During his junior season in 2011, Stanford faced Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl and Taylor ran for a career high 177 yards and two TDs in the matchup.
- In addition to his performance at University of Phoenix Stadium, Taylor also ran for a school record four TDs against the Arizona Wildcats as a sophomore in 2010.
- As a senior in 2012, started all 14 games and totaled 322 rushing attempts for 1,530 yards (4.8 avg.) and 13 TDs. Also added 41 receptions for 287 and two TDs out of the backfield on his way to being named a semi-finalist for the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top RB. Was also the recipient of the Irving S. Zeimer Award, given to the team's MVP.
- Taylor is the only player in Stanford history to rush for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons (1,530; 1,330; 1,137).
- An extremely reliable player, never missed a game in college and fumbled just seven times despite racking up over 940 touches.
- In addition to holding a number of Stanford rushing titles, Taylor holds the school career record for rushing yards (4,792) and TDs (67) at Mansfield (TX) High School. During his senior year, Taylor rushed for a school record 2,463 and 33 TDs on his way to being named Fort Worth Telegram Player of the Year honors.
- In addition to his success on the field, was also an academic all-district honoree and received a proclamation from the Mayor of Mansfield for his success on and off the football field.
SIXTH ROUND STARTS WITH AN AGGIE
- Arizona used its first selection of the sixth round (174th overall) on Texas A&M WR Ryan Swope. The fifth A&M player selected in this year's draft, Swope is the 21st Aggie ever selected by the Cardinals in the NFL Draft.
- Swope is the 13th WR drafted by the Cardinals dating back to 2000. With the selection of Swope, Arizona has now selected at least one WR in 12 of the last 13 drafts, with 2009 being the lone exception.
- At the 2013 NFL Combine, Swope ran the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds. That number tied Tavon Austin (8th overall pick by the Rams) for the second-best time of any player at the event behind Texas WR Marquise Goodwin (4.27).
- Swope established school career records with 252 receptions for 3,117 yards while also setting a school mark with 15 100-yard receiving games. He ranks second in school history with 24 career TD passes. During his junior season in 2011, Swope established school single-season marks for receptions (89) and yards (1,207) while his 11 TDs ranked second in team history. His six 100-yard receiving games in '11 also set a school mark.
- Facing off against top-ranked Alabama and CB Dee Milliner (9th overall pick in 2013) during the 2012 season, Swope hauled in 11 receptions for 111 yards and a TD.
- After missing the first game as a true freshman in 2009, Swope went on to appear in 51 consecutive games.
- Swope never had a redshirt season with the Aggies, having appeared in 12 games as a true freshman in 2009.
- Swope attended Westlake (Austin, TX) High School, which also produced NFL QBs Drew Brees and Nick Foles.
ANOTHER BACK WITH ELLINGTON
- With their second selection of the sixth round (187th overall), the Cardinals acquired Clemson RB Andre Ellington. The fourth Clemson player selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, Ellington is the 14th Clemson player ever selected by the Cardinals.
- He is the first Clemson player drafted by Arizona since 1991, when the team used its fourth and fifth round selections on Clemson players - CB Dexter Davis, 86th overall; DT Vance Hammond, 117th overall.
- Ellington started 33 of the 49 games he appeared in for the Tigers, rushing 621 times for 3,436 yards and 33 TDs. He also added 59 receptions for 505 yards and two TDs. His 3,436 rushing yards rank fourth in school history while his 33 rushing TDs rank third in team annals. He also became one of just four players in school history to rush for 1,000 yards twice.
- A standout on special teams for the Tigers, Ellington returned 26 kickoffs for 642 yards (24.7 avg.) and a TD while also recovering a fumble and recording six tackles on special teams.
- As a senior in 2012, received first-team All-ACC accolades after gaining 1,081 yards and eight TDs on 212 carries, gaining at least 10 yards on 28 carries. Of his 621 career rushing attempts, 87 resulted in gains of at least 10 yards.
ENDING IT WITH RUTGERS
- The Cardinals seventh round selection (219th overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft was used to take Rutgers TE D.C. Jefferson. He was one of a school record seven players selected from Rutgers in this year's draft.
- Jefferson became just the third Rutgers player ever selected by the Cardinals and the first since the team took Leon Root in the 30th round (355th overall) of the 1951 draft.
- Jefferson ended his prep career as one of the nation's most sought after QBs, ranked as the 16th QB prospect in the country by Rivals.com. He switched to TE during his freshman season at Rutgers.
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