The Arizona Cardinals announced that they signed three of their seven draft picks to their rookie deals. They signed their second and third round picks -- tight end Troy Niklas, linebacker Kareem Martin and receiver John Brown -- to four-year deals.
Niklas (6-6, 270) was a semi-finalist for the Mackey Award (nation’s top tight end) and was an FBS All-Independent first-team pick as a junior in 2013 when he finished third on the team with a career-high 32 receptions for 498 yards (15.6-yard avg.) and five touchdowns. He entered Notre Dame in 2011 as an outside linebacker and played 12 games as a freshman before switching to tight end prior to his sophomore season. In two seasons at tight end (2012-13), Niklas started 20 of 26 games played and caught 37 passes for 573 yard and six touchdowns.
Martin (6-6, 272) received All-American third-team honors from the The NFL Draft Report and was selected first-team All-ACC as a senior when he ranked third in the conference and eighth in the nation with 11.5 sacks to go along with a career-high 82 tackles (46 solo), 21.5 tackles for loss, 14 quarterback pressures, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries while starting all 13 games. The Roanoke Rapids, NC native finished his career by starting in 41 of 49 games played and recorded 178 tackles (92 solo), 19.5 sacks, 45.5 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries.
Brown (5-11, 179) set Pittsburg State school records with 185 receptions for 3,387 yards (18.3 yard avg.) and 34 touchdowns while starting 34 of 36 games played in three seasons. He also added 394 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 48 carries, 1,063 yards and three touchdowns on 78 punt returns and 1,400 yards and two touchdowns on 52 kickoff returns. Brown scored 272 points and amassed 6,244 all-purpose yards during his career at Pittsburg State after playing his freshman season at Mars Hill University. At the NFL Combine, Brown ran the 40-yard dash in 4.34 second, the third-fastest time of any player at the event.
Under the current collective bargaining agreement, signing rookies is much less work than it has been in years past. Even still, last season it took until the first day of training camp for the team to get first round pick Jonathan Cooper signed.
With these signings, four picks still need to agree to terms -- first rounder Deone Bucannon, fourth rounder Logan Thomas , fifth rounder Ed Stinson and sixth rounder Walt Powell.
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