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2015 NFL Draft results: Potential 2015 roles for the 7 Arizona Cardinals picks

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How do each of these players fit in in Year 1?

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals filled several needs with their seven 2015 NFL Draft selections. They addressed the pass rush, running back, the return game and bolstered the offensive line and defensive line depth. Let's see what each pick should contribute in 2015.

D.J. Humphries

Projected role: Starting RT

As the team's first pick, he should start. He will battle to start at right tackle with Bobby Massie. However, they didn't draft him to sit on the bench. It is possible Massie holds on to the job, but he will be a free agent after the season, so Humphries will take that job over for sure next season.

Markus Golden

Projected role: Starting OLB

This is a little tricky. If the team does indeed move Matt Shaughnessy to the defensive end, then this opens the door for Golden to start. The OLB position is a big question mark. LaMarr Woodley will probably start, but Golden has been compared to him. Golden could end up beating out Woodley or getting worked in. He should get playing time in 2015.

David Johnson

Projected role: Number 2 RB

Andre Ellington will be the starter. He will ideally get the most touches, but Johnson will get carries. That is why he was drafted. If everything goes right, they might be the only two to get touches at the position.

Rodney Gunter

Projected role: Depth, special teams

Arizona already has a deep defensive line right now. They have veterans and younger players. I don't expect him to play much this season, except on special teams.

Shaq Riddick

Projected role: rotational OLB, special teams

If he is as good at rushing the passer as he says he is, he will find his way onto the field. If he develops, you might see late in the season both he and Golden starting.

J.J. Nelson

Projected role: Return specialist

Nelson will not likely see much time on the field offensively. The team already has a lot of weapons. He will, though, return punts and kicks. That is where his money will be made.

Gerald Christian

Projected role: TE 4

Christian will be at the back of the depth chart at tight end, but I imagine he will make the roster because he is a little different than the other guys on the roster. He is not a traditional inline tight end. He can move around. He will be used for blocking more. Bruce Arians says he will be great on special teams, too.


Overall, this draft class potentially can have some impact in 2015. If all goes well in terms of development, five (including the return game) could get significant playing time. If that is the case, it could be the best draft Steve Keim has had.