The Arizona Cardinals have a long off season ahead of them, with a number of key free agents due for extensions or having to find viable replacements if they allow them to leave.
However, with the Arizona Cardinals likely having a top 15 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, they would have a unique opportunity to knock out two potential holes on the roster with one selection.
While there is plenty of time between now and April, and the 2017 NFL Draft is one that we were not expecting to be talking about, the Cardinals are where they are.
With the play of Kevin Minter this season, I think it is safe to say he deserves the opportunity to continue to make plays for the Arizona Cardinals. He has shown what was expected of him coming out of LSU. He is not going to ever be an All Pro or even a Pro Bowl caliber inside linebacker, but he is a steady, solid producer that understands how to command the defense.
What has been lost much of this season has been that athleticism next to him. While Deone Bucannon has shown flashes of that ability in 2016, he has dropped off a little bit the more and more he has played the inside linebacker position.
Enter the 2017 NFL Draft, where two players could answer the bell for the Arizona Cardinals early at the inside linebacker position.
Reuben Foster of the Alabama Crimson Tide is the better known prospect and rightfully so, he is a hell of player in that Alabama defense, but he may be unavailable when the Cardinals are on the clock in April.
Zach Cunningham of Vanderbilt University is the other player, that may be a little bit less heralded, but offers a tantalizing blend of size and speed that could allow the Cardinals some flexibility.
While these two players may not even be on the radar, a pick of one would allow the Cardinals to move Deone Bucannon to strong safety, while also allowing the Cardinals to have an easier decision on who to bring back between Tony Jefferson and D.J. Swearinger.
While Jefferson is the better player and has had the better year, Swearinger would be the ideal two way safety at a lower cost than what we all assume TJ will be getting this off season.
It is a move that allows for the Arizona Cardinals to strengthen two positions, with just the addition of one player, while also minimizing turnover in a defense that has had some nice highs in 2016.