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Arizona Cardinals draft strategy under Steve Keim

A look at how the Arizona Cardinals have drafted through the first four years of the Keim era.

NFL: 2015 NFL Draft Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of Arizona Cardinals fans attempt each year to imagine the perfect scenario for draft time, but it's not as easy as mentioned. I tried to debunk the curious draft selections that make for a "Steve Keim and Bruce Arians" type of player. This is what I've learned:

Since 2013, the biggest consistency has been the drafting of small school players, and most of the time, it's a couple of them later in the draft. Not teams in the MAC conference, but players from division Ia, II, or III.

1. Earl Watford - James Madison (2013)

2. John Brown - Pittsburgh State (2014)

3. Walt Powell - Murray State (2014)

4. David Johnson - Northern Iowa (2015)

5. Rodney Gunter - Delaware State (2015)

6. Marqui Christian - Midwestern State (2016)

7. Cole Toner - Harvard (2016)

8. Harlan Miller - Southeastern Louisiana (2016)

When I saw this, I thought this was the type of thing that should continue the trend. So keep a watchful eye on your small school prospect(s).

Next, I saw a couple of players who might have started or ended their college careers in different positions then what they are projected in the NFL. Most recently, Brandon Williams was a 5-star running back converted to corner. Williams was not successful at Oklahoma, but transfered to Texas A&M for his daughter.

David Johnson is another example: He was a receiver in high school, but made a seamless transition to running back after his freshman year at Northern Iowa. He was said to have only garnered two scholarship offers. This tells me a lot about Williams and Johnson, as they had to struggle a lot before becoming successful with the Cardinals.

When I studied the first round the last two years, the Cardinals have taken players with "character" concerns. They both were said to have some concerns about focusing on football, and neither Robert Nkemdiche or D.J. Humphries started in their first years. Humphries has now proven his worth as a potential centerpiece at left tackle, but the jury is still out there for Nkemdiche.

Something else that I've noticed since the Steve Keim and B.A. journey is that no matter the situation, at least one player from their draft will not make their roster to start the season. That one is a little less severe, but it's the sad truth.

1. Ryan Swope - 6th Round (2013)

2. Walt Powell - 6th Round (2014)

3. Gerald Christian - 7th Round (2015) (IR)

4. Harlan Miller - 6th Round (2016) (Practice Squad)

This one is small, but the Cardinals also have drafted offense-defense 3 out of 4 years, last year being the only time they didn't alternate first and second round (Nkemdiche, B. Williams). Now for my favorite note of the last four drafts is that they have only drafted one, that's right, ONE underclassmen each year.

1. Tyrann Mathieu - 3rd Round (2013)

2. Troy Niklas - 2nd Round (2014)

3. D.J. Humphries - 1st Round (2015)

4. Robert Nkemdiche - 1st Round (2016)

My final notes of the draft is the consistency of the draft, with the Cardinals taking receiver from 2013-2015, taking a linebacker 2013-2015, and offensive lineman 2013, 2015-2016. Also, the Cardinals have made trades in every draft of the Keim and Arians regime except 2015.

I won't leave you empty handed with facts, tomorrow there will be a mock of my own. Stay tuned and go Cards!!!