During the Steve Keim and Bruce Arians era, much has been made of the third round for the Cardinals. We start in 2013, Tyrann Mathieu is a troubled LSU corner who needs a team that believes in him, and maybe a mentor. Arizona takes a chance on the guy formerly known as the Honey Badger, and Patrick Peterson is that mentor. Now, Tyrann Mathieu is a Pro-Bowler who earned an extension.
In 2014, the Cardinals traded back with the Saints and gathered another third-round selection (I'll talk about the first third round selection afterwards). John Brown was the 91st pick, other than a sickle cell problem, Brown has become a very reliable option for the Cardinals, and could be the possible replacement for Larry Fitzgerald based on potential.
Turn the page, and now we talk about the best third round selection (or best pick, period), the Cardinals select David Johnson from small Northern Iowa. The selection looked like they were going to have to wait for production on Johnson, but he has turned into a franchise centerpiece. You can build an offense around Johnson, and wouldn't have to throw the ball 40-50 times a game.
Last year, they took a chance on a converted running back who played one year of college corner. It's WAY too early to say that it's a failure, but if it works out, and Brandon Williams becomes a pro-bowl corner across Patrick Peterson, we become specialists in the third round. While I'm on the discussion of Brandon Williams, I would say be patient for Williams, give him another year, then see if he becomes what the Cardinals wanted, that's all I'm saying.
All those selections have worked out for the Cardinals, except one (told you I would mention the first third round selection later). Kareem Martin was a converted defensive end in college who was going to play linebacker for the Cardinals. So far, Kareem has been a very disappointing selection. He is still on his rookie contract, but he has been a career backup with no indication of development.
27 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. That's what I would want in one year, not in a three-year career, and seems to be poised for possible training camp casualty. I thought his 6'6'' 272-pound frame would be perfect for the Cardinals, but he hasn't proved to be reliable. More of a down lineman, he could take the same route as Alex Okafor, and attempt to find a 4-3 defensive team for better stats.
Ever since BA has taken over, it's worked out very well for converted linebackers who haven't succeeded in the Todd Bowles and James Bettcher scheme. This isn't to say that Kareem Martin won't breakout with the Cardinals this year, it's just highly doubtful. With Chandler Jones and Markus Golden ahead of him (and the recent signing of Jarvis Jones), it's just doubtful.
This year, the Cardinals are at the 13th selection in the draft (highest since they took Jonathan Cooper with the 7th pick in 2013), and it's maybe a clever idea to double down on the third round.
Trading back, that's what I'm saying, and still can pick "that guy". Who knows, they could trade back with Denver, get a third rounder this year and a fourth-round selection next year, and still be able to pick a guy like Malik McDowell of Michigan State or Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech.
Kareem Martin is the only failed attempt in the third round, maybe it's time to invest in one more for the third round. In any case, Go Cards!