Tag Archives: Darrell Baker

Arizona Cardinals 2022 NFL Draft/UDFA recap

The Cardinals felt that former Ravens WR Marquise Brown was worth the 23rd overall pick in the first round. He reunites with former college quarterback Kyler Murray. What should be noted is the move may have created more value within the draft. They picked up a second third-round pick as part of the trade, Cincinnati’s Myjai Sanders, and he could challenge for a starting job in a two-year period. In 2021 Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Cameron Thomas, the team secured a player quite capable of playing inside on third downs, if necessary.

Cameron Thomas DE Arizona Cardinals
Cameron Thomas won the MWC Defensive Player of the Year award in 2021.

Arizona may have also improved the depth of its interior offensive line late in the process. Two guards, Lecitus Smith and Marquis Hayes, were both still on the board in the seventh stanza. Can they provide competition for the team’s backup positions and add depth?

Arizona
Cardinals

     
Round,
Selection,
PlayerSchoolDN Big Board
Rank/
Grade
‘Nasty’ Take:
2 (55)
Trey McBride
TE/Colorado State
46/2nd Round
The John Mackey Award winner brings an advanced understanding of the position to the Cardinals. He can threaten defenses vertically or horizontally. Can he become a factor in the Red Zone?
3 (87)
Cameron Thomas
DE/San Diego State
100/3rd Round
Thomas, the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year, could bring a multi-faceted aspect to DC Vance Joseph's third down packages. Don't be surprised if he finds a way to create mismatches with Thomas.
3 (100)Myjai Sanders
OLB/Cincinnati
81/2nd Round
Did Sanders take the next step in school? Perhaps. But even if he didn't there is the possibility that the best is yet to come. The offsides penalties have to become a thing of the past.
6 (201)
Keaontay Ingram
RB/USC, Texas
328/5th Round
Ingram not so quietly averaged nearly six yards per carry (5.8 YPC) in 2021. This included a 138-yard effort against Notre Dame in late October.
6 (215)
Lecitus Smith
OG/Virginia Tech
148/3rd Round
The 6-foot-3, 320-pounder moves well enough and simply has to watch stay square in pass protection. There is an ability to create forward movement with leverage as a run blocker.
7 (244)
Christian Matthew
CB/Valdosta State, Samford, Georgia Southern N/A
Matthew certainly moved around quite a bit in school, but he found a rhythm for the Division II national runner-ups. The 6-toot-2 corner broke up three or more passes in three different contests. He contains OT-type length for the cornerback spot.
7 (256)
Jesse Luketa
LB/Penn State
282/4th Round
Luketa's move to pass rusher full-time ended with a strong performance in the postseason. His quick speed combines with upper body power to frustrate tackles and overcomes average natural bend.
7 (257)
Marquis HayesOG/Oklahoma
212/4th RoundHayes was accurate as a puller on the move from the left guard spot in the plethora of gap-schemed runs the team used during his time in school. Size gives him a chance to earn at the least a practice squad spot.
2022 UDFA signings
Rank PlayerPositionsSchoolGradeRound‘Nasty’ Take
276Darrell Baker, Jr.CB-S-NickelGeorgia Southern5.424th RoundNot many players are available after the draft with the combination of speed and size that Baker has in his tool kit. Gaining a feel outside at CB will be necessary, but he has also played safety effectively.
490Chandler WootenLBAuburn4.725th RoundWooten’s final year in school flashed improved instincts and feel for the exchange LB spot. He possesses solid blitz capability with length.
156Ronnie RiversRBFresno State5.723rd RoundRivers was banged on for a lack of height and undesirable measurements. He excels as an option route runner and flashes unique vision as a runner.
552Manny JonesDE-DTColorado State4.4916th RoundJones was largely ignored during the postseason after finishing his career with 33 tackles for losses. Why? It may have been due to playing out of position inside for the better portion of a two-year period. He brings some redeemable qualities in terms of one-gap potential.
451Javonta PaytonAll-Purpose (Gunner-WR)Tennessee, Mississippi State4.855th RoundWe felt that Payton’s all-purpose potential as a gunner made sense for some team late. He finished with 20 special teams tackles despite not playing them much as a senior at Tennessee. He flashed big play potential during that final year with 4.4 speed out wide (6 TDs).
369Chris PierceWR/H-backVanderbilt5.115th RoundPierce largely operated outside the numbers in school and had some contests (i.e. Florida in 2020, Colorado State ’21) where he looked like a draft pick. The team’s inconsistent passing game did him no favors.
705Jontre KirklinAll-Purpose (WR-Ret)LSU3.567th RoundHe’s played quarterback, WR and stood out on special teams in school. The explosive athlete could find his way if he impresses on special teams in camp.
428Kekaula KanihoNickelBoise State4.955th RoundThe nickel back’s instincts, change of direction and ball skills have never been the issue. The weight (181 pounds) contributed to him not getting picked late in the draft.
Cole BentleyOCLouisville N/AN/AVersatile. He has started at OC, RG, RT and LG while in school. He can stay frontal in pass protection but gave ground as a run blocker.
LaRon StokesDTOklahomaN/AN/AStokes largely went quiet the last two seasons from a statistical standpoint, but offers potential as a DE in three-man fronts at 280 pounds.
Stephon Robinson WRNorthwestern, KansasN/AN/ACould Robinson ever match his 2019 production at Kansas? During a dominant two-game stretch in that season, he posted six touchdowns.
Will Miles DECentral MethodistN/AN/AMiles’ size certainly translates to the next level and could land him an opportunity on the practice squad. The two-sport athlete has upside as a pass rusher with 36-inch arms.
Changa HodgeWRVirginia Tech, VillanovaN/AN/AHodge’s 2019 season still reverberates with teams. At Villanova, he went for 13 TDs during that season. Two season-ending injuries hurt his overall standing.

Overall, the fabric of the team’s roster only added pieces that complement what was already in place. The strategy seemed to be finding multi-year starters on the collegiate level to aid a roster full of burgeoning talent.

Hence the undrafted free agent signings of Darrell Baker, Jr., Ronnie Rivers and Kekaula Kaniho. Many of these may or may not make the team’s roster, but could add depth to its practice squad.

For a team that has endured depth issues in the second halves of seasons, it may prove to be a wise strategy.