Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
With their first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals landed the hard-hitting safety they so highly coveted.
Yet, it was neither the player, nor at the spot they predicted.
With the 27th pick of the 2014 Draft, the Cardinals selected Deone Bucannon, safety, out of Washington State University.
Initial plans seemed to be hoping that Louisville safety Calvin Pryor would fall to them at #20, but when the New York Jets surprisingly swooped in at #18 to select him, the Cardinals went to their back-up plan.
Not a fan of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the team also missed out on the three outside linebackers it had targeted in Ryan Shazier (Steelers), Anthony Barr (Vikings) and C.J. Mosley (Ravens).
While head coach Bruce Arians reiterated heading into the draft that a quarterback would not be taken with the team’s first-round pick, Derek Carr was still unfairly made the center of attention. It appeared the move might have been likely when the Cardinals opted to move back a few spots in order to pick up an additional pick later in the Draft, but the club ultimately went the route of Bucannon.
Performed quite masterfully, the Cardinals have to get a resounding “A” for the way they handled opening night. Bucannon is months away from stepping foot on the field for a meaningful game, so the true grade of the pick is months, if not years away; but in the short term, the Cardinals grabbed themselves an extra pick while getting a player they still wanted.
Known as a “bruiser” during his tenure in the PAC-12 Conference, Bucannon will look to combine with Tyrann Mathieu to help create one of the league’s most dynamic secondaries.
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The fun gets underway on Friday evening, as the Cardinals now own three picks over the upcoming two rounds. Already slotted at 52nd and 84th, they also get the 91st pick from the New Orleans Saints.
Almost a guarantee, one of those three picks will be a quarterback. It is safe to say that as Friday turns into Saturday on the east coast, the Cardinals future quarterback will be either Zach Mettenberger, A.J. McCarron or Aaron Murray.