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Red Birds Draft Preview: Ra’Shede Hageman, DL

April 19th, 2014 at 5:22 AM
By Steve Smith

'' photo (c) 2008, Seth Page - license:
The Arizona Cardinals will have an interesting pick to make with the 20th overall selection in the upcoming NFL Draft in May.

It's just three weeks away now.

Let's take a look at the profile of one of the players that may be available to them at that pick: DL Ra'Shede Hageman of the University of Minnesota.

Hageman is 6-foot-6 and weighs 310 pounds. Here is a look at his updated profile via

Strengths: Very long and well-proportioned. Intriguing height-weight-speed ratio and natural athleticism. Flashes the ability explode off the ball, jolt blockers and disrupt the backfield. Terrific movement, flexibility and range. Loose ankles. Can work the edges. Able to redirect and chase athletically. Fierce tackler. Rare leaping ability for his size (workout all-star). Disrupts passing lanes. Has a "wow" factor at his best. Has immense upside. Team captain.

Weaknesses: Wide gap between physical ability and performance on tape. Green eyes, instincts and understanding of blocking schemes. Motor idles. Too often lets his pads rise and exposes his frame. Does not play to his length. On skates vs. double teams. Hand use needs work. Unsophisticated counters and pass-rush moves. Aimless pass rusher in need of a plan. Minimal, inflated sack production. Still learning to convert speed to power. Does not dominate single blocking. Needs more glass in his diet. Could require simple assignments. Motivation and coachability should be examined more closely. Will be 24-year-old rookie. Has a glaring bust factor.

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Arizona Cardinals 2014 NFL Draft Profile: Demarcus Lawrence, DE

April 18th, 2014 at 5:55 AM
By Steve Smith

'University of Phoenix Stadium' photo (c) 2009, Dyanna Hyde - license:
We have been previewing players the Arizona Cardinals may select in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft next month for a few weeks now – it''s time for another player. The Red Birds select 20th overall in the first round.

Today's player is defensive end Demarcus Lawrence of Boise State. The junior is a native of Aiken, SC and stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 251 pounds.

Let's take a look at his profile via

STRENGTHS: Possesses broad shoulders, long arms and a lanky frame, overall, which appears capable of adding another 10 pounds of muscle. Highly versatile defender asked to play a variety of roles with the Broncos. Shows good (not great) initial quickness off the snap to penetrate off the edge or between gaps. Quick, active hands. Varied pass rush technique, including an over-arm swim, rip, club and even an occasional spin move. Surprisingly strong at the point of attack. Plays with good leverage and anchors well, slipping off blocks effectively to make tackles near the line of scrimmage. Good effort laterally and downfield in pursuit. Rarely asked to drop into coverage but appears to possess the quickness, fluidity and awareness to potentially convert to outside linebacker.

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Kevin Minter Will Be an Important Cog for 2014 Arizona Cardinals

April 17th, 2014 at 6:01 AM
By Steve Smith

'IMG_8583' photo (c) 2008, donielle - license:
He'll continue to improve and should be an important cog for the 2014 Arizona Cardinals.

The Red Birds are expecting a lot out of him.

Linebacker Kevin Minter, drafted in the second round in 2013, played in just five games this past season for the Arizona Cardinals but coaches and management love his potential.

Let's take an updated look at what scouts are saying about the LSU product via

Strengths: Solid, strong and attacks blocks with extension and hand use. Very good feel in traffic, subtle moves to weave through bodies and recognize run, gets to the ball carrier before teammates despite starting from the opposite side of the formation. Not afraid to make contact with lead blocker between the tackles, keeps outside arm free to scrape off to running back. Takes very good angles and lines. Stops momentum of blockers, rolls into them with an anchor to not lose ground. Finishes off tackles very well. Fights as a blitzer, good motor, attempts to run through or get around contact. Sniffs out screens. When the play is visibly in front of him, the click and close can happen very quickly. Looks very comfortable when using hands to work through blockers. Has just enough speed to undercut blocks and make tackles for loss. Remained on the field in nickel packages.

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Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft Preview: TE Jace Amaro

April 16th, 2014 at 5:23 AM
By Steve Smith

'NFL Draft' photo (c) 2011, Zennie Abraham - license:
The Arizona Cardinals could always use some quality depth at the tight end position. Let's take a look at a player they may try to draft in the second or third round if he is still available.

His name is Jace Amaro, a tight end from Texas Tech. Amaro is a junior and is 6-foot-5 and weighs 265 pounds. He is a First-team All-American pick and first-team All-Big 12 selection.

Let's take a look at his profile via our friends at

Strengths Excellent size with a well-proportioned frame and room for added bulk. Releases cleanly into routes. Moves like an oversized receiver. Good balance. Enough foot speed to stretch the seam. Good hands to extend and catch. Gives effort as a move blocker and can block out defensive backs. Flashes nastiness. Historic one-year production

 Weaknesses Was used as a slot receiver and does not show the functional strength and body power to match up with NFL defensive linemen. Is unsudden (average acceleration) and lacks elite top-end speed. Upright, unrefined route runner — shows hip and ankle stiffness in and out of breaks. Struggles to consistently separate. Fairly straight-linish after the catch, as confirmed by an average three-cone time (7.42 seconds) at the combine. Ordinary run strength. Production was inflated by scheme and poor pass defenses. Labored to catch the ball at the Combine and really struggled to consistently haul it in. Draft Projection Rounds 2-3

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Will the Arizona Cardinals Try to Select OT Zach Martin in the NFL Draft?

April 15th, 2014 at 5:50 AM
By Steve Smith

'San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals, September 13, 2009' photo (c) 2009, Michael Wifall - license:
It should be quite an interesting 2014 NFL Draft.

The Arizona Cardinals draft 20th overall in the draft in May. Let's take a look at a player that might be available to the Red Birds when they're officially "on the clock".

Today's player is senior offensive tackle Zach Martin of Notre Dame. He is listed at 6-feet, 4-inches and weighs 305 pounds.

Let's take an updated look at his scouting profile via

STRENGTHS: Strong and very good at keeping his feet underneath him while keeping his butt low to handle both speed and power. He does play with gch Martinood quickness (but not explosiveness) off the snap, showing knee bend and core strength to anchor, as well as the lateral agility to mirror more athletic defenders. He also shows better athleticism than you might think when blocking on the move, demonstrating above average straight-line speed to get to the second level, as well as the nastiness to bury his target into the ground.

WEAKNESSES: With less than ideal length and lateral range, Martin's NFL future may lie inside at guard, where he never played in college. The move to guard is necessary because Martin does not possess great height, arm length or foot speed. He chucks his way back (rather than sliding) for an effective if not aesthetically-pleasing form of pass protection.

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