With QBs gone, Cardinals choose versatile linebacker
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) With the three best quarterbacks gone, the Arizona Cardinals used the No. 13 pick in the NFL draft on Thursday to choose versatile linebacker Haason Reddick, who rose from walk-on at Temple to one of the most coveted defensive players in the draft.
Cardinals general manager Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians see Reddick as an explosive, quick hybrid player who can play inside or outside.
The Houston Texans must have thought Arizona was poised to take quarterback Deshaun Watson because they made a last-minute trade with Cleveland to get Watson at No. 12.
After playing defensive end, in a three-point stance, at Temple, Reddick impressed coaches, scouts and general managers when he moved inside and had an outstanding game at linebacker in the Senior Bowl.
At 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, Reddick is considered undersized by NFL standards but not by Cardinals standards. Former first-round pick Deone Bucannon was shifted from safety to inside linebacker and has become one of Arizona's best defensive players.
Arizona already has two fierce pass rushers in Chandler Jones and Markus Golden on the outside. The Cardinals signed veteran Karlos Dansby to play inside linebacker alongside Bucannon.
But Keim and Arians said with Reddick's versatility, he should be able to play in the team's nickel defense right away. Arians said the Cardinals are in the nickel defense more than their base defense, anyway.
Reddick was third in the nation in tackles for loss with 22 +, including 10 + sacks.
Injuries limited him to just four games in high school and led to his walk-on status at Temple.
Arians was head coach of the Owls in the mid-1980s.
Temple had a player chosen ahead of Alabama in this year's unusual draft.
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