Kliff Kingsbury Ready to Select 'Best Available' at No. 8 in NFL Draft
Entering the new league year and the opening of the free agency period, the Arizona Cardinals had numerous needs that had to be addressed across multiple positions.
So, general manager Steve Keim engineered a trade for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (unloading running back David Johnson's contract in the process); brought in two linebackers in Devon Kennard (Detroit Lions) and De'Vondre Campbell (Atlanta Falcons); and agreed to terms with breakout defensive lineman Jordan Phillips (Buffalo Bills) as well as a nice depth piece in defensive lineman Trevon Coley (Indianapolis Colts).
Furthermore, the franchise retained 11 of their own free agents including Justin Murray and Marcus Gilbert to compete for the right tackle position. All of this makes their impending draft selection at No. 8 overall extremely intriguing.
It has opened up a larger pool for the Cardinals to consider.
"We want to be able to take the best player for us at No. 8 that we feel like makes us a better team immediately, fits in with our culture, has the right character that we want," head coach Kliff Kingsbury said during a videoconference with reporters on Tuesday. "And with the moves Steve was able to make with the (defensive) line and inside linebacker, outside linebacker, wide receiver, it definitely gives us the opportunity to pick the best football player and that's exciting."
On paper, the roster composition looks promising. With the opportunity to bring in more young talent via the draft, Kingsbury and the Cardinals franchise at-large want to improve on the 5-10-1 inaugural season for rookie quarterback Kyler Murray.
"I think when you look at where the roster sits as opposed to last year, Steve and his guys did a tremendous job of really filling needs," Kingsbury said. "We feel like we can line up today and be a much improved football team personnel wise then where we sat last year at this time. So it does set the draft up to where we feel like we're free to take the best available pick that that comes at that No. 8 spot. That's a tribute to Steve and the job he did this offseason.
"To go into the draft and not feel like you have any glaring holes on your starting defense, that definitely takes some pressure off."