A look at the rookies

Posted by Darren Urban on June 16, 2014 – 10:54 am

The rookie class had a (not surprisingly) mixed bag of results in OTAs and minicamp. That’s what rookies do. Still, they are going to mean something this season, especially with the way coach Bruce Arians is willing to play them.

“I like all the rookies,” veteran defensive lineman Darnell Dockett said. “There are three or four of those rookies that are going to make a big impact on our season. We don’t know which ones (yet), but it’s going to happen. You want to help them and let them know on the field and off the field, you have to be accountable and it’s not just about showing up for practice. We know we are going to need four or five of those rookies.”

Because the pads haven’t gone on yet, it’s possible two guys who have been way under the radar so far — defensive ends Kareem Martin and Ed Stinson — could be making large impacts. The way the Cardinals like to rotate the defensive line, both guys will get a shot to get in there, one would think. They also turn the defensive line from a thin area to one of serious depth, when you add in Frostee Rucker and (eventually) Alameda Ta’amu to Dockett, Calais Campbell and Dan Williams.

We all know safety Deone Bucannon is going to get his chance. That’s what happens with first-round picks. That turf toe slowed him, but it was a good sign Bucannon made sure to get back on the field in minicamp. Second-round Troy Niklas is behind and the idea he might still be sidelined into training camp with his broken hand isn’t the best news, but the kid is itching to get out on the field and do something. Adding John Carlson, and with the way Rob Housler has looked up until this point, helps, since Niklas doesn’t have to be out there right away if he isn’t ready. Speaking of not ready, that’s quarterback Logan Thomas, but he was always a long-term vision anyway.

That leaves the wide receivers. John Brown (below) has been mentioned a lot. No, I don’t see him displacing Ted Ginn. Not immediately. But at some point, could he be the No. 3 behind Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald? Very possible. He was the guy getting extra direction from both Arians and Carson Palmer in minicamp, more than any other wideout. That’s because he has a lot to learn, but also because the Cards need him to learn it quickly, because they want to use him. As for Walt Powell, he to showed some things, and after what the Cards got out of a sixth-round pick a year ago (Andre Ellington), who’s to say he can’t step in and do something? The receiving corps is loaded enough that it will be tough to have Powell move up the depth chart, however.


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31 Responses to “A look at the rookies”

  1. By joelhc on Jun 16, 2014 | Reply

    Thanks I really can’t wait to see these guys with pads on especially Bucannon i keep hearing these Adrian Wilson comparisons if he turns out to be nearly as good as A D then the leagues best secondary is a no brainer add that to a run defense that will still be top 10 despite loosing a couple pieces and i believe this defense is getting ready to make some history.

  2. By louis on Jun 16, 2014 | Reply

    Darren you think the cards are going to make the playoffs this year.

  3. By Darren Urban on Jun 16, 2014 | Reply

    Louis —

    RE: Playoffs

    Who knows? Do I think they have the talent to do it? Yes.

  4. By Scott H on Jun 16, 2014 | Reply

    Good to hear Double D speaking and acting like leader.

    I am hoping that this defense will do what it did last year, which is keep teams off the scoreboard. Hard to imagine this team is going to be in a lot of shoot-outs because it is hard to imagine anyone being able to run it up on the Cardinals. BUT it is good to know this offense would be able to go toe-to-toe with anyone if they needed to. Palmer has that big arm and he has big targets galore. Heck, I actually hope there WILL be a shoot-out or two just because I WANT to see this team light the scoreboard a few times!

    The Cardinals could have gone 11-5 last year and still missed the playoffs. And that could very well happen again this year to SOMEONE in the NFC West. The reality of playing in this division right now is that there is NO margin for error. Let ONE game get away that should have been a win and that could be your season, right there. Sobering, but true.

  5. By Brad on Jun 17, 2014 | Reply


    Are there any plans of Kareem Martin or Ed Stinson to play outside backer in the just for extra depth?

  6. By Darren Urban on Jun 17, 2014 | Reply

    Brad —

    RE: OLB

    Stinson definitely not. And the way they talk about Martin, I don’t think he’ll be out there.

  7. By red bird of death! on Jun 17, 2014 | Reply

    I think K. Martin is going to turn some heads the guys a monster, I’m still bummed a about D Why? Oh well can’t wait for August as with every year, I have to say it was a rough year last year but it was exiting as hell for us fans.

  8. By Luke on Jun 17, 2014 | Reply

    is there somthing wrong with the poll or do 70% of people really think that Jon Brown will lead the cardinals in TDs

  9. By Darren Urban on Jun 17, 2014 | Reply

    Luke —

    RE: poll

    Nothing’s wrong with the poll on my end.

  10. By clssylssy on Jun 17, 2014 | Reply

    I SERIOUSLY doubt that 70% of Cards fans have even bothered with the poll and to think that Brown will beat out Fitz or Floyd is laughable. While he was getting a lot of attention in the beginning of OTAs and minicamp even Coach BA said he was not as impressive once things picked up and perhaps he had been spending too much time reading his own press! If he gets time on the field at all ahead of Ginn, I doubt that it will be at the beginning of the season and he still has the playbook to learn! To this point, it has been mostly drills in shorts so most everybody will look good by virtue of the fact that they have on a jersey. Fitz had twice as many TDs as Floyd last season who had the advantage of being from a big school whereas Brown is from Pittsburg State in Kansas, more on a par with some of the big high schools from Wichita,KC,Topeka,Manhattan,Lawrence etc. The best talents, from the big programs often take two or three years to “get it” before being relevant and these guys still have yet to really play in pads and “the noise”.
    While it’s nice to be excited about rookie talent and UDFs, it’s really kinda a set up to start hyping these guys like they are the majic bullet the Cards need to get them to the playoffs. On a different note, I see where Aaron Rogers has been trying to convince Tarik Black, KU hoopster to come over to the NFL and play TE. Given Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham’s prior college basketball history, I wondered if
    Steve Keim and our scouts ever look beyond the sports of football for possible talents?

  11. By John The Draft Guy on Jun 17, 2014 | Reply

    Let’s see….. Niklas has a broken hand and behind. Logan Thomas is very far from being ready at QB. Logan Thomas is 6’6″, good speed and played TE coming into college………. Is there a logical conclusion? Hmm. What to do? What to do? 🙂

  12. By louis on Jun 17, 2014 | Reply


    if we don’t make the playoffs will the coaching staff be on the hot seat next year?

  13. By Mike Ellingboe on Jun 17, 2014 | Reply


    How will that help Thomas get any closer to being ready at QB? They’re not that desperate for TE help.

  14. By John The Draft Guy on Jun 17, 2014 | Reply


    It’s obvious I do not think much of him as a QB.
    Being desperate at TE really has nothing to do with it.

  15. By ChristianR on Jun 17, 2014 | Reply


    I’m not Darren, but I’ll answer. Silly question. Let’s say we go 8-8 and don’t make playoffs. That would give BA and company a career record of 18-14. Now, I personally think that the Cardinals will do better than 8-8, but it’s hard for me to see them doing any worse than 7-9 without a major injury or two (and one would almost have to be Palmer). That hardly sounds like it would be on the resume of a coach whose job is in any real danger. I would be willing to bet my right arm that BA will be the head coach for at least the next three seasons, even if things fall apart (which I doubt they will)

  16. By Darren Urban on Jun 18, 2014 | Reply

    ChristianR —

    RE: louis/Arians

    Louis is just trolling, as usual.

  17. By Coach K on Jun 18, 2014 | Reply

    I expect the 49ers to fall to the bottom of the conference this year. The Cardinals will battle for first place with the Hawks and the Rams will be the biggest surprise winning 9 games.

  18. By br on Jun 18, 2014 | Reply

    Was posting the same the other day, if Rams win the NFC BEST it would not shock me, would be a little surprised because I think they are a year or 2 at the most away from being a real factor and challenging for division crown! Think Cards and Seahawks battle it out for division crown with the 2nd place team solidly in the playoffs, hell could very well have 3 teams in playoffs. Agree, 9’ers will bring up the rear this year. Keep an eye on the RB Lattimore who sat out last year after destroying his knee, he could burst onto the scene and have a huge year, we have Gore pretty much figured out, but I think this kid is going to surprise this year!

  19. By br on Jun 18, 2014 | Reply

    Very intrigued with Stimson, I don’t know what it is, but he seems like a” lunch pale” type of player, but something tells me he is one to watch in the next couple of years, seems to be one of those hidden gems that with a little polishing, he is going to shine, and become an anchor for years on our D-line!

    I have to believe the Cards will have some patience with Thomas when it comes to his development at QB, I think they will give him 2 years for sure, possibly 3 years before they look at converting him, of course other factors come into the equation, if Palmer keeps improving and rips up opposing defenses, leading us to the playoff and possibly the Super Bowl, obviously an extension is a no-brainer, or if some superstud college QB miraculously falls into our lap in the next draft or two, and it is very clear he will be the QB of the future immediately, then I could see Thomas making the move, otherwise L. Thomas will be “coached up” and developed into the Cardinals QB for many years to come, which is my prediction, as you know I am a huge Logan Thomas for QB fan!! But him being an “Athfreak” is a plus for sure, it sure gives BA options!!

  20. By Mike Ellingboe on Jun 18, 2014 | Reply


    We know that, but you’re usually very logical in your posts. While I share a lot of your skepticism about him, I’m not following the idea that he’ll somehow be a better TE, when he hasn’t played the position since high school. If the one concern about Niklas is that he could have used another year at Notre Dame before going pro, putting a novice in his place isn’t going to do much to help the situation either.

    I’m sure we’re in agreement that he needs all the reps he can possibly get if he’ll ever develop into a starting NFL QB, but at least he has a chance at that position. TE? Hasn’t run a route, blocked, or caught a pass in four years. Can’t see putting him in a position where his learning curve will be even higher than it already is.

  21. By John The Draft Guy on Jun 18, 2014 | Reply


    Can you tell me how many passes Antonio Gates caught in college? None.

    Jimmy Graham played one year and caught a whopping 17 passes.

    Meanwhile, Thomas is 6’6″ and 250 lbs and runs a 4.6 40. He has big hands and long arms which gives him a big catch radius. His Vert jump and long jump numbers shows he has explosion.

    So to answer your question, his numbers say this is a guy is a player who could convert into a pass catching TE.

    On the other hand, his college QBing showed a horrible inconsistency and I would imagine from Darren’s comments, he isn’t impressing.

    “I’m sure we’re in agreement that he needs all the reps he can possibly get if he’ll ever develop into a starting NFL QB” . Nope. I don’t think he will ever develop.

    Now, do I think they will convert him anytime soon? No. BA thinks he can coach him up. The fact I disagree is just one mans opinion.

    BTW, my tongue-in-cheek comment has nothing to do with Niklas.

  22. By Mike Ellingboe on Jun 19, 2014 | Reply


    The problem with comparing him to Gates and Graham is he isn’t the caliber of athlete they are. They came out of the basketball world. Show me an example of a QB making that transition at this level? No disrespect to football players, their combination of speed and toughness is unparalleled in the four major sports, but as all-around athletic ability goes, they can’t hold a candle to their basketball counterparts.

    Leave him at QB.

  23. By John The Draft Guy on Jun 19, 2014 | Reply


    Since you asked;

    This years superbowl saw Michael Robinson leading the way at FB for beast mode. Robinson was the starting QB at Penn st.

    Another superbowl star was Freddie Solomon of SF. Before he was a stud wr, he was setting records at Univ of Tampa as a QB

    The greatest returner in the NFL, Brian Mitchell, was the first QB to throw for more than 5K yards and rush for 3K.

    Then there are guys like Julian Edelman, Brad Smith, Josh Cribbs, Antwann Randle El, just to name a few, who converted from College QB to productive players in the NFL.

    As for Thomas not being the same athlete that Gates is, I am not sure of that. All the numbers suggest he is.

    But let me go back to the original comment. I was half joking about a switch since Niklas had a broken hand and Darren’s comment that Thomas is a long way off. But let me throw out one more name.

    Kordell “Slash” Stewart was being groomed to be a QB but they threw him into different packages. He ran the ball and caught balls in the slot. Could I see a redzone situation where BA brings in 3 TEs and play actions whle Thomas runs a flag and Niklas runs a post, while Carlson is in the flat? Sure. Big mismatches.

  24. By Mike Ellingboe on Jun 19, 2014 | Reply

    At other positions, yes, it’s been done. At TE? QB’s typically aren’t built for that kind of contact. Granted, Thomas could be an exception at 6’6″, 250, but I wouldn’t take reps away from him at QB to find out. On the surface he’s comparable to Gates, but he’d have to show NFL caliber hands and the quickness Combine numbers/tests don’t measure in getting in and out of breaks before it could even be contemplated. Remember, we’re talking about a guy who made the transition without having played so much as a down of college football.

    I completely agree with you in that he may never be a starting QB, but a slim chance (my thought) becomes no chance (your thought) if he’s shuttled back and forth between positions. Yes, I knew your original comment wasn’t completely serious, but as it’s not the first time you’ve thrown the idea out there it wasn’t completely in jest either.

    I’m hoping your three TE idea is tongue-in-cheek as well.

  25. By br in nc on Jun 19, 2014 | Reply

    Hope you guys don’t mind my 2 cents worth.
    Mike, I agree with you that Thomas is hopefully our QB of the future, develop him now reap the rewards later. ( if I read your posts correctly) But I also see no harm in getting him in on offense as a TE or more of a multi- purpose weapon especially in the red zone ( I believe he is athletic enough to run with the offense at any of the skill positions)) Prior to the draft I was on here posting just those ideas, even if the Cardinals and BA didn’t see any potential as a QB I made it known we should take a flyer on him and draft him as an athlete. Hell, I’m convinced he could line up at RB in the red zone and carry the ball, or throw the HB option, he could run a “Wilshire” type goal-line offense as well, he is an “athfreak” I followed him all through college very closely, even saw him twice in person (ECU is 45minutes from the house and they play every year), but ultimately. I see and want him as our cornerstone at QB!

    I think we have had this discussion before and just agreed to disagree on Thomas and his future as a QB. While I respect your opinion and knowledge of the game, and our beloved Cardinals ( at times I envy your posting) I have to say I think you are wrong about Thomas and his future as Cardinals QB, I believe he is the future QB, he is another Russell Wilson, whom I watched extensively at NC State (and listened to the pundits say he was to short, or not very accurate) and I could see he had a shot to be a NFL QB at that time, then he moved on to Wisconsin and everybody said the Big Ten will eat him alive, but he proved them all wrong again, when he tore up the Big Ten I was convinced he was a NFL QB, never thought he would be this good this fast, but I knew he would make it. You got to remember one thing, or at least store it away for future use…Logan Thomas had zero support from his WR’s they could not catch a cold! As a matter of fact VA Tech has not had a 1000 yard receiver in years, for some reason the all show up with hands of stone! His so called accuracy issue in my opinion is a myth (for lack of a better word)In my humble opinion Thomas is going to be the cornerstone at QB for the Cardinals, and a dang good one at that. But it is always nice to have an athlete like Logan who has the ability to help the team succeed weather it be at QB or TE or possibly another skill position. One thing is for sure John, one of us will be eating crow sometime in the future! LOL. (I don’t know about you, but it wouldn’t be my first helping!!)

  26. By Mike Ellingboe on Jun 20, 2014 | Reply


    Hopefully he is, but like JTDG, I’m not holding my breath. Ok, I’m more hopeful about it than he is, but not by much.

    My point, is that if there is a chance for him to be our QB of the future, the learning curve starts now and doesn’t go off track for the next 2-3 years. I see potential value in him at QB, don’t see it at TE, at all. It’s an unprecedented move, at least to the best of my memory, in switching those two positions and even if he could do it, with Niklas I think we’re very promising there in the future. Once Palmer retires, we’re not very promising at QB so I’ll say it again, leave Thomas there and see what he can become, if anything. If they’re wrong, use an early round pick next season or the year after but with as much work as Thomas has in front of him, don’t start putting even more on his plate now.

  27. By John The Draft Guy on Jun 20, 2014 | Reply


    Yes, I have eaten my words before and been wrong. And if I am, I will gladly admit to it and own it. Heck, think about it, as a cards fan, I win either way.

    Don’t agree with the Russel Wilson comparison though. Wilson’s only issue was his height. I can remember guys like Mayock banging the table that if he was 6’4″ , he would be a first round. Never heard anyone banging the table about Thomas.

    As for his talent around him, it goes both ways. I’m sure the receivers are saying if I had an accurate QB, I would be putting up big numbers. Is it Sam Bradford or his receivers in St Louis? I don’t know.

    My issue is this. I have been an Arizona Card fan since 1990. I have seen this act repeated again and again taking late round or undrafted QBs and hoping they can coach them up. In the last 15 years, we have been in need for a young QB and only drafted Leinart in round one (then promptly fired the coach who drafted him and changed the offense)

    So now, we have another project late rounder. And while I am OK since Palmer is here, we saw how quickly that can change with Warner, who left a year before his contract was up.

    So, while many are excited about rolling the dice on Thomas since he was a 4th rounder, I think it is one more late round wasted pick. The guy has so many issues that I just do not believe can be fixed. Converting him to TE would at least save a wasted pick.

    Lets face it. 25 of the teams chose their QB in the first 39 picks. While 3 more grabbed a guy in round 3. Now you have the raiders and texans doing I dont know what at QB. And then the Tom Brady and Tony Romo’s. Everyone thinks they will be able to get that guy. But numbers don’t lie. You have to draft a QB early. Statistics show that you are not finding your guy in round 4 or later. Sorry, it is a fact. And Please dont say Thomas is the next Brady.

  28. By br in nc on Jun 22, 2014 | Reply


    Let me get this out of the way first, Brady is a once in a lifetime hit, can’t compare anyone to him, something like a Brady find may happen 3 times in my lifetime! As far as comparing him to Wilson, I was only comparing the media coverage, as in negative for both, R. Wilson was nothing more than late round draft pick or UDFA at least when he was in the ACC, as a matter of fact Wilson was garnering much more hoopla as a baseball player, he was not even thought of as an NFL QB. That is a major factor why I started following Wilson and to an extent Thomas, though Thomas blew me away the first time I saw him play as a freshman, I just didn’t see the accuracy issues when your surrounding cast drops most catchable balls, Totally agree with you on the Card fan perspective, as Cards fans it is a win win either way for both of us, I actually want my cake and want to eat it to, I want to see him used as a multi-prpose offensive weapon as well as develop into a stud QB, wearing a Cardinal uniform of course!! Enjoy the rest of your weekend, what is left of it.

  29. By br in nc on Jun 22, 2014 | Reply

    Mile Ellingboe
    I guess IM greedy, I would love to see him as a multi- purpose weapon on offense while he is developing as are superstud QB, why can’t I have both! ( damn I sound like my kids when they were younger, nevermind, they still want both!!) LOL
    I guess we shall all find out, only time will tell, JTDG is right though, as Cardinals fans we win either way, weather he is the future QB for the Cardinals, or he becomes a multipurpose offensive weapon that is a mismatch no matter where he lines up we win as fans of the Cards! If defenses have to create a gameplan against him either as a QB ( which i think he will succeed) or they have to figure out how to stop him as a mlt- purpose offensive weapon, then we win either way. Enjoy the rest of your weekend as well.

  30. By John The Draft Guy on Jun 22, 2014 | Reply

    To add to my earlier comment;

    I Forgot about Derek Carr going to the Raiders. It will be a matter of time before he takes over, adding the number of teams starting a QB pick in the first 39 picks to 26.

  31. By br in nc on Jun 23, 2014 | Reply

    I think Carr will eventually take over for the Silver and Black, but not this season, Schaub has a chip on his shoulder and something to prove, hell if nothing else he will play like a QB possessed just so he can get the heck out of Oakland, much like one Carson Palmer did! LOL!! 😉

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