Cards go with pass rusher, return man in fifth

Posted by Darren Urban on May 2, 2015 – 12:04 pm

The Cardinals had two fifth-round picks — back-to-back — and went with a couple of needs. The first was West Virginia defensive end Shaq Riddick, who at 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds will be an outside linebacker with the Cards. The second went to super-fast wide receiver J.J. Nelson of Alabama-Birmingham, who ran a blazing 4.28 40 at the Scouting combine but at 5-10 and 156 pounds is going to have to weigh a little more to make an impact at receiver.

Riddick had seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss last season, his lone year at West Virginia after transferring from Gardner-Webb. He needs to put on weight but could be an effective project for down the line. UPDATE: Riddick said he’s up to 260, which still leaves him in good shape at 6-6.

Nelson averaged 38.3 yards a kick return last season with four touchdowns and averaged 10.7 yards per punt return. He’ll be the early candidate to be the return man in both areas, I’d think. He was Conference USA’s special teams player of the year.

J J Nelson

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Posted in Blog | 19 Comments »

19 Responses to “Cards go with pass rusher, return man in fifth”

  1. By D on May 2, 2015 | Reply

    Overall I think their draft was good, concerned they didn’t address ILB.

  2. By Steve . on May 2, 2015 | Reply

    After the Humphries selection in the 1st, I mentioned that I felt the Cards needed to get at least 2 pass rushers in this draft and after adding Golden they get Riddick. Just saw some video of him and he looks athletic with long arms and good speed. Sacked Bryce Petty 3 times in the Baylor game and looks like he has good potential, good pick!

  3. By Andy Kw on May 2, 2015 | Reply

    I like the picks!!! I don’t think DE Rodney Gunter has the potential to be like JJ Watt. I think he has the potential to surpass the greats as our near future DE. DE/LB Shaquille Riddick has speed which makes him a good selection for the Cardinals. If we groom him and have him learn the NFL playing style, he has the chance to be a starter one day but for now, Markus Golden will be our future at OLB. JJ Nelson is fast and I talked about him plenty before. But his low weight of 156 draws plenty of concerns but he does have tremendous upside. He needs to go to that weight room and make on some pounds. Get it to the 170-180 range. Speed should still be intact and to have some bulk to go along with him will make him a premier Special Teams return man, and yes he can reach Devin Hester type of production if he does.

  4. By Steve . on May 2, 2015 | Reply

    Hope Nelson sticks as our KR, he reminds me a little of Dri Archer whom the Steelers took last year and both run 4.2 40’s with the same size.

  5. By Andy Kw on May 2, 2015 | Reply

    JJ Nelson is smart. Already ahead of the game.

  6. By CardinalChris on May 2, 2015 | Reply

    Riddick had 3 sacks against Baylor but 2 of them he wasn’t blocked and third one he chased Petty down from 15 yards away. Don’t see any pass rush skills from Riddick on tape, but he is playing DE. Looks like he holds up well against bigger linemen – not getting blown off line every play… Doesn’t appear to have quick first step. Doesn’t look like he can bend much to get around the corner. Looks athletic so maybe he can develop into something exciting.

    Even though Jay Jay goes 156, he seems to break a lot of arm tackles… Fast and quick, looks exciting. Guessing Cards are thinking kick returner. Hopefully he also knows when to take a knee in the end zone. Nobody in Conference USA was coming close to covering him.

  7. By eric on May 2, 2015 | Reply

    solid draft thus far…their 1st pick was perfect considering gordon and dupree were gone.Love the picks of pass rushers off the edge and rb dave johnson.Its up to the players now.

  8. By jeffgollin on May 2, 2015 | Reply

    Nearly every pick is a roll of the dice on high-upside players.

    What it suggests is that SK and BA feel they can win with the guys they already have on the roster and can afford to take those risks.

  9. By Coach K on May 2, 2015 | Reply


    I am hoping Keim pulls the trigger on Zach Zenner in round 7 as the last pick in the draft.

    They will have several Inside backers invited as free agents, but I hope they draft Zach. He is the guy we need to get those tough first downs. Johnson is a big back, but not a power guy. We need Zenner.

  10. By Johndiddo on May 2, 2015 | Reply

    Let’s just say this, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu should be our last pick, come on just a beast who is overlooked because of injury. If not him I agree with Coach K, Zach Zenner is pretty good with great size, special teams player.

  11. By Johndiddo on May 2, 2015 | Reply

    Another thing would be Michael Floyd and his contract, trade him to Denver for their 2 7th round picks, and a 5th round pick for next year, both work out. They get a guy who can help replace Wes Welker. And we get a few prospects.

  12. By Johndiddo on May 2, 2015 | Reply

    And Greg Mancz is perfect to draft Mr. Irrelevant.

  13. By clssylssy on May 2, 2015 | Reply

    According to, we got smoked by the Rams in the draft and they are the ones who are going to give Seattle a run for their money (they did beat them last season) in the West. A little disappointed that we didn’t take a QB or ILB but am optimistic that there is still going to be talent available to fill in the holes in the coming months. SK and BA have stated that they don’t feel we need much and I think that came across clearly in this draft which I find rather disturbing because I don’t feel that we can ever not need improvement. Overall, I would give this draft a low B to high C.
    It was fun to see Coaches Bowles and Whisenhunt knock one out of the park, as unlike so many Cards fans, I am always happy to see our alumni do well. Glad to have this behind us so we won’t have to suffer through any more speculations and hype and can get down with the business at hand. Would love to see the NFL move the draft back to the end of March, have it for two days and perhaps restore some class and meaning to the “event” by having it in Canton rather than the traveling circus venue.

  14. By shooter28 on May 2, 2015 | Reply

    Clssylssy – I am over at NFL. Com , no one wrote a article that says anything like that . Arizona is FAR better than STL , Arizona’s offense is light years of the Rams. Nick Foles cant run a pro offense , hell he couldn’t even run Chip Kellys spread college offense last year behind their sub par O-line . Foles is really going to struggle running a PRO WCO offense behind the worst O-Line in the NFL!!!!!

    Arizona on the other hand has a elite offensive line to protect their QB and to run the football behind with a lethal RB duo between Ellington and rookie 6″1 225 pound RB David Johnson , who has elite athleticism n speed as well as being a excellent WR . Arizona also has a excellent TE unit and a elite group of WRs , Arizona’s offense is much better . Defensively Arizona has a elite defensive line , they edge rush is VASTLY UPGRADED and will be much better , we have an elite ILB Duo and elite secondary . This division is between SEA and AZ , the Rams aren’t their yet .

  15. By eric on May 2, 2015 | Reply

    hope we add another O-lineman with the last pick.

  16. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on May 2, 2015 | Reply

    In the conf call with JJ you kept asking him about his speed, he kept saying he could run a lot faster than 4.28…it begged for the Q to be asked: HOW FAST CAN YOU RUN…but no one asked, I kept waiting and waiting…..LOL This is going to be fun

  17. By Rugbymuffin on May 3, 2015 | Reply

    Darren we need a video of John Brown racing J.J. Nelson.

    This needs to happen.

  18. By Andy Kw on May 3, 2015 | Reply

    We can put make him play the slot, we can put him on the outside, we can use him as a KR/PR specialist, we can use him in Wild Cat formations, we can even make him a CB if we wanted. Talent at its finest

  19. By Scott H on May 3, 2015 | Reply

    After the Ted Ginn debacle ( truly a dark chapter I would like to forget ), I welcome anyone who will even TRY to catch a punt and take it up field!

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