Undrafted, but someone will make Cards’ roster

Posted by Darren Urban on May 4, 2016 – 3:31 pm

Thursday, the Cardinals’ rookies arrive in Tempe. That’s the six-man draft class and the undrafted rookies (as well as a bunch of guys in on a tryout basis for the weekend. QB Philip Sims was among a few guys kept on last year after such a tryout.) We will see, as the offseason and training camp goes, who will make an impression. There has been a lot of talk about QB Jake Coker, but it’s much too early to assume he can supplant Matt Barkley as even a third-stringer much less anything else (and don’t forget, after the Logan Thomas-Sims battle all last year, neither one made the team).

There are guys that intrigue. Canadian cornerback Eli Bouka, who is coming off an Achilles injury, has the size (6-foot-1) and tape that has impressed from afar. We’ll see if punter Garrett Swanson can give Drew Butler a run. And it certainly seems like there will be one undrafted on the roster, since the Cardinals’ only current choices for a long snapper are undrafted rookies Kameron Canaday and Daniel Dillon.

Here is a list of the undrafted rookies to make the roster out of training camp since 2007 (many undrafted rookies have made it to the practice squad and were promoted at some point, but these are the guys from the 53 to start the season:

2015 LB Alani Fua, DT Xavier Williams
2014 K Chandler Catanzaro, LB Glenn Carson
2013 WR Jaron Brown, LB Kenny Demens, S Tony Jefferson
2012 WR LaRon Byrd
2011 None
2010 QB Max Hall, CB A.J. Jefferson, WR Max Komar, WR Stephen Williams
2009 LB Reggie Walker
2008 LB Ali Highsmith
2007 FB Tim Castille, C Lyle Sendlein

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27 Responses to “Undrafted, but someone will make Cards’ roster”

  1. By shane on May 4, 2016 | Reply


    while i agree its going to be tough for jake coker .. i believe he will beat out matt for the 3rd qb spot & maybe even make drew Stanton expendable as trade bait . This kid imo can be special he has all the tools to be a very good qb in the nfl . I wouldn’t bet against this kid .

  2. By D on May 4, 2016 | Reply

    I’ll put my money on the Long Snapper making the team.

    Curious to see how Shaq Riddick and Tristan Okpalaugo performs this summer.

  3. By Dr. G. on May 4, 2016 | Reply

    Addressed this earlier…half our six draft picks was clearly well beyond their pre-draft prospect rating position, or UDFAs beyond round #7. ((???)) Someone has to make the roster. Nkemdiche and Jones make up the two who are probable locks to play//maybe start some. The rest are basically camp bodies where Keim & Co. look for Diamonds in the rough. ??For QBs, look to 2017?? …later Cards Fans…

  4. By NJAzCardsFan on May 4, 2016 | Reply

    Darren- With 53 on the roster and 8(IIRC) on the PS How many spots are considered open now??? 4 or 5?

  5. By Darren Urban on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    NJAz —

    RE: Numbers

    Well, for starters there are 10 on the practice squad. That was raised a couple of years ago.

    But if you are including all 63, then there are probably 15 or 16? The entire PS, plus long snapper, depth on OL (especially tackle), backup OLB, those sorts of things.

  6. By Grandpa Black on May 4, 2016 | Reply

    Im all in on Coker. Rooting for this kid to make the roster and hope he does well. I can’t believe he didn’t get an invite to the combine. Yep I’m high on Coker.

  7. By Big Ken on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    We had a pretty good team before the draft. Come on now…

  8. By clssylssy on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    I put my faith in BA/SK and our scouting department over the so-called network “experts” and armchair GMs with their stat sheets & belief recruiting is as simple as shopping on EBay. The Cards have developed an extraordinary scouting and coaching staff and know the kind of skill set and player to best fit our particular way of doing things to be successful; they aren’t afraid to go w players who aren’t “brand names” w the experts and have proven results.
    Don’t know who will make the 53 but I’m excited that at least we have a prospect beyond Barkley. I watch a lot of college football and was pretty impressed by Coker during the last part of the season android years draft BA seemed pretty excited to get his hands on him but, he didn’t cost us anything so,I see only the upside!
    I loved this year’s draft class and the UDFA talent they’ve found. Even if these guys don’t make the team, it’s an experience of a lifetime. We’ve got our work cut out but it sounds like our guys have come back on a mission!

  9. By Scott H on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    I’m still “intrigued” that after being in camp and all through the pre-season with this team last year, both Sims and Thomas were cut so we could trade for Barkley. Obviously, I have a hard time letting certain things go. But this still doesn’t make sense to me. You have two guys who are learning your offense throughout the entire off-season, then you let them go to trade for a kid who has NO familiarity with your offense – and really doesn’t seem to offer much more than the guys you cut loose.

    Is it me??

    Regardless, I am so psyched to get the 2016 season started. As long as Palmer stays healthy, nothing is out of reach for this team.

  10. By Darren Urban on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Barkley

    I would disagree from this standpoint: I think they made the call to cut Sims and Thomas regardless of the Barkley availability. Maybe they would have re-signed Sims to the PS, but they weren’t keeping either one on the 53.

  11. By RagingREDBirds on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    You might see Keim start cutting his 2013 or 2014 draft picks. Cooper was the first to go, but he cld be just the start. You have to wonder if guys like Stephan Taylor or Kareen Martin might not get replaced for Jared Baker or to make room for Freeney?

  12. By Keith on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    Well ya, they need a new LS and they didn’t draft one. And too early to tell, but by watching the youtube videos…..Swanson has a shot

  13. By NJAzCardsFan on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    Scott H…. Yea its you!!! -LOL-

  14. By Keith on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    Just wished they had brought in some LS from bigger schools, that are use to the level of competition they will be facing. Also, Canaday could be a stud, but he seems kind of small to stop a 300 pound nose tackle
    Until watching some videos of LS prospects, I didn’t realize how detailed there work is. Not only do you need the snap to be there……but on the kicks, the threads need to be in the proper position.

  15. By Scott H on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    Darren –

    From that perspective, I get it. That makes sense. Pretty useless looking back on it at this point, anyway.

  16. By D on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    Recap of the NFC West.

    If AZ’s #1 pick is as good as everyone is hoping for to play besides a improving Gunter, this division’s DLine could be the best in NFL.

    We all know how good the Ram’s DLine currently is. The SF #1 (Buckner) pick to go along with Armstead could make their DLine solid for years.

    Seattle’s line is aging but their two DE’s should still produce for another 2 plus years..

    Good news for fans of Defense, maybe not Good news for All of the OT’s in the division.

    I could see a Roster Cut of one of the Card’s veteran’s this summer (maybe R. Bryant) and the Cards pick up a Veteran backup OT. It would be hard to believe BA wouldn’t want some solid insurance for our RT. The NFC West does provide good experience going against solid pass rushes for our OT’s in case they do have to face GB and Carolina again in the playoffs.

  17. By John The Draft Guy on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    Scott H,


    Darren nailed it on the head. Sims and Thomas just weren’t good. They were getting cut regardless. So, they took a shot at Barkley and now they will take a look at Coker. If Coker wins the #3 spot, then gets cut next year, it will be because he didn’t progress. If there is no future (Sims and Thomas) why drag it on?


    I agree. Okafor, Tayler, Martin, Riddick, even Niklas and Ellington need to have good camps or they could join Thomas and Cooper. Draft picks trying to make other rosters. To add to that, Minter is in his last year and needs to step it up or be replaced next year.

    2013 and 14 might end up with Matheu, Bucannon, Brown and Nelson as the picks that stick out of the 15 picks.

  18. By mitchaz on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    The Cardinals (SK & TMcD) said that they were able to sign their top 4-5 UDFAs. While they didn’t say which players they were, I would imagine they are:

    QB Jake Coker
    T Clay DeBord
    CB Elie Bouka
    TE Hakeem Valles and/or P Garrett Swanson.

    Health permitting (DeBord, shoulder; Bouka, Achilles), with good camps, these 4-5 have a chance to make the roster.

    I also think LB Lamar Louis has a chance as a ST ace and nickel LB.

    Not so sure about the 2 LSs. One would think they will try to get someone more experienced.

    Darren, SK mentioned this week that he thinks the price tag is going to go down on some of the veteran FAs and that he is keeping an eye on that. Are the Cardinals really going to stand pat with Calais Campbell’s $15.2M cap figure? And if they are able to clear some cap space, what bargain FAs (other than possibly Freeney and Powers) could SK be interested in?

  19. By C on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    The only potential regret I have about Barkley is the loss of the 7th rounder that (if you listen to BA gush about him) would have been used to pick Scooby Wright. I’m not a U of A guy at all, but he’s certainly got upside and intangibles you’d look for in a 7th rounder.

  20. By John The Draft Guy on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    Dr. G,

    Sorry, been off the blog a couple days and saw your question to me.

    First, New England’s style of drafting.

    The thought there is, if you don’t love someone at that spot, trade down. If you take 2 CBs, one will fail and one will be good for your team. So get as many picks as you can and look to land on half of them. But they also are a team, that if they like someone, they will come up and get them (ie Chandler Jones in 2012).

    Where NE really differs from teams is, they are looking for guys who fit their system. Guys who can do multiple things. They may take someone who other rate lower because he fits.

    I think Keim does his best to take on this philosophy. players who can do multiple things (ie Matheu and Bucannon). Guys who may not be highly rated but fit the system (John Brown, Broem).

    But the biggest thing Keim does? He fills all the needs in FA and then has freedom in the draft. UNTIL THIS YEAR.

    This year, he went against his formula and left needs open into the draft. No center, weakness at CB, DE with both CC and Frostee becoming FA next year. It seemed like an odd draft. It seemed a little forced.

    Nkendichi could be a star or could be a bust. 28 teams passed on him. I think it is interesting when the coach and Gm have to defend a pick. When I heard BA say, well in college they take 80 snaps , here he will take 30, so there is no worry about taking plays off. Then Buckner says all dlineman take plays off, it seemed like there may be something to worry about. I said it won’t take 4 years to know. It will take 4 months to know.

    Funny, back in 2011, Darren and I discussed before the draft who the cards should take. Von Miller was my guy. We had an idea the pick would be PP. So the question came up, do you take a pass rusher over a cover guy and we both agreed yes. Five years later, I was thinking we should have taken Mackenzie Alexander over Nkemdichi. So much for sticking to my draft philosophy.

    Chandler Jones is a homerun. Trading for Palmer and now Trading for Jones are the two best moves Keim has made. I would have rather traded #29 pick for Muhammad Wilkerson. At least you know he is a beast who will play.

    The CBs, yes you are right. Projects. Our third round pick has one year under his belt??. I think we have a real issue with Bethel at CB. I just don’t think he is good enough. Can this kid in the 3rd round figure everything out in a matter of months? I hope so, or we better sign a vet to come in. Heck, sign the vet anyways. Aren’t we after the super bowl?

    Not surprised by the center. Knew it would be a 4th or 5th round guy who is a tough smart guy. I was thinking Kyle Friend but this guy is a better version of Friend. Solid but not special.

    The last CB Harlen whatever. I really do not understand that unless he is going to be converted into a safety. The cards leave cbs on islands and this kid cant stay with NFL speed deep. He should have been drafted by a Tampa 2 type team. It would have saved him from being cut.

    So, it was interesting. Drafted for needs. Didn’t fill all needs with FAs.
    As I said, it seemed forced. But if Nkemdichi and Jones tear it up, the center starts and is solid and the 3rd round CB becomes a nickle this year, it would end up being Keims best draft.

  21. By DTL on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    Enjoyed the Alumni event article.

    Been pondering Cards new basket position “DB”. No more CB, S or SS…now all seem almost interchangeable, like these to make roster, plus surprises?: Swearinger, Jefferson, Mathieu, Marqui Christian, Brandon Williams, Harlan Miller, Justin Bethel, PP, Bouka, Tyvon Branch, Chris Clemons plus our in the box Monster back.

  22. By Scott H on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG –

    RE: If there is no future ( Sims and Thomas ), why drag it on?

    OK. But, really, where is the future with Barkley? Is there one?? I really don’t believe there is. Palmer has a few more years ( I believe ) and the QB of our future is not on this roster right now. It’s not Matt Barkley. But…we’re dragging that on. Yes? For now, anyway. Then again, we need arms for camp right now, so….no complaints.

    My point was merely that it didn’t make sense ( to me ) to cut two guys who knew your playbook and your system and your personnel just to bring in another QB who didn’t. Based on that alone, it didn’t make sense to me. To bring in another QB who seems no more your future than they were….didn’t make sense to me.

    But as to the future…..I really don’t believe Barkley offers any more than Sims or Thomas. And who knows? Maybe HE gets replaced this off-season by another guy who may not look like the future, either!

    But, yes, I do get the general point that you and Darren are making. It makes sense. Neither Sims or Thomas was going to hold a roster spot last year and Barkley, as yet, has not either.

    And what Sims, Thomas, Barkley, Coker, etc all DO have in common is that if we get to the point of seeing any of them, we’re done!

  23. By Scott H on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG –

    For what it’s worth, how many teams passed on Mathieu before we made him a Cardinal? The new kid ( I apologize for being lazy, I just think I will never know how to spell his name 🙂 ) may not be a mistake just because 28 other teams passed on him. Not all 28 of those teams were looking for a pass rusher in the first round, ya know? Many of those teams had other needs that may have been more urgent for them. Can’t hold that against him.

  24. By JosEPh on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    The Cards will not keep 11 DBs on the 53 man roster. A couple of your New DBs may make the PS. But More than likely one or more could also get cut.

    PP, TM, Tyvon Branch, Bethel, Jefferson, Swearinger and or Clemons are your vets. That’s 7 of the 8 Dbs which is all the team carried last year. 1 or 2 of those may not make the team. And only 1 or 2 of the Rookies will make the team and/or PS. Competition will be tough this year

    Nelson was not a 2014 draft pick. JJ was a rookie last year.

    And Bethel is not an issue at CB2. Our 3rd rd pick because of his 4.37 40 speed has a good shot at making the team as a ST player ala Bethel and will man the other gunner spot. The odd man out will be Brittan Golden. I predict he gets cut or traded this off season/TC.

    Darren, what can you tell us about this LB Lamar Louis LSU? Is he projected as a back up ILB or a ST player? He really only started a handful of games in his career at LSU from what info I can find on him.

  25. By Darren Urban on May 5, 2016 | Reply

    JosEPH —

    RE: Louis

    I don’t know anything about him as of now. He’s projected, right now, as a long shot. We’ll see if he can push for a roster spot.

  26. By John The Draft Guy on May 6, 2016 | Reply


    Good catch but that makes 3 out of 15 who might stick.

    As for Bethel, sorry folks, he struggled last year. I don’t want to get 8 games in and have everyone saying,” man, next year we need a first round corner. “

  27. By Scott Brown on May 7, 2016 | Reply

    JosEPH –
    last season, the Cards started week 1 with 3 corners and 5 safeties on the 53 man roster.
    CB – Peterson, Powers, Bethel
    S – Mathieu, Johnson, Jefferson, Bucannon , Clemons

    Bucannon then moved into the $LB position and Brooks activated off the PS in week 6 then signed Swearinger in week 13.

    my ” way too early” guess is they might keep 3/4 CB and 4/5 S this year, but roster space will be tough to get with all the DLinemen on the roster right now.

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