Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate PHNX Sports Community!

Every Steve Keim Arizona Cardinals draft pick ranked

Bo Brack Avatar
April 7, 2022

Steve Keim is entering his 10th NFL Draft as Arizona Cardinals general manager. After a fairly hot start, Keim has lost the bulk of the fan base’s confidence that he can add talent through the draft.

As the Cardinals prepare to make eight selections in the 2022 draft, including the 23rd overall selection, here are my rankings of every Steve Keim NFL Draft pick since 2013. 

Let’s start with some guys that were drafted but never played a down for the Cardinals. 

66. Dorian Johnson, G, 2017 fourth round, Pittsburgh: Johnson seemed like a good pick for the Cardinals after starting all four seasons at the University of Pittsburgh. The former All-American was waived by the team right before the start of the 2017 season after being overmatched the entire preseason and training camp. A rough look for a fourth-round pick not to make the team out of camp. 

65. Hakeem Butler, WR, 2019 fourth round, Iowa State: Butler was unlike many of the wide receivers Steve Keim has drafted. He was a 6-feet-5 playmaker for the Cyclones and slipped to the fourth round. Cards fans thought they had a steal, but Butler suffered a season-ending fractured hand before his rookie season and was cut the following preseason.

64. Ryan Swope, WR, 2013 sixth round, Texas A&M: Swope’s career ended before it started due to concussions. He suffered six while playing for the Aggies in college.

63. Walt Powell, WR, 2014 sixth round, Murray State: A “Steve Keim special.” Powell was an under six feet tall wide receiver from a small school. He was waived during final roster cuts by the Cardinals and was claimed by the New York Jets. Powell ended up playing 15 career games for the Jets and Buffalo Bills.

62. Christian Campbell, DB, 2016 sixth round, Penn State: The Cardinals utilized the draft pick acquired from the Broncos for Jared Veldheer to select Campbell. He didn’t make the roster and bounced around to New Orleans and San Francisco but never played a regular season NFL snap.

61. Michael Menet, C, 2021 seventh round, Penn State: Menet was the final selection of last year’s draft class. He was a final cut casualty and was on-and-off the Cardinals’ practice squad before the Green Bay Packers signed him to their practice squad in December.

60. Gerald Christian, TE, 2015 seventh round, Louisville: “Mr. Irrelevant,” Christian was the final pick of the 2015 NFL Draft. He tore his MCL in the Cardinals final preseason game and was placed on season-ending IR. Christian was released at the end of the next preseason.

59. Caleb Wilson: TE, 2019 seventh round, UCLA: Another “Mr Irrelevant,” Wilson was the last pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. He was a final roster cut and spent time on the Cardinals practice squad. Wilson has appeared in five NFL games with the Philadelphia Eagles and has no career receptions.

58. Shaq Riddick, DE, 2015 fifth Round, West Virginia: Riddick spent over a year in the Cardinals organization but on the practice squad. He’s currently on the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League.

57. Evan Weaver, LB, 2020 sixth round, California: Weaver was the Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year his senior season at Cal. He spent his entire first pro season on the Cardinals practice squad and was a final roster cut before the 2021 campaign.

56. Tay Gowan, Cornerback, 2021 sixth round, Central Florida: Traded to Philadelphia with a fifth-round pick for Zach Ertz, so Keim got something from Gowan.

55. D.C. Jefferson, TE, 2013 seventh round, Rutgers: Played in four games his rookie season for the Cardinals. The only NFL action he saw during his entire career.

54. James Wiggins, S, 2021 seventh round, Cincinnati: Played in three games his rookie season but only saw snaps on special teams.

53. Cole Toner, T, 2016 fifth round, Harvard: Toner played two games his rookie year for the Cardinals before being cut before the next season. He ended up playing 14 career games including 10 for the Chargers in 2017.

52. Lamont Gaillard, C, 2019 sixth round, Georgia: Gaillard saw action in 13 games his rookie season but was cut this past preseason. He is currently a member of the Cincinnati Bengals organization.

Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim introduces the team’s first-round draft pick, UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen on Apr. 27, 2018 at the Arizona Cardinals Training Facility in Tempe, Ariz. (USA TODAY Sports)

51. Josh Rosen: QB, 2018 10th overall, UCLA: Rosen claimed that the nine teams picking before the Cardinals traded up to select him 10th overall “made mistakes.” The “Chosen Rosen” lasted 13 starts in the desert before the Cards pivoted to another first-round quarterback the following draft, Kyler Murray. Rosen is in the discussion for the biggest Cardinals draft bust of all time.

50. Andy Isabella, WR, 2019 second round, UMass: Using the pick acquired from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for Josh Rosen, Keim selected Isabella over other wide receivers, DK Metcalf and Dionte Johnson. “Izzy” has struggled to catch on in Kliff Kingsbury’s system and only registered one reception in 2021. 

49. Robert Nkemdiche, DT, 2016 29th overall, Ole Miss: Nkemdiche had top 10 talent that slipped to the Cardinals at 29th overall due to pre-draft red flags, including an incident where he allegedly fell out of a hotel window. Nkemdiche registered all of his 4.5 career sacks in 2018. He was released the following training camp after failing a physical.

48. Chad Williams, WR, third round, Grambling State: Williams was an odd pick in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft after he wasn’t even invited to the NFL Combine. He lasted two seasons with the Cardinals and had 20 catches for 201 yards and a T.D. 

47. Marqui Christian, S, 2016 fifth round, Midwestern State: Marqui has played 72 career NFL games for the Rams, Jets, and Bears. He never played a down for the Cardinals. After drafting him in the fifth round, the team cut him before the 2016 season.

46. Logan Thomas QB, 2014 fourth found, Virginia Tech: Thomas was the only quarterback drafted during the Bruce Arians era. He completed one of nine pass attempts for 81 yards and a  touchdown with the Cardinals. Now Thomas is a legit tight end for the Washington Commanders. Before being limited to six games last season, Thomas hauled in 72 catches for 670 yards and six touchdowns in 2020. 

45. Jonathan Cooper, G, 2013, seventh overall, North Carolina:  Keim’s first draft pick as Cardinals G.M. was Cooper. He was the highest-selected guard since 1986. Cooper came out of the gates strong but was never the same after suffering a gruesome broken leg in his third preseason game. He was traded along with a second-round pick to the New England Patriots in exchange for Chandler Jones in 2016. 

44. Troy Niklas, TE, 2014 second round, Notre Dame: Niklas was a surprise pick in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. In his injury-plagued four-year Cardinals career, the 6’6 tight end only had 19 catches for 201 yards and three touchdowns. 

43. Brandon Williams, CB, 2016 third round, Texas A&M: Williams had only one collegiate season playing cornerback before Keim selected him in the third round in 2016. He started his Texas A&M career as a running back. He rarely received playing time on defense during his three seasons with the Cardinals and primarily played special teams. 

42. Rudy Ford, S, 2017 sixth round, Auburn: Ford played in 23 games including one start over two seasons for the Cardinals. He mostly played special teams in Arizona and is currently on the Jacksonville Jaguars.

41. Harlan Miller, CB, 2016 sixth round, Southeastern Louisiana: Miller bounced from the Cardinals’ active roster to practice squad for two seasons before Washington picked him up. He did play in seven games for the Cards and had an interception in the 2016 regular season finale against the Rams.

40. T.J. Logan, RB, 2017 fifth round, North Carolina: Logan was drafted as a return specialist. He missed his rookie year with a dislocated wrist but returned 12 kicks the next season. He joined former Cardinals coach, Bruce Arians, in Tampa after Arizona released him in 2019.

39. Korey Cunningham, T, 2018 seventh round, Cincinnati: Cunningham was thrust into starting left tackle duty when D.J. Humphries was lost for the 2018 season. He started in six games as a rookie and was traded to the New England Patriots in 2020 for a sixth round pick.

38. Victor Dimikeje, OLB, 2021 sixth round, Duke: Dimikeje saw time in 14 games as a rookie in 2021. Could see more playing time next season with the Cardinals’ need for pass rushers.

37. Will Holden, T, 2017 fifth round, Vanderbilt: Holden benefitted from a strong Senior Bowl during the NFL Draft process in 2017. His career didn’t match the hype but he played in 11 games for the Cardinals over two seasons including seven starts at guard.

36. Joshua Miles, T, 2019 seventh round, Morgan State: Miles has seen action for the Cardinals in two of his three pro seasons. He has played in a career-high 10 games last season despite an injured reserve stint for an ankle injury.

35. Ed Stinson, DE, 2014 fifth round, Alabama: Stinson was a two-time national champion at Alabama. He registered a sack in 29 games for the Cardinals before he was cut in 2017.

34. Deionte Thompson, S, 2019 fifth round, Alabama: Thompson has played a part-time role on both defense and special teams the last three seasons for the Cardinals.

33. Stepfan Taylor, RB, 2013 fifth round, Stanford: Andre Ellington was drafted a round later by the Cardinals but played far more than Taylor in 2013. He was buried down the depth chart behind Ellington and veteran Rashard Mendenhall. Stepfan ended playing four seasons with Arizona and scored a rushing touchdown.

32. KeeSean Johnson,WR, 2019 sixth round, Fresno State: Johnson seemed to shine during the preseason but could never put together a consistent regular season. He had 36 catches for 360 yards and a touchdown in two seasons for the Cardinals and was cut before the 2021 season.


31. Evan Boehm,C, 2016 fourth round, Missouri: Boehm was a captain along with Cardinals pass rusher Markus Golden at Missouri. He was the Cardinals starting right guard in 2017 before losing his job to Earl Watford.

30. Earl Watford, G, 2012 fourth round, James Madison: Watford had a pair of stints in the desert for the Cardinals. Although he signed a two-year deal with Jacksonville, he never suited up for the Jags. He played 43 games for the Cards including 21 starts over four seasons.

29. Kareem Martin, DE, 2014 third round, North Carolina: Martin was a backup for the highly successful Bruce Arians’ Cardinals but had a solid 2017 season when the team struggled. Martin started 10 games that season and registered both a sack and an interception.

28. Zaven Collins, LB, 2021 16th overall, Tulsa: It was a very concerning rookie season for the first-round selection, where he only saw 20% of the defensive snaps. Most Keim first-rounders see a significant jump in playing time in year two. With the departure of Jordan Hicks, it’s sink or swim for Collins in 2022.

27. Eno Benjamin, RB, 2020 seventh round, Arizona State: Eno is a fan favorite that starred at nearby ASU and has made the most of limited snaps last season. Benjamin rushed for 118 yards and scored a highlight-reel touchdown by bowling over a 49ers defender en route to the end zone. 

26. Josh Jones, T, 2020 third round Houston: Jones had a solid start to the 2021 campaign but struggled down the stretch. He committed a team-high 12 penalties. We’ll see which player shows up in his third NFL season, but Jones isn’t projected to be a starter. 

25. Rashard Lawrence, DT, 2020 fourth round, LSU: When healthy, Lawrence has been decent playing on the interior of the Cardinals’ defensive line the past two seasons.  

24. Leki Fotu, DT, 2020 fourth round, Utah: Fotu was also selected just before Lawrence in the same draft. Leki has had few highlights but was part of the defensive line rotation for all 17 games last season. He lined up with J.J. Watt on offense as part of the “Mega Watt” package in the 2021 season-opening win at Tennessee.

23. Marco Wilson, CB, 2021 fourth round, Florida: Opposing quarterbacks picked on Wilson down the stretch in 2021, but the rookie showed flashes throughout his first season that he should be fine at the NFL level.

22. Michael Dogbe, DT, 2019 seventh round, Temple: How is Michael Dogbe this high on the list? Dogbe went from seventh-round pick to playing in 16 games in 2021 as part of the defensive line rotation. Finding any consistent play the final round deserves praise.

21. J.J. Nelson, WR, 2015 fifth round, UAB: Nelson looked like a John Brown clone but then developed a case of the drops. The tiny, speedy receiver could take the top off opposing defenses. He enjoyed back-to-back 500 yard receiving seasons under Bruce Arians. 

20. Rodney Gunter, DT, 2015 fifth round, Delaware State: Gunter is definitely an under-the-radar good pick for Steve Keim. The Delaware State product played 77 games in five seasons for the Cardinals and notched 11 career sacks. 

19. Mason Cole, C, 2018 third round, Michigan: Cole gets more of an attendance record than his impact on the field. After A.Q Shipley tore his ACL, he was thrown into starting center duties his entire rookie season in 2018. Cole held the same role in 2020 before the Cards traded for Rodney Hudson and dealt him to Minnesota for a sixth-round pick. 

18. Rondale Moore, WR, 2021 second round, Purdue: The most recent second wide receiver flashed in 2021. Moore caught 54 passes for 435 yards and a touchdown in his rookie season. He was also utilized in the run game. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury has already discussed expanding Moore’s role in 2022.

17. Kevin Minter, LB, 2013 second round, LSU: After a concerning first season, Minter started to play every game for the Cardinals for the next three seasons. He didn’t fill up the stat sheet but was steady and registered five sacks. Minter followed Bruce Arians to Tampa and won a ring with the Bucs in 2020.

16. Alex Okafor, LB, 2013 fourth round, Texas: Okafor had 13.5 sacks in four seasons for the Cardinals, including a career-best eight in 2014. He won a ring with the Chiefs in 2019.

15. Isaiah Simmons, LB, 2020 eighth overall Clemson: Simmons proved he belonged in his second season after a concerning rookie year. He racked up over 100 tackles, four forced fumbles, an interception, and 1.5 sacks in 17 games. Simmons still has more to prove to justify the Cards selecting him eighth overall. 

14. Andre Ellington, RB, 2013 sixth round Clemson: Ellington was a sixth-round pick that racked up over 1,000 scrimmage yards in each of his first two seasons. He was the focal point of the offense going into Bruce Arians’ second season as Cardinals head coach. 

13. Haason Reddick, LB, 2017 17th Overall Round, Temple: The first three pro seasons for Reddick were brutal. The Cardinals declined his fifth-year option. In his final season with the Cards, Haason racked up a team-best 12.5 sacks. He signed with the Panthers for the 2021 season and signed a massive three-year, $45-million-dollar deal with the Eagles this offseason.

12. Zach Allen, DE, 2019 third round, Boston College: Following an injury-plagued rookie campaign, Allen has steadily improved over the last two seasons for the Cardinals. He has six sacks, a defensive touchdown, and on a couple occasions, displayed an electric sack dance between 2020 and 2021. 

11. Deone Bucannon, S, 2014 27th overall Washington State: Bucannon went from an unknown first-round safety to a jack of all trades for the Cardinals defense during the Bruce Arians era. He racked up a career-high 112 tackles and three sacks to help the Cards to the NFC Championship in 2015.  

10. Byron Murphy Jr., CB, 2019 second round, Washington: Murphy Jr. displayed signs of CB1 in 2021. The Arizona native had a team-best four interceptions last season, including a game-changing pick-six in Jacksonville.

9. Chase Edmonds, RB, 2018 fourth round, Fordham: Edmonds was never a lead running back for the Cardinals, but he played his role in the offense very well. Chase rushed for over 1,500 yards and caught 128 balls for 921 yards and nine total touchdowns for the Cards. He signed a two-year, $12.6-million-dollar deal with the Dolphins in March. 

8. John Brown, WR, 2014 third round, Pittsburg State: “Smokey” was an unknown third-round pick out of little-known Pittsburg State. He remains the only Steve Keim draft pick to have over 1,000 yards receiving in a season.

7. Christian Kirk, WR, 2018 second round, Texas A&M: Kirk never reached 1,000 receiving yards, but he had some big games for the Cardinals during his four seasons. Kirk hauled in 236 receptions for 2,902 yards and 17 touchdowns. He secured the bag with Jacksonville this offseason. Signing a four-year deal with the Jags potentially worth 84 million dollars. 

6. D.J. Humphries, Tackle, 2015 24th overall, Florida: Humphries didn’t see the playing field in year one. He has steadily developed into a franchise left Tackle. “Hump” had the nickname “Knee Deep” his rookie year because that’s how far coaches had to put their foot to reach him. He’s the only Keim first-round pick to have signed a contract extension.  

5. David Johnson, RB, 2015 third round, Northern Iowa: DJ had one of the most dominant offensive seasons in Cardinals history in 2016. The “Humble Rumble” nearly had 1,000 yards, both rushing and receiving, with 20 total touchdowns. His production fell off a cliff soon after signing an extension. He was included in the trade package to the Houston Texans in exchange for DeAndre Hopkins. 

4. Markus Golden, LB, 2015 second round, Missouri: “The Junkyard Dog” is in his second stint with the Cardinals. Golden just registered the third double-digit sack season of his career. 

3. Tyrann Mathieu, S, 2013 third round, LSU: Keim took the risk on the Honey Badger as his draft stock plummeted after he was dismissed from the LSU football team. Mathieu was mentored by Patrick Peterson and emerged as one of the best safeties in the NFL. He enjoyed a Defensive Player of the Year caliber season in 2015 before tearing his ACL. 

Apr 25, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; Kyler Murray (Oklahoma) is selected as the number one overall pick to the Arizona Cardinals in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft in Downtown Nashville. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

2. Kyler Murray, QB, 2019 first overall, Oklahoma: The Cardinals finally drafted a franchise quarterback. K1 has done nothing but produce since the franchise pivoted to him from Josh Rosen. Murray was named Offensive Rookie of the Year and has been named a Pro Bowler twice. He’s the only quarterback in NFL history with 70 passing touchdowns and 20 rushing touchdowns after his first three seasons. Moving off of Rosen and drafting Kyler may have saved Keim’s job. 

1. Budda Baker, S, 2017 second round, Washington: Budda is Keim’s finest draft moment. The G.M. traded up with the Bears to grab Baker in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Cards tackling machine has been named to the Pro Bowl four times and was the highest-paid safety when he signed his contract extension in 2020. 

Follow Bo Brack on Twitter

Scroll to next article