The Arizona Cardinals added help to their defense Thursday night selecting Temple linebacker Haason Reddick with the 13th overall pick. With Kevin Minter signing with the Bengals, the Cards had a need at the position despite inking veteran Karlos Dansby.
Arizona was sold on Reddick’s versatile skill set and surprised he was available when they went on the clock.
Reddick will be wearing #AZCardinals red!
— #CardsDraft (@AZCardinals) April 28, 2017
“We are elated with the addition of Haason Reddick, certainly a guy we were focused on from the beginning,” Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said shortly after the pick. “This guy can play inside, he can play outside. He’s explosive. He’s got a quick first step.”
Reddick, at 6-foot-1, 237 pounds, played running back and safety in high school before excelling at linebacker with the Owls. Scouts praised his quickness and ability to react in both the run game and pass coverage. His cover skills for a player his size is unique.
“Two for one is big in our room,” former Temple head coach Bruce Arians said. “He will have a huge impact in a lot of different positions.”
— Temple Football (@Temple_FB) April 28, 2017
The Cardinals had other options to select at linebacker, like Alabama’s Rueben Foster, but “it was a pretty easy pick” according to Keim who called Reddick “the best player on the board by far.”
Reddick’s rags-to-riches backstory, from un-recruited walk-on to Top 15 NFL pick also caught the Cards’ attention during their background check and eventual courtship.
“This guy has an eternal chip that sits on his shoulder,” Keim explained. “You could just tell that this kid is so passionate and so driven. The kid will run through a wall for you.”
Arians cautiously compared Reddick’s skill set to All-Pro Von Miller, mainly due to his speed off the edge and ability to get into opponent’s backfield.
“They’ve got some great players out there, some legends out there,” Reddick said of his new team Thursday night. “I can’t wait to get out there and work with them.”
“I’m just determined to be the best I can be.”
That’s music to the Cardinals’ ears.