Rodney Gunter caught the attention of the Arizona Cardinals and could end up being the crown jewel of the team’s 2015 draft class.
The Cardinals moved up to the 17th pick of the fourth round (116th overall) to select Gunter, an unheralded defensive tackle from Delaware State.
Arizona clearly loved what they saw in Gunter as they surrendered three picks in order to jump up the draft board in a trade with the Cleveland Browns – the 123th pick (4th round), 198th pick (6th round) and the 241th pick (7th round).
Like the Cardinals, Gunter is confident in his abilities and even compared himself to the great J.J. Watt when talking to reporters following the draft.
While the comparisons to Watt are obviously premature, Gunter is a great fit for Arizona’s defensive scheme. The team likes to deploy both 3-4 and 4-3 fronts and Gunter has the versatility to fit in both defenses.
Gunter is projected to contribute at both the defensive end and defensive tackle positions and his skill-set is comparable to the departed Darnell Dockett who filled a similar role for the Cardinals before signing with the San Francisco 49ers earlier this offseason.
Gunter is a raw prospect who GM Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arias expect to have a higher than normal ceiling. Gunter played only one year of high school football, limiting his visibility to higher profile colleges which in turn landed him at smaller Delaware State.
During his senior season in the collegiate ranks, Gunter racked up seven sacks and 13 tackles for a loss.
Gunter isn’t the first small-school prospect who the Cardinals have taken a chance on. Most recently, the team selected WR John Brown in last year’s draft out of Pittsburg State.
Brown excelled during his rookie season and has a chance to develop into a tremendous weapon for QB Carson Palmer.
Gunter could be key to Cardinals draft class
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