Arizona's rookie class needs to make an impact

From OT D.J. Humphries to WR J.J. Nelson, the Arizona Cardinals' newest draft class needs to make an immediate impact in 2015.

While first-round pick D.J. Humphries continues to steal most of the headlines, the former Florida Gators' offensive linemen more than likely isn't the key to the Arizona Cardinals' 2015 draft class.

Given how the draft board shock out, Humphries was more of a luxury pick based on him being the best player available at the 24th overall selection.

Instead, it appears that two players will need to step in and contribute right away - DE Markus Golden and DT Rodney Gunter.

The potential impact of Golden is fairly obvious as Arizona desperately needed help in the pass-rushing department. The Cardinals ranked 24th in the NFL with only 35 sacks a year ago and while the team wasn't able to add Alvin Dupree or Shane Ray in Round 1, Golden was a solid consolation in the second round.

Meanwhile, Gunter was clearly someone that GM Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians had targeted as they traded up to secure the services of the unheralded defensive tackle.

Gunter will help fill the void left by Dan Williams and Darnell Dockett - two stalwarts along the Cardinals' defensive line who left via free agency during the offseason.

Given that Arizona gave up a decent amount to move up to the 116th pick in order to select Gunter (trading the 123rd, 198th and 241st pick to the Cleveland Browns ) his play will likely be scrutinized throughout his rookie season and beyond.

While the names above are fairly obvious, there are a handful of sleepers that could also step in and see the field during the upcoming season in the desert.

WR J.J. Nelson might be the most prevalent name and comes into a wide receiver position that needs a bit of refinement.

Yes, Larry Fitzgerald remains the heart and soul of the franchise, but his skills are declining. John Brown is on the upswing but the team still isn't sure what they have in the ever-so-talented yet inconsistent Michael Floyd.

Nelson is a burner, somewhat in the same mold as Brown, and could end up being the Cardinals' third wide receiver at times in 2015. Arians and company like the skill set of Nelson and he looks to be a good fit in the team's downfield passing attack.

As it stands for all NFL teams, Arizona will certainly need some major contributions from its rookie class and this group appears to be positioned to answer the bell.


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