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Saturday, August 10, 2013
Cards rookie review: Snap count leaders

By Mike Sando

A quick look at the Arizona Cardinals' 2013 draft class following the team's exhibition opener against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field:

LG Jonathan Cooper, first round, No. 7 overall. Cooper played 17 snaps at left guard with the starting offense. The line's pass protection was good enough for quarterback Carson Palmer to complete 4 of 6 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Arizona didn't get much going in the run game, but the team was also without its top backs.

LB Kevin Minter, second round, No. 45 overall. Minter played behind starting inside linebackers Jasper Brinkley and Reggie Walker (the team was without Karlos Dansby, and Daryl Washington came off the bench). Minter finished the game with three tackles. He played 45 percent of the snaps on defense and 23 percent on special teams.

DB Tyrann Mathieu, third round, No. 69 overall. Mathieu led all Cardinals rookies in scrimmage snaps (38) and special-teams snaps (11). He broke up a pass early in the game. He collected a sack for a 12-yard loss on a blitz from the slot. He had two tackles on defense, two tackles on special teams, one pass defensed and a 24-yard punt return. Arizona must be very pleased with what it saw from Mathieu.

DE Alex Okafor, fourth round, No. 103 overall. An ankle injury caused Okafor to miss the game.

G Earl Watford, fourth round, No. 116 overall. Watford came off the bench to play 35 percent of the offensive snaps, plus 27 percent on special teams. As noted, the running game never seemed to get going. To be fair, however, I didn't watch Watford closely enough to have a feel for his performance one way or another.

RB Stepfan Taylor, fifth round, No. 140 overall. Taylor carried 20 times for 64 yards (3.2 per carry) while playing 55 percent of the snaps on offense. He did not play on special teams, perhaps because the Cardinals were so short-handed at running back with Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Williams and Andre Ellington sitting out. I'll be interested in hearing from coach Bruce Arians regarding how Taylor fared in the finer points, including pass protection. Getting so many reps had to be a positive for Taylor in the long run.

RB Andre Ellington, sixth round, No. 187 overall. A neck injury caused Ellington to miss the game.

TE D.C. Jefferson, seventh round, No. 219 overall. The Cardinals were without injured tight ends Kory Sperry and Jeff King, but Jefferson did not capitalize on the opportunity. He failed to secure two passes he should have caught. Jefferson finished with zero catches on three targets while playing 32 percent of the snaps on offense and none on special teams.