Terry Beckner Jersey

Coming out of high school in East St. Louis, Illinois, Terry Beckner Jr. was touted as the top defensive prospect in the country and No. 2 recruit overall according to ESPN. As a senior, he tallied 117 total tackles, 75 of which were solo (yes, as a defensive tackle) and had four sacks in 12 games. It led to 20 offers from Division I schools but settled on Missouri, not too terribly far from home.  

His career at Mizzou got off to a great start, until it didn’t. Beckner suffered back-to-back knee injuries following his freshman year, where he earned First-Team Freshman All-American honors and was named to the All-SEC Freshman team after playing in 10 games with five starts. His season ended early when he tore his ACL and MCL against BYU in November of that year. Faced with the first major injury of his career, he went into rehab with the Tigers and made his return the following season. Only, this time his season would end just seven weeks in, suffering another ACL tear in his opposite knee.

His first fully healthy season came in 2017 as a junior where he bottled up the interior of the Tigers’ defensive line and was masterful against the run. He started all 13 games for Mizzou, posting 38 total tackles, 11.0 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks and even grabbed an interception. He returned to school for his senior year and again started all 13 of the Tigers’ games. He earned Second-Team All-SEC honors and led all Tiger tackles with 34 tackles and a team-high 11.0 tackles for loss, his second such season with those numbers. He led a defensive unit that ranked 22 nationally in stopping the run before then declaring for the NFL Draft.

The Buccaneers took him with their seventh-round pick, rounding out a class where six of eight players taken came on the defensive side of the ball. Beckner was the only interior lineman taken and will compete for an inside spot in the Bucs’ flexible 3-4 defense.

Lamont Gaillard Jersey

Former Georgia center Lamont Gaillard was selected 179th overall in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals last weekend.

Gaillard started 42 games in his Bulldog career and was an All-SEC selection in his final season. Now, he looks to help bolster a Cardinal offensive line in need of work. In 2018, Arizona allowed at least 50 sacks for the second consecutive season. Gaillard could help fill that void in the trenches.

By technical standards, it could be argued that Gaillard is undersized for a lineman at 6-foot-3, 305 pounds. However, he proved that he’s a strong prospect and was awarded the “Offensive Up Front” award at Georgia’s team postseason award gala. In his time with the Bulldogs, Gaillard blocked for one of the top running back stables in the country, creating openings for the likes of Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield.

Last year, Arizona’s offense was abysmal. The Cardinals finished last in the NFL in points and yards, both passing and rushing, per game. For its poor efforts, Arizona earned the No. 1 overall pick in the draft with which they took Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.

So with Murray, former All-Pro running back David Johnson and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald still in the mix, the Cardinals’ offense has the potential to put up better numbers. It all starts with the offensive line, however, and Gaillard might be the stability Arizona lacks.

The Cardinals selected center Mason Cole in the third round of the 2018 draft and he played in all 16 games as a rookie. Even though the line as a whole was one of the worst in the NFL, he appears to be Gaillard’s biggest competition for playing time heading into the year after Arizona spent a valuable draft pick on Cole.

Though Gaillard may not be the starting center when the NFL season opens, he will have the chance to earn a good chunk of playing time throughout offseason workouts and training camps.

KeeSean Johnson Jersey

KeeSean Johnson was one of three wide receivers the Arizona Cardinals selected in the 2019 NFL draft last weekend. Each receiver brings a different, unique skill set. Andy Isabella has elite speed and quickness. Hakeem Butler has a rare size/speed combination. Johnson is very hard to tackle, has very strong hands and is a great route runner.

He has two main focuses each play he has the opportunity to make. First, it is catching the ball. Then it is scoring.

He is known for having very reliable hands.

“That was one of the first things I learned as a kid,” Johnson told sister site Draft Wire writer Justin Melo in an interview for Music City Miracles back before the combine. “You have to learn how to catch the ball first. That’s the first thing I learned about football. You have to catch it before you can run. Me and my dad used to throw the ball around. You have to have that ability. I always felt like I was a natural when it came to that.”

Once he has the ball in his hands, he doesn’t want to go down. He is looking for the end zone.

“Every time you touch the ball, you have to be thinking about scoring,” he said. “You need to have that mentality every time you touch the ball. I wanna score every time the ball’s in my hands. That’s how you get your coaches to believe in you. If you’re hard to tackle, Coach is gonna call your number when the team needs a big play.”

Despite being a sixth-round pick, a round that has not been fruitful for the Cardinals over the years, many feel Johnson has a very good chance at making the team and having an impact.

It is this mentality that led him to increase in production each year at Fresno State, where he had 95 receptions for 1,340 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior.

Johnson is built somewhat like a former fan favorite in Anquan Boldin, who had a similar mentality.

Boldin, of course, was a second-round prospect out of a big-time college program at Florida State, but if Johnson gives a similar effort on the field that Boldin did, Cardinals fans will fall in love with Johnson.

Deionte Thompson Jersey

Few expected former Alabama standout Deionte Thompson to fall to Day 3 on the NFL Draft, but there’s a legitimate reason for his slip into the fifth round and it had nothing to do with his play on the field according to veteran NFL analyst Ian Rapoport.

Teams discovered Thompson had a “degenerative knee condition” during the pre-draft process, an ailment many franchises couldn’t look past in the early rounds with healthier players available. In fact, Thompson’s condition removed him from several draft boards altogether, Rapoport says.

“It explains his fall,” Rapoport tweeted.

Previously, Thompson’s draft fall to the fifth round to the Arizona Cardinals was mostly attributed to his late-season struggles in coverage as a junior and he didn’t get a chance to alter that narrative after missing the NFL Combine following offseason wrist surgery. Still, the hard-hitting safety was selected as a consensus first-team All-America honoree after earning the accolades from the Associated Press, The Sporting News and the AFCA. He was also a second-team All-America selection by Walter Camp and the FWAA.

Thompson recorded two interceptions during his final season to go along with a team-high four forced fumbles and 79 tackles.

Thompson was the No. 2-ranked safety, No. 10 player in the state of Texas and the No. 44-rated overall player in the 2015 recruiting cycle, according to the 247Sports Composite.

“I thought his play was a little bit up and down toward the end of the year,” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said after Thompson was picked 139th overall. “He had some opportunities to take the ball away and didn’t, and he didn’t finish the way I expected him to based on the beginning of the season. … But I still think he’s going to be a good player in the league.

Hakeem Butler Jersey

When Hakeem Butler met with the Cardinals and Kliff Kingsbury at the Scouting combine, the Iowa State wide receiver told Kingsbury that he had wanted to play for Kingsbury at Texas Tech – but Kingsbury never extended a scholarship offer.

Saturday morning, Kingsbury – talking to Butler after the Cardinals made the 6-foot-5, 227-pounder the first pick of the fourth round – issued a mea culpa.

“He told me he wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice,” Butler said.

Butler gives the Cardinals the big receiver for which they’ve been looking. At his height, he has the ability to go up and over defensive backs for the catch, something he turned into an art form for the Cyclones. Many projected him to go as high as the second round.

General Manager Steve Keim said picking Butler was a “no-brainer,” thinking Butler would have been long gone by their fourth-round pick. The Cards put Butler through a private workout and they had tracked him through the draft process, liking not only his athletic attributes but also his character.

“Seeing him in person a few years, and we didn’t recruit him out of high school — a lot of people in the state missed on him — to watch the player he’s turned into, the way he competes, the physicality, he is a special talent,” Kingsbury said.

Butler acknowledged he was a little disappointed he lasted until the fourth, but “I’m just blessed, excited and thrilled to be in this position, honestly.”

Zach Allen Jersey

Defensive lineman Zach Allen, drafted by the Arizona Cardinals with the first pick in the third round last week, has faced Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson before, and he’s already looking forward to facing him again.

Allen played for Boston College while Jackson was at Louisville, and the lineman never quite was able to sack him.

The Cardinals play the Ravens in Week 2 this year, so Allen will get another shot at it.

“I’d love to get some of the mobile quarterbacks as well,” he told Justin Melo in an interview for Music City Miracles. “It’s always impressive when you’re able to get one of those quarterbacks that can scramble and run away from pressure. Lamar Jackson for example, I was able to get a few hits on him in college but I never got to sack him. Hopefully I can get one on him.”

Jackson rushed for 695 yards in seven games as a rookie.

Allen has to make the team and crack the defensive line rotation. But if he does, facing Jackson will be in Week 2, so getting a sack of Jackson might even be Allens first NFL sack.