Arizona Cardinals’ general manager Steve Keim spent the week wheeling and dealing to move up and down in this year’s NFL Draft, and his final act netted the franchise a sixth round pick.
Instead of waiting until the seventh round to use the organization’s final two choices, Keim traded those picks to the Oakland Raiders to move back into the sixth round and draft safety Johnathan “Rudy” Ford out of Auburn.
At 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, Ford is a bit undersized for his strong safety position, but he possesses the type of speed (4.37-second 40-yard dash) the Cardinals value in the draft.
Ford was a prolific running back in high school before flipping to the defensive side of the ball at Auburn where he became a three-year starter and led the Tigers in tackles in 2014 and 2015.
During his career with the Tigers, Ford racked up 280 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, five interceptions and 11 passes defended. Ford’s best season came during his junior campaign when he finished with a career-high 118 tackles and added a pair of interceptions.
Ford was invited to the NFL Combine, but did not participate in most tests as he only partook in the bench press where he posted 20 repetitions.
The day three trade for Arizona marked the third different trade in this year’s draft for Keim, who moved up in the second round to select Washington safety Budda Baker and moved back in the third round before drafting Grambling State’s Chad Williams. The decision to move up in the second round cost the Cardinals their fourth and sixth round picks in this year’s draft, but Keim picked up an additional fourth round pick through a trade with the Carolina Panthers and then secured the sixth round selection through the trade with the Raiders.
Ford is the sixth player drafted by Arizona in 2017, as he joins Baker, Williams, first round pick Haason Reddick, fourth round pick Dorian Johnson and fifth round pick Will Holden. The Cardinals finished the 2017 NFL Draft with three offensive players and three defensive players, including Ford, the second defensive back the team selected.