Cardinals sign four draft picks

Arizona Sports News online

Most experts gave the Cardinals high marks on their draft choices this year.

Four of those highly rated draftees are signed and sealed.

Running back Stepfan Taylor, wide receiver Ryan Swope, running back Andre Ellington and tight end D.C. Jefferson all signed four-year deals with the team, and promptly went through Day One of their rookie minicamp on Friday.

Taylor was chosen in the fifth round out of Stanford University. Taylor ran for a career-high 1,530 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2012. He was a Doak Walker Award semifinalist and was named second team All-Pac 12.

Taylor is the only player in Stanford history to run for over 1,000 yards in three straight seasons (1,530 yards in 2012; 1,330 yards in 2011; 1,137 yards in 2010).

Taylor should make a nice addition to a Cardinals backfield already stacked with talent in Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Williams, William Powell, Alfonso Smith and Ellington.

Swope was chosen in the sixth round out of Texas A&M. He set Aggie records with 252 catches for 3,117 yards and 15 career 100-yard receiving games. He finished second in school history with 24 touchdown catches.

Swope is a burner. In Indianapolis, Ind., at the 2013 NFL Combine, he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash, which was the second-best time of any player there.

That speed should serve him well in head coach Bruce Arians’ vertical passing system.

Ellington was a sixth round selection as well. He was a consensus All-ACC first-teamer in his senior season after starting all 13 games for the second straight year for Clemson University.

In 2012, Ellington carried the ball 212 times for 1,081 yards and eight touchdowns. He was just the fourth player in Clemson history to rush for 1,000+ yards twice in their career (1,178 yards in 2011).

Jefferson was the Cardinals final selection in the draft. He was the 219th overall selection out of Rutgers University. He began his career as a quarterback before moving over to the tight end position during his freshman year.

In his senior season, Jefferson had a career high 20 catches for 168 yards and one touchdown.

Jefferson has some starting experience. He started 43 out of 50 career games at Rutgers. He’ll join a stacked group of tight ends including Jeff King, Rob Housler, Kory Sperry, Jim Dray and free-agent pickup Alex Gottlieb.