With the first few waves of free agency in the rear view, the Cardinals are in the midst of their annual draft prep. GM Steve Keim will lay the groundwork to bring in a new class of rookies to supplement the roster already built and forge a direction upon which a few more free agents are likely to be signed.

Here is the fifth position group breakdown.

Draft primer: Special Teams

More draft primers: WR, CB, RB, ILB

The Cardinals’ situation: Andy Lee and Matt Prater are on the wrong side of 30 and approaching their 20th season in the NFL, yet the duo remains among the most dependable specialists in the NFL. It’s why the Cardinals have faith in them entering this season. The fact long snapper Aaron Brewer re-signed this offseason is also a plus, after the special-teams operations took a hit last season when Brewer was hurt.

The draft class: San Diego State punter Matt Araiza remains the one with the most potential to be drafted after his highlight-laden season for the Aztecs, although if a kicker or punter gets drafted in the coming weeks, it likely won’t happen until late in the draft. Texas’ Cameron Dicker, LSU’s Cade York, Iowa State’s Andrew Mevis, Oklahoma’s Gabe Brkic are among the top kicker prospects available. Colorado State’s Ryan Stonehouse, Penn State’s Jordan Stout, NC State’s Trenton Gill join Araiza as the top punters.

The conclusion: The Cardinals, for example, have not drafted a kicker or punter in two decades. But that could change if the Cardinals want to select one late in the draft to get younger. The team could also just take a flyer on an undrafted rookie in the coming weeks.


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