Cardinals' 2013 draft class decimated by injuries
DEC 11, 2013 2:42p ET
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The loss of defensive back Tyrann Mathieu to season-ending ACL and LCL tears this week means the Cardinals have lost four of their nine 2013 draft picks to season-ending injuries.
Top pick Jonathan Cooper broke a leg in the preseason, sixth-round pick Ryan Swope, a receiver from Texas A&M, retired before training camp due to multiple concussions, and fourth-round pick Alex Okafor suffered a torn triceps before the team's game in Tampa on Sept. 29.
Coach Bruce Arians even admitted that when sixth-round pick Andre Ellington injured his knee a couple weeks ago he was concerned that the running back had suffered an ACL injury as well.
"We got lucky with Andre Ellington," Arians said, "but yeah, with Swope and Coop and the rest of them, it’s a shame, because we really needed them."
Ellington missed the team's game at Philadelphia on Dec. 1 but has since returned; linebacker Kevin Minter missed time with hamstring and shoulder injuries as well as a concussion; and fourth-round pick Earl Watford, an offensive lineman, missed some time earlier this season after being in a car accident.
In addition to the four players out for the season, the Cardinals released seventh-round pick D.C. Jefferson, a tight end, in early November after he was arrested in Scottsdale on DUI charges -- although the team insists the two were not related.
That means just four of the team's nine picks -- Watford, fifth-round pick Stepfan Taylor, Ellington and Minter -- are still available.
"I feel like we're the lone survivors," Minter said. "It's kind of weird."
Taylor is the only 2013 draft pick who hasn't been sidelined by injury this season. He said he has never suffered a serious injury in his career, but this trend has at least made him think twice.
"Knock on wood," he said before doing just that inside his locker-room stall. "We feel for our fellow rookies going down. It can be tough, especially when you've never had an injury like that before.
"But I just try not to talk about it -- stay away from that conversation. I don't want to jinx it."
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY?
Tennessee third-year coach Mike Munchak is