Arizona Cardinals NFL draft: Rondale Moore pick could end Larry Fitzgerald's tenure in AZ

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic

The second and third rounds of the NFL draft were Friday.

Look back at our updates on the Arizona Cardinals and the second day of the NFL draft.

More:NFL draft tracker 2021: Analysis on every pick in the second and third rounds

More:NFL Draft 2021: How to watch, follow Friday's second and third rounds of 2021 NFL draft

Does Cardinals' pick mean end to Larry Fitzgerald's time in Arizona?

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio wrote that the Arizona Cardinals' selection of Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday night could mean the end of Larry Fitzgerald's time in Arizona.

He wrote: "It’s unclear whether receiver Larry Fitzgerald will play in 2021. It’s becoming more and more clear that, if he does, he won’t be playing for the Cardinals. With the 49th pick in the draft, the Cardinals selected Purdue receiver Rondale Moore. The selection of Moore comes after they signed A.J. Green in free agency. That move seemed to close the door on Fitzgerald returning; this move seems to nail it shut."

Earlier this month, had Fitzgerald retiring before the start of the 2021 season at -250 (an implied probability of 71.4%).

It put his odds of continuing his NFL career at +170 (an implied probability of 37%). thought Fitzgerald playing again was an even bigger long shot.

It had him at -500 to retire before this season (implied probability of 83.3%) and +300 not to retire (implied probability of 25%).

Since 2016, Fitzgerald has been signing one year contracts with the team.

But he's never taken this long to make up his mind about continuing to play for the Cardinals before, which has prompted speculation that he could be ready to end his career and move on to other endeavors.

Fitzgerald has been with the Cardinals, the team that drafted him, for 17 seasons.

He has played in 263 games, getting 1,432 receptions for 17,492 yards and 121 touchdowns, becoming one of the best wide receivers in NFL history and a first-ballot selection for the Hall of Fame.

Before the draft, Arizona Cardinals' GM Steve Keim said: "No matter what Larry decides, it does not affect our draft plans. Again, to me, you can't have enough good players at one position.

"There are guys on one-year contracts, so as far as building your team and the type of depth that you have, you can never have enough good players. Obviously, Larry Fitzgerald is a great one, so you wouldn't say no to him, either."

More:Larry Fitzgerald retirement odds skyrocket as Arizona Cardinals await receiver's decision

More:Kliff Kingsbury and Larry Fitzgerald are talking about the Phoenix Suns

Has Larry Fitzgerald played his last game with the Arizona Cardinals?

What's next for Arizona in draft?

The Cardinals don't have a third-round pick so their night is presumably done.

The fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds of the draft are on Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. Arizona currently has a fifth-round pick (No. 160 overall), sixth-round pick (No. 223 overall) and two seventh-round picks, Nos. 243, 247).

You would have to think that the team will target a cornerback in the later rounds, after not getting one with their first two picks.

Perhaps the team will take a tight end or a running back as well to help with depth doing into camp.

More:NFL draft grades: Arizona Cardinals' Rondale Moore selection draws (mostly) rave reviews

Notable other NFL draft selections

Notre Dame's Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who some had pegged as a first-round selection, went to the Cleveland Browns at No. 52.

Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth, who some had linked to the Cardinals, went to the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 55. 

LSU WR Terrace Marshall Jr., also linked to Arizona in NFL mock drafts, went to the Carolina Panthers at No. 59 overall.

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask was taken by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 64  overall.

Stanford quarterback Davis Mills went to the Houston Texans at No. 67.

You can see every second and third-round NFL draft selection, with analysis, here

(Mostly) Rave reviews for Cardinals' selection

Some NFL writers are raving about the Cardinals' selection of Rondale Moore, who gives quarterback Kyler Murray and coach Kliff Kingsbury another weapon on offense.

CBS Sports' Chris Trapasso gave the team an A+ grade for the pick.

He wrote: "Giddy. Up. If Moore is healthy (big if) he's a clear-cut first-round talent. Andy Isabella hasn't materialized too much with the Cardinals, but Moore is a different animal. Short not small. Insanely explosive with contact balance. Fun piece."

Draft Kings' Chet Gresham gave the team an A.

He wrote: "Moore clocked an unofficial 4.29 40, so even if that’s off, he can fly. He works great in space, and with his quickness will be tough to cover in Kliff Kingsbury’s four WR sets. He’s small, but won’t be challenged at the line in this offense."

Not everyone was quite as positive about the selection, however.

Pro Football Network's Dalton Miller gave the team a D+ for the selection.

He wrote: "Rondale Moore might outpace Jaylen Waddle in his ability with the ball in his hands. Moore is a miniature receiver, but he’s got great contact balance and is a blur as a runner. He might be the most explosive athlete in the draft class. However, the Cardinals are bare at cornerback, and they don’t pick again until 160. It is tough to justify taking another receiver."

Click here for more grades for the Cardinals' selection of Rondale Moore in the second round of the NFL draft.

Cardinals take WR in second round

The Arizona Cardinals selected Purdue WR Rondale Moore with the 17th pick in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday night (and the No. 49 pick overall).

Moore played in 13 games for the Boilermakers as a freshman in 2018, making 114 catches, with 12 for touchdowns.

He had 1,258 receiving yards that season.

Moore has had some injury issues, he played in four games in 2019 and three games in 2020. He had 29 catches in 2019 and 35 in 2020.

CBS Sports' Josh Edwards had Moore as his 20th-ranked prospect in the draft.

He wrote: "Moore is very undersized and has an injury history, but he is explosive with the ball in his hands."

NBC Sports' Matt Maiocco wrote this about the receiver:

"This Moore is a big-play threat whose draft stock might fall a little due to injuries that kept him off the field for all but seven games in his final two years. He caught 114 passes for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman. In addition to being an immediate starter as a slot receiver, he also provides skills as a punt and kick returner."'s Jimmy Kempski had projected the Cardinals to take Moore at No. 49 in his second-round NFL mock draft.

He wrote of the pick: "Moore is one of the best players in this draft from a pure "fun to watch" perspective. At 5'9, 180, he's a small receiver, but he breaks an inordinate number of tackles, and his explosiveness is obvious. In some ways he's a little reminiscent of Penn State's KJ Hamler, in that he's a small speed slot guy with durability concerns, but in my view he is a superior prospect because he has better hands. He was also incredibly productive in two years at Purdue on "per game" basis. In 20 career college games, he averaged 8.9 catches for 95.8 yards and 0.7 TDs."

Moore joins a receiver room that currently includes DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson.

Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore (4)

Cardinals miss out on coveted cornerback

The Arizona Cardinals just missed out out coveted cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. when he was taken with the No. 47 pick in the 2021 NFL draft, two picks before the Cardinals' selection.

Samuel was believed to be high on the Cardinals' list and would have filled an immediate need at cornerback.

Cardinals GM Steve Keim didn't hide his fondness for Samuel in an interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday morning.

“I love Asante Samuel,” he said. “You know, a lot of think he’s probably in the second round because he’s 5-10, which they think automatically that that’s probably a nickel or a slot corner, which diminishes the value. No. 1, I don’t agree with that.

“I think that he plays big. I think he can play outside, he can play inside.  You think back to when we won a number of games here in the NFC West and we had a guy named Jerraud Powers playing corner who was 5-10. And there’s a number of players in the NFL who are 5-10, outside corners, so Asante Samuel is certainly a guy that we like, and I think can play outside.”

Many thought Arizona would need to trade up to land Samuel and those people were right with him going two picks before the Cardinals' selection.

Notre Dame guard Aaron Banks went to the San Francisco 49ers at No. 48, putting the Cardinals on the clock.

More possibilities for Cardinals at No. 49

Here are some remaining possibilities for the Cardinals at No. 49, according to The Arizona Republic's Bob McManaman:


Asante Samuel Jr., 5-10, 184, Florida State

Tyson Campbell, 6-2, 185, Georgia

Aaron Robinson, 6-1, 197, UCF

Elijah Molden, 5-10, 191, Washington

Kelvin Joseph, 6-1, 192, Kentucky

Wide receivers

Terrace Marshall Jr., 6-3, 200, LSU

Rondale Moore, 5-9, 175, Purdue

Tutu Atwell, 5-9, 153, Louisville

Dyami Brown, 6-1, 195, North Carolina

Nico Collins, 6-4, 215, Michigan

D’Wayne Eskridge, 5-9, 189, Western Michigan

Tight ends

Pat Freiermuth, 6-5, 250, Penn State

Tommy Tremble, 6-4, 248, Notre Dame

Hunter Long, 6-5, 254, Boston College


Trevon Moehrig, 6-2, 208, TCU

Jevon Holland, 6-2, 196, Oregon

Richie Grant, 6-0, 194, UCF

Running backs

Javonte Williams, 5-10, 220, North Carolina

Michael Carter, 5-8, 199, North Carolina

Kenneth Gainwell, 5-11, 195, Memphis

Alabama offensive lineman Landon Dickerson went to the Philadelphia Eagles with the fifth pick in the second round, while Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore went to the New England Patriots with the sixth pick.

Teven Jenkins, an offensive tackle from Oklahoma State, went to the Bears with the seventh pick in the second round and UCF safety Richie Grant went to the Atlanta Falcons with the eighth pick (No. 40 overall).

Washington DT Levi Onwuzurike was the Detroit Lions' pick at No. 41 overall and Notre Dame offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg went to the Miami Dolphins at No. 42.

Scratch TCU safety Trevon Moehrig off the list of possibilities for Arizona as well, as he went to the Las Vegas Raiders at No. 43.

Kentucky CB Kelvin Joseph went to the Dallas Cowboys at No. 44, taking another cornerback off the board for Arizona.

Stanford offensive lineman Walker Little went to the Jaguars at No. 45, giving Trevor Lawrence some more protection.

At No. 46, Clemson guard Jackson Carman went to the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Cardinals have the 17th pick in the second round.

Cornerback, wide receiver, running back off the board

The Jacksonville Jaguars took Georgia CB Tyson Campbell off the board with the first pick in the second round (No. 33 overall) and Mississippi wide receiver Elijah Moore went next to the New York Jets (No. 34 overall).

The Denver Broncos landed North Carolina running back Javonte Williams at No. 35 overall.

Oregon safety Jevon Holland went to the Miami Dolphins with the fourth pick in the second round (No. 3

The Cardinals could really use some help at those positions and Campbell and Williams had been linked to Arizona.

Who will the Cardinals be able to get at No. 49, should they stay there?

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Top options for Cardinals at No. 49?

The Cardinals could really use some help at several positions, including wide receiver, cornerback, safety, tight end and running back.

Florida State's Asante Samuel Jr. and Georgia's Tyson Campbell are the top corners remaining and Washington's Elijah Molden and Kentucky's Kelvin Joseph have also been linked to the team in second-round NFL mock drafts.

At wide receiver, LSU's Terrace Marshall Jr. and Purdue's Rondale Moore as well as North Carolina's Dyami Brown are among the possible targets for the team.

Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth is an enticing possibility at tight end and TCU's Trevon Moehrig could be the safety the team targets, should it target one in the second round.

A pair of running backs from North Carolina, Javonte Williams and Michael Carter, could be Arizona's pick should it decide to go with that position.

More:Cardinals will try to target a cornerback with second-round pick, but that's not all. Here are possible picks

Could Terrace Marshall Jr. end up being the Arizona Cardinals'  pick at No. 49 overall?

Could Cardinals trade down in second round?

One site projects the Cardinals to trade down in the second round to obtain another pick Friday.

Touchdown Wire's Mark Schofield has Arizona moving down to No. 54 and selecting North Carolina wide receiver Dyami Brown with the pick.

The Indianapolis Colts moved up to No. 49 and took Notre Dame offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg with that selection.

Schofield wrote: "Arizona traded back from 49 and added a pick at 127, plugging what was a big gap from their pick in the second round until their pick in the fifth. Cornerback is still a need and Paulson Adebo is an option, but instead they address the wide receiver position with Dyami Brown from UNC. Brown can separate against press coverage and continually works to get open, and with some consistency at the catch point he could be a very dangerous option across from DeAndre Hopkins and could learn from A.J. Green."

More:Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray bitter over QB-WR reunions in 2021 NFL draft?

Could Cardinals trade up in second round?

The Arizona Republic's Bob McManaman wrote about how the Cardinals might need to trade up in the second round, should they want to land a top cornerback that they covet.

He wrote: "The top-rated corners still available after Round 1 are Asante Samuel Jr. from Florida State and Tyson Campbell from Georgia. The problem is, neither one of them might be available when the Cardinals make their selection with the 17th pick in the round, the 49th overall."

He continued: "The question is, is (Cardinals GM Steve) Keim willing to trade up to snag Samuel Jr? Would he make a move similarly to get Campbell, who at 6-2, is a bigger prospect with more length?"

“We’re open for business,” Keim told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday. “Anybody that wants to make a move, give us a call. Again, if it’s an opportunity to acquire more picks, it’s something we’ll certainly be interested in. If there’s a guy that starts to travel down in our direction and we get a chance to acquire him, we’ll make that move as well as we did for Budda Baker years back.  But there’s a number of guys that we like up there that are good players, a couple of them we felt would go in the first round, so we’ll be active today.”

Click here to read more about the possibility of Arizona moving up in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft.

More:Arizona Cardinals' Zaven Collins pick earns mixed reviews in first-round NFL draft grades

Could the Arizona Cardinals target Georgia defensive back Tyson Campbell in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft?

Ideal target for Cardinals in second round?

Pro Football Focus' Ben Linsey shared his thoughts on who the Cardinals should pick at No. 49, calling Mississippi CB Elijah Moore the team's "ideal target" in the second round.

He wrote: "I wouldn’t have hated the value had the Cardinals selected Moore with their first-round pick. Needless to say, he would be a slam-dunk selection for Arizona on Day 2 even if it requires a trade up from 49th overall. Moore brings an ideal blend of speed and quicks as a slot receiver who isn’t necessarily limited to the slot. He was uber-productive for Ole Miss this past season, putting up nearly 1,200 receiving yards in just eight games for the Rebels. He’s not in the same tier as rumored first-round target Jaylen Waddle, but he would provide a vertical threat to Arizona’s offense to pair with DeAndre Hopkins."

More:NFL mock draft: Arizona Cardinals go cornerback, wide receiver or running back in Round 2?

Second-round NFL mock drafts differ for Cardinals

Cornerbacks, wide receivers and running backs are popular picks for Arizona in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday, although not everyone has the team taking someone that plays one of those positions.

Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer has the Cardinals taking North Carolina running back Javonte Williams.

He writes: "The Cardinals like Chase Edmonds more as a change of pace so getting Williams to replace Kenyan Drake as a power back makes a ton of sense."

USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis has Arizona going with Washington cornerback Elijah Molden

He writes: "The premier slot corner in this draft would be quite a weapon for a team that regularly has to defend the likes of Cooper Kupp and Tyler Lockett."

Sports Illustrated has the Cardinals taking LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr.

Conor Orr and Gary Gramling write: "Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid asks its receivers to win one-on-one battles in iso routes, and considering they often play four-wide it’s imperative the Cardinals add talent at receiver. Marshall dominated as a big slot receiver at LSU and would fit nicely in the old Larry Fitzgerald role."

Click here for more second-round NFL mock draft predictions for the Cardinals.

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North Carolina running back Javonte Williams is a trendy pick for the Cardinals in second-round NFL mock drafts.

'Head scratching' first-round pick for Cardinals?

ESPN's Mel Kiper called the Cardinals' pick of Tulsa LB Zaven Collins one of the "head-scratching moves" of the first round.

He wrote: This is a slight reach by my rankings, as I had Collins as more of a late first-round pick. But the reason I’ll put this pick on my list of head-scratchers is that the Cardinals had the chance to get one of the best slot receivers on the board and failed to do so. Elijah Moore and Kadarius Toney were both sitting there at No. 16, and general manager Steve Keim passed. I thought either of them would have been a major asset for Kyler Murray. Collins is likely going to play more of a pass-rushing role for Arizona, and he has the physical traits to wreak havoc on offenses. This is all about value, however.

Click here for more NFL draft grades and reaction to Arizona's pick of Collins at No. 16.

More:NFL Draft: Cardinals may have to trade up to get the pick they want in second round

Best-available players for day 2

One of the best linebackers in college football, the top defensive tackles in the class and the consensus best safety are all still on the board heading into the second day of the NFL draft.

The first round was dominated Thursday night by quarterbacks (five in the first 15 picks), the Southeastern Conference (12 first-rounders) and Alabama (a record-tying six players selected).

“It just makes me feel like a proud papa,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said in an interview with the ESPN “College GameDay” crew.

The Tide matched a record set by Miami in 2004.

The Big 12 was shut out of the first 32 picks, as was Notre Dame, but that is likely to change quickly when Round 2 begins Friday.

The best and most notable players still available in the NFL draft:

Syracuse running back Sean Tucker (34) is tackled by Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (6) during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in South Bend, Ind. (Matt Cashore/Pool Photo via AP)

—Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was the Butkus Award winner as the nation’s top linebacker last year and maybe the most surprising player to slip out of the first round.

He’s a vicious tackler and explosive athlete, but built more like a safety than a run-stuffing linebacker at 221 pounds. His lack of polish in coverage might have scared some teams away, making him a high upside second-rounder.

Irish tackle Liam Eichenberg, who was popping up late in the first round of several mock drafts, also figures to come off the board on Day 2.

—Not one interior defensive lineman was selected in the first round. That wasn’t a surprise. Alabama’s Christian Barmore is considered the best of the bunch and up-and-down play made him a borderline first-rounder.

There could be a run on the big fellas on Day 2, though, starting with the 310-pound Barmore or maybe Washington’s Levi Onwuzurike, who opted out of last season.

Other intriguing defensive lineman include All-American Daviyon Nixon of Iowa; Alim McNeill of North Carolina; Tommy Togiai of Ohio State; Jay Tufele of Southern California; and Marvin Wilson of Florida State.

—The Big 22 was the only Power Five conference to produce no first-round picks Thursday night. There are a handful of players likely to get the call soon after the second round starts.

TCU’s Trevon Moehrig was considered the most likely safety to go in the first round, but instead that position got left out altogether. Moehrig was better in 2019 than 2020 and is light at 202 pounds but still the best bet to be the first safety selected.

Rival pass rushers Ronnie Perkins of Oklahoma and Joseph Ossai of Texas couldn’t crack a first round that had five edge players taken between 18-32, but they could keep that run going into Day 2.

Texas tackle Samuel Cosmi and Oklahoma State tackle Tevin Jenkins shouldn’t last long with teams such as Jacksonville, Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia and Cincinnati holding early second-round picks and holes in their offensive lines.

If they’d prefer a center over a tackle, Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey would be a good fit.

—Pencil in either Barmore or offensive lineman Landon Dickerson, who is still recovering from a knee injury, as the next Crimson Tide player off the board.

Guard Deonte Brown and linebacker Dylan Moses are also safe bets to be drafted, though they might have to wait until Saturday and the fourth through seventh rounds.

—The five quarterbacks everybody thought would be selected in Round 1 were gone by pick 15. Who’s next?

Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond was a four-year starter whose college career was marked by inconsistency and notable improvement as a senior when he threw only three interceptions.

A big, mobile quarterback, Mond also raised his completion percentage every season in college.

Stanford’s Davis Mills is a former five-star recruit who only played 13 college games because of injuries and a Pac-12 season shortened by the pandemic. Cardinal coach David Shaw calls him the most talented quarterback he has had other than Andrew Luck.

Florida’s Kyle Trask was a Heisman Trophy finalist last season throwing to tight end Kyle Pitts, who went No. 4 to Atlanta, and Kadarius Toney, taken No. 20 by the Giants. Trask has so-so traits, but his accuracy and decision-making were impressive – at least when he had his top weapons.

The Falcons, Broncos and Lions all have top-10 picks in the second round and long-term questions at quarterback.

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