There was a long time between picks for the Arizona Cardinals, but they finally made their second selection, and in the third round the team selected former Sooner cornerback Jamell Fleming.
Fleming is a strong, physical cornerback who can slam receivers at the line and is just as adept in bringing down running backs.
In the Big 12, Fleming had to deal with spread offenses all the time, which was a task he handled with relative ease. Fleming earned All-Big 12 first-team honors last season, and finished fifth on the team with 60 tackles.
The physical nature of Fleming’s play would seem to play right into what defensive coordinator Ray Horton is trying to do with his offense, and that trait caught the attention of general manager Rod Graves and head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
“With today’s NFL, you know you’re going to see multiple receiver sets, and you can’t have enough of these guys,” Whisenhunt said.
Graves said Fleming, like first round draft pick Michael Floyd, was high on the Cardinals draft board.
“We’re delighted to have him [Fleming] because of what we believe he brings to the table,” Graves said. “We certainly feel like he can upgrade us at the [cornerback] position, or certainly have some potential to do so.”
Fleming has had some great success playing in the state of Arizona over the past couple seasons. In 2010, Fleming earned MVP honors in the Fiesta Bowl against Connecticut, returning an interception 55 yards for a touchdown.
In the 2011 version of the Insight Bowl, Fleming had seven tackles and earned Defensive Player of the Game honors.
“They’ve [the games] been awesome to me,” Fleming said. “Two MVP’s out in Arizona!”
Fleming thought the Cardinals wouldn’t be the team to select him, but now that they did, he’s happy they did take him.
“I’m so excited to be a Cardinal,” Fleming said. “Great team and organization and the defense is just getting better and better.”
Fleming was so excited during the conference call, he said he would even play defensive tackle if the team asked him to.
Fleming is also able to contribute on special teams, making him a dual threat possibility.
“I’m one of the best on special teams in my mind,” Fleming said. “I take special teams serious.”
As far as teaming up with Patrick Peterson, Fleming can’t wait to get started.
“I think it will be great,” Fleming said. “He’s a great talent and a great football player, just from watching him in college.”
Let me tell you now Cardinals fans, just by spending a couple minutes on the phone with this young man, you are going to LOVE him!
His upbeat attitude and personality will infect everyone around him (in a good way of course).
If the Jamell Fleming from Oklahoma shows up on the field, then that can be a major plus for the Cardinals this season, as this team can never have enough quality defensive backs.