Meet the Replacements for Every 1st-Round NFL Draft Pick of 2014

Sean FryeFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2014

Meet the Replacements for Every 1st-Round NFL Draft Pick of 2014

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    With the first round of the NFL draft in the books, college football has now officially said goodbye to some of its best talents of last year. 

    From the CFB perspective, this summer is dedicated to finding the proper replacements for those first-round picks. 

    While the quarterback battle at Texas A&M to see who will replace Johnny Manziel rages on, other teams have already replaced their superstars. 

    With that, let's check out the replacements for every first-round pick of Thursday's NFL draft. 

1. Darius English (Jadeveon Clowney)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The post-spring depth chart released by South Carolina lists Darius English as the heir apparent to No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney

    English, who stands at 6'6" and 226 pounds, racked up 19 tackles in a backup role to Clowney. 

    According to Ryan Wood of The Post and Courier, the Gamecocks have just one returning starter on the defensive line this season, so English will play a huge role in 2014. 

    Rated as a 4-star recruit by 247Sports, he will be a redshirt sophomore next season. 

2. Shon Coleman (Greg Robinson)

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    Credit: 247sports

    Shon Coleman potentially has the job of replacing, the best offensive lineman in college football, at least according to where Greg Robinson was drafted.

    Auburn's staunch offensive line was a huge part of the Tigers' road to an SEC Championship and BCS title berth in 2013-14. 

    However, according to Brandon Marcello of AL.com, the battle to replace Robinson at left tackle has yet to be decided. 

    Coleman's primary competition is Patrick Miller, who has started 14 games at right tackle over two years. 

    Both guys are talented, but Coleman—who has beaten cancer and was a 4-star recruit by 247Sports—has the edge in replacing Robinson. 

3. Justin Holman (Blake Bortles)

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Blake Bortles was the first quarterback taken on draft night. As a result, Justin Holman has the honor of replacing the guy whom the Jacksonville Jaguars thought was the best quarterback coming out of the college ranks. 

    Bortles did a lot last year for the Knights, winning the AAC title and the Fiesta Bowl. 

    Now Holman has to fill those shoes. 

    According to Florida Today, head coach George O'Leary announced that Holman was the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart heading into summer camp in mid-April. 

    He was just a 3-star recruit coming out of high school, according to 247Sports. He saw action in three games last year and threw a touchdown in a blowout against UConn. 

    Now, he is the heir apparent for the Knights. 

4. Mike Williams (Sammy Watkins)

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    Tyler Smith/Getty Images

    Clemson's biggest task this offseason is replacing the duo of Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins. The latter was the No. 4 overall pick and the top wideout taken on Thursday night. 

    Now, it appears that sophomore Mike Williams will be one of the primary guys who are tasked with taking over for Watkins. 

    Williams looked great in the spring game, hauling in two catches for 58 yards and a touchdown in a game that didn't see that much passing. 

    He also began to break out in the latter portion of the season last year, hauling in 10 catches over the last four games as a freshman. 

    According to Mike Crocker of Football.com, Charone Peake is another guy in line to see some more balls thrown his way in Death Valley. 

    But he is coming off an injury, while Williams is coming off a hot finish to a freshman campaign where he was overshadowed by Watkins.

5. Jarrett Franklin (Khalil Mack)

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    Mike Groll/Associated Press

    Khalil Mack may be the best player to ever step foot on the field in a Buffalo Bulls jersey. 

    That puts Jarrett Franklin—who is likely tasked with replacing Mack—in a tough spot. 

    According to Buffalo's spring prospectus, Franklin is among the leading candidates to replace Mack, along with Brandon Crawford. 

    Franklin, a rising sophomore, had the better numbers compared to Crawford last season, racking up 21 tackles and three tackles for loss in 11 games. 

    Being able to replicate Mack's production is probably unrealistic. But Buffalo may have a suitable talent in Franklin to at least somewhat adequately fill the hole left by Mack. 

    *Photos of Jarrett Franklin currently unavailable

6. Cedric Ogbuehi (Jake Matthews)

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    When Cedric Ogbuehi decided he'd stay for his senior campaign at College Station, every Aggies fan breathed a sigh of relief. 

    The reason? They had their replacement for Jake Matthews. 

    According to Chase Goodbread of NFL.com, a big reason Ogbuehi stayed with Texas A&M is that he wants to play left tackle, which Matthews occupied last year. 

    He returned despite receiving a first-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory board, according to Goodbread

    He is an elite NFL prospect who's sticking with the Aggies for one more year. That's a good sign for not only the entire team but especially for whoever takes over for Johnny Manziel. 

7. Josh Reynolds (Mike Evans)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    JUCO transfer Josh Reynolds is set to replace star receiver Mike Evans, who was seventh overall in Thursday's draft and the second Aggie taken. 

    Reynolds, who was just a 3-star recruit by 247Sports going into College Station, has burst onto the scene as the likely partner in crime on the outside along with Ricky Seals-Jones. 

    Seals-Jones will be the best receiver on the roster, but it's Reynolds who has impressed Kevin Sumlin this offseason and could be the "other" playmaker for Texas A&M, according to ESPN Dallas' Sam Khan Jr.:

    He's been good," coach Kevin Sumlin said in late March. "He's got a real upside to him since he's got three years [of eligibility remaining]. He's a little bit like Derel Walker in that he's long, probably a little bit longer than Derel. He's got great ball skills, can run and has real soft hands.

    Reynolds will also compete with highly touted recruit Speedy Noil (what a great name for a receiver, huh?). But for now, it looks like Reynolds is the guy to make a name for himself in College Station. 

8. Ashton Lampkin (Justin Gilbert)

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Justin Gilbert was the best playmaker in the secondary in the country last year. 

    Now, Ashton Lampkin is tasked with replacing him in Stillwater for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. 

    Lampkin, who has spent the last two seasons as a backup to Gilbert, appears ready to emerge as a leader. He capped off a tremendous spring with a pick-six in the "Orange Blitz," the Cowboys' version of the spring game. 

    He is a great athlete who hasn't disappointed in filling in for Gilbert at times. Now he has to fill some big shoes if he wants to make a name for himself. 

9. Kenny Orjioke (Anthony Barr)

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    With Myles Jack manning one of the outside linebacker positions, it appears that Kenny Orjioke will platoon the other outside spot and replace Anthony Barr. 

    Orjioke saw limited time last year, recording just 12 tackles in 13 games. But he's a tremendous athlete, and Kevin Gemmell of ESPN.com reports that he has the inside track to replace Barr. 

    The biggest cause for concern about Orjioke is that he didn't play in the spring game for reasons unknown. That could mean injury, disciplinary or precautionary reasons. Either way, that puts doubts into UCLA fans' minds. 

    However, he is a great athlete and will likely be Barr's replacement. 

10. Jack Tabb (Eric Ebron)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Eric Ebron was far and away the best tight end in the draft this year. That leaves some huge shoes to fill for Jack Tabb. 

    He was Ebron's primary backup last season, hauling in seven catches for 119 yards and a touchdown last season.

    According to Harold Gutmann of The Herald Sun, Tabb is the only scholarship senior on offense for the Tar Heels, so that means he's bound to take on a leadership role in 2014-15. 

    Behind him will be Eric Albright, another promising tight end for UNC. But for now, the job belongs to Tabb.  

11. Erik Magnuson (Taylor Lewan)

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Taylor Lewan was undoubtedly one of the best offensive linemen available in this year's draft. 

    That makes Erik Magnuson's job all the more important, as he's the likely replacement to Lewan. 

    Nick Baumgardner of MLive reports that Magnuson will likely be the starting left tackle this fall after missing the spring with a shoulder injury. 

    He will be a redshirt sophomore going into 2014-15, so he has two years of experience in Ann Arbor under his belt. Experience is everything for an offensive line, so that means Magnuson should be a fine replacement for Lewan. 

12. Travin Dural (Odell Beckham Jr.)

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    It's going to be nearly impossible to replace a guy like Odell Beckham Jr., who was one of the best playmaking receivers in recent memory for the LSU Tigers. 

    Travin Dural is going to try, though. 

    A freshman last season, he had just seven receptions for 145 yards and two scores. 

    But according to Jim Kleinpeter of The Times-Picayune, Dural entered the spring as one of the favorites to replace Beckham. 

    Dural received offers from Alabama and Tennessee before settling with LSU as his college destination. Now it looks like he is set for a breakout year in 2014-15. 

13. Darryl Render (Aaron Donald)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    After he served as Aaron Donald's backup the past two seasons, the time for Darryl Render to take over on the interior of the Pittsburgh Panthers defensive line has come. 

    Pitt's spring prospectus hypes up Render's credentials as a suitable replacement to Donald, including his 25 tackles in 2013 that led all returners on the Panthers' line. 

    LaQuentin Smith, a redshirt freshman, will challenge Render for playing time. But for now, he is the guy to replace one of the best Pitt defensive players to ever go through the program. 

14. Chuck Clark (Kyle Fuller)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Kyle Fuller was one of the best playmakers in the ACC, even causing problems to A.J. McCarron and Alabama in Week 1 of 2013-14. 

    Now, the time has come for Chuck Clark to fill those shoes. 

    Tim Thomas of FanSided wrote about how Clark shined in the Virginia Tech Hokies' spring game with six tackles, including 1.5 for a loss. 

    For now, he is relegated to a backup cornerback and free safety, role as Kendall Fuller will assume more of what were Kyle Fuller's responsibilities. 

    However, Clark is progressing well for the Hokies and could be the fill the hole that Fuller left behind. 

15. Josh Perry (Ryan Shazier)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    While Trey Johnson was long thought to be the heir apparent to Ryan Shazier's throne, it seems that Urban Meyer and Co. are going in a different direction. 

    According to Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com, junior Josh Perry appears to be working his way into the Ohio State starting linebacker corps. 

    He racked up 64 tackles last year—less than half of what Shazier totaled. But Perry is no stranger to the program and has proved worthy of a promotion to "Will" linebacker, which Shazier occupied. 

    How Meyer adjusts the defense to compensate for Shazier's loss won't be seen until Week 1. But it appears that Perry is the guy to fill Shazier's vacancy for now. 

16. Ronnie Stanley (Zack Martin)

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Ronnie Stanley looks like he'll be switching from right tackle to left tackle, thus taking over for Zack Martin. 

    Per Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune, Stanley has shined this spring enough to move over to the other side of the ball. 

    JJ Stankevitz of CSN Chicago added that Stanley's switch is almost a certainty. 

    With Everett Golson being worked back into the rotation, it'll be crucial for Notre Dame to be solid on the offensive line, and Stanley taking over at left tackle looks to be a step in that direction. 

17. Reggie Ragland (C.J. Mosley)

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Reggie Ragland has been patiently waiting for his opportunity to shine in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 

    With C.J. Mosley now in the NFL, that time has come. 

    Ragland worked with the first-team defense through most of the spring, per Andrew Gribble of AL.com.

    Before, he was mostly relegated to special teams. But now the former 247Sports' 4-star prospect is getting his shot to shine under the brightest lights for the Alabama Crimson Tide. 

18. James Sample (Calvin Pryor)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    A former Army All-American and a JUCO transfer who spent time at Washington, James Sample fills an immediate void at safety that Louisville has with Calvin Pryor's departure. 

    The position battle for who will actually replace Pryor will rage on through the summer and fall camp. 

    But when Sample signed with the Cardinals in mid-April, coach Bobby Petrino was ecstatic to add the former Husky, according to Kevin McGuire of College Football Talk. 

    “James is an outstanding football player who will help us fill a void on our football team,” Petrino said in a statement released by the university. “He has outstanding size at the safety position and will add immediate depth to this position on our football team.”

    Sample has been riddled with injuries in the past, but now he is set for a sort of renaissance at Louisville.  

19. Coleman Thomas (Ja'Wuan James)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    The Tennessee Volunteers offensive line is in the midst of some major changes, the most notable coming in the form of the departure of right tackle Ja'Wuan James to the NFL. 

    Filling his shoes? Freshman and early enrollee Coleman Thomas of Max Meadows, Virginia. 

    Just a 3-star recruit by 247Sports, he saw the most action on the first team during the spring season, according to Steve Megargee of The Associate Press (via The Tennessean). 

    The front line has been gutted this offseason, but it's a positive sign that a freshman has been able to step up into such a pivotal role. Coleman is sure to have an illustrious career ahead of him in Knoxville and could find his way into the draft in just a few short years. 

20. Richard Mullaney (Brandin Cooks)

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    Brandin Cooks may very well have been the best available skill player from the Pac-12 in this year's draft. 

    That means Richard Mullaney has some huge production numbers to fill. 

    Cooks racked up 1,730 yards from prolific passer Sean Mannion last year. Mullaney finished second with 788. 

    Mullaney is the most experienced receiver coming back to a unit that's been exhausted of three of its biggest contributors, which leaves him as the new No. 1 target for Mannion.

    According to Gina Mizell of The Oregonian, Mullaney missed most of the spring season with an ankle injury and illness. So he wasn't fully able to take control of the receiving corps. 

    However, with Mannion as his gunslinger, it's hard to imagine Mullaney having too many growing pains with his new leadership role once fall rolls around. 

21. Geno Smith (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix)

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    With no more Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Deion Belue, the Alabama secondary is undergoing a massive overhaul. 

    Part of that rebuilding project should be defensive back Geno Smith, who moved to safety this offseason and had a great spring, according to Aaron Suttles of Rivals.com. Suttles also wrote that Nick Saban was pleased with Smith's progression into the safety role: 

    Geno's had a really good spring," Nick Saban said. "He's really been active and played well at safety. I still think that sometimes he's a little bit uncertain of what to do. Sometimes he's a little bit uncertain of exactly how to do it. But that's why we'll practice, and he can study himself this summer and work on some things this summer, as well as in fall camp and hopefully we'll be able to make the kind of progress with him.

    There's plenty to be done to rebuild Alabama's secondary, but Smith looks like a good start. 

22. Kenny Hill (Johnny Manziel)

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    With Matt Joeckel out of the race to replace Johnny Manziel, the contest to replace the Heisman winner is down to Kenny Hill and Kyle Allen. 

    Although Hill missed most of spring after being suspended due to public intoxication, he has returned to the team for summer workouts, according to Jeremy Fowler of CBS Sports. 

    He is also more experienced than Allen, who's just a freshman. Hill threw for a touchdown and 183 total yards in garbage time last season, and he's more familiar with Kevin Sumlin's complex spread offense. 

    Don't expect Sumlin to take any gambles in this race. Johnny Football's throne is Hill's to lose. 

23. Carl Lawson (Dee Ford)

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    Dee Ford was a monster up front for the Auburn Tigers, racking up 10.5 sacks and 17 hurries en route to the Tigers' run to the SEC title. 

    But is his replacement—Carl Lawson—better? 

    One of his teammates might think so, according to Joel Erickson of AL.com. 

    "Carl’s a physical beast," defensive tackle Gabe Wright said. "Carl is definitely showing some traits on that left side, looking almost as good or better than Dee."

    Auburn is in desperate need of a pass-rusher after Ford's departure to Kansas City. But if Lawson is everything he's hyped up to be, the Tigers could be poised for another run at an SEC Championship. 

24. Darian Hicks (Darqueze Dennard)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Michigan State may be the favorites in the 2013-14 Big Ten race, but replacing Darqueze Dennard in the secondary is crucial to living up to that expectation. 

    It appears that Sparty is handing Dennard's reins to rising sophomore Darian Hicks. 

    Per Sean Merriman of BTN.com, Hicks had probably the best spring game of any Spartan on the defensive side of the ball, recording six tackles and an interception. 

    Just a 3-star prospect by 247Sports, he is apparently in line to proving some of his doubters wrong and becoming a staple of the Spartans secondary. 

25. Ranthony Texada (Jason Verrett)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Replacing an All-American won't be easy. 

    But that's what Ranthony Texada will likely be asked to do this spring when he tries to fill the shoes left by Jason Verrett. 

    According to Stefan Stevenson of the Star-Telegram, TCU head coach Gary Patterson has been impressed by Texada, who redshirted last year, this spring:

    I didn’t know he’d come along this quick,” Patterson said. “It’s not about running by them. It’s about playing the ball in the air against the big 6-foot-4 receiver. Ranthony has probably done the best of the group. He’s a lot better than what we predicted he’d be coming into it. And we’re pretty happy with him.

    Verrett was a staple of TCU's secondary, and the Horned Frogs will miss him. But Texada is slowly but surely proving to be a capable replacement. 

26. Sheldon Rankins (Marcus Smith)

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    Garry Jones/Associated Press

    A backup defensive lineman for most of his career with the Louisville Cardinals, Sheldon Rankins has an opportunity to take on a leadership role on the defensive line thanks to the departure of Marcus Smith. 

    Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com wrote that Rankins took on the spring season with a newfound sense of confidence and leaped at the opportunity to start. 

    After he racked up just 15 tackles last year, it will be intriguing to see how Rankins adjusts to filling in for Smith, who was such a huge part of last year's success. 

27. Daquawn Brown (Deone Bucannon)

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    Dean Hare/Associated Press

    Mike Leach is still in the process of rebuilding the Washington State Cougars. 

    His biggest priority? Replacing Deone Bucannon this spring. 

    His answer? Daquawn Brown. 

    Brown, who saw playing time last year as a freshman, looks to be the safety to fill the void left by Bucannon. Brown finished seventh on the team last year with 50 tackles and looked to be a shoe-in to replace Bucannon once the season ended. 

    However, as Jerry Hinnen of CBS Sports reported back in March, a felony assault charge may put a hitch in that plan. Brown still practiced in the spring, and Leach has yet to bring down any disciplinary action, so that's good for Brown. 

    If he can stay out of legal trouble, he should be the replacement for Bucannon. 

28. Christian Green (Kelvin Benjamin)

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    How do you replace the guy who caught the game-winning touchdown in the national championship game? 

    Christian Green will find that out this season, and he's the primary guy out of a corps of receivers that should see increased production this year with Benjamin's departure. 

    Green finished last season with just 13 catches for 157 yards and no touchdowns. But he has shown flashes throughout his tenure with the Seminoles, and now the redshirt senior should be on track for a breakout year in 2014-15. 

29. Darious Cummings (Dominique Easley)

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    While losing Dominique Easley isn't something Florida wanted to happen, it actually already did happen last season. 

    When he went down last season with a torn ACL, Darious Cummings replaced him. While his showing in Beasley's absence was up-and-down, a year of experience for a replacement is a big boost to basically anybody else on this list. 

    According to Jeff Barlis of ESPN.com, Cummings is going into his senior year with a fresh, determined mindset. 

    "All the coaches sat down with me before spring started and, of course we have that void to fill with Dominique," he said. "I take it upon myself just to, not to be that guy, but play like I can play." 

    If Cummings can take a step forward this offseason, it could be a huge part of Florida's turnaround in 2014-15. 

30. Marlon Moore (Jimmie Ward)

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    While most of the hype at Northern Illinois last season went to Jordan Lynch and the offense, safety Jimmie Ward was an unsung hero of the Huskies. 

    Well, his first-round selection now leaves a huge void at safety, and Marlon Moore looks to be the guy to plug it. 

    According to Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune, NIU head coach Rod Carey has been impressed with Moore this spring. He was originally a cornerback for the Huskies but made the move to safety this offseason, according to Steve Nitz of Huskie Wire:

    There are several reasons for it. One, he’s a really good tackler and he was a good run support guy in high school, we knew that,” NIU defensive coordinator Jay Niemann said. “He started off here as a corner because with Jimmie Ward in there and Dechane in there, we just felt like his opportunity to contribute was more so at corner to start with.

    Finding a replacement for Ward is about as important as finding one for Lynch. At least for now, Moore looks like the guy to step into Ward's shoes. 

31. Doran Grant (Bradley Roby)

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Ohio State's pass defense wasn't much to write home about last year. But at least cornerback Bradley Roby was, which was why he was drafted by the Denver Broncos on Thursday night. 

    So who's replacing him in Columbus? For now, it looks like Doran Grant. 

    He didn't play in the spring game this offseason due to a concussion. But according to Eric Seger of The LanternUrban Meyer was particularly impressed with Grant this spring. “At corner, we’re not yet decided, (senior) Doran Grant had a great spring. Had a little slight concussion about a week ago, so we didn’t want to push it today. But he’s earned a spot, and the other spot is wide open.”

    So unless Grant does something to mess up his spot, it appears that Meyer is set with him being the No. 1 corner on the depth chart. 

32. Will Gardner (Teddy Bridgewater)

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    Teddy Bridgewater left Louisville as arguably the most decorated quarterback in the school's history. 

    That's a pretty big void for Will Gardner to fill. 

    Slowly but surely in the spring, he took the lead in the quarterback race. According to Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com, head coach Bobby Petrino is excited about having Gardner as his signal-caller:

    Really good fit," Petrino said. "He has presence in the pocket, good size and a quick release and he’s still a great athlete. That’s the one thing I didn’t realize when I first got here is how athletic he is. He had a great week of (strength and conditioning) testing, showed his competitive spirit and leadership with the other players. That’s when you started to see we might have something special here before it’s all over with.

    Gardner has gone through two torn ACL's in his lifetime, which can be concerning to Cardinals fans. But for Petrino to have all but declared him the starter shows that the coach must have tremendous confidence in him.