The Arizona Cardinals wrapped up their 2021 NFL Draft with seventh-round additions of Cincinnati safety James Wiggins (No. 243) and Penn State center Michal Menet (No. 247).
Over the span of three seasons (23 games) as a Bearcat, Wiggins recorded 87 tackles, 3.0 of which were for losses, five interceptions and 11 pass deflections.
He also showed his potential as a return man in 2018, taking back 13 kicks for 272 yards. The safety averaged 20.9 yards per return.
Wiggins, however, missed the entire season in 2019 due to a torn ACL suffered just two days before the start of the season. He tore his meniscus a few months later after a fall.
“I don’t think I lost my explosiveness, I just think it was me being timid on the ACL,” Wiggins said. “I’m still stressing it even more. I stay on getting my rehab and exercises to keep me healthy. But for sure, over the years of me playing the next seasons, I will get even more stronger, more explosive. You’ll just have to stay tuned to see.”
Originally recruited as a cornerback, Wiggins made the transition to safety in college.
Now, he gets to learn from the likes of Budda Baker in the secondary.
“He’s been a veteran in the league for a long time,” Wiggins said. “Just to be able to pick his brain and actually have the opportunity to do it in person is kinda like seeing your superstar that you look up to. Now I can actually ask him questions … and I can mold that into my own style of the game.”
Menet heads to Arizona after starting all nine games in 2020 at Penn State and was named an All-Big-Ten honorable mention in 2019. He started in 34 consecutive games over the last three seasons for the Nittany Lions.
Over his first season and a half he played guard before shifting to center, which he feels is his natural position. He said he would be willing to play guard if the Cardinals need him there.
“I’m gonna outwork people,” he said. “I’ve always prided myself on doing that.”
The 6-foot-4, 301-pounder was a two-year captain at Penn State and projected as a fourth-round pick by NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein.
A seventh-round pick, Menet has his work cut out for him to earn a role on the Cardinals. Rodney Hudson, who Menet called the best center in the league, will anchor Arizona’s offensive line.
Menet said his intelligence will help him as he works to get his career off the ground.
“I’m able to kind of diagnose the game at a very quick level,” he said. “Learn playbooks quickly, and installs and game plans.”