TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Shortly after selecting him with their second-round pick, the Arizona Cardinals asked Kevin Minter if he was ready to knock people around in the desert.
That's what Minter did at LSU, so there was no question what his answer was going to be.
"They were excited about drafting me," Minter said on a conference call Friday after being taken with the 45th overall pick of the NFL draft. "They said I can be a great fit for the team and they asked me if I was ready to come to Arizona to bust some heads. I told them yes."
Arizona addressed one big need by taking North Carolina offensive guard Jonathan Cooper with No. 7 overall pick in the first round, but still had plenty of holes to fill.
After swapping second-round picks with San Diego, they opted to shore up a linebacking corps that will be missing Daryl Washington the first four games of the 2013 season after he violated the league's substance-abuse policy.
As a redshirt junior last season, Minter was 14th nationally with 130 tackles, including 15 for losses, while becoming a finalist for the Butkus Award and a second-team Associated Press All-American.
Arizona had the seventh pick of the second round — 38th overall — but traded it to San Diego in exchange for the Chargers' second-round (45th overall) and fourth-round picks (110).
San Diego used the pick to take Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, the Heisman Trophy runner-up who drew national attention after he said he was tricked into an online relationship with a girl who didn't exist.
The Cardinals made a much more low-key selection in the second round by taking Minter, a former teammate of their Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson.
A good tackler and a linebacker who can fight off the blocks of bigger linemen, Minter is a superb run defender who has a knack for taking good angles on ball carriers. At 6-foot, 246 pounds, he's also athletic enough to drop into coverage on tight ends, running backs and receivers, allowing him stay on the field on passing downs.
Minter's aggressiveness sometimes hurts him on misdirection and his lateral quickness has been questioned, but he has a nose for the ball and loves to hit, which should fit into Arizona's aggressive scheme.
"I'm a physical player," said Minter, who graduated in December and opted to leave LSU early to help his family financially. "I'm passionate. I'm about business. I feel like I'll be a great asset to this team."
And the Cardinals need help at linebacker.
Arizona released Stewart Bradley, once projected as a starter, during the offseason and may not re-sign free agent Paris Lenon.
The Cardinals signed Jasper Brinkley, who spent the previous four seasons with Minnesota, during the offseason, but Washington won't be able to play until Oct. 6.