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Draft Blog - by Jeff Gollin

Card Ink 17 Undrafted Free Agents  - Mon. April 30, 2012 -  The Cards are bringing in 17 undrafted free agents (so far). Four others (QB Jacori Harris, OG James Dekkle, DE Richetti Jones and S Eddie Elder) were either mentioned by other websites as signing with us or are expected to come in for try outs.

In reviewing the list of "the undrafted", two things leaped out: (1) many of these guys had back-stories involving brushes with the law, academic problems, leaving school, (I'm not kidding) never arriving at school or overcoming tough injuries and (2) most lacked the complete set of prototypical height-weight-speed numbers but had one or two things special about them (i.e. unreal forty-time. pass-rushing skill etc.) that could make them dominant role-players who might help the team as pass rushers, kick blockers or in the return game. The odds of an UDFA making it are pretty rough, but I think a few of these guys have a real chance of making the final roster and contributing to the success of the Cardinal football team.


3 of Final 4 Picks O-Linemen  -Sat. April 28, 5:15 pm - With the remaining quality players in the 5th round flying off the board like Frisbies, the Cardinals added even more offensive line support by drafting Senio Kelemete (listed as an OT instead of an OG where most guides listed him) at #151 and then came back at #177 to select CB Justin Bethel from Presbyterian (yet another small college corner following in the steps of Greg Toler out of St. Paul). The SIRIUS braintrust (Kirwin and Brandt) seemed to like him - One of them pointed out that the difference between a #20 corner and a #4 corner is razor thin.  Bethel is not a blazer (ran in the 4.5's at the Combine). At #185, Graves, Keim & Co. tabbed SD State QB Ryan Lindley. He's 6-3 229. He's supposed to be a bright guy, but I  saw him in post season action, and he seemed to make a lot of mental errors. (Hopefully it was just neophyte nerves).

Kelemete represented good value and another piece of the O-line puzzle. I had him #4 on my board (after J Brown, Iloka and Carder). Bethel reflects team concern about having enough guns to match up against multi-receivers attacks. Lindley provides PS experience behind Bartell or a #3 option should a trade be in the works.

Looking at our final pick in round 7, 3 of my highest 5vplayers are all offensive linemen, and I doubt we'll draft a third one. Same is true at QB (where Foles hasn't yet gone). Dennard's 3rd on my board but we've already picked 2 corners. Looking at "non-OL's, CB's and QB's", my board looks like: Winn DT, Bryan TE, Brewster C, Matthews WR, Martineck FB, T Lewis OLB and Acho ILB (The latter 2 LB's seem like the most logical choice if they're still in play. Cards are next, so we'll get one of these dudes if the FO likes him. (Note - Shoemaker WR out of Boise hasn't been drafted yet - my sleeper of the entire draft).

With their 221st pick, the Cardinals did turn to Boise State but not to Shoemaker. They selected LT Nate Potter (who's been the protector of Kellen Moore's backside during his college career). Great value pick. I had him 4th on my board (below Brown, Reynolds and Dennard). He's more of a finesse pass blocker than a mauler, but we already have those kind of guys in Massie (& to a lesser extent) Kelemete.

Down & Dirty Recap: Cards entered the draft seeking a #2 WR opposite Fitz, additional O-line talent, a pass rusher and a run-stuffing ILB. (Although they didn't make it very public) they also wanted to shore up the secondary to match up better with multi-receiver offenses. We got our receiver (Floyd) , added a couple of cover corners and addressed the O-line situation big time with 3 picks. We didn't pick up any help on the D-line or at LB, but you can't get  everything you want - the value at the 2 latter positions simply wasn't there. The only really valid issue is our drafting two corners instead of an edge-rusher and ILB, but this becomes a matter of where the value was when we picked, and the Cards decided Fleming and Bethel were more valuable to the team than other players still on the board. I also wasn't crazy about the Lindley pick at QB. (But see us in 3 years and we'll tell you how it all played out).

All in all, an unspectacular but very workmanlike draft by the Cards.


Redemption in 4th Round - Sat. April 28, 1 pm ET - With the 112th pick of the draft, Rod Graves, Steve Keim and Coach Wiz quieted all the doubters and naysayers (like me) - who were critical of the Cardinal FO for bypassing quality offensive linemen like Bobby Massie in Round 3 - by coming back and drafting Massey in the next round.

Massie is a mammoth offensive tackle (6-6 325) from Ole Miss. He's considered raw but with all the athletic qualities you'd love to see in an offensive tackle. He's considered a natural RT with a mean streak and black-topping run blocking ability, but you never know what Russ Grimm may have in store for him. At present, it still looks like Levi Brown will hold down the left bookend  of the Cardinal offensive line, with Adam Snyder slated to stay where he does best at RG and Jeremy Bridges and others keeping the seat warm until Massie is ready to move in at RT.

As I did in the previous 3 rounds, I reset my Board and sweated out the "death watch." I started out with a Top 5 of James Brown OG Troy followed by Massie, Mosely, Crick and Iloka. All five were still available when we picked. Maybe we'll get lucky next round and come away with any of the four (we can use even more OL help) or LB's Keenan Robinson and Tank Carder at #151.


Cards' #80 a Doozie - Sat. April 28 , 9:30 am TE - I promise not to label this draft as the worst in Cardinal history until we get to hear from Coach Wiz and see how the rest of this thus-far depressing draft turns out.

With offensive linemen James Brown, Bobby Massey, Brandon Mosely Zebrie Sanders still on the board along with DE Jared Crick, LB Tank Carder, LB Keenan Robinson, DE Tyrone Crawford, CB Bill Bentley and others, the Cardinal "brain trust" decided instead to select cornerback Jamell Flemming from Oklahoma. The books have him running the forty in the mid 4.5's, red-flag and academic -fraud conviction and project him as a 4th or 5th round pick. So let's see what we have here.

BPA? (Don't think so). High Character? (Mmm...no)! Fills a Pressing Need? (Uh Uh)! Impressive on Tape? (Remains to be seen). Brings Physical Presence? (Not according to the scouting reports).  So why? I'll leave a blank space below for Wiz, Rod and Steve to 'splain themselves. Meanwhile we'll have to sweat out 16 picks (from #96 to #112) with J Brown, Massey, Crick, Z Sanders and Givens Top 5 on our board.

(I reserved the following space for explanations by the brass and coaches):

Both Wiz and RG described Fleming as a "physical corner" Rod called him "a physical corner with speed" and "highest on our board." Rod acknowledged the need to bolster the OL "but not at the expense of passing up more talented players at other positions."  He said we'll have other opportunities to address the O-line situation - if not in the draft probably by training camp. Wiz pointed out the need to respond to multi-receiver sets and special teams value. He referred to Jamell being named 2011 Fiesta Bowl MVP and his 5 interceptions 2 years ago and 2 interceptions last season. Jamal's 3-xone and shuttle performances suggest great CODS skills.

OK. I heard what Wiz and Rod had to say. There's a disconnect between their take on Fleming's physicality and what the draft books say - something to keep an eye on when we see him in Camp. Also -  I'd like to get a more accurate take on the Combine results - For example,, nfl.com's website lists no forty time or 3-cone stats for Fleming but do provide footage of him running the 3-cone and caption his forty footage with a 4.53 time. So what gives? Where did Darren Urban's 4.43 forty time Combine report come from?

Bottom line - I'm still a bit underwhelmed by the pick, but Fleming is ours now and our objective should be to make him feel welcome and encourage him to do whatever it takes to prove all us nay-sayers wrong.


2nd Day Time Line   - Fri. Apr. 27 10:30 pm - Here's how things unfolded. Read it and weep.:

10:12 pm - Jamell Fleming. Who? WTF! He's so obscure we have to look him  up. Turns out to be a corner from Oklahoma with an academic-fraud rap in his background projected to go in the 4th or 5th round.

10:00 pm ET - With three to go, we, we're guaranteed B Thompson, J Brown or Massey. We lose Thompson. Egnew comes off the board. And then....

9:50 pm ET - Our floor is now at Crick. (Lookin' good)!

9:45 pm ET - We are guaranteed to either get Thompson, Brooks, J Brown, Massey, Crick, Bentley or Z Sanders.

930 pm ET - 2 obscure WR's and a punter were drafted and strengthened our position on our board. Our floor is now Nick Toon.

9:25 pm ET -The floor on our board is now Kelemete.

9:20 pm ET - (End of Round 2) - We're guaranteed to get someone ahead of Mosely on our board. Top 5 now Thompson, Brooks, Brown, Massey and B Taylor S

8:50 pm ET - Adams and Osomele are gonzo.

8:40 pm ET - New Top 5: Thompson, Brooks, J Brown, Massey and Osamelte

8:00 pm ET - All the guys I like are quickly being peeled off my Board. My Top 5 at this early point: B Thompson DT, B Brooks OT, Reyes DT, J Brown OL, Worthy DT

Day Two (More Fun Than Day One)  Fri. Apr. 27 -11 am ET - The thing about Day One is that ithere's an overabundance of hoopla and not enough meat & potatos. There's too much time between drafts - the NFLN coverage seemed to blur into Pick followed by Commercials followed by Pick. The Day Two picks come faster, and the NFL doesn't have to waste energy trotting each of the 26 guys up to the podium. Also, this is when you can throw your mock draft into the "old news" file folder and concentrate between sessions on resetting your draft boards.

Here's what I do: After each round (including our first pick at #13) I reassess our team needs & adjust player BPA ratings and rankings accordingly to come up with a fresh #33 to #80 Board. Naturally - having taken a WR (Floyd) with our first pick, the rest of the WR's still available will tend to be downgraded somewhat, since it would be unlikely for us to draft two of them back to back.

This year, it's kind of depressing - having traded our 2nd round pick to Philly in the Kolb deal - we have to go 66 spots until we get to  pick again (despite still having urgent holes to fill at OT, pass-rusher and ILB). And a hidden indirect fall-out of not having a 2nd round pick is that it robbed us of ammunition to trade up and the leverage to trade down.

Looking forward to tonight, we have to hope we can fill a position need with a quality player. The good news about waiting for 66 spots top go by is that it increases the chances that a few more highly-rated players will slip thru the cracks down to us at #80.

In terms of BPA - Glenn, Upshaw, Hill and Kendrick sit highest on our new Board. Position-wise, available players include:

  • O-Linemen: Glenn, Martin, Adams, J Brown, Z Sanders and Silatolu.

  • OLB's - Upshaw, Branch, Wilber and K Robinson

  • Defensive Ends - Crick, Curry and T Crawford

  • Defensive Tackles - Worthy, B Thompson, Reyes, Ta'amu and Still

  • Inside Backers - Kendrick, Wagner and Carder

  • Corners - Bentley, T Johnson, Norman,  Dennard, Jenkins, O Bolden

  • Safeties - B Taylor, Iloka, A Allen, Josh Robinson, M Martin


Draft Day Finally Here  - Fri. Apr. 27, 2012 - 10 am ET - (based on notes after the fact) The draft continues to feel a little bit weird - first of all , I'm still not used to the NFL breaking it up into three separate days. Secondly, it was the first time I'd be able to separate myself from my downstairs office PC and watch the draft in our living room accompanied by my trusty new I-Pad. (Sure makes things easier).

I  anticipated the Draft with more questions than answers. My two areas of focus were, of course, (1) how the Cardinals would do and (2) how actual results would match my mock draft projections.

Cardinals
The way things were breaking, I saw the Cardinals in play to draft Ingram, DeCastro, Reiff or Floyd (with Keuchly an outside shot). I felt they were close enough together to allow "need" to be a bigger factor and that we needed an elite pass rusher or offensive lineman more than we did a receiver (There'd be plenty of those guys around later in the draft).

I still held out hope that - if there were 4 or 5 guys we liked still on our Board at #13, we'd be able to trade down to regain at least part of our lost 2nd round pick (traded away in the Kolb deal). Without that extra pick, we'd be out-of-play until Pick #80 (where pickings would be extremely slim). If we stood pat, the depressing part would be that we'd only be able to effectively address one of our 3 or 4 position needs.

The First Round
Let's play 24 Questions:

1. Is the Minnesota trade-down rumor real or smoke? (It turned out to be real)

2. Is Gilmore really likely to go to Jax in the top 7? (Nope)

3. What about the top 15? (Buffalo grabbed him at #10)

4. Tannehill to Miami at #8-- Really? (Really)

5. Is it true that other teams will try to trade up to grab Tannehill (Uh uh).

6. If you're the Rams - Blackmon or Claiborne? (Neither. They traded down with Dallas and took Brockers)

7. Will Buffalo take Reiff or Keuchly? (How about Gilmore)?

8. Will KC or Seattle be all over moves to grab Tannehill? (They never got the shot)

9. Will DeCastro slip as far as the Jets at #16? (No, further - he went to Pittsburgh at #24)

10. Could Ingram slip out of the top 15? (Yup. He went to SD at #18).

11. Will Da Bears draft a wideout or a D-lineman? (D-lineman, sort of; they grabbed McClellan a DE/OLB)

12. Is Kirkpatrick considered so tarnished that he'll slip past #20? (Uh uh - he went to Cincy at #17)

13. What's up with the Lions. I have  no clue about their intentions (Reiff fell to them like a gift from heaven. Good job)

14. Hightower's a lock to go to Pittsburgh or Baltimore, right? (Wrong! New England moved up to get him).

15. Will Baltimore grab Hightower or Konz? (They traded out of the first round - Konz is still undrafted).

16. How high will Chandler Jones leap up to? As high as #9 where Mayock rates him? (No. Fair value at #21)

17. Is the rumor accurate that NE likes C Jones enough to trade up for him? (Yes. NE moved up 6 spots to get him).

18. McClellan  to Green Bay - real or imagined? (We'll never know - the Bears grabbed him 9 spots earlier).

19. Will Corby Glenn go in the top 15? (He didn't get drafted in the firstround).

20. Fleener to the Giants? (The Giants opted for the 3rd RB - Wilson - to be selected in the first round. Fleener not drafted yet).

21. Zeitler or Fleener to the Niners? (No, the surprised the heck out of me by reaching for Jenkins with Hill still on the board).

22. How far (if at all) will Upshaw drop? (Evidently, all the way out of the first round)

23. Will Coples remain in the top 10? (Nope. He dropped to the Jets at #16).

24. What about Poe? Top Ten? Or Bottom Ten? (Top 10 - almost - he went to KC at #11).

Biggest Day One Surprises

  • Barron going as high as #7.

  • St. Louis passing on a needed receiver (Blackmon or Floyd) and the best CB in the draft to trade down and grab Brockers.

  • Seattle reaching for Irvin at #15.

  • Reiff falling all the way to Detroit at #23

  • Ditto DeCastro (to Pittsburgh at #24)

  • Seattle reaching for Jenkins with Hill, Randle and Jeffery still available.

  • The Giants passing on Fleener, Glenn and Martin to draft  D Wilson RB.

  • Upshaw, Glenn and Hill dropping our of the first round.




 
 
 
 
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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 04/30/2012