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
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
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
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
With their 221st pick, the Cardinals did turn
to Boise State but not to Shoemaker. They selected LT
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
The First Round
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
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
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
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