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Rolling Draft Day Blog - by Jeff Gollin
7:38 pm  -  The Cardinals wrapped up their 2013 draft by selecting Rutgers TE DCJefferson with their #219th pick. Jefferson is a big fella at 266 250, but never lived up to sky high potential after switching from QB to TE in his freshman year.  If BA and his staff can coach him up, he could really turn out to be something, but so far, Jefferson's production is far below what it should be.

Looking backward, the Cards added 2 running backs, a speedy wideout, a tight end, 2 guards, a DE/OLB, an ILB and a CB/FS. The only roster hole that remained unaddressed is for an explosive edge-rusher.

But there's still free agency to sift thru. No doubt, Steve Keim and his merry men are "smiling and dialing" as they reach out to a large pool of the Undrafted. Stay tuned.
 

4:45 pm  -  The Cards surprised us all by grabbing another RB - Andre Ellington from Clemson. (Note - Just as I started posting this, ESPN showed some footage - he seems to run with a low pad-level and displayed elite lateral speed. They say he can catch out of the backfield and plays faster than he times. (He was another hamstring casualty at the Combine and ran in the 4.6's instead of his pre-combine 4.4-something numbers. (Another note - C Washington was drafted one pick after Ellington).

4:15 pm  -  Just keeping up with the traded picks is a bit daunting. Cards have two picks coming up in the 6th round - their #174 and #187. Cards used their first of the two picks to grab their "burner", Texas A&M wideout Ryan Swope. (Downside - small hands and concussion history). Still, a great value for the pick (he was expected to be gone by the 4th round). We're up to #183 on the clock. Matt Scott, Quessenberry , Barner and Poyer are still undrafted. (Although it's not a pressing need, I hope we draft Scott. But from a "gang-bang the OL" standpoint, Quessenberry would be a nifty pick at #187). (Note- Beauharnais and Cornelius Washington (who can pass rush) are still out there also). Wow!

2:15 pm  -  I got hung up on attempting to fix a bunch of errant links on this site (If you encounter any, my apologies) and didn't get back to sweating out the draft board until we picked at #140. We were doing OK until about 6 picks before us, when Jesse Williams, the safety,(Wolff), Denard Robinson and DT Montori Hughes flew off the board rapid-fire. At #140, we selected Stanford star RB Stepfan Taylor. I was impressed with Taylor throughout his college career and disappointed when he ran in the 4.7's at the Combine. (As it turns out, Taylor had run on a sprained ankle in Indy and returned to his usual mid 4.6 time at his pro day. He's no blazer, but he's a complete back with good size - who can block, catch and run between the tackles. (And let's not forget that Emmitt Smith supposedly ran in the 4.6's. With the exception of the Mathieu pick, this is turning out to be a very workmanlike lunch-pail initial draft for Steve Keim and the Cardinal staff.

1:15 pm  -  We started off owing picks #103 and #110 with my wish list including center Brian Schwenke, DE Jesse Williams OT David Quessenberry and possibly a QB like Matt Scott or Tyler Wilson. At #103, the Cards grabbed Longhorn DE/OLB Alex Okafor (described by yours truly in his write-up as more of an Acho-type than a Freeney-Freak (i.e. we still don't have our pass rusher). At #110 (with my board still "untouched by human hands", the Cardinals elected to trade back again - this time to #116 plus the Giants' #187th pick in the 6th round. The Giants took Nassib. This time Tyler Wilson, Barrett Jones and Landry-Jones flew off the board, but Jesse Williams, Quessenberry and Matt Scott were still available. The Cards instead opted to draft another offensive guard, Earl Watford of James Madison. (I'll admit to confusing Watford and the previously drafted Larry Warford, but recall both as solid wide-bodied guys who can both anchor and road-grade.

Onward to #140 (barring trades) and the hope that we somehow land Williams, Scott or Quessenberry. See ya.

9:30 am - Day 3  -
 All rumors (nothing concrete) all day long. Cards entered Day #2 with the upgrade of their OL partly addressed with the drafting of Cooper the night before. Still to be accomplished - adding a pass rusher, safety, tight end, a big RB and adding inside linebacker depth.  They stayed on a meat and potatoes course in round 2 by trading down from #38 (with SD who grabbed Manti Te'o) to #45, where they selected inside LB Kevin Minter (rated #1 ILB by several draft guides going into post-season; I rated him #5). He's not spectacular by Butkus or Urlacher standards but executes his responsibilities solidly and was described by one scout as "a tackling machine."). They then surprised the world  with their #69 (3rd round) pick by drafting "The Honey Badger" - CB Tyrann Mathieu who brings a mixture of freakish athletic playmaking ability with a history of off the field issues (including several substance abuse violations. It's a risky proposition for the Cardinals - certainly an abrupt departure from previous front office policy of drafting "clean" players and avoiding controversy - but Coach Arians, Michael Bidwill and Steve Keim obviously felt that, if they (and teammates that included former LSU buddy Patrick Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald) could keep him on a tight leash within a good environment, they could put Tyrann's issues behind him and he could make a big difference in the Cardinal secondary. Word out of Tempe is that they'll try him first at free safety.

Cards pick 6th (#103) and 13th (#110) in the 4th round. My Adjusted Top 13 Board includes, Schwenke C, Jesse Williams DT, Quissenberry OL, T. Wilson QB, B Jones C, M Scott QB, Okafor DE, Hughes DT, Holmes, DT, K Greene LB, Franklin RB and C Washington. (And because boards vary greatly from team to team and fan to fan, I'm getting nervous about when we might want to take a shot at the LB Beauharnais or RB Lattimore). Stay tuned


9:30 pm - I reset my board for #46 to #69. Hunt, Brown and Swearinger come off the board. Alford comes off. Still there are B Moore, Jenkins, Goodwin and Watson. With the the #69 pick in the 2013 draft, the Cardinals select - cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. Wow! High risk/high reward - not something the old regime would have even remotely considered. First thought was that he'd probably be used as a nickel-slot corner to match the Percy Harvinsand Tavon Austins of the NFC West. But I'm now hearing that they may try him at FS. Ultimately, I could see him paired with PP21 as a #2 starter. I then worked on readjusting my #70 - #110 Board and called it a night.

6;30 pm - Cyprien is first to go.  Hunter and Slay (not high on my board) are taken (Good for us). Cards up at #38 and "bam!" they trade the pick with SD who take Manti Te'o. (Taste bile in my mouth). We move down to #45 and  pick up a #110. Meanwhile the Jets take Geno. (I'll refrain comment for now). Still on my Board - Hunt, D Moore, Watson and Jenkins. When it's our turn, Hunt, Moore, Jenkins and A Brown are still on my board. Maybe we'll trade down again. Cards opt for Minter (more of a lunchpail guy than Te'o, but 2/10ths of a second faster with a less visible media profile.

Noon - Spent most of the day bringing various boards up to speed.  Took my bride out to lunch (to free up the evening from family obligations).  Returned by 2. Minor TV buzz that Cards may be interested in Geno (Really? A short-pass guy in a BA offense? Really?) My adjusted #8 - #38 Board suggests that we'll get a good player at #38, but it could go in any direction.

9:24 am - Day 2 - It's gonna be a busy day - re-adjust the boards, post the results, check out the mocks etc. etc. Most exciting activity will be to scope out the first 6 picks of Round 2 to figure out what the Cardinals will do at #38. Without much thought, the top 6 remaining players on my adjusted board figure to be Margus Hunt, Demontre Moore, Tank Carradine, Johnathan Cyprien, Geno Smith, and Arthur Brown with DJ Swearinger, Monti Te'o, Sio Moore, Tyler Wilson and Alex Okafor other possibilities. Catch you all later.


8:00 pm - Go! I'm hoping (without much confidence) that the Cards grab an OT like Lane Johnson and, barring that, will settle for Cooper or Warmack. For this to happen, at least two non-OL's will have to fall and/or Philly would have to trade the pick to an Austin-seeker or to us.

KC waits til the last minute and picks Fisher (Dang! I forgot to switch Fisher and Joeckel in the ASFN mock draft contest...Jax is up (figures to entertain trade offers). They take Joeckel. Will Oakland trade? I see Big Al's brother mouth the words "trade" from the draft table inside Radio City Music Hall. Yup; Miami (Bye bye L Johnson). But no! They grab Dion Jordan. Eagles now up - either they trade to a team who wants Lane Johnson or they stay put and take him themselves. Kelly grabs Johnson. Detroit has been said to love Warmack but also needs a pass rusher. Boom! Ziggy Ansah! With Ansah and Jordan off the board (& Cleveland likely to take a QB or Milliner) things are looking good for getting Cooper. Surprise!

The Browns grab Mingo paving the way for the Cards to grab Cooper; but I'm greedy. I had concocted a scenario whereby the Jets or Buffalo (said to be interested in Austin) could be pitted against one another and enable us to trade down one or two spots. With Cooper and Warmack on the board (& Austin presumably one of the picks between #7 and #9) we could trade down for a 4th or 5th pick and still get one of the two guards.

But the Cards stand pat, paving the way for StL to trade up with Buffalo and steal Austin from the Jets. (We coulda been a contender). The Cardinals played it safe and took one of the cleanest, safest picks in the draft in offensive guard, Johnathan Cooper.

Meanwhile, I was able to squeeze in the Finale of Project Runway. (The put-down artist - Michelle - shouldn't have won, but that's a whole different story. Night Night.


7:00 pm - Rumors: Atlanta targeting Mingo. Giants have zero'd in on Werner, Watson and Rhodes (& not Ogletree)...Idzik and Rex singing Kumbaya...Niners are trying to move up to grab an "impact player." Other than that, a lot of Red Carpet fluff. I Google  PT vs. ET time differentional. It says "3 hours" (I beat the ASFN Deadline by 0:03 minutes...

5:00 pm - McShay came up with his final-final mock: Joeckel or Fisher, Jordan, Trade Down or Floyd, Lane Johnson, Ansah, Geno and Cooper. Broke for dinner.

4:00 pm - NFL Live came on-air. Talking heads (Jaws and Bruschi) emphasized QB's being overdrafted (Philly or Buffalo?) and Jacksonville desperately needing a pass rusher.  Te'o to Bears rumors supported by report that Bears have spent a lot of time with Te'o and that Te'o has been asking reporters a lot about what the Bears are like.

The Austin to Buffalo (or higher) rumors continue to bubble. Which raises an interesting trade-down possibility for the Cardinals: The three teams hottest on Austin's tail appear to be the Rams at #16 or #22, Buffalo at #8 and the Jets at #9. The Cards could hold any of the three teams hostage (because Buffalo would be afraid of StL or the Jets leapfrogging them into the #7-hole and both Buffalo, the Jets would have to get ahead of Buffalo to secure Austin and the Jets would be afraid of being circumnavigated by Buffalo at #9 or StL coming up from #16 or #22.

The ideal trade for the Cardinals would be to swap their #7 for Buffalo's #8 or the Jets' #9 while picking up an extra 4th or 5th round pick (according to one trade value chart). If they swapped picks with Buffalo, they'd still get the player they wanted at #7. If they swapped with the Jets, they'd get one of the two highest players on their board (with the better than even likelihood that Buffalo would draft a QB anyway). These trade fantasies seldom occur anyway, but it's fun to dream.

According to Mortensen and Schefter, KC appears to be taking Fisher but nothing's been confirmed. Jacksonville seems likely to take the "other OT." There is a lot of trade-chatter: Austin remains the hot player. Oakland rumored to want to trade down and the Niners and Falcons seeking to trade up. There could be a run on QB's starting as early as the middle picks of the first round with teams in the second round seeking to move into the 1st round in order to get the benefit of the 5th year on 1st round contracts. That's it for now.


 3:30 pm  - Andy Reid gave away nothing.  Austin was quoted as saying "The Jets have a plan for me."

2:00 pm  - No new info or buzz.. NFL Network repeatedly went around the horn to various NFL cities and reran their stories each time around.  SIRIUS (Murray and Gannon) were running color stories on draft prospects.

The Michelle Beisner Cardinal Tape Loop: (1) The Cards allowed 58 sacks last year. (2) They want one of the three tackles. (3) They probably won't get any. (4) If so, they'd probably turn their attention to pass rusher or trade down. (5) Whether they'd draft a guard is unclear.

I made a last-minute revision to my ASFN 7 Round Mock entry (subbing Goodwin for Thornton in the 3rd round) but (depending on whether or not NJ is 3 hours time-difference from AZ or whether it's 2) I may have missed the deadline by 55-minutes.


8:30 am Draft Day Morning - -  Thurs. April 25, 2013 -- No overnight deals (I guess holding the draft in the evening makes it easier to do deals in daylight hours leading up to the draft). First thing I did was check the local dailies. Surprise! No mock in the Asbury Park Press. But the NJ Star Ledger had one as did Gary Myers in the NY Daily News. (I've found that Myers uses a wide range of contacts within the NFL and media to usually bury everyone else for mock draft bragging rights). I also caught up with the NFL Network "group mock" and Mayock's latest mock from last night. These should provide enough tea-leaves: For example, the names most mentioned with regard to the Jets are Mingo and Austin. You keep hearing Ogletree and Fluker in the same sentences with the Giants. Ditto Manti Te'o and the Bears. There's more and more sentiment about the Eagles grabbing Lane Johnson if they keep the pick (or trading the pick to another team who would probably draft Johnson at #4).

But there are differences - Myers has the Cards drafting Jordan. The Star Ledger has us grabbing Ansah. Todd McShay has Cooper going to the Cardinals. My gut tells me that (a) there will be a load of trades at the top of the draft, and (b) it's time to adjust various mocks, boards etc. to last minute changes that "just feel right." This is not easy - I'm guessing that the Cards are 45-45 to draft Cooper or Jordan in the first round (with Jarvis Jones a 10% darkhorse). See you later.


7:00 pm Wednesday Night - -  Wed. April 24, 2013 -- I started the evening with a bummed out feeling from being attacked by an arrogant blogger on ASFN "who didn't think I was contributing to the conversation." It's one thing to voice your own opinions on a forum, but totally out-of-line to assume the role of "Editor" and personally attack the nature of someone else's writing style. At the onset of what should have been a joyous 3 or 4 days of enjoying the draft, what this dude did was tantamount to "peeing in the soup." Anyway, it's made be just a bit sad. Goes to show you that even Cardinal fandome has its share of knuckleheads.

Cards signed 4 free agents - wide receivers Jarrett Dillard (Rice)  and Robert Gill (Texas St.), TE Alex Gottleib (William & Mary) and OT Paul Fanaika (ASU). The first announced signing listed Fanaika as an OG, raising the possibility that  the Cardinals had decided to forgoe drafting an OG (like Cooper or Warmack) high in the draft - even if the top 3 OT's were taken. (There has been a lot of buzz on tv suggesting that the top 5 offensive linemen will all be off our board by #7.).

No deals yet, but the scuttlebutt is there's an unusual amount of trade chatter among teams seeking to trade up or trade down. Mike Mayock shrewdly observed that "Philly at #4, controls Lane Johnson." Several teams (including the Cardinals) desperately need LT help and probably will try to trade up. Or the Eagles could decide to keep the pick and draft Johnson, themselves.

Several teams apparently are afflicted with "Austin Fever", and Tavon has moved from a mid-20's possibility to as high as Buffalo at #8. Plenty of trade buzz here.

The Niners have 13 picks, but don't expect them to add 13 players to an already talent-loaded roster. More likely, they'll try to package picks in order to move up in the draft to grab specific players they've targeted. (And remember, supplemental picks can't be used in a trade).

Dallas buzz is that they need offensive line help (Cooper, Warmack, Fluker, but could take Vaccaro if all three linemen were unavailable. Or it could all be part of Jerry Jones' previously announced trade-down strategy.

Buffalo talking about Barkley if Nassib is gone - but I can't believe they'd consider either as high as #8.

What would it take for the Cards to go up and get Johnson? One of the legendary "trade value charts" sets Philly's #4 spot at 1800 points and the Cardinal's pick at #7 at 1500 points. The Cards would have to come up with 300 value points and/or a player to make this trade happen. The advantage to Philly would be that they'd only have to move down 3 spots. To make the trade work with picks-only, the Cards would have to part with their 3rd round pick (#103)  (worth 245 points) plus their 5th round pick (#174) (worth 36 points) plus possibly a future late pick in 2014. Or this might be the time to dangle Brian Hoyer out there as trade bait. But if they don't trade a player, the deal would boil down to: Is it worth a 3rd and 5th round pick to swap #1's and guarantee Lane Johnson. (I hate to part with draft picks, but would not be totally against that trade).

The other possibility would be for the Cards to trade in the opposite direction - i.e. if Ansah, Lotuleilei, J Jones, Warmack, Cooper or even Eifert or Austin were still on Steve Keim's "Seven Players We're Happy to Draft" list, I could see us trading down 2, 3 or 4 spots with teams - eager to trade up to grab a hot commodity like a Lotuleilei, Austin or Eifert - and still get one of the guys on our list.

9 pm - there's nothing new, and I'm wrapping up the day. Big day tomorrow.

 




 
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