Rounds 4 - 7
The Cards used their 4th and two 5th round picks to address needs for a center and a safety. As they also did a year ago, they cherrypicked a promising offensive tackle.
The 4th round was kind of dicey as we went on what we described as "the Westerman Death Watch" watching OC-OG prospect after OC-OG prospect come off our boards and wondering if anyone would be left who could play center for us. Cards stuck with a traditional center in Boehm (considered a lunch pail guy who made up for short arms and a lack of athleticism with smarts, grittiness and leadership skills). In the 5th round (by then, nearly every prospect on the first two pages of our board had been snapped up) the Cards grabbed a small college safety (Marquis Christian) with their first (#167) pick and Harvard OT (Cole Toner) with their second 5th round pick (#170). Barring trades, the Cards will have one final pick late in the 6th round (#205) Draft is up to two teams before we pick, so you'll get my reaction "live." (With their final pick - barring trades - Cards nabbed an aggressive corner with questionable forty speed in Harlan Miller from SE Louisiana).
Best way to summarize Day Three would be: "Steve Keim working his small school magic."
Rounds 2 & 3
To answer the most logical question: No, the Cards did not trade for more more picks (yet). The lights stayed out until it was time to make their third round pick at #92. Still on my board were DT Andrewq Billings, FS Jalen Mills, SS Miles Killebrew, OG-OC Christian Westerman, QB Dak Prescott, Kevin Hogan and fan favorite Cardale Jones.
In answer to your second most logical question: No, we didn't draft a center (a guard who could be groomed to be center).
Instead, Steve Keim reached into his "Who?" bag of tricks and came up with an extremely athletic CB with good size, who made the transition from RB to CB in his final college year at Texas A&M in 2015: Brandon Williams.
Heading into Day Three, the Cards need a center and could use more depth at OLB, S/LB, QB and ILB. Out there are: QB's: Prescott C Jones, Cook, Hogan, Adams; OT: Haeg,Murphy, OG-C: Westerman, Alexander, Blythe, L Turner, Matthews, Allen, Tretola, DL: Billings, Ionnidis, ILB: Matakevich, Brothers, Martinez, OLB: Perry, Fackrell, CB: T Young, S: Mills, Killebrew, Kearse. Of this group, Perry sticks out like a sore thumb.
Some other observation about the draft in general:
Kudos to the NFL and supporting media for providing us with more material than ever - far cry from the days of foraging thru Street & Smith, watching the ESPN crawl and having to sneak into a local hotel ballroom at lunch time to watch the draft in person. No we have lists and write-ups and player-footage and war room coverage. Outstanding.
And kudos also to the media, whose draft boards were closer than ever before to what actually happened in the first three rounds. It used to be that there would be a half-dozen or so prospects who'd stick like glue to the top of my board; never to be picked until sometime in Day Three. As of right now, there are four prospects out of my top 45 (page one) who haven't gotten picked in the first three rounds.
And more kudos to Mike Mayock, whose mock "killed it" - I counted 11 (player-to-team) "direct hits" in the first round (compared to maybe three or four for the rest of us mere mortals). Attaboy, Mike! (But you still suck in the vertical jump).
And a "Thank you" to "Brian of Xfinity" (who swapped modems and got my I-Pad reconnected to the Internet by 10:30 am on Day 2).
Catcha later (I'm sweating out Center).
No early surprises - the 2 QB's go 1-2. Then the Tunsil rumors surfaced, he nosedived, Chargers picked Bosa (what a humble dude!) at #3 and my mock went off the tracks...I'm wondering whether some of the rumors (about AJ Green, Jihad Ward etc. are making more sense. And I'm wondering if my own pick for the Cards (Cravens) is totally off the wall...
Jerry Jones got his way and Dallas chose Elliott over Ramsey...There was the usual number of trades...Big surprise at #10 (Giants took Apple)...Joseph to Oakland OK but a bit of a reach as was another safety (Neal)...Indy broke our hearts at #18 by taking Kelly...Jets didn't draft Paxton Lynch (took Lee instead)...Cincy beat the Steelers to Jackson. (Steelers settled for Burns)...Niners traded ahead of us to take a guard (Garnett) that I had pegged as a possible center...
Cards then shocked me by selecting Nkemdiche. For one thing, they didn't trade back and, as of now, don't pick until #92...More surprising this was a major "red-flag guy" (I filled the better part of a paragraph here about why BA and SK were too smart to let the team become some sort of halfway house for wayward athletes and that the media shouldn't interpret the success of Tyrann Mathieu as meaning that the Cards would be pushovers for troubled rookies...Don't get me wrong - I'm all for second chances, extenuating circumstances etc., but risk = just that: the possibility that "things could go wrong" and the investment pay off could turn out to be zero. I guess what I'm saying to BA and SK is "OK, roll the dice, but do so with your eyes wide open and with extreme caution. Keep the situation well-managed and Nkemdiche on a short leash. And be cognizant of what I consider my biggest fear: that, on any roster, you reach a tipping point where problem players tilt the critical mass of the overall roster toward the dark side. (Then you've got a real problem).
Then I watched some tape of Nkemdiche. Man oh man! If we can keep him on the straight & narrow, we've got Superman. Watch the way he snakes up the field with a low pad level to beat the handoff and blow up plays. Imagine what his threat of destroying opposing plays can do for Chandler Jones and the rest of our defense. Wow! (But wow with a "Gulp!)
Apr. 28, 2016 - 4:45 pm ET - No new rumors....getting ready to order out for Chinese food...Seems as good a time as any to discuss my projection of Su'a Cravens for the Cards at #29. First, I still think it's at least 50-50 that the Cards trade down to regain all or part of the 2nd round (at #63?)pick surrendered for Chandler Jones. But if we keep the pick, one direction we might take would be a back up/future successor to hybrid LB/S Deone Buccanon. Other options at the LB/S spot might be AJ Green or D Thompson, but either might be a stretch at #29. The mention of CB Artie Burns is interesting because he, Jackson and Alexander all fit the Jerraud Powers mold of length, size and physicality and hopefully have more speed than Powers. (Disturbing scout'squote regarding Green about: "I don't why this player decided to come out. He's a long way from being an NFL player)"....DL ihad Ward is another interesting prospect who might be overdrafted at #29. He can play DE or DT....My hope for the Cards is that Kelly or Whitehair will fall to us and/or we're able to trade back a few spots and wind up with a S plus a CB or Edge guy. See ya!
Apr. 28, 2016 - 3 pm ET - Yesterday evening was when I first discovered that my WI Fi was down - not a good thing when faced with the amount of material I hoped to post over the next few days. Fortunately, all I lost was Internet use of my I-Pad. My I-Mac desktop unit (which is connected to an Internet thingy via a hardwire) was still connected; so here we are.
What a strange draft - normally, no major trades are announced until the draft is underway. Then all hell breaks loose and we all roll our mock drafts into a tight little ball & toss them into the nearest waste-basket. This year, we've known for over a week about the two trades at the top of the draft order and the super-sure likelihood that it would involve 2 QB's - Goff first; Wentz second.
Very little in the way of rumors during much of the day. Here are a few observations:
At the risk of injury patting myself on the back, it seems as if more and more mocks resemble the mock I put together several days ago. Prognostications I'm most proud of are Ramsey to Dallas...Tunsil to the Ravens....Stanley to SF...Nkemdiche to the Bills...Lynch to the Jets...Ragland to GB.
The first pivotable point in the draft looks to be the Chargers at #3. I have them taking Buckner, but there's a late buzz that they might take Stanley (who, on some boards, is said to be jumping ahead of Tunsil at OT. There are also a flurry of rumors speculating that the Browns at #8 will trade down...A Conklin to Giants buzz is gathering steam. My take - correct position/wrong side. They need a pass protecting LT/Conklin is a smashmouth RT....Everyone in the universe seems to have Atlanta drafting Lee...There seems to be a concensus (me included) that Rex Ryan at #19 will draft a red-flag guy (probably Nkemdiche or Spence)...Jets at#20 are in a pickle at QB and (despite some comments that they'd just be adding another mediocre QB fto the two they've already got) are attracting universal agreement that they'll draft Lynch...
Card rumors are all over the lot - most involving OC's or DB's - Mentioned are Kelly, Whitehair (as a center not a guard), Burns, Apple or a pass rusher. There's a mini-take on the Cards that - because they drafted and turned around Tyrann Mathieu, that they'll be more likely to roll the dice on red-flagged players (like Nkemdiche or Spence) - serving as some sort of halfway house for wayward players as it were. I kind of doubt this. I don't think BA or SK have a blanket policy of rubberr-stamping players with "character issues" as some sort of reclamation policy. I do think they believe that the human factor trumps placing negative labels on a player and that each case is unique and often complicated.
So that's what I've been hearing (& what I've been thinking. Now watch events prove me 1,000% wrong. I'll be back if and when I learn new things.. Bon Appetit!