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Cardinals Live On The Edge, And Draft Aftermath

The draft, in the end, was about Hollywood, and being edgy. That probably shouldn't have been a surprise.

The talk has been ongoing since last year about who makes most sense as a No. 2 wide receiver with DeAndre Hopkins. Then Chandler Jones left as a free agent, and that leaped to the top of the what-should-concern-the-Cardinals list.

The former was addressed Thursday with the trade for wideout Marquise "Hollywood" Brown. The latter was attacked with the choices of three (2.5?) edge rushers among the eight draft picks the Cardinals ended up spending over the weekend. GM Steve Keim helped the roster -- at least, it looks like he did. Who knows? A real analysis of any draft right now is impossible.

"We all know this is a projection-based business and it's forecasting, which can be difficult for any NFL team," Keim said Saturday after the draft ended. "At the same time the mental makeup of the guys we drafted is something I am excited about, and the first pick, at 23, he's got some credibility that comes with him."

There will be a ton written on Brown going forward. He will help. That's a given. The question is about the draft picks. Some of them will have to play and help immediately. Until we get to training camp, what that looks like is an unknown.

-- It was interesting to hear Kliff Kingsbury when he was asked what in particular he would be watching the most when he gets all the players back on the field. I was thinking he'd mention a specific position.

"More than anything, how we are going to use all these different pieces on offense," Kingsbury said. "That many guys that have that ability at wideout, and those two tight ends."

It was doubly interesting when Kingsbury specifically then mentioned Zach Ertz and second-round tight end Trey McBride as the two tight ends. Maxx Williams' comeback from his knee injury is one to watch, and McBride's arrival may mean more than anyone thought when it was first announced.

-- The Cardinals now have Cameron Thomas -- who will be used on the edge with the ability to slip inside at times -- and Myjai Sanders -- more of the prototypical build for what the Cards do outside -- and Jesse Luketa -- and outside/inside possibility -- as new parts in the post-Chandler outside linebacker story.

This team still needs to get a lot from Markus Golden, of course. But the Cardinals went with numbers, and the more chances, the better.

"You can never replace Chandler Jones, obviously, but the group we have we are excited about," Kingsbury said.

-- Keim mentioned the mental makeup of the guys the Cardinals drafted, and it was easy to tell in the brief conversations with the media the intelligence and maturity in the guys they picked.

"When you get into that second and third day, you have to find traits and things you love about players," Keim said. "The guys we drafted, there are several traits about those guys we loved. Whether it's a fast 40 time or great numbers in the spring, the tape says it all, and we liked the tape. And we love the personality and the chemistry they will bring to locker room."

-- Keim said the Cardinals will continue to monitor the veteran free-agent market. For now, Sean Harlow remains the backup center, but I could see another potential backup center. Maybe a veteran cornerback still.

-- The Cardinals are in the process of signing their undrafted rookies. They have 12 spots to fill to get to 90. The Cardinals likely won't put out their official list of UDFAs until Monday.

-- Running back Keaontay Ingram had to wait until the sixth round before he was picked at 201 overall. So naturally, on the conference call, I asked him about his wait. And homophone issues got in the way.

"218," he replied.

-- Seventh-round cornerback Chris Matthew said he was "too excited" for the chance to battle DeAndre Hopkins in practice and maybe learn a little something.

"Are you kidding me?" Matthew said. "I grew up watching DeAndre Hopkins and I use the word 'grew up' on purpose. I want him to kind of feel a little bit old."

-- For a second straight season, the Rams hosted the media and held their draft at an unreal Los Angeles mansion. So, for a second straight year, Kingsbury was asked if he wanted the Cardinals to do something similar.

"No," Kingsbury deadpanned. "I did that already."


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