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You Got Mail: Scouting Combine Week

Topics include trading in the draft, Hopkins future, and free agents to re-sign

Combine week mailbag

INDIANAPOLIS -- It's another trip to Indy for the Scouting combine. There have been many. Although, there have been many mailbags too. And here's another. Questions have been edited for length and clarity. As always, you can send in a question for a future mailbag here.

From Josh Nielsen:

"Hey Darren, what do you think this upcoming draft has in store for us? In your opinion, are we going to be using our first-round draft pick as a trade to possibly pick up a couple veterans from other teams, or are we going to actually draft a couple youngsters? It will be interesting to see how this goes with this new GM and new coaching staff. Seeing that your in the realm, do you have any insight on this for us?"

We are way too early. This team needs good young players so no, they wouldn't trade the first pick for veterans. Could they trade down from 3? Absolutely. If the quarterbacks draft continues to heat up and there are multiple teams vying for particular players, the Cardinals might even have a chance to trade and get a guy they wanted anyway.

From Steve Weston:

"Hey Darren, I'm a die-hard Cardinals fan now living in Virginia who is always checking out this website and reading your articles. Thanks for all the hard work! I'm seeing a lot of talk about trading DeAndre Hopkins, which just doesn't make sense to me. He's a prolific receiver with gas left in the tank and a great work ethic. Yes, he got nailed with that awful suspension last season, but to my admittedly awful memory hasn't ever been out for lengthy periods of time with injuries. At best, from what I'm reading, we'd get maybe a second-round draft pick and still have salary cap issues to deal with when he's gone. Do you think we wind up keeping him and that this all just a lot of unsubstantiated speculation? Or do you believe there is a REAL chance the Cards deal Hopkins?"

Honestly, I think they are still figuring that out. I would be surprised if they couldn't get a first-round pick, because I would think the teams that would want him are picking later in the round because they are closer to winning. The Hop question encompasses a lot of details -- not the least of which that Hop is going to want an extension sooner rather than later, I'd think, and I'm not sure at this point in his career how much he wants to climb the mountain again with a new coach. On the Cardinals' side, if you think it's going to take a year to get this thing turned around, moving on (and clearing that cap space now) could make some sense. Now, if you can't get a first-round pick, then I'd be more hesitant.

From Joey Cammiso:

"It's 2016 and you have to choose Chandler Jones or Calais Campbell. Who you keeping? Offseason fun with Joe."

Honestly, and I love Calais, but I don't think this is close. Jones was dominate from 2016-2019 before his injury. Campbell had some good seasons for some good teams. But edge rushers remain premium.

From Mikey Drake:

"Hi Darren. It's first impressions week. I want to compliment the new staff for something thats sticking out like a sore thumb: CHEMISTRY. Gannon is a bit of an oddball. He's got a unique personality, which I think is a GREAT thing. He stands out and commands a room, which is exactly what a head coach should be. Any concerns I had about the youth of Rallis evaporated when we saw that presser with him and JG. Rallis seems like an extension of Gannon's right arm. Obviously we haven't seen an on-field product yet, but just the energy and chemistry and coordination between our coaches and Monti and Michael, it feels like we have DIRECTION. What were your thoughts on the new OC/DC?"

Man, everyone really loves the rant and then "your thoughts?"-type questions. Anyhow ... the coordinators were good to talk to personally. I thought they handled themselves well in their press conferences. We didn't get a whole lot of specifics. And truthfully, even if we had, as you note, they aren't on the field. I do understand the chemistry, but I also feel like a lot of that trickles down from Gannon. It's a nice start. The results will be what determine if it matters.

From Harvey Pelovsky:

"With Kyler and Colt both rehabbing, what is your idea for the QB position?"

I don't know if there has to be any "idea" right now. We will see what Colt McCoy's situation is this offseason. At some point, yes, they will have to secure a QB. I know there has been a lot of speculation about Jacoby Brissett, given his relationship with Drew Petzing. The question is whether they might want to draft a QB in later rounds. David Blough did some things late last season and he's only an RFA, but that was under a different front office and different coach so we'll see if that leaves any impression on the new guys.

From John Tharp:

"I know every organization is different, and every team has different roles. What is the role of GM in the Cardinals organization? Is it strictly football operations or does Monti Ossenfort also have the responsibility of the day-to-day business side of the house?"

Ossenfort oversees football. When it comes to the business side, the Cardinals have plenty of higher-ups running that, led by senior vice president Lisa Manning. When there is crossover, of course Ossenfort is looped in, but he is mainly football.

From Andy Thomas:

"Hi Darren. It seems like Jeff Rodgers has had some decent success with special teams and would have to get a number of people well-coordinated across the breadth of the team. Has he (or any other special teams coordinators, like John Harbaugh) been considered for a head-coaching position?"

Well, you mentioned John Harbaugh. Joe Judge, who was the Giants head coach a couple of years ago, was a special teams coach with the Patriots. I don't think Rodgers has gotten an interview for that, but I have no doubt he would love such an opportunity.

From jpr cards:

"Darren, now that the GM, the head coach and his coordinators are in place I am wondering do you have any kind of feel for which pending free agents from the 2022 roster the new regime will likely wish to retain? We know the sort of defense that Gannon ran in Philadelphia, do you think that any of the pending free agents from the defense would or would not be a good fit?"

The two main free agents for the Cardinals are defensive lineman Zach Allen and cornerback Byron Murphy. I think they try to re-sign Allen, and with Murphy, I think we have to see what his market looks like. Missing the second half of the season with the back injury could change his free agency and maybe he will be looking to sign for one year to get back to big money.

From Jason B:

"With all the coaching changes currently happening, we still have 30 free agents who will be hitting the market. Out of the 30 FA who do you think are the top three we should re-sign."

Unfortunately, I have not been around the new regime long enough to know what they will likely be looking for. Zach Allen is going to be at the top of my list. The Cardinals need defensive lineman and keeping a home-grown candidate would be ideal. I would have Byron Murphy there, although I understand why his price will be a factor. You can't have too many cornerbacks. The third would probably be Kelvin Beachum. Even if he didn't start and was a swing tackle backup, I like what he brings to the locker room.

From Jim Davenport:

"Who owns or is responsible for the turf at our stadium? Starting with the first game this last year and up and through the Super Bowl complaints about the turf. A number of injuries starting with the Chiefs in the first game and a number of Cardinals with leg injuries. Would appreciate your comments. I heard the NFL groundskeeper said it wasn't an issue."

I'd want to see your list of a "number" of leg injuries, at least ones that would be attributed to the grass. Kyler's injury, for instance, was non-contact, but it wasn't because of the turf. The Cardinals maintain the grass, although for the Super Bowl the league takes over. It's been well-chronicled the league had its own grass put in. One of those injuries for the Chiefs in Week 1 was a hamstring pull. So that couldn't have happened anywhere?

From Julius Krawiec:

"My question is about the supplemental draft. Is this something that happens every year? Also, who do you think were some of the biggest names coming out of the supplemental draft. I know we drafted out very own superstar player in Jalen Thompson from the supplemental draft."

Thompson was actually the most recent supplemental draft pick, in 2019. There has been no supplemental drafts since then. Usually, the supplemental draft is annual, however. Bernie Kosar, Brian Bosworth, Cris Carter, Rob Moore and one-time Cardinals QB Timm Rosenbach were all supplemental picks.

From Joe Cardea:

"Darren, what's the upcoming calendar? When can Arizona sign their own free agents compared to when free agency and draft occur, when's the combine and do you see the Cardinals' activity starting for each phase?"

As you already know from the top of this mailbag, the Combine is this week. The front office and coaches will be there. Free agency prep is already going on, and the Cardinals can re-sign any of their own guys at any time. I'm sure there has been some discussion as the front office evaluates who they want to try and keep. Free agency for the league starts in a couple of weeks, and with a new coach, the team is allowed to start the offseason program early -- April 4.

From Jason W:

"Darren, I know this may be a 'right turn Clyde'-type of question compared to what your used to but has there ever been any discussions about having the Cardinals Underground filmed so it can be watched and just not listened to. Thank you for you time."

There has been talk about that, yes, and I will immediately bring this question back to our VP Tim DeLaney to show why you clearly need to see Dani and Paul up on the big screen. Or whatever screen.

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