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You've Got Mail: After The Draft

Topics include the wide receiver room and the science behind draft trades


The draft is over. The Cardinals took Kyler Murray and 11 draft picks total (and then agreed to terms with 12 more undrafted rookies.) Phase Two work for the veterans is underway. Rookies have their minicamp May 10-12, when Murray and his classmates will get on the field for the first time. With that backdrop, we have this week's mailbag. As always, drop off a question by clicking here.

Well, it's pretty early to be making any proclamations about the 53-man roster. We know Larry Fitzgerald is going to be around and be a leader. Christian Kirk is set in stone. And given their draft status, we will see Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler. This is a team that could conceivably keep seven wideouts on the roster. KeeSean Johnson will definitely get his shot. Kevin White is intriguing, but he'll still have to earn his way. I think they like what Trent Sherfield has shown. Other than that, it's about making an impact this summer and into camp. In this offense, wide receivers are going to get their chances to show what they can do.

The only events open to the public will be the scheduled open training camp practices. Those dates will likely be announced sometime in June.

From A.K. via

"Do you think this draft marked a shift in Steve Keim's philosophy? I feel like in earlier drafts, Keim drafted a lot of players with potential but no guarantee of coming through (Brandon Williams for example), but this year almost all our picks were in the top 5 of PFF's best available for example."

We will see if this year's draft pans out. I like PFF but their ratings aren't necessarily the end all, be all. That said, it became pretty clear after the 2016 draft, in particular how the first two picks have gone (Robert Nkemdiche and Williams) that yes, focusing on passion for the game and production is more important than potential. Even going back to last year's draft I think that was part of the thought process. What Keim and the Cardinals had going for them this year was that they had such high picks in each round that it was easier to find picks that had that mental makeup and still had a lot of talent.

The players attending is by NFL invitation only, so no, I don't expect it to grow. As for players leaving, they can leave after that first day if they want. But if they want to have a chance to go on stage, I can see why they stick around.

I assume you mean the rookies (other than Kyler Murray, who has already selected jersey No. 1.) The team will likely make some phones calls prior to rookie minicamp (Friday through Sunday next week) to the draft class and let them know among the numbers they can choose. The rest of the rookies all show up Thursday before rookie minicamp to go through physicals, get their equipment, and get their assigned jersey numbers. There is always the chance that at the end of the preseason, once cuts are made and numbers are freed up, that rookies could change their number (except for Murray, who is locked into his now so they can, like all first-round picks, start selling their jerseys.)

From Cris Peralta via

"Just read the article on GM Keim's draft day trades. Can you explain how the value of a pick is determined? I saw in 2013 we traded down in the 2nd round from 38th to 45 and received a 4th rounder. Then in 2014 we traded down in the 1st round from 20th to 27th and received a 3rd-round pick. However, in 2017 we trade up in the 2nd round from 45th to 36th and gave up a 4th, 6th and a 2018 2nd round pick. I do not understand how trading down only netted us 1 additional pick, when trading up we gave up 3 picks."

Draft trades, to begin with, are always fluid. There is no set schedule in what a trade needs to have to be accomplished. A number of years ago teams started assigning "points" to every single pick in the draft, and most trades are loosely based on those points to have them balance out. A third-round pick is going to be worth a lot more "points" than picks in subsequent rounds. The desire to make the move also plays strongly into the trade. When the Cards traded up in 2017, they really wanted Budda Baker. So perhaps they were willing to give up a little more in the trade to make it happen. But every trade is its own situation.

If Brett Hundley isn't Murray's backup, it'll be an upset. I don't see them signing anyone else. As for the Cardinals in London, you never know. At some point, the Cardinals will have to give up a home game for an international game, because they have been awarded another Super Bowl. Otherwise, it'll be based on the opponents for 2020 and who might be "hosting" a game in London.

Whether it is a "volatile" camp or not (and Patrick Peterson isn't going to be traded), the leaders aren't going to change. Fitz will have to have a big say on offense, as will David Johnson, but in the end, your quarterback, in whatever way it might manifest, has to be a major leader. That's a responsibility for Kyler Murray that maybe hasn't been talked about enough. Defensively, Corey Peters is an anchor, and I think Terrell Suggs will play a big role as well.

I would think one of the biggest questions going forward is going to be how the offensive line holds up. It's a fair concern, especially with all the guys coming off injury. That's the course the Cardinals have picked, however, so that's what has to happen. I do think the style of Kliff Kingsbury's offense will help that position hold up in protection. And yes, I expect David Johnson to be a major part of the passing game. I still think Johnson will end up being the most important piece of the offense as Murray navigates his rookie year.

As we stand here at the end of April, I anticipate Murphy being the nickel corner with Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford your starters on the outside. But man, is there a long way to go before September 8.

Would I change anything? I mean, I was on record as saying I was hoping someone would trade up -- if I could change anything, it'd be the Raiders giving the Cardinals three first-round picks to swap No. 1. But as it stands, I get what the Cardinals did. I don't scout these players enough. I don't know necessarily who was on the board when. I can understand people wondering why the Cards, for instance, didn't take an OL in the second round -- but I do know the Cardinals had Byron Murphy rated very high, and in that case, you trust the work you've done for months. There's plenty of time for hindsight, right?