Draft week has finally arrived, and in a couple of days, we will know for certain -- speculation aside -- what the Cardinals will do with their No. 1 overall pick. In the meantime, I'll answer some of your questions and as always, you can click here to send in questions for next week's mailbag.
Well, that's a good question. The Cards have 10 picks total, and I won't be shocked if they end up with fewer draftees than that -- using picks at some point to move up. (If they end up trading down in the first to get extra picks, I reserve the right to change that prediction.) Who they get is obviously impossible to predict. But I'd think they'd want to get a couple of offensive linemen, a defensive lineman, maybe a couple of wide receivers (or a tight end and a receiver), a defensive back, maybe a couple of linebackers. With that many picks, you have a lot of room to address a lot of places.
I covered the Cardinals for the last two years of Tillman's career. To be honest, I remember a couple of his big hits -- one in Carolina in 2001 -- and also a couple of postgame quotes. I remember him running way down the sideline in the season finale of the 2001 season in Washington, screaming at the official for not calling a pass interference committed against David Boston.
But the most vivid memories are off the field, including how Dave McGinnis let me, Mike Jurecki and Kent Somers know Pat was joining the army (Kent does a nice job chronicling that here.) I knew something was up. I admit I thought it was something like Pat having a serious illness. I never guessed the military. But the memory that sticks with me the most -- and I have written about this a few times -- is being at the team's facility on Sept. 11, 2001 (at that point, I did not work for the team but the East Valley Tribune newspaper). It was a Tuesday, a player's day off. But players would come in to work out. And as I sat in the media room watching the horror unfold on TV, Pat came in and sat next to me, watching. I asked him a couple of questions for a story I was inevitably going to write. And that moment, in the context of him joining the army, is memorable to say the least.
From Issac from England via azcardinals.com:
"What, in your opinion, is the minimum requirement for a No. 1 pick to be considered a hit? I know it's different for different positions, but can you give an idea for QB and D-line, as they are currently the options on the table? Also, do you think the pressure of No. 1 can get to both the player and the GM and undermine their confidence?"
We'll start with the second question first. I'm not sure the pressure really can derail a GM, because that No. 1 pick is discussed over and over with scouts and personnel men and coaches. Now, a failed No. 1 overall pick can ultimately cost a GM his job, but that's because of the magnitude. But I don't think that has to do with confidence. The pressure can absolutely impact a player. You better be mentally tough as a No. 1 overall pick because if you don't become a superstar, many will call it a failure.
That leads into the first part of the question. You can be a really solid player with a good career and not live up to No. 1 billing. For a QB, if you are No. 1, let's face it, if you don't reach/win a Super Bowl, there will be questions. Look at Carson Palmer. He had a really, really good career. But people still look at him as short of other QBs because he didn't get to the ultimate game. It may not be fair, but it's reality. As for a defensive end/lineman, you need him to be dominant. Nick Bosa would need to be a regular double-digit sack guy. Quinnen Williams doesn't need as many sacks, but you would have to see him regularly jack things up inside.
I do not see the Cardinals drafting a quarterback otherwise. The only reason Murray would even be in the equation is that you think he can be a transcendent talent. The Cardinals like Josh Rosen.
Here's the secret of "best available player." It is the "best," but only after the Cardinals (or any team, for that matter) has ranked the players available through the filters of what fits the team best and, yes, need is a factor in that ranking. In the case of this draft, yes, in a vacuum Murray may not be the highest player graded. But the reality is a star quarterback makes a greater impact on an NFL field than any other position. So that's what you are trying to decipher -- who ultimately will make the greatest long-term positive impact?
From Michael Travers via azcardinals.com:
"After studying the film on Kyler Murray there is clear degree of separation between him and Rosen and it's wide. If both Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury also see the separation would it not make the most sense to draft him No. 1? In my opinion they were both pumping up Josh Rosen at the recent press conference so other teams would trade a round one pick. Your thoughts?"
I appreciate your scouting efforts. As I noted earlier, yes, if the Cardinals see such separation, that's exactly why you'd make that decision. But they'd have to see that disparity. As for the press conference comments, I think they were praising Rosen because they like Rosen's game. I don't think anything they say in a press conference is going to impact what another team is willing to trade.
I don't have the numbers in front of me, and the injuries have piled up in the last couple of years. But I am guessing many teams complain about their injury rate as well. Sometimes, a guy has a history, yes. But for instance, A.Q. Shipley had never been hurt and he had his knee rolled up on in camp and then he's gone for the season. It's a harsh game. Injuries can happen. Former defensive end Cory Redding liked to say that in the NFL, it's not a question of if you're going to get injured, but when.
Hard to say. I can't say I have much recollection of where the team was with Arians or Wiz in April. But before the draft, it doesn't really matter. There has been no on-field work, the draft will bring players that are crucial. I do think the Cards have shored up some spots -- especially on defense -- that needed help. There are other spots that need more. Long way to go.
From David Sando via azcardinals.com:
"Hi Darren, thinking outside the box now. What if... the Cards trade No. 1 pick to Oakland for the No. 4 spot and one of their other first-round picks, 24 or 27? SF will take either or Bosa or Williams whichever Oakland doesn't take. Now, of course, you would have to make sure Oakland doesn't grab a QB! That would be a Keim hugfest. Jets at No. 3 don't need a QB. Whatcha think?"
So you're saying the Cards a) want Murray and b) the Raiders don't but c) the Raiders are still willing to trade up? That doesn't make sense to me. If you want the QB, stay at one and get the QB.
I expect, right now, that Zane Gonzalez has the inside track and they will see if Cole Murphy can push him. I don't see them adding anyone else at this point.
With the slotted contracts, no draft pick is going to be a contract holdout. The player already knows what he's getting when he is chosen. So that's not an issue.