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You've Got Mail: Draft Week Has Finally Arrived

Topics include Michael Wilson's arc, why trade, and the need on defense

Mailbag draft 042324

This is where you can see the pre-draft fatigue is setting in -- there was a big dropoff in questions for this week's mailbag. I get it. Everyone just wants to know who the Cardinals get. Questions have been edited for length and clarity. Don't forget to send a question for a future mailbag with at least a first name and last initial.

From Doc McKenzie:

"How about two-for-one? If you get Marvin Harrison Jr. you'll also get another coach, his father, who was an NFL quarterback. He can coach him and help him break into the NFL knowing what's normal in the NFL. Why not?"

Marvin Harrison Sr. was a wide receiver, not a quarterback. And I feel pretty confident he doesn't want to coach. I think whomever the Cardinals select, Jonathan Gannon and his coaching staff will be able to get that player where he needs to be. I'm confident too MHJ's father has already let his son know what the NFL is about.

From Derek Cooper:

"What do you think of Michael Wilson in his first season? Is he the new No. 1 or stay at No. 2? If you consider him in Year 2 as No. 1 and pair him with the best No. 2 and trade out of 4, (I see no Super Bowl this year) that changes everything, giving us opportunity at CB, Edge, OL. My sub-question is what do you think if Minnesota trades to the top 3 by using Jefferson? Do you think we lose some potential value at 4? Also, do you think we have Budda committed or do you think we have to draft a safety? Thanks Darren, I am entertained by the mailbag."

I think Michael Wilson had a solid rookie season and I am bullish about him going forward. Do I think the Cardinals would benefit from adding a high-level receiver -- and yes, a potential No. 1, per se? I do. Even if the Cardinals were to trade out of 4, I do still expect them to draft a receiver that could potentially be that guy somewhere later. I do not think the Vikings trade Jefferson, but yes, the Patriots potentially trading at 3 does impact the Cardinals. As for safety, that's a good question. I wouldn't expect a high pick on a safety regardless of Baker's situation.

From Michael T:

"Hello Darren. Like many Cardinal fans the thought of hearing; Murray-to-Harrison for a touchdown has a nice ring to it. My question is, why with nine new free agents and 11 draft picks (two in Round 1) with the potential of picking the top overall player, would the Cardinals trade down?"

One, we don't know if the Cardinals have him rated as the top overall player (because if he is, perhaps they aren't trading down.) Two, they would trade down on the clock -- what happens if MHJ goes No. 3? Finally, trading down isn't just about getting more picks. If you can generate a second first-round pick in 2025 as well, and still move back up in the first for player X -- like last year -- it can be worth it.

From Matthew C:

"I want to remind fans right before the draft that NO pick is a guaranteed hit. Can you remind them of Ryan Leaf, a player the Cards were directly involved in? Or for wide receiver, (the position group that busts the most in Round 1) look at John Ross, Kevin White, or especially Charles Rogers, who was seen as one of the safest picks in the draft. Just inside the top 10, there's over a 30% bust rate for WRs. If we get MHJ I'll be happy, but if we get three first-rounders, or we get two firsts and Patrick Surtain, I'll be just as happy. Go watch the clip of Monti on draft day, and know that he's more informed than even the most rabid fan scouring the All-22. Thanks for running the mailbag Darren."

Correct, there are no guarantees. One of the most fascinating parts of any draft is seeing what picks do end up panning out and what people were saying ahead of time of the guys who ultimately do not. The response to this question/answer will be one of muted outrage, because Harrison is a "sure thing." Yes, he might be great. But I learned long ago not to speak in absolutes.

From John Turilli:

"I'm a mathematical electrical engineer and look at my Cardinals as a fun team to follow and as a business in the NFL. We drafted heavy in the CB area last year while our sacks/pressure rate took a hit. This year I trust more emphasis will be on our front seven. Kyler is the key to our offense that was top third in the league in the second half last year. We need that jump on the defensive side of the ball. A 3-5 win team that has no apparent key players anywhere. All I can wish and hope for is defense, defense, defense! Thank you very much for this platform. Go Cards."

I don't think there is any question the Cardinals understand they need to improve on the defensive side of the ball. But that can still be helped in part with a better offense. They aren't going to ignore offense in the draft. They need a receiver, and you can always use offensive linemen. But would I be surprised if they used the majority of picks on defense? No. I actually kind of expect it.

From Tom Cowley:

"Hi Darren. At pick 27, why the big push for a left tackle? We already have a plethora of them from last season who were praised by coaches. I believe that great need is for a super CB in the draft as well as a free-agent cornerback to match up."

I'm not sure who is making the "big push" for a tackle at 27. Are there some mock drafts doing that? Yes. And it would be foolish for the Cardinals to pass on a tackle they expect to be great just because they have some. Needs are always morphing. They could use a good cornerback, yes, and that very well could be the No. 27 pick. But they aren't locked into a position there and neither should you.

From Joe Casleton:

"I thought of this last year, and don't know if it would work, but Cameron Thomas was a defensive end in college. If he could add a little weight I'm wondering if he could be moved to defensive end?"

It's a thought. There were conversations when he was a rookie that he could end up in the Zach Allen mold for sure. This is a big offseason for Thomas. He will need to step up his game and find a role in which he flourishes. Could it be at defensive end? Perhaps.

From Jon David Lair:

"Hey Darren. What are your thoughts on the Coyotes leaving for Utah. Are you even a hockey fan?"

I do enjoy the sport as a casual. My last non-Cardinals beat gig was covering the Coyotes full-time for the 1998-99 season, and it provided memories that have stuck with me for a long time. I am disappointed my city is no longer has the four majors, but having watched the mess it has been for so many years, it's somewhat of a relief that it has ended. I hope hockey returns someday.

Finally, to Barry and Artie, I appreciate you chiming in on your hopes for 4. I didn't get the responses for which I thought I might, but it doesn't surprise me Harrison is the choice. (Byron Murphy II isn't lasting until 27 though.)

Bring on the draft. We will have tons of coverage this week. I hope everyone joins us.

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