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You've Got Mail: Rookie Minicamp Week

Topics include inside linebacker potential, veteran CBs and tight end options

Kliff at practice in 2020 mailbag

The Cardinals will have rookies arrive later this week for a minicamp that took a year off in 2020 because of the pandemic. First, this week's mailbag. Send in a question for a future mailbag by going here.

From Cayetano Charley via azcardinals.com:

"Hello, Darren. If Simmons and Collins are both ILB, was Steve Keim looking to have a possible Willis and Bowman the 49ers had several season ago? When Collins was taken, I got flashbacks of 49ers and they were a great duo. Fast and play the ball well. Both cover and blitz."

That is the hope. More recent examples are Wagner and Wright in Seattle, or David and White in Tampa.

From Dan A via azcardinals.com:

"Dazzler, I'm a firm believer in drafting the best available and this draft was no exception. The cornerback conversation has me a little perplexed. If we drafted a CB in the first or second round we weren't getting 1st round value. Why would you waste a first-round pick on a player no one thinks is a top-three CB in the draft? I kind of think that conversation in Arizona is driven more by the loss of Peterson (who turned the position into a comfort position we had covered for a decade to a panic position because he is gone). The rest of our D has improved in free agency, particularly at the line, and we pressured the QB and blitzed well last season with no Jones. Is CB really such a desperate need to put A grade talent in if we bring the heat enough that the QB is pressured when throws are made? I think I'm OK with the position at the moment. Also, I dont' know if you remember my last mailbag message about Larry Fitzgerald, but one roster spot and some millions in the cap ... are you ready to believe in destiny?"

Yeah, we'll see on Fitz. As far as cornerback, I see your perspective. I do think they still need a veteran to pan out, whether it is Alford or someone else. You are right, pressure does help the back end. But you still want good coverage because so many of these offenses have quick passing that makes it tough to get pressure just because the ball gets out so quickly.

From Andrew Evans via azcardinals.com:

"Morning from the UK Urbz, long-time reader, first-time mailbagger. I was reading the story on the Cardinals being allocated international TE Bernhard Seikovits, and wondered how the international player scheme works? So four teams a year just get an international guy? Does that player count against the 90-man preseason roster?"

The Cardinals will need a spot on the 90-man roster to sign him (which can't happen until he finishes quarantine) but after that, the Cards will get an exemption (meaning come camp time, the Cards will have the ability to have 91). When we get to the regular season, Seikovits can get one of three designations: He can make the 53-man roster, he can make the regular practice squad or he can be an extra practice-squad player that doesn't count. If he is on the regular practice squad, he is eligible to be promoted to the active roster at some point this season. If the Cards use the extra practice squad slot, he would not be eligible to be on the active roster this season.

From Jesse Leman via azcardinals.com:

"Hello Darren. Do you know how many of this years draft picks were team captains at one point? I thought I remember reading last year that Rashard Lawrence was a captain at LSU. I also thought I remembered reading that it was a point of emphasis to get more leadership into the locker room. Thank you."

Of the Cardinals' seven draft picks this season, I believe only Michal Menet was a captain. That has been a major part of some past draft classes, but I don't think that necessarily means this draft class doesn't have it in them. Knowing some of the backgrounds, many certainly seem like they could evolve into leadership roles. I know this -- on this level especially, it's tough to lead if you can't play the game first.

From Jason Allen via azcardinals.com:

"Hey Darren. I like what we did in the draft and who we were able to acquire. None of the top corners fell to the team which was a bit unfortunate. As much as I love Zaven Collins with his mentality and versatility, I still feel like we should have addressed corner in the first round. Greg Newsome II was still on the board and I feel he would have been a better selection for the team in terms of our needs. I feel the Cardinals got a lot of value from drafting Tay Gowan in the 6th round. Not addressing cornerback until the fourth round might come back to haunt us, but there are some quality free agent corners still out there. What was your opinion of the Cardinals and who they drafted? Do you think that the Cardinals could sign some veteran corners like Brian Poole or Steven Nelson? Thank you and have a good day."

As I said earlier in the mailbag, I do think they could sign another veteran cornerback, but it might not come until later, and maybe not until they have a better sense of how Robert Alford will play. My opinion of who the Cards drafted is simply that they have guys who I can see fitting in roles they need. Beyond that, I need to see the next couple of years play out. I don't get very judgy on a draft class at first. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

From Ben Wilson via azcardinals.com:

"Hi Darren, I just read your article regarding our draft picks freakish athleticism. I just wanted to harken back to a question/ comment I saw a few weeks ago in your mailbag that pointed out many of these pro day times should be taken with a grain of salt. I have no doubt these guys are incredibly athletic. But in my opinion, fair or not, some of these numbers should be stricken from the record book. Pro days are notoriously friendly with the stopwatch, unlike the strictly controlled combine in Indy. I realize that is a statement and not a question. So here's a question: How do you feel about our interior DL depth?"

Just to touch on the pro day times, there is no "record book" to be stricken from. They do not matter much, so there's no reason to worry about what they are. I'm guessing teams took them into account. As for the defensive line, I think a lot is riding on Allen/Fotu/Lawrence, but I think that's OK -- that's why you drafted them.

From Charlie Cardsfan via azcardinals.com:

"Hey Darren, do you know if Zaven Collins has met any of his teammates at the facility yet? Budda and Chandler seem to always be there. We saw them when A.J. and J.J. were coming in. Also, rookie minicamp starts soon, and there's no way all the rooks will be signed by then. Can they participate if they are unsigned? Also, haven't we heard the players association recommend players boycott in-person camp?"

Zaven might've seen a couple guys the day he showed up for his initial presser. I don't know if Budda and Chandler are around right now; COVID protocols keep me from going to that part of the building. Yes, the NFLPA is telling players not to take part in voluntary work; I don't know how that will impact who is around for the Cardinals. As far as rookie camp, yes, the rookies can take part if they aren't signed, although I wouldn't be shocked if some actually ended up signing during rookie camp.

From Vet Nguyen via azcardinals.com:

"I like seeing Adrian Wilson in all of the draft room TV feeds. Still looking big. Is he part of the 'inner circle?' As part of the NFL diversity rules that just passed, if A-Dub were to get hired as a GM elsewhere, we'd get two third-round picks. Keim has had a nice long career, but two third-round picks are two third-round picks."

I'm not sure what you qualify as the "inner circle?" I mean, the Bidwill-Kingsbury-Keim group is one thing. But otherwise, Wilson is close to the decision-making process, yes. As for him being hired away, I am aware that losing a minority to a GM job would produce picks. I don't think the Cardinals and Wilson are thinking in terms of that, however.

From Ashton Graves via azcardinals.com:

"What are the chances of the Cardinals getting Ricky Seals-Jones back? From what I understand he's a free agent and we could probably sign him for pretty cheap. I never understood why we got rid of him."

They let him go because they felt Dan Arnold was a better version of a pass-catching tight end. With Arnold gone, I wouldn't rule out a veteran tight end but I don't know if it would be RSJ or they would go in a different direction. Tight end itself seems a bit of a mystery right now.

From BDUB Wooten via azcardinals.com:

"Darren; with all the talk of overtime every year and possible changes, why has no one thought about having a field goal shootout? Like hockey. If a game goes to overtime, you automatically start both kickers at the 30-yard line and move back five yards at a time until someone misses. First one to miss, that team loses. Or play a regular 10-minute OT quarter then if still tied, do the shoot out. Think about how edge-of-your-seat exciting that would be! And there'd be no ties and players would be less likely to be hurt. It would put an emphasis on having a good kicker. Thanks for your mailbag!"

I think you are overestimating the desire of anyone wanting games to become more kicker-dependent than they already are.

From Bradley Cain via azcardinals.com:

"Hey Darren, how's it going? Ok first, why does everyone think moving Fitz to TE is a idea, I would think that if he were to return, God willing, he would be our slot receiver, D-Hop, Green, and Fitz, like wow, that would be amazing to watch. Now everyone talks about his numbers being down last year, but that wasn't his fault I don't believe, I think Kyler got tunnel vision always looking for D-Hop. I have zero faith in Isabella and not much more in Christian, plus the rookie is unproven, the only thing left to do is get Larry to come back for one more shot at this, How cool would it be if the Suns and Cardinals both won it all in the same year, with Larry the part-owner, and Larry the player."

Oh, moving Fitz to tight end is an idea, alright. I think you're probably missing some things if your top three receivers are Hopkins, Green and Fitz, but it would be interesting to watch. But we will see what Fitz decides to do. As far as the Suns and Cards both winning the title in the same year, God bless your optimism.

From Simon from China via azcardinals.com:

"Hi Darren, Just want to point out how dead on Dave Pasch was with his Zaven Collins pick. As far as I remember, he also predicted last year's Simmons pick. You should make him the prognosticator-in-chief for future drafts! Also, I am somewhat surprised regarding player comparisons for Rondale Moore. Many say he looks like Tyreek Hill. I think that's hubris. In my opinion, we should be happy if he turns out to be a version of the Dolphins' Jakeem Grant, who is tiny (5'6) but super explosive both as a gadget WR and a KR/PR. Greetings from Shanghai!"

I would agree that it is getting ahead of the game to put Moore and Hill in the same sentence. Ultimately, it'll be Moore's play that defines him. I think Moore is tough and has a chance to make a big impact in a lot of areas. I look forward to seeing him develop.

From Wyatt Holland via azcardinals.com:

"Would you expect we go after a veteran CB now? Casey Hayward is particular is a big fan favorite over on reddit. He'd be a good fit. Wouldn't you think this week would be fairly dire in terms of jumping on these vets? Teams going to be aggressive post draft. Thanks."

Hayward is gone, having signed with the Raiders. And actually, teams are not usually aggressive post-draft. Most have drafted a bunch of guys to fill holes. There also isn't going to be as much money floating around. For the Cardinals I am not sure what they do at cornerback right now. They may wait to see what the rookies and/or Robert Alford looks like on the grass either this offseason or in camp before they go to look for someone else -- if they go to look for someone else.

From Paulie Mack via azcardinals.com:

Are we going to re-sign Corey Peters? I know he's working out at the facility."

I don't know if they will bring back Peters but he isn't working out at the facility now. He was before his contract ran out in mid-March, but now that he's a free agent, he has to go elsewhere.

From Kevin P via azcardinals.com:

"Concerning players having to pay to change jersey numbers, does this mean players get paid a percentage of the profit each time their jersey is sold? If not, it seems a bit unbalanced for them to have to pay for 'lost profit' when changing numbers."

Players are paid through the NFLPA when it comes to merchandise, through a licensing agreement. And they aren't paying for lost profit. I believe the buyback just pays for the wholesale cost.

From Chris Barr via azcardinals.com:

"Hi Darren. Is there a deeper explanation for Zaven's 270-pound weight gain? If a team during the pre-draft process asked if he can play DE, then that makes sense. But Steve Keim mentioned it, a bit tongue in cheek, that Zaven 'ate too many steaks.' I'll be honest, it's not a good look. The messaging is he's lazy and out of shape. His draft call would seem to indicate the guy is very passionate about the game, and the seriousness of his profession now. But this has the fuel to become a long running story if he shows up to camp out of shape. Its going to get very bad for Keim in particular if there's another issue with a first-round draft pick."

Wow. So a player, in his offseason, isn't allowed to gain a couple of pounds? I praise you for the discipline you must have. But it seems a little judgmental to already say a guy is lazy when he hasn't been on the field yet and, frankly, you don't know him. I don't either. If he's out of shape at camp -- in late July -- feel free to worry about it. Seems premature to be concerned right now.

From Thomas Salvas via azcardinals.com:

"Your 'Working on the CB conundrum' was spot on. But this young man Rondale Moore is a special football player, not just an athlete. He will seek out Fitzgerald as Larry is the team leader Rondale wants to become. I hope he gets to spend the whole year with Larry. My question is, do you see any team(s) out there that may have a surplus of defensive backs that maybe we can exploit towards the end of camp?"

I haven't looked over other teams at this point. There are still some veteran defensive backs still looking for jobs, like recent Steelers release Steven Nelson, and I don't doubt the Cards have done their due diligence on many. Still, as I've said before, I don't see them signing someone right now. I think they may look at how this plays out a little.

From Jason Woodlief via azcardinals.com:

"I just wanted to recognize with all the uniform talk that I did notice in one of your mailbag responses you said Mr. Bidwill hears the fans. A little acknowledgement goes a long way, I think most fans just want the team to improve and win more games and everything else is secondary but it is refreshing to know at least it is on their radar. Thank you for your time and great coverage of the team. Have a good day."

Noted.

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