The draft creeps closer, the speculation around pick No. 23 intensifies. The mailbag remains stable here at azcardinals.com. Questions have been edited for length and clarity. As always, you can send in a question for a future mailbag here.
From Art Pozza:
"What do you think of Arkansas WR Treylon Burks. Will he be there at 23?"
Have only seen highlights and read scouting reports. Big guy, can get you yards after catch. Doesn't have the best 40 time, so maybe he's in the mold of Fitz (not that he's in the same talent class as Fitz). Might be able to Deebo Samuel him some in the offense. It feels like he's one of the bigger mysteries of the draft as to whether he's still on the board at 23. Can I see him as the pick? Yes. But it doesn't mean he would be even if available.
From Melinda Schussele:
"Hi Darren. Once again thank you for taking your time to answer so many questions. I have one question and one suggestion. In our stadium what is considered a sellout crowd? I believe every Cardinals game has been sold out since opening in '06. And for my suggestion, I think the Cardinals have the very best stadium announcer in the NFL, at least compared to all the others I've heard. He has a great voice and does a great job. When considering who to do a profile about for a video, I think this man would be a good choice."
I'd have to check, but I believe it's an official sellout as long as the tickets are out beyond the suites, which fall into a separate category. As for the streak, that ended in 2020 thanks to Covid. With the PA announcer, that is Jim Barnett, and yes, he does a good job. I can bring up potentially spotlighting him to the video crew.
From Nate P:
"Sorry, long question/opinion Darren. We have seen vast changes in Kliff's offense through his first three years. But one thing I have never liked is how much he uses curl routes. Rondale and Dortch and even Andy are special players that have unique skill sets that need to be used better. Unlike most I am a fan of the screens as long as used in the correct situation and to the correct players. My question is what is your opinion of the offense and what would you like to see different this year and what do we agree on?"
My opinion of the offense seems pretty moot, but when Conner and Edmonds were healthy last year, it seemed like it was doing just fine. I've never counted/analyzed curl route use specifically, but I see those the same as you see screens -- effective if used with correct players and correct situation. I am anxious to see how they deploy Moore this season.
"Hey Darren, a couple of things here. I've seen a lot of Brandin Cooks or DK Metcalf trade rumors, (to other teams, not the Cardinals) and I think the Cardinals should try and get one (or both) of them. I mean, from what I read, Houston is only asking for a second-round pick, which seems reasonable for a 28-year old, consistent 1,000 yd, reasonably healthy receiver. What are your thoughts on the Cards going after one of them? My second question is about the draft party, what players are usually there?"
I don't know who will be there for the draft party; that usually won't be finalized until closer to the party. They try to get at least one prominent name, but we will see. As for trades, Cooks just got the big contract extension he had been seeking (so he won't be traded) and Metcalf still wants his money. So if you decide to trade for him, you are also likely committing to giving a second receiver (after Hop) a giant contract. Not sure that makes sense right now given the cap situation and other needs.
From Opie Trench:
"The Jets are willing to trade the No. 10 overall pick for DK Metcalf. They are desperate for a No. 1 WR. My question - would we entertain trading Hopkins? Hear me out. He has a bad contract. You cannot pay a receiver that type of money. You see the money Adams and Kirk and Diggs got? Directly our fault for that hellacious Hopkins deal. We set a terrible precedent. It handicaps us especially with Kyler's deal coming. Trade Hop to NY for the No. 10 pick. We can get a cornerstone pass rusher or DL or CB or something. If Kliff is an offensive guru, he should be able to produce a good offense with any WR group. Am I wrong?"
I suppose you want me to elaborate. You take away your most talented receiver, your offense isn't going to be nearly as good, or good at all. The Cardinals suffered mightily when Hopkins went down. When Cooper Kupp had a bad game against the Cards early last season, the Cards breezed to victory. The reason the Bills traded for Diggs is because you need that guy. We will see what the Packers look like without Adams. I'm sorry you don't like star receivers getting paid, but the idea that they wouldn't have been paid if Hop hadn't been paid is naive at best. Why do you think the Jets are trying to get a No. 1 WR in the first place?
From Larry Loola:
"Pass rusher and cornerback are obviously top of the list needs but I've heard very little Cardschatter about wide receiver. We need a No. 2 WR, which is not small feat. And in today's NFL a No. 2 WR is really a No. 1 WR. So I do know WR is at least on the table in the first round, depending who falls to us. But assuming we go pass rusher (Karlaftis) or CB (McDuffie/Elam) in round 1, what are we doing at No. 2 WR? It can't be Rondale yet, can it?"
Not sure who you are listening to about wide receiver, because I a) think it's the biggest need behind edge rusher and b) have talked extensively about it on Cardinals Underground. I would anticipate drafting a receiver; don't know what round. I would anticipate signing at least one more free agent. At this point you can't rule out Moore because that's the only real option. And yes, Ertz as a pass-catcher does enter into the equation.
From Derek Cooper:
"Markus Golden was a great pick. I think. If I remember right, he broke his leg, came back huge, and we let him go because he earned a big contract and got Jones from the Pats. We got him back because the Giants wanted cap space. Still solid as a rock. Could the Cards be considering him as Jones replacement?"
Lot to address here. Golden, yes, great pick in 2015. Tore his ACL in 2017. Did not have great comeback year in 2018, so he was let go as a free agent. (They traded to get Jones in 2016.) Giants traded him back to Cardinals in 2020 because Jones got hurt and because the Giants had demoted him to a backup. But yes, he's the Jones replacement right now. They really need to get someone effective to pair with Markus, however.
From Michael M:
"Would you like to see the Cardinals sign Calais Campbell, like me? Been trying not to think about football, until at least the draft has come and gone, but here I am. Thanks for your hard work."
On a personal level, of course I'd love the chance to work with Calais again. Alas, he re-signed with Baltimore over the weekend.
From Jesse Arrieta:
"Hello Darren. What position do you think we should draft in the first round to help us go deeper into the playoffs. CB, WR, pass rusher or Other? Any first round pick can be a hit or miss, but let's say we hit on our first round pick."
It's not as simple -- especially picking at 23 -- to say this position or that position. in a perfect world, to me, there would be an excellent pass rusher there. But as long as they get an excellent player (it could be OL or DL too), that's where the pick has to hit. I don't know if any one player, even if he is good as a rookie, would be the difference alone when it comes to advancing in the postseason.
From Yinzer CardsFan:
"Hi Darren. At 23, it seems we are right on the edge of the talent. Could someone fall to us? Yes. Ojobo/Karlaftis would be great. However do you think this is the type of draft where we push and move up to get our guy? I'm not saying top 10. But let's say trade our 3rd to get the No. 16 pick and get our guy. We need a pass rusher. I want to emphasize 'need.' We must have a pass rusher if this upcoming season is even worth playing."
I'm gonna start with saying let's slow with the hyperbole. "If this upcoming season is even worth playing"? C'mon man. But when it comes to pass rusher, there is a feeling the group is a deep one, and the Cardinals could in theory get a solid one in the second round. I don't think they need to trade up to get a good choice. Even the pass rushers at the top aren't seen as another Nick Bosa.
From Tom Ward:
"Zach Ertz has been a proponent of signing his former teammate Fletcher Cox. Do you believe that he would be a positive addition to the team as a pass rusher to compliment Watt ? Do you think the best playing time for him is over, as he is 32 years old?"
Cox was only available for a short time. He re-signed with the Eagles almost immediately.
From Aaron Country:
"Bro, that Pick No. 23 history you posted was incredibly depressing. I think we trade out. I've actually been saying this for weeks: Let's move up. Package our third-round pick (or whatever) and get into the teens and get a cornerstone player. We are in a Super Bowl window. Don't sit and wait. Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this is a rebuild. In which case, trade away Murray and start over."
I don't see this as a rebuild, and I'm fairly certain the Cardinals don't either. By most accounts, the draft is deep but not top-heavy; the players available at 23 aren't going to be much different than the ones at 16 or 17. Not sure there is a reason to trade up, unless you see a guy who has fallen much further than you expected.
From Jason Beckum:
"Hi Darren. I have 2 questions for you. (1) The Cardinals will face a QB gauntlet this season (Stafford x2, Mahomes, Brady, Herbert, Hurts, Jones, Ryan, Carr, Wilson and Cousins). With the draft approaching in a few weeks what order would you consider our needs to be as we will be tested this season? We have yet to replace Chandler Jones, still need a No. 2 WR, we need a starting CB and depth, and a run stopper in the middle. (2) Are you the hardest working man in the organization? You always seem to be busy, you answer our questions and do you ever get a break?"
I appreciate the compliment. There are a ton of very hard-working people here, so I would never say I'm on an island. The hours put in by many are incredible, but yes, I do tend to stay busy. I know my wife probably wishes I didn't always seem to have my computer wherever we might go. As for needs, those are all needs. If you draft strictly for need, you will get burned. The schedule is the schedule. The Cardinals just need to make sure they get the best players they can, and we will see where it goes from there.
From Blaine S:
"Hey Darren. After listening to the latest edition of Cardinals Underground I get the impression that (insert sarcastic tone here) Paul and Dani aren't fans of the new overtime rule? I was wondering what they have against it? The only thing I picked up on was that it belittles the defense? Wouldn't giving both teams a chance with the ball not make both teams' D step up and prove themselves, with the better of the two offenses and defenses combined getting the win? What is your take on the new rule?"
I think it was Paul who actually likes the rule. I'm the one that does not. It got covered pretty well at about the 51-minute mark here. TL/DR version? I don't like the new rule because of exactly what you said -- defense should matter.
From Matthew Stroh:
"Hello Darren, I have the Cardinals App. and I listen to the podcast and read the articles. I thought after Kyle left that Cardinals Underground might go down as my favorite podcast With you, Paul and Dani, Cardinals Underground is still my favorite of them all. I love the show almost more then before the dynamic between the three of you is awesome. I just have one quick question: If this summer say somehow Michael Bidwill says you and the rest of the front office has to go on a reality show like Big Brother or Survivor, who do you think would win and who would be the first eliminated?"
Just when you think you've heard all the potential questions, a new one comes along ....
Um, maybe this is an Underground topic.