Ken Whisenhunt admits it. If Sam Bradford is there as the 26th pick overall, the Cardinals will draft him.
OK, so it isn’t going on a limb. Bradford isn’t making it out of the top three, and at this point, it’ll be an upset if he isn’t selected No. 1 by fellow NFC West tenant St. Louis. But the Cards are, not surprisingly, going to look and see if they can find a quarterback somewhere in the draft. That’s something the Cardinals’ coach acknowledged the team has considered the last couple of years. Whisenhunt also admitted figuring out if a quarterback will truly fit and succeed is one of the toughest jobs for a team. Any team.
“Sometimes it’s the scheme, sometimes it’s the talent around the quarterback,” Whisenhunt said. “I think early in a quarterback’s career there are a lot of things that can determine where his career is going to go. If he has a strong team around him, he can turn into something good. There are quarterbacks who are high picks coming out and don’t have a good team around them and they take a beating and they never seem to recover. There are a number of factors involved.
“There are things important to us that we have learned over the years – technique, drops, how they throw the ball, knowledge of the game, how they do reads, the things that would make them successful. But once again, we never know how they are going to react to the stress of this level.”
That’s why quarterbacks like Bradford end up going No. 1 overall because teams can’t afford to pass on them when they are franchise quarterback-less.
In other breaking news, Whisenhunt said if defensive tackle studs Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy is sitting there at No. 26, the Cards would be willing to select them. Offensive tackle Russell Okung too. I’m sure you’re stunned at such information.
Three other quick draft related points:
— General manager Rod Graves, acknowledging it is a personal preference, said unless there is an exception player on the board like a left tackle, he prefers to stay away from drafting an offensive lineman in the first round. I always thought the Cards would go defense in the first round anyway, but anyone mock drafting the Cards will take a tackle or someone like guard Mike Iupati is probably off-base;
— Whisenhunt said the team will obviously be looking for defensive depth but he feels the defense is helped by some of the offseason moves, notably linebacker Joey Porter’s signing. “It helps when you get a guy like Joey, who you feel brings a lot to the table not only as a player but as a guy who can help with the mentality of your team,” Whisenhunt said. “To me, that was something as a team we needed to improve on. We did at times and other times we didn’t.”
That said, the Cards’ braintrust sure sound like defense will be an important factor in the draft. Whisenhunt stressed they won’t pass up an important offensive piece they can use if such a player were highly rated just to reach for a defender, but I think defense will be the focus.
— Speaking of defense, Whisenhunt disputed the idea there weren’t a lot of quality inside linebackers, noting that the lack of inside guys projected for the first round may be more a result of the draft’s overall talent, especially on the offensive and defensive lines.
Don’t forget, live chat with yours truly tomorrow (here’s the link), 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST).
Tags: draft, Gerald McCoy, Ndamukong Suh, Rams, Russell Okung, Sam Bradford
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