Always there is talk about taking “best player available” versus “need” in a draft. During today’s pre-draft press conference, GM Rod Graves and coach Ken Whisenhunt talked about the two draft boards the team builds — and within that explanation, a tangible idea of what the Cards do emerged.
The Cardinals spend a couple weeks building out their main board. On it, players are rated “primarily for their potential in the NFL.” That board assesses players based on a grading scale of 1-100, with 100 being the highest. That board has already been built for the 2010 draft. The front office, coaches and scouts have moved on to the second board: The top 120.
That board (done since Dennis Green was head coach) takes into consideration the Cardinals’ needs and how each player fits the Cards’ schemes. For instance, Whisenhunt said, they could have a player who has the fifth overall grade out of all the players, but on the 120 board the Cards may have him 12th or 13th because that player’s skill set doesn’t fit as well what the Cardinals are trying to do. Does that mean the Cards ignore a talented player? No, and the higher grade a player has the more weight they must give to at least consider him when the team is on the clock and such a player is available. Whisenhunt said often, the Cards are looking for the player that gives “the greatest margin of improvement” for the team, a phrase he credited to Graves. “This system has worked well for us,” Whisenhunt said.
— Whisenhunt said it is difficult to judge nose tackles, not only because few tackles play a straight nose in college but also because if they have weight issues, it’s impossible to know how they will deal with such things on the professional level. “Just because you’re 6-foot-3, 330 pounds doesn’t mean you can play nose,” Whisenhunt said.
— Graves said he could see the Cards moving up in the draft (and actually sounded more enthusiastic about the possibility than in years past) and noted the extra third-round pick helps in that regard. That said, I still doubt the Cards move up. I still think moving back — even out of the end of the first round — is more likely.
— Graves and Whisenhunt said they split the final decision in the draft room, but agreed one of the reasons they do so much prep work is to avoid conflicts on draft day. Whisenhunt said there haven’t been any since he arrived, and listening to Graves, it sure sounded like he defers to his coach when it’s close. “He’s trying to build a winner out there and keep that sustained,” Graves said. “We’ve got to do the things we need to do in order to support that. In order for me to establish any sort of objection, it has to be really out of bounds, and that will never happen.”
Tags: Dennis Green, draft, Ken Whisenhunt, Rod Graves
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