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Time to overanalyze before the draft

Posted by Darren Urban on April 15, 2015 – 11:13 am

Steve Keim has mentioned it a few times over the years, that all the time before the draft simply allows for too much analyzing of players. It’s inevitable, really, as the days pile up and the draft still has not arrived. For a team, it can be controlled in a way; the Cardinals have been conducting their draft meetings for a little over a week and are finally winding down in the parade of personnel people, scouts and coaches going in and out of the draft room about 25 feet from where I type this.

But it came to mind with all the talk about Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota and where those quarterbacks might go in the draft and the sudden surge — at least among the media — of talk that Mariota is now considered by many as the No. 1 QB prospect when Winston seemed to be the consensus choice through most of the offseason. Now there is somewhat of a sea change, even though none of Winston’s 18 interceptions this season came in recent weeks and even though Mariota’s quiet personality probably hasn’t suddenly morphed into bold and loud.

In the end, I don’t think the draft is going to have any significant deviation than what everyone originally thought back in February — I think Winston goes first to Tampa, I think Mariota goes top five somewhere. I think people will keep talking about the running backs but that if they go first round, it’ll be late, because that’s where running backs go. I think, even though the Cardinals probably hope there is a drop, that all the top pass rushers are going to be top 20 picks, regardless of off-field issues. It’s always a fallacy that players are “moving” on team’s boards. Again, the Cards just started with their draft grades last week, so nobody was graded at that point anyway.

The draft is still more than two weeks away. There will still be plenty of time for all these players to be analyzed and reanalyzed over and over. The goal for teams — and the Cardinals — is to make sure that doesn’t happen. Grade a guy, and move on.

Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston


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29 Responses to “Time to overanalyze before the draft”

  1. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    Darren,

    The fact that they (as other teams) are just now grading and putting together a board, means no one could drop (or rise) on a board that is not constructed.

    Do players rise and fall on the draft gurus boards? Sure. But if you are just now constructing the board, you will put Randy Gregory where you think he should be (or leave him off your board) and then that is it. I am sure if they constructed their board in February, there would be drops and rises, especially after positive drug test.

    They wait this long to gather all the information they can, to give an accurate grade.

    One interesting thing about Winston’s INTs, In the 1983 draft, Marino dropped because of his senior year, when he threw too many INTS. I think the Jets wish they took Marino over Ken Obrien.

    I find it really interesting how teams like the cards grade guys like Bud Dupree, who was asked to do things different than what he will be asked to do in the pros, or a guy like Byron Jones who jumped to the moon but is more of a safety than CB. Taking a guy like Ali Marpet who played Tackle and is now being projected as a center or guard.

    I do not believe that Gurley is there at 24. Even with the devalue of RBs, I just do not see it. But let’s play along and say he is and the pass rushers are gone at 20, there is no way you could say anyone would grade higher than Gurley included Harold or anyone else. If, what you say is true and the backs are there, and the pass rushers are not, Gurley has to be the pick or you are not doing best player available.

    I think our pick at 24 is Harold because Gurley is gone, but if you are right, I would be thrilled with Gurley dropping and the cards taking him. Instant impact.

  2. By Darren Urban on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Gurley

    “No way?” I’m not saying you couldn’t grade him high, but I’d never say “no way” to a guy who blew out his knee. There most certainly is a way.

  3. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    Yep.

  4. By georgiebird on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    Darren,
    The Cards are trying to overtake the best team in football; a team that has an excellent young QB, a great coach, excellent players and team ownership committed to winning. To say the least, the Cardinals are in a very unique position, unlike any other team in the league.
    The Cards thought process leading up to this draft is more difficult than any other team. For example, another Deone Bucannon pick (an ok pick), is not going to result in overtaking the Seahawks.
    The Cards have to roll the dice and go for the RB (if no AP) who can close the gap with Seattle. A big time pass rusher would be the second choice.
    In summary, failure to Ace this draft will result in more playoff road games- and that would be a best case scenario.

  5. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    Darren,

    Gurley;

    Let me clarify. There is “No Way” I would grade someone higher and no way I pass on him.

    Every year, there are a few guys that under no circumstances , that if available, I wouldn’t take.

    2010, I loved Sean Weatherspoon (and we finally got him)
    2011, I would have traded down but if I stayed, I repeatedly said Robert Quinn.
    2012, my guy was Ryan Tannehill
    2013 , my guy was Kenny Vaccaro and Jamie Collins
    2014 , my guys were Anthony Barr and Demarcus Lawrence

    2015, I love two guys in this draft. Vic Beasley and Todd Gurley. Those two players are just too good to pass on and would have instant impact to a team. I don’t think either will be there at 24,as for some of the picks above were not available when we picked, but (for me) there is no way I pass on them.

  6. By Whitey on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    From what we know of Steve Keim the likely scenario is that he trades back in the first round to pick up another third round pick. Even if he stays at pick 24 the only pass rushers likely to be left are Eli Harold(maybe goes higher), Kikaha (injury risk), Orchard(not athletic), which means the BAP would likely be a corner, DT, WR, or RB.

    If you look at the last two first round picks, Keim has mentioned that Cooper was the cleanest player in the draft, the same can be said for Bucannon when they were on the clock. He also has mentioned that the first round is not when you take chances on guys like Tyrann Mathieu.

    So what makes up the ideal “cleanest” player based on what the Cards have shown they value in the past 2 drafts.
    1. Great stats and Tape
    2. Great Physical traits
    3. Loves to Play the game
    4. Great character – Team Captain
    5. Lack of injury history.

    To me the more I read about the draft the more Byron Jones (CB) is our likely first round pick after trading back.

    1. He has great tape – according to PFF he led all college corners with the lowest QB rating when thrown to.
    2. Unbelievable physical tools 4.35 speed, 45″ Vert, world record long jump
    3 Willing to play hurt
    4. Team captain, known by teammates as “Senator Jones”, – great character
    5. Had some shoulder issues but no other major injuries

    I like this pick with the loss of Cro and with Bethel and Powers Free agents after this season.

    What do you think Darren?

  7. By Darren Urban on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    Whitey —

    RE: CB

    Well, I can’t speak on Jones specifically. I just haven’t watched him. Also, I wouldn’t rule out an OT at 24 either.

  8. By carlo milano on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    gurley is just 20 years old..he is probably the most talented back since adrian peterson,without the acl tear(nowdays not anymore a severe injury) he would have been a top5 pick.
    i think steve keim cant ignore that

  9. By Whitey on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    Keim always talks about how first round picks need to make an immediate impact and with Massie having a year left and Sowell back in the fold I could see them taking an OT in the middle rounds for next year since they likely let Massie walk and focusing more on other areas of need, but you are obviously plugged in.

    I do think there will be some good OT prospects there at the end of the first round.

    These two weeks can’t go by fast enough.

  10. By Whitey on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    Look how the cardinals have done recently with running backs drafted high with knee problems.

    *Beanie Wells – 1st round pick – out of the league in a few years from knee problems

    *Ryan Williams – high 2nd round pick – knee injury in rookie preseason and basically hasn’t played since – mostly because of fear from knee issue

    How do we know Gurley is going to come back and be the same guy?

    The comparisons with AP are far-fetched. If you look at ESPN’s draft rankings over the last 10 years some of the highest rated backs were:

    Reggie Bush – 99 Draft Grade
    Adrian Peterson – 98
    Ronnie Brown – 98
    Darren McFadden 98
    Cadillac Williams 97
    Trent Richardson 97
    Cedric Benson 96
    Rashard Mendenhall 96
    CJ Spillier 95

    Beanie Wells 93 – for comparison

    Todd Gurley – 91Draft Grade

    Out of that entire group of the highest rated running backs of the last decade only AP has been a perrenial pro-bowler, and Gurley even has a worse grade than Beanie Wells!

    It’s really hard to guarantee that a guy like Gurley is going to be elite especially when coming of a knee injury.

    I say they take a big back in the 4th or 5th rounds and use their higher picks in other areas.

  11. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    OT? Hmmn, been reading that for Cards recently on several pages. Best available, biggest difference maker is my bottom line and my bet on Cards’ collective thinking…

  12. By MostlyRight on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    Darren,

    It’s April 15 and I have three things on my mind…taxes, the upcoming draft and starting to play around with mocks, and the status of our current injured players as we approach the last months before summer.

    Just checked off the taxes box and going to go do a mock draft. Any chance you could do some investigative journalism and get us fans a solid, honest overview of where the little and bigger injuries to Niklas, Ellington, CC, Palmer, Stanton, Cooper, etc all stand? Are we going into camp healthy? Any updates on DWash applying for reinstatement?

  13. By Darren Urban on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    Mostly —

    RE: Injuries

    Players back next week. Probably get a better sense then.

  14. By Doug b on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    Been watching highlights for the running backs in this draft. Wondering if the Big Ten running backs are fools gold? Every back in that conference has ridiculous numbers. Is it cause it happens that every Big Ten running back is a stud? Or is it cause every Big Ten team (OSU excluded) had lousy run defenses? Just wondering if our scouts would take that into account or not.

  15. By Scott H on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    OMG, can we just get this draft over with???? I swear – just as I KNOW there are NFL head coaches who are intent on ruining my fantasy team every year – I know they move this thing back on the calendar every year just to torture me.

    Good lord, didn’t the draft used to be in March??? It’s practically into May at this point. Maybe 10 years down the road, it’ll be during July 4th weekend!

  16. By Coach K on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports made a mock two days ago that really surprised me. He had these as the Cardinals first 4 picks:

    1. Eli Harold
    2. Todd Gurley
    3. Michael Bennett
    4. Dorian Grant

    If that really happened, I’d be really surprised, and also really happy.

  17. By cards62 on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    Whitey and JTDG

    I am happy if we trade 2nd round pick or later for A. Peterson. He is a sure thing and I think he is going to have a great year.
    I do not think Gurley will be there at 24, but if he is and no Peterson I do not think you pass on him. Peterson was coming off a knee injury also when he entered the draft so I think we give him a shot because he is special. If Gurley is gone hope we draft 2 backs 3rd and 5th or 3rd and 6th rounds.

    Whitey I really liked your list of grades on running backs. The guy on the list besides Peterson I thought would have a great pro career is Darren McFadden. Was able to watch him play couple of times in person and a lot on TV and he was really special in college. He has not been a bad pro, but coming out of college my thinking was he would definitely gain 1,200 yards or more every year. Maybe it was being a Raider so it will be interesting to see how he does with the Cowboys.

    Point is its very hard to tell who will stay hungry, stay healthy, and be placed in right position to be successful, but I think we all agree we have to bring in a highly regarded running back if we want to have a chance to win our division.

    My draft in no draft order RB or 2, QB, and rest defense. I love our Cardinals but I have given up on the TE position. Arizona is where TEs go to keep a low profile and be forgotten. I am expecting, hoping, praying, Cooper becomes the stud guard he was in college for us.

    Go Cards

  18. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    Whitey,

    ESPN and Mel Kiper is a horrible source. Listen to actual scouts. Most compare Gurley to Marshawn Lynch not AP.

    In a time when RBs are devalued, everyone has Gurley as a first round pick even though he is coming off the injury. What does that tell you?

    As for Byron Jones, why do we need another safety? He is much like Devin McCortney of the Pats. He can play CB, but is a safety imo.

    Also, funny you talk about Gurley’s injury when Jones missed the last 5 games of 2014 season due to injury

  19. By sbrown on Apr 16, 2015 | Reply

    SK and the scouting dept. should all but be done with their overall board and their position board rankings for the draft. Only 14 days from today it kicks off in Chicago.
    Every Mock now seems to have a few trades in it, when that happens , no way to figure out before what team has targeted what player, and what are they willing to trade to move up / down to get their guy . So while the Cards draft board is set, it does need to be flexible as the draft unfolds.
    That is the fun we armchair GM’s get to enjoy as the draft goes, who is taken and who is available for the Cards at #24.

  20. By Richard L on Apr 16, 2015 | Reply

    Here was my mock draft for the Cardinals back in February. I’m curious to see what the Cards will do;

    Melvin Gordon, WI-RB
    Hauoli Kikaha, WA – OLB
    Trey Flowers, ARK – DE
    Ramik Wilson, GA -ILB

  21. By Richard L on Apr 16, 2015 | Reply

    Patrick,

    Regarding OT in the First round – You’ve got to be kidding!! Didn’t they learn anything from drafting Levi Brown instead of Adrian Peterson. Take the skill position talent first Keim.

  22. By D on Apr 16, 2015 | Reply

    Your probably right Darren, the top pass rushers probably won’t fall below #20. Cards could reach on one at #24, but I think a higher rated RB and CB will still be on the board at 24, than a reach, second round level talented pass rusher.

    Basically I see 3 main needs for the Cards in this draft in the first 3 rounds:

    Pass rusher
    RB
    CB

    Then depth needed at ILB, OT and a true DT. Could also grab a true kick/punt returner in rounds 5-6.

  23. By Coach K on Apr 16, 2015 | Reply

    Running backs that make a good fit for Cardinals in the middle rounds:

    David Cobb
    Javorius Allen
    T.J. Yeldon
    Jeremy Langford
    Mike Davis

    All of these players would be a good fit for the Cardinals and would be available in round three to five. No need to grab a big name on top of this draft.

  24. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 16, 2015 | Reply

    OT ???

    I think Offensive Tackle is coming up because there are no dominate LTs in this draft. RTs and guards are pushed down the board and are great values at the later part of round one.

    With that being said, there are several RTs to be had in round 3-5. We need an impact player. Pass rushers or that magic RB.

  25. By Whitey on Apr 16, 2015 | Reply

    Everyone who thinks we need to take a running back in the first round needs to go back and watch Andre Ellington in 2013. He was unbelievable. We have an elite back who was playing injured all last year.

    We need a big back in the middle rounds to complement him, but even if we don’t take a back our running game should be way better due to an improved offensive line and Ellington’s foot being healed this year.

    Those who are bagging on ESPN’s rankings for backs- Ellington was rated the third best back by them in 2013 and NFL scouts were afraid he was too slow so he fell to the sixth round. Guess how many teams are kicking themselves that they didn’t draft off of the ESPN draft board instead of their own.

  26. By Dr. G. on Apr 16, 2015 | Reply

    Beasley, Mariota, Gordon, Gregory, all snap calls at 24…maybe Gurley if you want to wait a year….would be a miracle for Hundley in round 2…

    A short editorial for Winston:: Watching this guy for a couple years has told me that he has a serious narcissistic case of entitlement that displays his lack of education and developmental maturity…. He has an alleged assault with reasonable accusation; he has been caught stealing; he has shouted vile things in student gathering while standing upon a table laughing…only to mention a few of the publicized things.

    Now he says to Gruden, et al: “that’s not me now; I was just doing what everybody does in college. I’m a different guy now.” He thinks all students behave like this??? Stupid and naive.

    My reaction was just short of calling him a prevaricator of the most devious ilk. He will make Johnny Football look like Billy Graham. If he fell to 24, no way is he on my board anywhere. But rumors have him going at the top few of the draft to some unsuspecting GM. I want to think Licht is too smart to buy into Winston’s charade…his physicality clouds truth here…it’s in his dna.

    Licht picks Mariota.

    The posse and the girly trappers await the parties with the signing bonus…later Cards’ fans

  27. By Scott H on Apr 17, 2015 | Reply

    Whitey –

    IMHO, I think what we need is a RB that Ellington will be the complement to. Ellington is a dynamic player but he is not a feature back. He is best served – and he best serves US – by being a complement to another player who can be the work-horse.

  28. By jerrytown on Apr 18, 2015 | Reply

    I’m a big Beasley fan but he won’t be there. How about Malcolm Brown? Dude is a beast, Eddie Goldman too. I could definitely see us going CB though with all the pass rushers gone.

    Or….Keim might shock everyone and trade UP!

  29. By Michaelfromstl on Apr 21, 2015 | Reply

    I’m sold on Dorial Green-Beckham. I want us to go defense given what players are left when it comes down to our pick. Although, I think picking him with our pick is not the worst idea. Floyd’s has 5th year option. Smokey is dangerous. The other Brown has been injury prone. & Larry is the greatest(imo; see 2nd amendment) . DGB reminds me of the days when we had Quan and Fitz, big physical receivers who can go up and come down with the ball.Then Breaston (Smokey) as the 3rd racking catches, and yac due to short passing routes. I like Floyd but I would not at all be surprised if we let him go after the season, especially if we draft a talent like DGB.

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