After every draft, a slew of draft “grades” come out as people try to analyze what happened. In truth, it’s foolish because there is no way to know at that moment how the class will turn out. In truth, it’s smart, because the draft grades are probably the most read part of draft coverage.
But the draft grades were what I was thinking of today (and the last few days) as the Kevin Kolb trade moved to completion and the reality set in of the Cards giving up DRC and a pick. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the deal will be judged on whether the team wins, and that is true. I take it even further, which I mentioned on Twitter today: Bottom line, if Kolb wins and plays well, in the end, no one will care what was surrendered to get him. If he is a bust, the acquisition would have been attacked regardless of the compensation.
Take Derek Anderson, who was humanely released Thursday after one very rocky season in Arizona. He was a free agent. He cost nothing. But he played poorly, and most are upset he was ever brought to town.
Everyone will have an opinion on this (and most of the ones I hear are very strong) and that’s fine. If he goes down in flames, I’m sure everyone will pat themselves on the back. If he succeeds, he’ll end up generating the same good feeling Kurt Warner did, even if no one liked how he got here. Heck, even Darnell Dockett was conflicted, immediately tweeting “I don’t know how to feel” to later predicting Whisenhunt would make “big moves” and the Cards would win the NFC West.
As for the big contract, ESPN’s Andrew Brandt tweeted that Kolb’s deal is similar to the one Aaron Rodgers got in 2008 when Rodgers had just seven starts under his belt — like Kolb. So the money isn’t out of context.
Maybe DRC leapfrogs his 2009 season and Kolb struggles and this looks bad in the end. Maybe DRC feels the pressure of being in Philly and hears about his tackling while Michael Vick gets banged up and Kolb shines. Maybe Kolb plays well and DRC plays well and everyone is happy. Who knows. But that’s why we pay attention to this in the first place, right?
P.S. The NFL.com story is wrong. The Eagles did not trade the Cards a second-round pick.
P.P.S. In case you missed it, LB Gerald Hayes was also released today.
Tags: DRC, Ken Whisenhunt, Kevin Kolb
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Multiple reports have the Kevin Kolb trade finished, with the Cards getting the quarterback from the Eagles and dealing, as expected, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick in return. There has not been an official announcement from either team, however.
Kolb also reportedly will get a five-year contract extension. So there’s the QB the Cards wanted/needed. Given the debate that led up to this whole thing, I don’t doubt that Kolb will be topic 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 in training camp. He’ll have heavy pressure to succeed.
UPDATE: NFL Network is reporting Cards are also looking at San Diego WR Malcolm Floyd to replace Breaston. Floyd is a speed guy (averaged more than 19 yards a catch last season, and more than 17 the previous two years) who would look good opposite Larry Fitzgerald.
Tags: DRC, Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, Malcolm Floyd
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Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie just did a phone interview with Philadelphia radio station WIP, obviously to talk about the speculation that he would be part of a trade for quarterback Kevin Kolb.
“A lot of people been hitting me up,” DRC said. “I’m just playing it by ear. Whatever happens, happens.”
He added that whether the trade goes down or not, “It don’t matter to me.” He was careful to walk the line about being a Cardinal or being an Eagle. The hosts obviously wanted to ask him about coming to Philly, but DRC knows there is a chance he will remain in Arizona. Even the hosts, after it was over, noted DRC was trying to stay neutral.
“I’m waiting until it all plays out,” DRC said. “I ain’t getting too antsy yet.” Asked about his desire to play for the Eagles, DRC made clear he still had a fondness for the Cards because they were the team that drafted him and gave him his start. “But if they’re talking about trading me, I can’t do nothing about that, because it’s a business,” he added.
According to reports, teams can start discussing trades Tuesday, although they can’t become official until 3 p.m. Arizona time Friday.
The hosts did ask DRC about his tackling. “I know when it comes down to it, if I have to make the tackle, he’s going to come down,” DRC said.
Now we just have to wait to see in what uniform DRC will be doing that tackling.
Tags: DRC, Eagles
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When Kevin Kolb went on the “Dan Patrick Show” this morning and talked about how he has “envisioned” himself as a Cardinal, that probably isn’t a surprise. We’ve been sitting around talking about this possibility for so long, it’s only natural Kolb himself was going to do so. Do I think the Cards will make a play for Kolb? Yes. Do I know what they will offer? No.
The DRC thing seems to be gaining speculative steam, not that it sits well with everyone (Tweeted Adrian Wilson today, “Everyone need to stop with the DRC for KOLB trade rumors… Ridiculous!!!! Can we get to football first. Just stop it already” and new DRC/Wilson teammate Patrick Peterson retweeted the sentiment.) Kent Somers broke down his thoughts on such a swap and I already had mentioned what I thought.
But let’s just talk about what is fact for right now: Kolb’s interview. He said a lot of stuff today that he’s said before, but a couple of particular comments stood out. To start, “Most people can connect the dots now,” he said. “Arizona is a great place.”
Then there was this: Regardless of where Kolb goes, on the idea that he could end up staying an Eagle, Kolb said, “I don’t even want to look down that route (that he’s not traded). I have had a great time there (in Philadelphia) but it’s just time for me to move on and do my own thing.
“I had my shot (in Philly) and it didn’t work out and so I have to go prove myself somewhere else if that possibility presents itself. But I can’t think of one (scenario where he stays). From the conversations I had before this all happened, it sounds like (trading me) is the plan and hopefully everyone sticks to it.”
So there’s another pressure point on the Eagles’ end to do a deal, and like every pressure point, it really doesn’t force a trade, but it means that both sides probably won’t end up with “best-case scenario” in a deal for one to happen. The Eagles won’t get a ransom, the Cards won’t get off cheap.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, DRC, Kevin Kolb, Patrick Peterson
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Out in Los Angeles Monday, at Memorial Coliseum, the annual NFL 101 All-Access event was held – at its core, an effort to keep the dream of an NFL team (or teams) in Los Angeles alive. This year, the Cardinals were invited to have a booth for the fans, and then for president Michael Bidwill to sit on a panel with the 49ers’ Jed York and the Raiders’ Amy Trask.
Bidwill acknowledged, again, that there is “no doubt” the Cards will focus on getting a veteran quarterback as soon as the labor situation is settled and “I have no doubt it will happen quickly.” He didn’t talk specifics, but that’s not a surprise (and yes, I know about Mike Jurecki’s report earlier in the day that he heard about the Cards willing to offer DRC for Kolb. I don’t know what will happen there).
Earlier, Bidwill smiled when it brought up that the labor situation may indeed to coming to a resolution.
“We’re almost there,” he said. “It feels like there are just a few more issues left. It’s kind of like watching a pot boil, you watch it every day it feels like it takes longer. Hopefully we will get it wrapped up soon and I am looking forward to going to the meeting in Atlanta (Thursday) and see where we are.”
Bidwill, like everyone, said he would be rather be talking football anyway.
“It does make me feel good because getting back to football is what it is all about,” Bidwill said. “We’ve been talking about labor issues and lawsuits and I know fans want to be talking about quarterbacks and what we’re doing in free agency and how we’re going to beef up the defense and the running game. We have some good draft choices and we haven’t even had a chance to meet them yet.”
Tags: DRC, Kevin Kolb, Michael Bidwill
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So ESPN.com’s K.C. Joyner — the “Football Scientist” — wrote an Insider article about No. 1 pick Patrick Peterson and the possibility he could bring the Cards’ secondary elite status this season. Joyner uses football metrics (fancy stats) to prove his point. He compares the Cards’ move to that of Bill Walsh and the 49ers back in 1981 when they added future star Ronnie Lott.
“This combination of traits helped the 49ers pass defense improve to top-five rankings in passer rating allowed, passing yards per attempt (YPA), passing yards allowed and interceptions in the 1981 campaign, all of which were key elements in San Francisco’s Super Bowl run that season,” Joyner writes.
“Fast forward to this year’s draft. It’s very hard to project any draft pick to be as impactful as Lott — who was a star at cornerback before he was eventually shifted to safety — but Whisenhunt and the Cardinals’ brain trust may have had the same idea in mind when they drafted LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson with the No. 5 pick.”
Joyner also writes “It may sound hard to believe given how bad Arizona’s pass defense statistics were last year, but the metrics show that the addition of Peterson and an achievable turnaround by former Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie could give the Cardinals a truly elite secondary.”
Of course, that would be huge for the Cards if Peterson indeed did so (while noting DRC also has to up his play). But it also got me wondering about the entire rookie class. The way coach Ken Whisenhunt likes to break in rookies, there is usually a waiting period for them to make a large impact. Add in the complete loss of the offseason — so that this rookie class with have absolutely zero idea about life in the NFL and what this coaching staff expects until we are two weeks away from an actual preseason game — and you have to think the learning curve will be that much steeper.
Peterson, of course, should get a chance to play early. But with DRC and Greg Toler, there doesn’t have to be a rush into the starting lineup. The Cards can afford to pick-and-choose his spots (which may, again, slow down that scenario Joyner envisions). The same goes for second-round running back Ryan Williams, since the Cards obviously have running backs already in place — even if one of the guys already on the roster isn’t there once the season begins, which remains a possibility.
Interestingly, it’s the next four picks that really could be the ones to watch, depending on how free agency turns out. Third-round tight end Rob Housler is a pass-catching piece the Cards could use right away, if he can quickly assimilate. Fourth-round outside linebacker Sam Acho will have to learn the position, but given the Cards’ need for pass rushers and the ability to spot-play such guys, he too could be used early. And the Cards will probably carry only one fullback, so if fifth-rounder Anthony Sherman is the guy, he’ll have to be the blocker right out of the gate. Meanwhile, sixth-round linebacker Quan Sturdivant will find that there is playing time to be had in the middle — again, if he can quickly learn on the job.
(Sixth-round DL David Carter and seventh-round WR DeMarco Sampson, to me, are depth at best and will be fighting just to get on the roster.)
Until these guys get on the field, it’s always easy to be optimistic what they can add right away. History shows the free agents the Cards bring it — whomever they will be — will be more important, one way or the other, at first. That may just be underscored with this absent offseason.
Tags: 49ers, Anthony Sherman, David Carter, DeMarco Sampson, DRC, Greg Toler, Ken Whisenhunt, Patrick Peterson, Quan Sturdivant, Rob Housler, Ronnie Lott, rookies, Ryan Williams, Sam Acho
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The Fourth of July has passed and that time when the lockout is creeping up on the season is coming fast. Talks are ongoing, and the hope still is that training camps won’t be delayed. Like everyone else, I am sitting back, waiting and hoping. In the meantime …
– Former NFL coach Herman Edwards was on ESPN’s SportsCenter this morning talking about his top five players to watch this season. At five was Packers LB Clay Matthews. Four was Bucs QB Josh Freeman, three was Rams QB Sam Bradford and two was Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant. And his top guy to keep an eye on? Cardinals rookie cornerback Patrick Peterson. Edwards has long been a fan of Peterson. Here’s hoping Edwards is right. Funny thing, by this time we’ve usually written and talked a ton about the first-round draft pick but because of the circumstances, he remains a relative mystery for this level. Will he jump in? Is he going to take longer to assimilate to the pro game because of no offseason (another reason it seems crazy for the Cards to deal DRC)?
– Speaking of the DRC “trade” — or more specifically, Eagles QB Kevin Kolb, some interesting stuff floating out there right now in this speculation bonanza we have. There is little question the Eagles think they can get a ransom for him right now, but who knows what that means? A Seattle radio station floated last week that the Seahawks would be willing to give up a first- and third-round pick for Kolb. That would change the dynamic of the situation, certainly.
As for Kolb’s play, Adam Caplan and Greg Cosell did an in-depth breakdown of Kolb’s five starts. It’s good stuff for anyone wanting to know more about this potential QB.
– Coach Ken Whisenhunt will be back in the U.S. soon after his trip overseas to visit military troops, a journey that took him to Kuwait and over to Iraq and eventually Baghdad and allowed him to spend Fourth of July with men and women defending the very nature of the holiday. Whiz is also scheduled to return to the American Century Championship according to the tourney. That’s the celebrity golf tournament held every year at Lake Tahoe (This year, it’s July 12-17). Cardinals linebacker Joey Porter is also on the list to play this year.
Then again, you never know what could be happening football-wise. I don’t know what a new labor agreement would immediately mean for the coaches. Hope we get to find out soon.
Tags: Clay Matthews, Dez Bryant, DRC, Eagles, Herman Edwards, Joey Porter, Josh Freeman, Ken Whisenhunt, Kevin Kolb, labor, Patrick Peterson, Sam Bradford, Seahawks
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So the latest speculation — because again, that’s all that’s available right now — is that the Cardinals could end up with Kevin Kolb as their quarterback by trading not a draft pick but cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. That was the talk a couple of days ago on Philadelphia radio station WIP (H/T to Paul Calvisi and Dave Burns on Sports 620 KTAR for the heads-up) and frankly, it’s not the first time DRC’s name has come up in such speculation. Around the draft, people were spitballing the idea the Cards would send Patrick Peterson to Philly for Kolb, and that morphed into DRC.
Some of that is connecting of the dots. The Cards need a QB and most assume Kolb is the most reasonable target. The Eagles need a cornerback. The Eagles won’t benefit from a draft pick this season, so maybe a player is a better choice. And there is no doubting that DRC’s game — at this point — doesn’t exactly fit the mentality of new defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
All that said, I would be surprised if such a deal was made.
To begin with, the Cards, who have been looking to solidify their third cornerback spot, finally seem to have that lined up with Peterson, DRC and Greg Toler. That becomes an issue all over again if DRC is dealt. Peterson hasn’t even proven he can play cornerback yet — remember, there are some who think he’ll be better suited as a safety, a la Antrel Rolle — and giving up the team’s best current corner is a pretty big risk in today’s pass-happy NFL. Also, for whatever DRC’s faults might be, his resume is still more complete than Kolb.
Finally, this kind of talk — that the Cards are “close” to getting Kolb — seems so out of place. In theory, such discussions have been on hold for such a long time I don’t see how anything could be nailed down. If the Eagles want to let Kolb go, would they rather have DRC than a draft pick? That makes a lot of sense. It also doesn’t mean the Cards would be willing to do it. Could they? I suppose. There is little question that the lure of getting a good quarterback (assuming, of course, that’s how the Cards see Kolb) could be too strong to resist, despite such a price.
DRC talked, in that brief window when he came to the facility back before the draft when the lockout was lifted for a matter of hours, that he had gained muscle and was ready to take on Horton’s new defense. I still think the plan is to revamp DRC and make him a part of potentially a very good cornerback corps.
I also still think that we’re going to continue to talk about stuff like this until the labor deal is settled and we know for whom Kolb is going to play in 2011.
Tags: DRC, Eagles, Greg Toler, Kevin Kolb, Patrick Peterson, Ray Horton
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The latest in a series of offseason posts looking back:
For this installment, we check out what was being said on the day some current Cards were drafted …
– Back in 2001, Adrian Wilson was kind of an afterthought on the first day of the draft. Back then, there were two days of the draft, with rounds one through three on Saturday. The Cardinals had the second pick overall, so offensive lineman Leonard Davis was the BIG story. The Cards also took defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch – who turned out to be a pretty good player, but after two blown-out knees and a coaching change sent him packing from Arizona – and cornerback Michael Stone. I wonder how A-Dub feels when he thinks how the great Michael Stone has a better draft pedigree than him.
Wilson was a surprise pick in some ways, because the Cards needed defensive line help more. He was raw. The Cards even briefly considered using him at cornerback at the time, believe it or not. I love the jump headline – “Could be a keeper for the Cardinals.” Uh, yeah.
– There was no question that first day of the 2004 draft turned out awesome – Larry Fitzgerald, Karlos Dansby, Darnell Dockett – but that was what was thought at the time, too. While Fitz was celebrated, looking at Dockett’s quotes from the day resonate. “I’m going to be the next Anquan Boldin,” Dockett said, referencing Boldin’s outplaying of his draft status. And he was “disgusted” that teams passed on him before he went as the first pick of the third round. Turns out Darnell was right.
– The Cards traded up in 2007 to get Alan Branch, although it seems that it took until the end of 2009 and 2010 for Branch to really hit his stride. Of course, the big story of 2007 was the decision to take Levi Brown fifth overall (part one and part two here), but at the time, it didn’t seem as big of a deal as hindsight has portrayed. Of course, that draft was also highlighted by the late pick of Steve Breaston. It’s funny to see I thought Breaston’s big competition to make the team was LeRon McCoy.
– Then there was 2008, when the Cards got DRC and Calais Campbell on the first day. Apparently, one kidney and a small school wasn’t going to scare off the Cards from Rodgers-Cromartie, and his speed didn’t hurt. All things considered, that’s been a good pick – although we all understand DRC’s need for a big 2011.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Alan Branch, Anquan Boldin, Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, draft, DRC, Karlos Dansby, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Larry Fitzgerald, Leonard Davis, Levi Brown, Michael Stone, Revisionist history, Steve Breaston
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As we continue to search for things to ponder football-wise while hoping the current labor talks evolve into an end of the lockout, another Football Outsiders breakdown brings us the subject of broken tackles on the defensive side for 2010. The Cards had a handful of players show up on the list.
FO makes it clear — and this almost goes without saying — that charting broken tackles is an inexact science at the very least. It’s like charting dropped passes in many ways; it’s always going to be a judgement call and even then, it is usually debatable. So keep that in mind. They are also working off TV video that doesn’t always provide the best angles. You have to take it for what it is worth. For instance, they have safety Adrian Wilson allowing a player to get away 16 times in 2010. That may or may not be totally exact, but they point out they only charted him with two such broken tackles in 2009, so it is the swing in statistics that is noteworthy.
Obviously, the Cards’ defense had it’s ups and downs in 2010. Realistically, given the talent level on all teams in the NFL, good and bad, it’s usually stuff like this — missed tackles, mental mistakes — that separate success and failure, moreso than a massive gap in talent (and why coach Ken Whisenhunt wanted to see his a handful or normally quality defenders be able to up their play in 2011 from 2010). Football Outsiders counted 28 defenders across the NFL with at least 10 broken tackles last season; four were Cards — Wilson, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (10), safety Kerry Rhodes (11) and linebacker Paris Lenon (14). If you have a shot to bring a guy down, you need to bring him down.
The other part of this study is how the percentages fall. FO bases their percentages on total tackles. I am not sure if they chart broken tackles via their own study or by NFL gamebook, but the totals are, not surprisingly, different than the coaches’ tallies that the Cardinals (and every team, for that matter) release.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, DRC, Ken Whisenhunt, Kerry Rhodes, Paris Lenon
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