So the hope is that Deone Bucannon will be back for the beginning of the regular season, after the news that the linebacker recently had ankle surgery to repair the injury he had hoped rehab would solve. That means for the offseason — and into training camp, if not all of training camp — it’ll be No. 1 draft pick Haason Reddick who will step into the breach.
That’s fine — ultimately, Reddick figures to spend more time at inside linebacker than outside, and inside is where he was slated to spend the offseason anyway. Bruce Arians said Tuesday the Cardinals get that Reddick already knows how to rush the passer. Now it’s about learning the other position. But this also will make the latter stages of training camp and the beginning of the regular season very interesting. The inside linebacker corps becomes thinner now, much different than just a week ago when Bucannon was in the fold, Reddick could fill in and — at least briefly — there was a chance Daryl Washington might be in the mix. The Washington return was a non-starter, though, and now Bucannon is sidelined. If Bucannon comes back early in the season, it’s easy to forget it ever happened — does anyone remember that left guard Mike Iupati missed the first three games of the 2015 season because of a knee injury, only to return to Pro Bowl status in a 13-3 season?
The kind of guy Bucannon is, he’ll push hard to return quickly. I could see him being the kind of guy who may have to be told to take it easy and let the healing take place. In the meantime, though, Reddick is on deck.
Tags: Deone Bucannon, Haason Reddick
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The draft is over. So Bruce Arians summed it up plainly. “Passion and speed.”
The Cardinals also went for versatility, guys that could play in a couple of spots. And it was also about what they didn’t get. With the much-anticipated temptation of taking a quarterback, “we talked about a couple of guys, but they were all gone,” Arians said. “As far as a temptation, no.” (A QB is already in hand, though. See below.)
— It didn’t look like the Cardinals had drafted a cornerback either, until they did. Sixth-round pick Johnathan “Rudy” Ford was a safety as he wrapped up at Auburn, but he began his career as a cornerback and the Cardinals will use him at cornerback. He’s been training there already, with former Cardinals cornerback (and two-time offseason coaching intern) Rod Hood.
— Ford got his nickname because when he was little, he wouldn’t give up. And his uncle nicknamed him that, yes, after the movie.
— Special teams was not forgotten. Clearly, the Cardinals see big special teams play to come from multiple picks: Budda Baker, Haason Reddick, Rudy Ford, T.J. Logan.
— Arians described Logan as more Andre Ellington than David Johnson. If Logan clicks in the backfield, it will certainly free up Ellington to be more of a receiver, which Arians already said would be Ellington’s role.
— The liver condition of fourth-round guard Dorian Johnson is not a problem. Not to the Cardinals. “Some people think me and Coach have liver issues but we’re just fine,” GM Steve Keim deadpanned.
“Terrible joke, but he’s fine,” Keim said. “It’s not been an issue in the past.”
“(Dorian) knows how to manage it,” Arians said with a grin. “I’m still learning mine.”
— The two offensive linemen (Johnson and Will Holden) can play multiple positions. Keim loves that. They are also considered very smart. “Not to get too detailed, but the less time we have with these players, the less time we can develop them, and the less we can get them to understand what we are trying to get across from a schematical standpoint,” Keim said. “It’s important to draft smart players, it’s important to draft passionate players, and it’s important to draft players with positional flexibility.”
— The Cardinals will start to work on their undrafted rookie list now. The official list likely won’t be out until Monday, although I am sure some names will trickle out before then. There will be a quarterback on that list. The Cardinals have 14 spots open on the offseason 90-man roster (although that includes one for Daryl Washington, whose actual spot on the roster figures to be determined sooner rather than later.)
(UPDATE: And there’s your UDFA QB. Texas A&M’s Trevor Knight tweeted out he’s coming to the Cardinals.)
Keim said the plan is to sign 15 to 20 undrafted rookies. A team isn’t going to land all their targets usually, but if there are more than 14, there may be some roster moves early next week to make room for newbies.
Tags: Andre Ellington, Budda Baker, Dorian Johnson, draft, Haason Reddick, Rudy Ford, T.J. Logan, Trevor Knight, Will Holden
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Inside linebacker was the theme of the night Thursday. Mostly, it was about first-round pick Haason Reddick. But briefly, and not unexepectedly, since it was the first time Steve Keim and Bruce Arians were available since the news Daryl Washington was conditionally reinstated, they were asked about Washington.
“I’ll be honest with you, for the last 72 hours, I’ve done nothing but stare at college tape and that draft board,” Keim said. “At the appropriate time, we’ll address that. I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t put a lot of thought into it.”
Keim added that the Cards would speak to Washington “after the draft.”
— The Cardinals are pretty solid at ILB now, Washington or no, by adding Reddick with Karlos Dansby and Deone Bucannon. Reddick can work behind Dansby and I won’t be surprised to see all three on the field at times.
— No quarterback Thursday. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a quarterback Friday, in either the second or third round. DeShone Kizer is still out there, as is Nate Peterman, Davis Webb and Josh Dobbs. We’ll see how it plays out.
— The 49ers made some nice moves Thursday under first-year GM John Lynch, adding a pair of good defenders (DT Solomon Thomas and LB Reuben Foster) while adding some extra picks. Foster was predicted to be a top-10 pick. His shoulder injury may have scared off teams. Bruce Arians said the Cards liked Reddick over Foster because of Reddick’s versatility.
— Reddick’s story is amazing. He had his last two high school seasons end with injury. He walked on at Temple as a cornerback. He didn’t get a scholarship until after his junior year. When Keim talked pre-draft about liking players with the proverbial chip on his shoulder, Reddick fits the bill. “There were some good times and bad times, a lot of hard work that had to be put in,” Reddick said. “It was definitely a journey, but in the end, everything worked out for the best.”
Tags: Daryl Washington, Haason Reddick
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