Here it is, the long-awaited-and-yet-not-any-more-likely-to-be-anything-but-mocked mock draft from yours truly. To be clear, I have not sat back and broken down hours of tape nor do I know what’s on anybody’s draft boards, including the Cards. This is about making educated guesses, which as we all know when it comes to the draft usually means little. It doesn’t include any trades, which would/could blow it up quickly (although as I write this comes the rumor the Bills are willing to trade from 10 to 3 to get T Matt Kalil; If I am the Vikings, you better be sure you like a guy at 10. You don’t want to give up a potential stud just for a draft pick.)
In my mock, the Cardinals ended up with tackle Riley Reiff. By the time the Cards picked in my virtual world, the top two receivers (Blackmon and Floyd) are both gone and so is the guy likely considered the best potential 3-4 pass-rusher (Melvin Ingram.) I have guard David DeCastro falling all the way into the 20s.I feel confident I have hit on my slots for Luck and Griffin, however.
The best part of my mock? That it is done, which means we are about 24 hours away from the real draft and no longer have to speculate and instead actually see actual draft picks being made.
Tags: Justin Blackmon, Melvin Ingram, Michael Floyd, mock draft, Riley Reiff
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The first round of the draft is tonight, and so, I thought I’d take a quick moment to talk about what might be going on. For the first time in a long time, I won’t have a full first-round mock. To be truthful, with the Cards picking so high, I just don’t know enough of what may be happening after, say, the 10th pick. And I’ve had some other things going on too. Anyway, on to the draft.
OK, here’s what we know:
(See what I did there?)
Here’s what we think we know, based on all the millions of bits of information floating out there, the misinformation floating out there, and the meshing of both which will leave some things happening exactly as expected and others scratching our head (google Tyson Alualu):
1) The Panthers will probably take Cam Newton. 2) The Broncos seem to be leaning to Von Miller, although they seem ready to trade out, and there is scuttlebutt the Redskins might want to trade up for Blaine Gabbert. 3) The Bills seem to be ready to take Miller, or Newton, or Marcel Dareus, depending who drops. 4) Gabbert could fall quickly. 5) The Bengals probably go offense. 6) Most teams in the top five seem willing to trade down, if someone is willing to trade up, which is always the issue. 7) There are so many quarterbacks seemingly equal in stature it looks like the teams that need them are more willing to wait until the top of round two instead of pulling the trigger on one early.
In other words, there’s uncertainty, although it’s a controlled uncertainty in many ways. Said Cardinals general manager Rod Graves, “The top 10 players are the top 10 players. We may have them out of order a little bit from team to team, but you are still talking about the same guys. Beyond that, it’s a little more dicey.” So here are my thoughts on the top five picks:
- Carolina: QB Cam Newton. At this point, it’d be a surprise if it wasn’t Newton, although Dareus could sneak in, I suppose. Newton is anything but a guarantee, but at the same time, it’s a swing-for-the-fences pick.
- Denver: LB Von Miller. Those covering the Broncos seem pretty sure about this, although I get the sense the Broncos would like to trade. Dareus would seem a definite possibility, since new coach John Fox always loved to build up front the best he can and the team is transitioning from a 3-4 to a 4-3 (and Miller doesn’t seem to fit that quite as well).
- Buffalo: DT Marcell Dareus. Miller and Newton have been the two teams linked to the Bills this whole pre-draft time, and in my scenario, both are gone. Would Peterson or Blaine Gabbert be possible?
- Cincinnati: QB Blaine Gabbert. My gut is telling me they go WR A.J. Green, but people closer to the team think they may pull the trigger on Gabbert. I think they may go Green and try and get that second-round QB. Either way, time to find out if Mike Brown is willing to call Carson Palmer’s retirement bluff (although I’m not so sure it’s a bluff).
- Arizona: CB Patrick Peterson. If this is the scenario, I think the Cards would look long and hard at both Peterson and Green. If this is the scenario, the Cards may have some decent trade-down options too. If Gabbert is on the board with Peterson (let’s say Green was Cincy’s pick), that will also give pause, although I personally think defense would win out.
One other thing: A handful of coaches will attend today’s draft party, starting at 4 p.m. at the Great Lawn at University of Phoenix Stadium. They will be assistant head coach Russ Grimm, new defensive coordinator Ray Horton, offensive coordinator Mike Miller and strength and conditioning coach John Lott.
P.S. I love you, Dad.
Tags: draft, mock draft
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Even the Cardinals mock draft.
It comes at the tail end of their draft meetings, after they set their top 120 board. They’ll go through as many scenarios as they can to try and guesstimate what will happen (although in the end, it’s impossible to really know; as coach Ken Whisenhunt said Thursday, “the only time you really know is when (a team) makes that pick.”
“We go through a mock draft exercise every year and I think that it is a good exercise,” general manager Rod Graves said. “It is not totally worthless.”
“It is always interesting,” Whisenhunt said. “Listen, there is nothing wrong with information. There are enough people that don’t agree with what we do, or the calls that I make, so it is my chance to look at something you guys do and disagree with you. ‘God, that wasn’t a very good pick.’ Although I just don’t have the forum to put it out there that you do. So yeah, it’s interesting. I do (look at them). It is kind of a guilty pleasure for me to go and look at what different guys put for their picks or their analysis of the draft.”
Tags: draft, Ken Whisenhunt, mock draft, Rod Graves
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All this talk about mocks, it’s only fair you get a chance to do one if you want to. So you can click right here and take part in the mock contest from Chevron and azcardinals.com. Give yourself a chance to win an autographed jersey of whomever the No. 1 draft choice is — do you go with Miller? Peterson? Gabbert? Oh, the possibilities are endless (your chances to win might not be if, say, you put Jake Locker as the fifth overall pick, but hey, it’s your mock).
As for the other part of football we can talk about these days, the 2011 interactive schedule is posted, although the “when” part of the schedule remains under wraps. That will be released later this month — I am guessing the week before draft week (last year, it was April 20). But in the meantime, you can check out the opponents, air miles to be traveled and this somewhat surprising stat given the slate of other teams — the Cards, thanks to their division and off years last season by the Cowboys and Vikings, for instance, will for a second straight season face the NFL’s weakest schedule based on 2010 results.
Tags: draft, Jake Locker, mock draft, schedule
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The mocks are coming fast and furious now (OK, at least at a steady pace) and with the idea Von Miller will be selected before the Cards pick is gaining steam (at this point, I also tend to believe it). The way things break down, QB Blaine Gabbert has been popular as a remaining candidate — along with Patrick Peterson — and guys like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay are saying the Cards will/should take Gabbert. I’ll stick with the idea of Peterson in such a scenario. Coach Ken Whisenhunt was on ProFootballTalk Live today and while host Mike Florio didn’t ask Whiz directly if he’d take a quarterback — smartly — Whiz did end up talking about drafting a young QB. We can talk smokescreens and such, but you can parse Whiz’s words:
— On the idea of a team taking a QB in the top 10 and the immediate success recent first-round QBs have had adding pressure to use a first-round QB right away: “It creates pressure with the fan base … well, I shouldn’t say pressure. It creates expectations. My experience in this league it is difficult for young guys to come in and have success. I think that trend has been bumped in the last couple of years because of these young guys and the success they have had. Obviously we did that with Ben (Roethlisberger) in Pittsburgh and had success. If you look at history at that position, that’s the most difficult position for young guys to come in and be successful.
“But I do think, if you take a player early in the draft, everybody is looking to what these guys have done the last few years and the expectations are that you should put him in and let him play. But the thing is, you are also expected to be successful. It’s a tough balancing act you have to face if you take a quarterback. A lot depends on your team and how well you are able to support that player.”
P.S. On the subject of Larry Fitzgerald and the idea, without a franchise QB, if the Cards can “afford” to keep around “the luxury” of a high-profile receiver: “He’s an integral part of what we are trying to get done as we move forward,” Whisenhunt said. “Our goal is to have him retire as a Cardinal one day many years from now.”
Tags: Blaine Gabbert, draft, Ken Whisenhunt, Larry Fitzgerald, mock draft, Patrick Peterson
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OK, after much work — and in the end, I’m sure most of it is wrong — I’ve put together my mock first round for tomorrow’s draft. If there are any trades, all bets are off, and even if there aren’t any trades, don’t be betting anyway. This is strictly for fun and amusement, likely your amusement in making fun of me tomorrow night.
It’s difficult to get a handle on what will happen even at the top of the draft, and anytime you are sliding the Raiders in the top 10, that tends to blow everything up anyway. In it, I have the Cards taking linebacker Daryl Washington from TCU (Weatherspoon and Dan Williams are off the board by then, as are Jerry Hughes and Sergio Kindle. And I think there are reasons to like Washington regardless).
No, I don’t have Tim Tebow going in the first round. I have Jimmy Clausen going to San Francisco. I have five linemen among the first six picks. And I have a scenario in which the Cards could end up trading out of the first round to add picks (but no one, like a Rolando McClain for instance, dropping far enough that would make the Cards want to trade up).
So take it for what it’s worth. Again, not sure it’s much. It’s about the effort — right?
Tags: 49ers, draft, Jimmy Clausen, mock draft, Raiders, Tim Tebow
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Let’s leave the headline rhetorical for now, shall we?
The Cardinals’ mock draft contest (presented by Chevron) has returned (you can go here for details) and a correct guess of the Cards’ first-round pick will win someone a jersey of that player and the chance to attend that player’s introductory press conference (maybe I should have you take pictures for me). Deadline to enter is April 22, so prepare your ballot.
Speaking of the draft, I am thinking about having a live chat soon on the site to talk about draft and all things Cardinals. Let me know in the comments what you out there in the cyberworld think of the idea.
Tags: contest, draft, mock draft
Posted in Blog | 60 Comments »