One of the clichés that always floats around at draft time is that a team never ever ever should fall in love with a player. I mean, if you’re picking No. 1, fine. But otherwise, there is always a risk that said player or players isn’t going to be there. And you don’t want to be disappointed or let the emotion of losing out on such a crush drive you to do something dumb when you are on the clock.
That crossed my mind this morning when NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock talked about what has become a growing sentiment — that all three high-end offensive tackles available: Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson — will all be off the board by the time the Cardinals pick at No. 7. Let’s make this clear, no one knows for sure the Cards even like all three at that point, although it stands to reason they do. For a while, it was people thinking Fisher would be there and Joeckel wouldn’t. Then it was Fisher being gone and Johnson being the consideration. But there is a strong likelihood that the Chiefs take Joeckel at No. 1 (KC wants to trade Branden Albert) and the Eagles (No. 4) and the Lions (No. 5) both easily could take the other two tackles. Even if one lasts to No. 6, the next scenario could be the Browns trading out of No. 6 to the Chargers or Dolphins, both of whom need a left tackle like Johnson (pictured below).
Now, the Dolphins are talking with the Chiefs about the Albert trade, which would take them out of the mix. But the Chargers, picking 11th, could try to jump up (with Ken Whisenhunt’s new team potentially stealing a tackle out from under his old team.)
What does this all mean? Well, this is operating under the assumption the Cards are focusing on a tackle. That was the thought last year too and they took Michael Floyd over Riley Reiff, so there’s that. I don’t see the Cards trading up and surrendering a pick, although I’m not positive on that. If all the tackles are off the board in the top five, I could definitely see the Cards trying to trade down a little, although other than the tackles, I don’t know who would trade up. And again, if three tackles go off the board that early, someone is sitting there that hadn’t been expected. Will it be someone the Cards want?
— As long as we are talking about potential picks at No. 7, we have our annual mock draft contest ready for play right here. Hope you decide to take a crack at who you think the Cardinals will select.
Tags: Chargers, Chiefs, Dolphins, draft, Eagles, Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson, Lions, Luke Joeckel, Michael Floyd, Riley Reiff
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If I am Andre Roberts, there isn’t anything else I can really say but bring it on. And that’s what the Cards’ receiver did — in the right way — by embracing the Michael Floyd draft choice by calling it “a great pick.” He said on XTRA 910 that the Cards needed another receiver because “it is a passing league.” How he deals with this — or how Early Doucet does — will be one of the stories of camp. Floyd is a No. 1 draft pick. He’s not a third-rounder like Roberts and Doucet once were. He’s going to have to play. He’s supposed to play. In some ways, this feels like the wide receiving corps has come full-circle (at least potentially) since the 2008 draft, when Doucet was taken and joined Fitz, Boldin and Breaston.
But as Whiz said, “Michael Floyd hasn’t done one thing in this league as a player.” He must prove himself. And we all know how Whisenhunt prefers to deal with rookies, at least at first.
— The Cards will get a tackle at some point. Maybe even the next pick, in the third round. “I think there will be opportunities there,” general manager Rod Graves said. “We certainly hope so. We are not going to do it at the expense of other magnificent players.” In other words, we need to stick to the draft board.
— In the feedback I have gotten, some aren’t thrilled the Cards passed on T Riley Reiff to take Floyd. Here’s my analogy: It was the flip-side of Levi Brown/Adrian Peterson of 2007. You have to take the player you feel is the best, and go from there. That’s what the Cards did. You can’t take a guy for need if the other guy is rated so much better. You just can’t.
— Is Fitz happy the Cards have Floyd? Yes. Did they take him for Fitz? I absolutely don’t believe that. I think they thought that much of him as a player. That the team’s star likes him is a bonus.
— I will be honest: I thought the Cards were going to end up trading. I was wrong.
— Never say never, but don’t be waiting for a second-round pick. They just don’t have the ammunition to get into the second round. “We’re not going to sit idle,” Graves said. “As it stands right now, we don’t have a second-round pick so there is not a lot we can do but wait. We will see what happens.”
— Floyd, on the plan to start from Day One: “That’s my goal. I’m going to keep working hard. That’s in my arsenal, that’s in my head that I’m a workaholic. I’m going to work hard to get in that position.”
— Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly couldn’t stop raving about Floyd’s work ethic, how he grew from his off-field problems, and how he graduated with a degree in sociology in 3 1/2 years. “You could consider Mike a raw receiver in a sense that he can get better in the technical elements of route running and things of that nature,” Kelly said. “But he is certainly a guy that attacks the football and attacks defenders. And blocking, he is an outstanding blocker.”
Tags: Andre Roberts, Brian Kelly, draft, Early Doucet, Michael Floyd, Riley Reiff, Rod Graves
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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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