Draft “news” and mocks

Posted by Darren Urban on March 24, 2011 – 2:44 pm

As the news of the Cards’ visit with Blaine Gabbert blew up yesterday afternoon, the back-and-forth of Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers’ knee has erupted and the travel schedule of Cam Newton has been documented, it made me think this column by agent Jack Bechta about the media and the draft.

As someone who has covered the draft and the league for a long time both on the outside as a newspaper reporter and on the semi-inside with this job (believe me, it’s not like I get to know everything just because I’m in the building), much of what Bechta says I understand. Does everyone? I don’t know. It’s a great read though, putting in perspective everything reported upon this time of year. Among the parts that I’d want to highlight:

— The media has very little impact on a team’s draft board. Writes Bechta, “What (the media) don’t have are the important pieces of the puzzle that have a huge impact on what decisions are ultimately made on draft day. The media lacks access to college injury files, Combine physical reports, first hand character reports from college coaches and teammates, and the whispers that come from college trainers and position and strength coaches who usually know more about the players than anyone.”

— Agents leak all this info to “drive up” draft stock (even though we just noted such stock doesn’t rise because of the media): “Agents right now are exaggerating 40 times, the amount of private workouts and visits, along with getting their clients multiple interviews in different markets with hopes of heightening their profile.”

— And finally this walk-off: “It’s been my experience since being in the business that NFL teams give very little clues as to who they will draft.”

I certainly don’t want to end pre-draft speculation — right now, it’s all I have to work with — but it’s not a science. This stuff is more an art, because science implies it can be figured out with facts, and I’m not sure that’s true. Last season, I mocked that the Cards would take Daryl Washington in the first round, because a) I had Dan Williams picked long before their choice even though I knew they’d look at him late in the first round; b) I knew they needed a replacement for Karlos Dansby, who left (and, in hindsight, still did leave, after Kurt Warner retired) the biggest hole of all the departures last offseason; and c) I had all the other top inside linebackers off the board by the time the Cards “picked.” They ended up getting Washington later, but there was obviously coincidence involved.

Take the Gabbert visit. Some wanted to jump on the fact the Bidwills attended the private workout. Not that Michael Bidwill didn’t want to go, but he was the pilot flying his father and the rest of the Cards to and from the owners’ meetings, so if Ken Whisenhunt and Rod Graves were going to piggyback the workout with the meetings, Bidwill had to be there, right? Doesn’t mean the Cards have locked in on the QB.

Again, everyone will (and should) keep talking about all this stuff. I took part in an mock that will be put up Monday (and I will talk about it then). I’ll do a mock first round draft week. The Cards owning the fifth pick (and therefore being in the running for all the top names) and needing a QB only has intensified speculation this year. But there is a reason most mocks are in tatters once you get past pick four or five (OK, maybe seven) every year.

P.S. Here’s a really good blog item by Kent Somers breaking down the “elusive” ability of Beanie Wells, via stats from In a nutshell, Beanie needs better blocking, but he also needs to break/avoid more tackles. But give it a read.

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Posted in Blog | 28 Comments »

28 Responses to “Draft “news” and mocks”

  1. By John L on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    Does your mock include trades? No one does yet there are always trades. You could really stir the pot with a few choice trades. Say Houston jumps up to 2nd to get Peterson.
    Something to think about.

  2. By Darren Urban on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    John L —

    RE: Mock “trades”

    Yes, you could stir the pot. But compared to predicting trades, predicting picks is almost like shooting fish in a barrel. You’d really be guessing.

  3. By ross on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    Yes I know Beanie is overrated. Where’s the same research for Tim?

    HT did so much more with the same crappy line and qb…yet we just hear about what’s wrong with beanie? How about what’s right with Tim?

    This isn’t aimed at you Darren, just a general rant.

  4. By MikeG on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope all is good!–I still think the Card’s should build their offense
    around Beanie. I think they should build their team similar to Atlanta and Baltimore given we have a question at QB. Throwing the ball is not our strong suit right now. He certainly must remain healthy improve his blocking and be dependable game in and game out. That has not happened yet. My biggest disappointment with the 2010 Card’s was when we changed our O-Line before the season——On paper it looked like we would be a power running team—yet we still threw the ball as if Warner was here??? That was my biggest issue. Do you think we should look at Tavaris Jackson as veteran QB?????. He could come at the right price and I think he has something to prove sitting behind Favre. I know we are in freeze mode but I’m sure the Card’s organization is forecasting some possible moves!!!

  5. By Darren Urban on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    MikeG —

    RE: Tavaris Jackson

    I don’t see him as a viable option given the QB needs right now.

  6. By MikeG on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    Also–Darren–I think we have to go with a pass rusher in the first round of the draft. DL(pass rusher),LB and QB have to be our targets throughout the draft. A good pass rush makes every secondary better–we must focus on that. That could improve our defense in a hurry if these picks can productive. Stability at QB and a better pass rush can improve this team in a hurry. If Von Miller falls to number 5 –I would take him–only saw him play twice but he looks like a pure pass rusher. Hey Darren do you see Will Davis coming back from his injury and helping the defense this year???? We need him to step up–good young player with a bright future.

  7. By Darren Urban on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    MikeG —

    RE: Will Davis

    I certainly hope he can help. He is being counted on to do so.

  8. By John the draft guy on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    Reggie Walker. Was he injured last year or fighting injuries? I thought he was promising 2 years ago in preseason. He made the team and looked like a nice find. Then he dropped off the map last year.

    Any thought that he could step up this year and fill the role Hayes has left?

  9. By Darren Urban on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    John the draft guy —

    RE: Reggie Walker

    He had some injuries, but mostly, he needs to up his performance.

  10. By TBru on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    Lock out ended yet? Ok bye

  11. By Jeff on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    Its hard to tell who we will pick in the draft, there are so many good prospects to choose from. Personally, i would like to see either 1) Cam Newton or 2) Patrick Peterson. They both can be a kind of “two-fer” pick. Cam can help our O-line from avoiding sacks with his feet while we try and rebuild the line (given that he would start this next season at all, barring any injuries.And it takes more than one year to rebuild a line anyways, so that trait would be useful in following seasons as well) and fill in the obvious QB need. Peterson would be the elite corner opposite of DRC, and could potentially make our secondary one of the best in the NFC. He also is a great punt returner, and would help us greatly on special teams. Am i the only one who cringed every time last season Andre Roberts would awaiting a punt return? It may have been me but it seemed like he muffed the ball so much or couldnt hold onto it lol

  12. By jason on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply


    Just got a question about Skelton, i liked what he did last year with the limited time he had with the starters and he seems to have what you need in a starting quarterback but the only thing i never saw in the interviews was that definitive statement about taking the starting job and owning it. I know it is good to say all the right things when you are new but you also like to hear your quarterback be a little cocky and know this is my job and no body is going to take it. Have you heard anything about what he is doing on his own during the lockout to take that job? Just wondering, i think he can be our quarterback of the future. Thank You again for your time.

  13. By Darren Urban on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    Jason —

    RE: Skelton

    I don’t think there is any question John wants to be the starter, and I do think there is a part of him that isn’t all that thrilled when people leave him out of the discussion as possibly being that guy. But that this point, they don’t know if he can become that guy, and he’s not going to go popping off publicly saying otherwise. I do think he’ll fight to get the job, though.

  14. By AndyStandsUp on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    Don’t worry Darren, pretty much everyone on this site realizes you have no clue when it comes to writing about the draft.
    Speaking of which, last off season I blew the Sergio Kindle trumpet loud and clear as the Cards pick. (I must have fallen down stairs and suffered a concussion.)
    And don’t be so sure of Jackson not signing in AZ. He should come cheaply and has been at Fitz’s summer camp for years. Even you said you expected the QB position to be flooded with players trying to win a spot.
    And if we couldn’t speculate on the draft, what would we talk about? Who gets the Madden cover? Pshaw!

  15. By Scott H on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    MikeG –

    RE: Tavaris Jackson

    Um…if Jackson is the answer for anyone at QB, then why aren’t the Vikings jumping on him? He was there pre-Favre and had some chances to play…if the Vikings aren’t real excited about him, why should the Cardinals be???

  16. By brad oneill on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    that report on beanie kind of makes me hope we have a pre season to get the kid going in a positive direction before the season starts!

    I am of the opinion that Timmy is a whole lot better than he gets credit for but if he cant hold on to the ball he wont ever get a chance.

    of course i thought marcel ship never really got credit for the work he did behind a subpar line either.

  17. By LD14 on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    I gotta admit Darren. The fact that you picked Daryl Washington to be the 1st round pick last season was a bit shocking since no one really had him going in the 1st. Sure enough you would of been spot on if Williams wasn’t there and I even posted that you must of known something we didn’t know 😀

    Glad you decided to explain that finally

  18. By AZLOGAN on Mar 24, 2011 | Reply

    In your opinion who do you really think the better back is. Beanie or HighT ?
    It really bothers me that Tim doesn’t get nearly as much credit as he deserves and its really true all we ever hear about is what Beanie needs to improve on! I do think Beanie is a good back but HighT should be the guy from here on

  19. By Darren Urban on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    AzLogan —

    RE: Beanie vs Hightower

    I think Beanie has a lot of talent and potential. That said, Hightower clearly outperformed him last season, and if it weren’t for Hightower’s fumbling issues, the argument would be even easier to make.

  20. By Jeff Gollin on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    Other reasons for the unpredictability of mocks –

    We can’t read the minds of the Cardinal FO.

    We can’t read the minds of the FO’s of the four teams drafting ahead of us.

    We can’t read the minds of teams trying to trade up into the top 5.

    Different teams draft differently.

    One team’s Gabbert is another team’s Newton is another team’s “none of the above.” You can apply this to every position.

    Draft-wise – all GM’s and coaches lie.

    All this leaves us mock drafters with is: research, logic, a little bit of very suspect inside info and a lot of luck.

  21. By cardsalltheway on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    I’m with those that think there won’t be any progress with the lockout till late. We may even miss a game or more. Expect the cut in pay Darren and tell Ken W. to draft accordingly — No QB’s, they won’t have time to learn anything. J. Skelton ought to be throwing downfield to Fitz and company on their own yesterday. I don’t want to hear any excuses as to them not being on the same page or knowing each other when/if there is a 2011. I hope Fitz cancels any plans to help players around the NFL this year.

  22. By D on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    Best case for Cards this offseason-send next year’s 1st round pick, the 3rd round pick this year and a player to Philly for K. Kolb. (once cba get’s done or judge rules in favor of players and no lockout)
    Then, I say AZ drafts V. Miller in round one and take the best Off Tackle in round 2. Then they can resign own players, maybe add a FA at TE or LB, would be a very good offseason.

  23. By ross on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    So who is the better runner Darren? Who would you rather have if you could choose one for next year? I know its irrelevant, but interesting nonetheless to try and pin you down 🙂

  24. By Darren Urban on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    Ross —

    RE: Beanie vs Tim

    Nice try.

    Making calls on what as you so rightly called irrelevant — since I expect both to be Cardinals in 2011 — doesn’t carry too much upside. I already said I thought Tim outplayed Beanie this year.

  25. By Mark in Chandler on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    While we are in the speculative part of the season two scenarios I think have a solid possibilitiy.

    1-If courts allow trades before draft (big “if”) then: The Cards swap thier 5th pick with Philly for Philly’s 23rd and Kolb. On the point scale that puts the Eagles netting 940 points in the trade which is equal to a 17th pick. That is basically the trade the Eagles did for McNabb. Cards would pick up the QB of the future. They would lose out on Miller, Quinn, and probably Smith but they might still have a chance at Kerrigan and definately Justin Houston with the 23rd pick. Which would you prefer Miller/Bulger or Houston/Kolb.

    2-If the lockout continues into the draft then: Cards don’t draft a QB but focus on OLB, LG, TE, ILB. Maybe some depth at SS and DL Once FA starts then trade the 2012 1st round pick for Kolb straight up. I am betting the Cards will be in the bottom half of the draft next year with Kolb. If that trade could be pulled off then the Cards might be better off than in my first scenario.

  26. By ross on Mar 25, 2011 | Reply

    Hahaha…thanks D

  27. By Cards1Fan on Mar 27, 2011 | Reply

    I want to know why everyone think Kevin Kolb is the answer in Arizona.First of all he hasnt played as much and does not got the ability to escape pass rushers what so ever.Then everyone wants the cards to give up multiple draft picks for Kolb which is rediculous I like Blaine Gabbert hes the real deal he has the IT factor.There is a reason Kolb is a backup he doesnt have the IT factor and runs like DA.I dont think we should give all that up for him the guy is FRAGILE.He reminds me of another fragile QB in Tony Romo just not at the level as Tony.

  28. By Scott H on Mar 27, 2011 | Reply

    Cards1Fan –

    Interesting logic…Kolb has actually played in the NFL and had some success when he has played, but he’s fragile and has no IT factor ( whatever the hell that is ). Yet, Blaine Gabbert – who has yet to throw a pass in the NFL – is “the real deal.” Really? Imagine that…these NFL coaches spend all this time at the scouting combine and bringing players in for private workouts when all they really need to do is call you and find out who has the IT factor and who doesn’t??? My god, man, do they know this??? We must let them know immediately!

    OK, enough with the sarcasm. Really, I’m not trying to be a wise ass. Honestly, I can’t tell you that Kolb is THE answer for the Cardinals. By the same token, you can’t tell me he isn’t. But NO QB is the “real deal” in the NFL until he has proven that he can play in the NFL. IF the Cardinals call his mane on draft day, then I’ll hope you are right about him! But while you have proclaimed him the real deal as of right now, he has to earn that. It ain’t happened yet and there ain’t no guarantee that he ever will.

    Regarding Kolb, you say “there is a reason Kolb is a back-up” but look at what his situation has been. First, he hasn’t been in the league that long. He’s not an Alex Smith who loses the job every year because he stinks. He was drafted when McNabb was still the starter in Philly and McNabb was going to be the starter in Philly until he was gone. Period. It is a fact that Philly was OK with trading Mcnabb away last year BECAUSE they were confident in Kolb as their next QB. Kolb was NOT the back-up going into last year – he was the starter. He goes down injured in Week one and Vick comes out of nowhere to play at a near MVP level. With Vick playing the way he was, do you think the Eagles could have put him back on the bench??? That answer would be no. Kolb wasn’t going to start ahead of McNabb and he lost his job last year because of injury. Well, neither of those situations have anything to do with Kolb’s ability OR lack thereof.

    Anyway, I close by saying this – ESPN Magazine recently did a piece about Kolb and they showed that his stats right now are directly comparable to those of Matt Cassell and Matt Schaub before those guys got their chances to become starters in the NFL. And before those guys got their chances to become starters, they were exactly what Kolb is right now – young QB’s who had some opportunities to play and showed real promise when they did. Well, both Cassell and Schaub have gone on to be pretty damn good QB’s. That bodes well for Kolb. And maybe THAT is why some people think Kolb is going to be the answer for someone.

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