Free agency isn’t over (No, tackle Demetrius Bell still hasn’t signed anywhere) but the arrival of April means a greater amount of attention turned toward the draft. That means, at the end of the third floor here in Tempe, the door is officially closed for the month as general manager Rod Graves, coach Ken Whisenhunt, the scouts, personnel men and assistant coaches all begin to intimately break down all the potential draftees, give them final grades and, by the time it’s over, rank them on a top 120 board to take the guess work out of the draft days.
This year is much different than last. Picking 13th is a significant change from 5. It’s usually pretty easy to narrow down who will still be on the board at No. 5. At No. 13, a ton of combinations can arise and it’s so hard to get a handle on who will be there for the Cards at No. 13. When the process is winding down, the Cardinals usually go through a series of their own mock drafts, trying for as many scenarios as they can so they can prepare for a number of different on-the-clock cases.
The later start of free agency does back up the clock a bit, but once draft meetings begin, the tenor of free agency chases tends to be more subdued. If the Cards were still to sign Bell, for instance, the dynamic of the draft would certainly change for the Cards. It would give the Cards more leeway, especially in the first round. If they don’t acquire another offensive lineman/tackle, there is little question that will increase the need in late April.
In the meantime, though, the Cards will build the draft room so they can smoothly pull the trigger over the three days of the draft.
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