Reading the tea leaves

Posted by Darren Urban on April 12, 2013 – 3:34 pm

The draft is less than two weeks away. Make no mistake: The biggest factor in what the Cardinals pick with the seventh choice overall has to do with how the first six picks play out. GM Steve Keim and the whole crew — who are in the process of breaking down all the players right now and soon will begin to build the top 120 board — will finish up their meetings with a series of mock drafts as they try to guesstimate different possible scenarios and how the Cardinals would react in each of them.

So …

— Keim mentioned on the Big Red Rage Thursday night that one player he thought is poised to break out is second-year offensive lineman Bobby Massie. Keim didn’t say Massie would definitely break out at tackle — as opposed to guard, for instance — but you usually don’t have a breakout candidate moving. So does Massie stay at right tackle? If the Cards draft an offensive tackle, maybe Levi Brown moves? (Although that too has drawn a pump-the-brakes response.)

— Head Coach Bruce Arians has said none of the QBs coming out made him go “Wow” like last year’s class. It seems like the idea of the QB getting drafted first is a ship that’s long sailed but now that Carson Palmer is here, maybe the chance of drafting one period has shrunk too. I still think that will have to do with whether Keim and crew really like anyone in that group after the first round is over.

— Working on a story about pass-rush coach Tom Pratt and Arians said the pass rush group would be solidified with one good young pass rusher. Again, it’s not rocket science, but with offensive tackle, pass rusher would be the other top priority I’d think.

There will be more talk about what might and might not happen over the next 10 days I’m sure.

— Congrats to the 2013 version of the Cardinals Cheerleaders. The squad was officially announced Friday.

— Getting some questions about the draft party a week from Thursday for the first round. All the information is right here.

— Don’t forget about the chance to contribute to the Pat Tillman Foundation with a pre-Pat’s Run Tweetup with Sports Illustrated’s Peter King along with a host of Cardinals personnel like Keim, Arians and Patrick Peterson among others. All the details are here.

Posted in Blog | 46 Comments »

46 Responses to “Reading the tea leaves”

  1. By aaron on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    If Fisher falls and Brown moves to G, the line would be upgraded immensely. Brown is a beast in the run game and doesn’t get overpowered in pass protection. His biggest knock has been his kick step, so why not put move him to a position that doesn’t require one? Massie and Brown together on the right side would create some nice running lanes.

  2. By Cactus jeff on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    My only concern with the OTs is their weight. I heard an interview with Fisher where he claimed that he had trouble staying above 300lbs. Too often OTs that are athletic, but light, do great in division 1 but get mauled in the NFL. I think the tea leaves say BA and co. don’t have the OTs in the top 7 on their board.

  3. By Jason on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    Size at LT isn’t as important as strength. With the speed and athleticism of outside pass rushers in the NFL you need to match that with athletic LT’s…I think it’s the future of the position. I’d agree with you if at the size they didn’t have the strength (which was the knock on Potter who benched 22 reps) but….Johnson did 28, Joeckel 27 and Fisher 27 passed the necessary strength to anchor the position. I’m sure all 3 guys are in the top 7 of their big board. Now will they be the pick? Only Keim and co know the answer to that.

  4. By djjackson81 on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    I agree Massie and Brown on the right would block out the sun. However two thigd Keim hint Massie is gonna have a break out year not at a new position how would Keim make those statements of Massie if Massie has never played a guard. Plus Arians has said over and over again Levi is best in his opinion a tackle never a guard. He even used the words Elite when r
    Talking about Levi as a tackle. Reading between these lines is Arizona is gonna take Dion or Ansah if they fall to 7 or Warmack plain and simple. Picture this Warmack RG and Massie RT. Lyle center Colledge LG and Levi LT bam that spells balls to the wall Palmer and WR’s plus Housler with Mendenhall and Williams blowing the line gaps in the running game behind Warmack

  5. By djjackson81 on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    aZ is primed for a massive to move on from a rough start more his second have zero sack statis. aZ if and a big if Dion or Ansah falls to 7 they will seriously consider one of then Dion has the edge cause he has so mush success with the read option QB’s. so if Dion falls AZ will take him. If not they aren’t gonna take a Tackle IMO because if its down to third best tackle over best guard Warmack. I don’t care if teams don’t take Guards that high Warmack should be an acception period. So IMO either Dion Jordan if there or Chance Wamack possible trading down and getting an extra second rounder from Miami cause Miami is lookin to move up in front of AZ for Lane Johnson. Unless Cleveland gives into Miami then AZ should give Miami there 7 for Miami’s first number 12 then take Warmack or Cooper and get Miami’s second rounder. AZ gets Warmack/Cooper and in the second they get there Safety(Eric Reid) and Armsted the Tackle. Boom. If AZ can get an extra second rounder for moving down a couple three spots or whatever and get there guy in the first they liked all along and land Safety ad OLB in early round two game changer done three biggest needs OL S OLB all in two rounds. They still have 5 more picks to get whatever they like.

  6. By johnnybluenose on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    Dynosoar. just a thought. with tom pratt and tom moore signed up as coaches this year maybe you too should send arians a copy of your resume.

  7. By andystandsup on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    I know I’m breaking my code, Darren, but will you be doing a mock, and if so, when?

  8. By Darren Urban on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    andystands —

    RE: Mock

    I don’t know. I may throw one up right before the draft. If so, It’ll be on the blog the day before.

  9. By kauaicardsfan on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren,
    In the past drafts, kiem was the one that presented all the top picks to the GM and Head coach correct? Than would they all decide who to pick or was it all on the GM and head coach and Kiem only presented the players who he recommended?
    I’m curious what would have been Kiem’s 1st pick last year had he have this position he has now? Would it have been Floyd? A QB?
    i know the point is mute but we sure missed out on a lot of QB’s on last years draft and was wondering if any of last years QB’s was high on Kiem list and would have taken a QB instead but was overridden?
    I know, it doesnt really matter at this point but its something to talk about around the water cooler?

  10. By Darren Urban on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    kauai —

    RE: Drafts

    Again, the Cards this year will do the same thing they do every year — grade out all the players and build a top 120 board, which they use to make their picks with a minimum of discussion once the board is built. So basically, Floyd would have been the pick last year at 13.

  11. By Patrick on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    If you got the leaves from Washington they may not be “tea” leaves. Just sayin’

  12. By Credit Card on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    Agreed with Aaron. Brown is a natural guard with his foot speed. Brown at RG and Massie at RT — they will block out the sun for gosh sakes.

    No huge difference from the # 3 pick and the # 33 pick. i say trade down. M/B can pick up the Bama guard with a low 1st. Potter should also do better next year.

  13. By cardinalchris on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    If the Cards don’t go OL with their first round pick, I am hoping it’s Tavon Austin or Ziggy Ansah! Those two players will definately make an impact. How sweet would BA think it is to have Carson with WR like Fitz, Floyd and T Austin! forget blitzing – there’s no way these guys could get covered.

  14. By david on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    Where does the money go for the Tillman foundation. Because that family has lots of money I live next to the parents. If it goes to them I woulf like to know. So I can give money to less fortunate ppl.

  15. By Darren Urban on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    David —

    RE: Tillman

    The money will be used to help fund Tillman scholarships.

  16. By birdnerd58 on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    sorry but unless aliens abduct the ‘brain trust’ from the eagles and lions and suck out all of their collective grey matter…Eric Fisher ain’t in the cards at #7.

  17. By Azjason on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    I would love to see Fisher or Johnson as our first pick, then possibly trade up to get Warmack or Cooper. Move Levi to RT, Massie to RG, Warmack to LG, and Fisher or Johnson to LT…Palmer will have an hour and a half to figure out where to put the ball. After that, definitely pick up another pass rusher. Then some role players.

  18. By ored on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    i also believe o tackle is’nt destined at #7 we should be able to get the pass rusher he’s looking for,if not maybe trade back,get cooper,then a pass rusher,and safety,te,or defense to groom behind darnell.the cooper pick should solidify the o line,he’s good pass protector and might be the future at center.seems we are pretty well set as a team,anything more should be looked at as upgrades,if not this year then the next year or two.i would so love to have access to war room in the coming weeks.

  19. By Christo on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    Kinda hoping we go OG with Warmack. Our Guards are terrible, let’s be realistic.

    Or maybe OLB with Jordan, or Jones. We need much better production out of that position, could really help our D.

    Then again you’d be hard pressed to run with the ever under performing, fresh off an injury Levi Brown if Fisher or Joeckel are there.

    Either way we are upgrading a position in less than 2 weeks.

  20. By clssylssy on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    The Tillman Foundation is a non-profit association; the Tillman family does not receive any money from your donation. Specifically it’s mission is stated in their Mission Statement as follows: “The Pat Tillman Foundation is a national leader in providing resources and educational scholarship support to veterans, active servicemembers and their spouses. The Tillman Military Scholars program aids all veterans, specifically the ever-growing population of veterans of Post-9/11 conflicts.”
    As you no doubt have seen on Twitter etc., many current and former players in the NFL support this organization as well as Cardinal spokespersons. I have no doubt that if Adrian Wilson were still a Cardinal he would be the official team spokesman as the last member on the Cardinal roster to have played in Cardinal red with Tillman.
    I think most people will agree that we owe our vets for their service and anything to help them re-enter “the world” and benefit from their own sacrifice is a just cause. “Freedom isn’t free” and just making it back after being in combat qualifies them as being “less fortunate”.

  21. By david on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    Rip to fallen soldiers. They are ALL remember for what sacrifice they made. Tillman was one man and I wish they would call it something else other than the P.T foundation

  22. By Darren Urban on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    David —

    RE: Soldiers

    I second your thoughts on everyone who has sacrificed.

    But the Tillman Foundation was set up and is run by his wife and family, for his legacy. It’s not an overall foundation for fallen soldiers.

  23. By truths4all on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    I opine that the Cards first pick will be the best left tackle left on the board.

    When BA stated that Brown was the best lineman on the roster, he was really saying in effect that the offesnive line was really, really bad. As it stands, it is probable that last year’s starting guards may not make the opening day roster with Brown going to right guard and newly signed free agents winning out at the left guard spot.

    The season may start with Potter at left tackle until the rookie is ready to take over after a few games into the season.

  24. By aaron on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    If they draft a tackle at 7, he’s going to start day 1.

  25. By eric on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    chance warmack would be an awesome selection…or dion jordan from oregon but 7 might be too high.

  26. By MIKE HADZINSKI C.M. PUNK on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    Tea leaves from the EMERALD TRIANGLE ?

  27. By Chuck 1 on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply


    You might have answered this before, in which case I apologize.
    How much input, by position coaches on which players they prefer, does Keim request/want/allow?
    I understand that Keim probably mostly depends on Licht and his scouts for advice.
    However, I would think that BA’s “experienced” (read: mature) coaches e.g. Moore’s, Bowles’ and Pratt’s opinions should carry a lot of weight.

  28. By Darren Urban on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    Chuck 1 —

    RE: Coaches

    They are all asked for input. For instance, I was briefly in the room the other day snapping a couple of pictures when the group was breaking down wideouts. All the scouts were there, but from the staff Arians, Harold Goodwin, Tom Moore and Darryl Drake were all in there for input.

  29. By Andy Kw on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren,
    At this current stage, is it possible for DB James Sanders, RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, and FS Kerry Rhodes to return?
    -Sanders and Rhodes are aging veterans but they have the skills to make our defense better and they can come back at a cheap price. Howling is a player I want to see back in the locker room because he not only can run, he does extremely well on screen plays.

    And Darren,
    Why did this team sign DBs Jonathon Amaya, Bryan McCann, and Curtis Taylor?
    Why didn’t this team bring back Rhodes or Sanders? I thought veteran leadership was Bruce Arian’s style, the 3 DBs have very little experience.

  30. By Darren Urban on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply

    Andy Kw —

    RE: Questions

    I do not expect any more of the Cards’ own free agents to return at this point. I guess I’d never say never, but I don’t see it happening.

    As for signing others, the team is getting younger. Actually, Arians’ style is playing young players.

  31. By Andy Kw on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren,
    Are Patrick Peterson and newly signed DB Curtis Taylor friends? They both went to LSU so i’m just wondering.

  32. By Darren Urban on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply

    Andy Kw —

    RE: Peterson/Taylor

    I don’t know.

  33. By Dynosoar on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply


    Qualifications: Old.

    Do you think I need more than this? HaHa. My expertise is in looking at systems, finding where they can be improved and improving them. From the looks of things, Keim and Arians are doing just that.

    (I do believe, as do most everyone on this board, that I could have something to offer the team if I were on the coaching staff. I have an internationally recognized certification as a fencing coach, so I do know how to coach. And my expertise is in scoring points without getting scored against, touch without being touched. I’d love to see Darnell with a sword in hand, that’d be wicked awesomw!)

  34. By Coach Kevin on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply

    There is no doubt in my mind the Cardinals go O-line with first two picks, then go pass rusher and inside backer with picks three and four. Arians likes zone blocking, so this mock draft is based on “athletic” offensive linemen who can get to the second level. Here is the ideal scenario:

    1. Lane Johnson, OT
    Will eventually become as good or better than Fisher and Joeckel. Definately has the edge athletically.

    2. Justin Pugh, OG
    Justin is another quick athletic guard who played tackle at Syracuse, but who is better built for Guard. Quickness to the second level is his strong point.

    3. Jamie Collins, OLB
    Here is where the Cardinals get their pass rusher at a very high grade for a third round pick.

    4. Nico Johnson, ILB
    This is the type of player that will fill the gap and punish a running back with extreme force.

    5. John Evans, FS
    Overshadowed by teammates, but Josh is a solid player with outstanding skills

    6. Zac Stacy, RB
    Back to back 1000+ yard seasons on a very poor football team in the toughest conference the SEC. That tells you this kid can run the ball. A steal in round 6.

    7. Keelan Johnson, SS
    Local ASU player with great upside potential. A great value at this pick.

    FREE AGENT STEAL OF THE CENTURY: Sean Renfree, QB, Duke. This local kid from Scottsdale is under the radar due to a injury in his bowl game. He had great coaching and is one of the most accurate throwers in this QB class. Good size and better than average arm strength. I believe he will fall out of the draft and be available as a free agent. This could be a kid that competes for a starting role in two years. He has the grit and the tools. A steal if he falls.

  35. By Dynosoar on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply

    My tea leaves say we need Deion Sandcastle at #7.

  36. By johnnybluenose on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply

    good stuff Dynosoar. so, who was better, Richard Green or Guy Williams?

  37. By ored on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply

    still not buying a lft.tackle or guard at 7,the two top tackles will most probably be off the board,that leaves dion,ansah,star,floyd,or the top db over the 3rd best lft.tackle with only two years experience at tackle and just a few years removed from qb and te,not saying he does’nt have potential,but at #7 we need to try for a impact player now,defense is my guess unless we can trade out.

    long or the small school prospect from arkansas would also be athletic guards who also might transition later to the tackle spot.hunt,the smu defensive end would be a nice prospect in the 2nd and the english discus thrower would be iinteresting later,niners are looking at him,and anybody they look at deserves our attention also(supposedly they are also interested in hunt,the c.campbell clone).

    i think BA and team have done a good job on short term fixes and depth,imo we go for starters even if it means trading up,would rather have an all pro or a starter over two depth positions at this stage,just try to upgrade wherever we can.

    we’ve covered our most glaring weakness:the qb,now just get the o-line,rb,and qb on the same page and we’ll be ok on offense.if we don’t take a step back with horton gone,we should be solid there also,add a top pass rusher in the mix and we should at least be competetive in our division.just like all the other teams,the draft could be a step up or waiting in the green room for an entire year,lol.

  38. By on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply

    I’m hoping the Arizona Cardinals avoid the the Dion Jordan hype train…
    B.A’s first draft pick can’t be a bust.

  39. By Christopher on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply


    If you hear anything on our draft board or mock scenarios as they take place please drop some hints…. I’ve been ripping my hair out with different scenario’s but it really comes down to who we value, I’m worried Fisher and Joeckel will be gone by #7, on top of the CB, and Dion Jordan (assuming oak takes floyd, and philly takes there qb the cards shouldn’t be interested in either). So it leaves us with L Johnson, Warmack, Cooper, Ansah and J Jones. Who do you take then? I don’t Value johnson as much i mean he had a 2nd 3rd round grade prior to the senior bowl and combine and the two underclass Tackles returning. I think Warmack or Cooper are worthy of this pick and will solidify our line but will there position drop there overall value?? So really it depends on our board where do we value the guards? Thank you sir!

  40. By D on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    1–KC takes Jockel (unable to move down)
    2– JVille– Floyd (coach is def minded will go with a def player)
    3– OAK– Lotulelei (team needs a DT badly)
    4– Philly– D. Jordan (Chip loves his former player)
    5– Det— E. Fisher (they need two OT, happy to grab him)
    6– CLE– D. Milner (best corner in the draft)

    That would leave Lane Johnson for AZ. No way they pass up a left tackle.

  41. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    I would argue which lineman for Alabama took over games. Check out the Bama-LSU game. DJ Fluker dominated in that game against top talent (mingo and montgomery ).

    The Championship game , Warmack dominated but Every Olineman dominated in that game. Check out the draft boards. There isn’t a single DT, ND prospect ranked in the 2013 or 2014 drafts.

    The only games I would be interested in regarding Warmack are the Tenn, Georgia, missouri, and auburn games. To be honest, I have no idea how he did in those games as I wasn’t watching the guards in that game.

    Those are the games our scouts should go to and watch. With that being said, for a team that has a coach who traditionally throws the ball 60-66% of the time, a road grading guard seems foolish at #7. I would prefer to look later in the draft at an athletic tackle who can move into guard or a guy like Alvin Bailey who is use to playing a zone blocking scheme. Maybe our guard is on the team right now in Potter?

  42. By clssylssy on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    Would like to see AZ land a good pass rusher like LSU’s Barkevious Mingo (SEC players rarely are a bust) but O-line should be the primary focus. I have a feeling that linemen, both offfensive and defense, are going to be a very hot market and agree if Lane Johnson is still there at #7 we should take him, although I like Joeckel and E. Fisher as 0-line picks ahead of Johnson. There is a lot of “uinder the radar” talent out there and I am somewhat leary of some of the “big names” that have been over-hyped by the media. We have all seen that success in college doesn’t always translate to the NFL and many of these guys were surrounded by other players that complemented their skillset and contributed to their success. I watch a lot of college football and have seen most of these guys when their teams were being beaten by guys not even on “the list”. Looking at schools with strong football programs like Oregon, there are players like John Boyett (safety) who, because of a knee injury didn’t play this past season but was a standout the year before and could be one of those “hidden gems.” Hope our scouts have been doing some real sound prospecting and aren’t just gravitating to the same ole playedout veins like USC because of media hype and convenience.

  43. By Mike Ellingboe on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    Another possibility, as it’s being reported that the Dolphins are in love with Lane Johnson, we could move down to #12, pick up an extra second rounder, and possibly still be in a position to get the best player in the draft (although Tennessee at #10 could screw that up).

  44. By clssylssy on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply

    Our run game could really using some fortification. Even teams with elite QBs need a good run game so that the QB doesn’t have to throw all the time and gets a rest. Everybody knows the Cards are going to pass because we can’t get down the field any other way. Wouldn’t it be novel it we could move that ball on the ground as well and not have to rely on Fitz being our only “go to” guy. I love the versatility of TEs and we could also tweek that area of our game. Just saying, look at what a playmaker Tony Gonzalez is on the Falcons, we need to start developing our guys into becoming some real playmakers, and, hopefully this staff of teachers will focus on this element of getting us to the next level.

  45. By Coach Kevin on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply

    I think D has it right above. No way thy pass on Lane Johnson if he slides down to #7. Too much upside potential to pass up.

  46. By cardinalchris on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply

    If Lane Johnson is only tackle left on the board when the Browns go on the clock, someone will be trading up to get him. i.e. Buffalo or Miami We will have to trade up to get Dion Jordan or a LT. Start thinking Ziggy Ansah, Warmack or trading down if at all possible. Tavon Austin is best offensive player in the draft. It will suck if the Rams get him.

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