How those draft choices could fit

Posted by Darren Urban on June 10, 2013 – 9:46 am

It’s still way early. Bruce Arians won’t even commit to starting positions — which isn’t a surprise — and training camp will sort through players much better than any of this summer stuff. Players can’t even hit right now, and so this isn’t really football, as the coaches will be quick to point out. But this team will be much different than the past few years, when rookies had a climb akin to Mount Everest to jump into the fray from the outset. Arians wants to use young players and this team wants to, philosophically, grow from a younger base.

That said, what exactly can be expected from this draft class sitting here in June (and with minicamp starting tomorrow, with the long anticipated Fan Fest Tuesday night)? We know, barring a shocking development, first-round pick Jonathan Cooper is going to be the starter at left guard. The only other player that seems to be a lock for significant playing time at this juncture is third-round pick Tyrann Mathieu, and part of that has to do with his skill set and the existing roster situation at safety. Mathieu is getting his reps, and last week spent more time on the main field with the veterans (whereas he had been starting out on the second field with the inexperienced players — and yes, I’m trying really hard not to call it the JV field.)

The only other draft pick who has been working mostly on the main field has been second-round linebacker Kevin Minter. Minter is an interesting guy to keep an eye on. Second-round picks are supposed to step in right away and do something. But the Cards, who signed Jasper Brinkley and Karlos Dansby and still have Daryl Washington, all of a sudden have a ton of options at inside linebacker (and that doesn’t even include veteran Reggie Walker, who has found himself on the second field this summer looking very much out of place.) Inside linebacker will be one of those places where the spotlight will shine in camp, because they all can’t play.

The rest of the draft class is working on the second field and have a steeper hill to climb. That said, I can totally see a scenario where outside linebacker Alex Okafor, guard Earl Watford and running back Stepfan Taylor find their way into the mix. Arians made it clear he wanted his depth to be such that the Cards didn’t have to rely on a rookie, and that gives those three some room to breath (and since Taylor has basically been absent so far because of school, he has some ground to make up.) It’s easy to see Watford’s time being a year away. Okafor could step in, but with Matt Shaughnessy pretty clearly playing OLB and not DE, along with Sam Acho, O’Brien Schofield and Lorenzo Alexander at OLB, Okafor has to get through some guys on the depth chart.

The last three draft picks have a harder row to hoe. Wide receiver Ryan Swope needs to get back on the field first. Running back Andre Ellington has a lot of competition. Tight end D.C. Jefferson could make inroads given the lineup at his position, but he remains fairly raw. The biggest thing in all their favor? Arians seems willing to live with growing live with inexperience, which wasn’t there before.

— Apropos of nothing, the Jets hired former Cardinals GM Rod Graves as their senior director of football administration under their GM John Idzik. The move was long anticipated. Graves and Idzik have known each other from their youth when they both worked as Eagles ballboys as their fathers worked for Philly. Idzik worked under Graves with the Cardinals in the Denny Green era as the Cards’ cap guy.


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Posted in Blog | 21 Comments »

21 Responses to “How those draft choices could fit”

  1. By Itsallinthecards on Jun 10, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Darren, great article as always. I’m sure you saw last week when the Cowboys draft board was leaked that they had DC Jefferson rated as a 3rd round prospect. Do you have a feel for how the Cards Brass feel about him so far. It seems like he’d have a good chance of starting considering the depth at TE, especially with Jeff King’s injury.

    Thanks, – Go Cards!

  2. By Darren Urban on Jun 10, 2013 | Reply

    Itsall —

    RE: Jefferson

    I don’t know if I’d say starting. He’s got to get on the main field first.

  3. By hummer53 on Jun 10, 2013 | Reply

    Anyone else having problems with site videos. Not sure if it’s my system.

  4. By Darren Urban on Jun 10, 2013 | Reply

    hummer53 —

    RE: Videos

    Working OK for me.

  5. By larry on Jun 10, 2013 | Reply

    Darren. I am unable to receive any of the videos. I haven’t been able to receive them since the new format was established. I would like to know what to do to receive them again. Thanks, Larry

  6. By Darren Urban on Jun 10, 2013 | Reply

    Larry —

    RE: Videos

    I e-mailed you.

  7. By Peter in Canada on Jun 10, 2013 | Reply

    It is generally accepted that veterans are overpaid and younger players are underpaid relative to their contributions to the team. In a salary cap league youth must be served and it is up to the coaches to get young players up to speed as quickly as possible so that the team does not get top heavy with veterans. This coaching staff appears to accept this fact better than their predecessors.
    Things can change very quickly in the NFL as ourselves and Seattle saw from 2009 to 2010 as we went in opposite directions. That is why I am optimistic for 2013.

  8. By AzDesertRat1953 on Jun 10, 2013 | Reply

    I always thought Michael Floyd should have been Used a Lot more last year than he was, just my opinion.

    Hey Darren,
    Off topic but, Any word on how coach Kitchens is getting along?

    GO CARDS!!!

  9. By Darren Urban on Jun 10, 2013 | Reply

    AzDesert —

    RE: Kitchens

    I have heard he continues to do well. The coaching staff remains in contact and it’s looking promising so far.

  10. By WhoTHCares on Jun 10, 2013 | Reply

    I too get the video problem with Chome, with Explorer they work fine.. haven’t tried yet on firefox though. Weird it’s not Chrome compatible

  11. By Darren Urban on Jun 10, 2013 | Reply

    WhoTH —

    RE: Chrome

    Odd. It works on Chrome for me. And Firefox.

    Try clearing your cache, see if that works.

  12. By Dan on Jun 10, 2013 | Reply

    Darren, any word on the Steeler free agent offensive lineman that visited and did he sign elsewhere? Thanks

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

    Dan —

    RE: Steeler lineman

    I assume you mean Max Starks. He signed with San Diego.

  14. By Cards girl on Jun 10, 2013 | Reply

    Re videos: I often have a problem on my iPad, but never on the desktop.

  15. By SteveG on Jun 10, 2013 | Reply

    Just have not been able to run vids with chrome at all (I block adds and don’t allow many cookies, I assumed that was the issue) but like other guys, explorer works fine for them..


  16. By Ricky on Jun 10, 2013 | Reply

    If you have ad blocker than the video will not work.. The video is put up so it will have to show an advertisement first before the video will play.. hopefully that helped you guys out..

  17. By sbrown on Jun 10, 2013 | Reply

    while the OTA’s have been great, after this week of mini camp we get almost a month off before Cards go to training camp. It will be there that we will begin to see how the 2013 draft class will fit in as they should get a chance to play in the pre season games ( especially game #4 ). Like BA said, make your resume on tape, give the coaches something to look at…

  18. By Eazy E on Jun 11, 2013 | Reply

    The Cardinals are going to need their rooks to contribute. Not just disappear somewhere. I am happy for Rod Graves getting a job even though I unfortunately expected him to get the boot with coach Whiz because of the QB position mainly.

  19. By Leeskicitizen on Jun 11, 2013 | Reply

    Darren, I know you featured draft choices, but I’ve been reading some intriguing things about UFA Padric Scott. Any observations of him?

  20. By Darren Urban on Jun 11, 2013 | Reply

    Lees —

    RE: Scott

    Not really. Working on the second field and as an interior lineman, it’s hard to get a real sense of what he brings to the table in shorts and very limited contact.

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