B.A. + draft = playing time

Posted by Darren Urban on April 28, 2014 – 11:47 am

One of the reasons Steve Keim liked hiring Bruce Arians as head coach was because Arians was so blunt in proclaiming his ability to go young. Young, in this league, often means inexperienced and with the potential for mistakes, and that’s not always a coach’s favorite thing. Of all the ways Arians and predecessor Ken Whisenhunt are different, it is the use of the inexperienced that stands out the most.

Last year, first-round pick Jonathan Cooper and third-round pick Tyrann Mathieu each were inserted into the starting lineup (although Cooper’s injury sidelined him). Andre Ellington got more and more time as the season went on. It’s not as if Whisenhunt didn’t play rookies, but looking at first-round picks alone — the guys you would think would play a lot from the outset — Whiz clearly moved them in slowly. Patrick Peterson was an anomaly (and don’t forget, if it wasn’t for a Greg Toler injury, even PP might’ve started the year on the bench.) Michael Floyd, Dan Williams, Beanie Wells, DRC all were slow to be worked in. Levi Brown needed Oliver Ross’ injury.

Meanwhile, Arians doesn’t bat an eye to go to a Mathieu, or to stick a Bradley Sowell in at left tackle when Brown fails. It leads you to a couple of thoughts. One, whomever is drafted May 8-10 could make an immediate impact. It’ll depend on who it is and what position they play, but even though Arians has repeatedly said this team could go play the season as is and it would work, I’m guessing there will be draft picks that make a difference a la Mathieu and Ellington. The other is that if you are a young player upon whom this staff hesitates, you clearly need to ramp it up, for example, Bobby Massie. It’s not age alone that will provide hesitation in getting you on the field.



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38 Responses to “B.A. + draft = playing time”

  1. By djjackson81 on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    Shot fired step it up Massie

  2. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    Keen post, points well taken. Maybe those injured LBs better come back on their games too. Go Cards.

  3. By Mike G on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope all is well! Looking forward to the upcoming draft. I think the draft this year is very important. If Steve Keim can have another strong draft it will
    set this team up to be good for the next few years. You make a good point how Arian’s throws the rookies into the fire where Whiz was a little more hesitant to do that and would slowly work that player into a starting position. I would love to see OL, DL and safety addressed in this draft. I think it is key to keep building a strong physical team and I think the Card’s are going to continue to do that. Darren– Getting Cooper back is like getting an extra 1st Rd pick this year because of his unfortunate injury last preseason and with signing of Veldheer and Blake—I wonder if they would look at a big physical blocking TE high in the draft. What do you think ???? Don’t know if BA is that high on Housler!!!!!

  4. By T. Stone on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    Steve Keim is smart. Interview on Rome today was also an insight into his knowledge and experience not only in the league but within the Cardinals organization. I never understood Whiz and his rookies got to sit and earn it, with sitting almost a guarantee. Maybe a motivational technique but certainly held some players back and pissed a few off including the vets in practice and film room. What that got him is when your losing your guys are not ready and your locker room starts to implode. BA is a BA and Keim is as old school as it comes. They know they wont get another shot at a Potential Franchise QB drafting late for a few years because we Will be drafting late for a few years. This is the year if one falls. QB @ 20

  5. By D on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    I like that BA will play Impact Rookies…that is why BA and Keim will go after a starter in Round 1 and not a QB like some predict. Pass Rusher/DE is the favorite. The Not for Long league means to me BA and Keim probably already know what they plan on doing at RT and if they see a player in Rounds 1-4 at that spot then they will draft the kid to play and compete with Sowell. It doesn’t bode well for players like Massie and Potter if they do draft a kid and BA’s guy Sowell is already one proven backup at Tackle.

  6. By sportsblogger16 on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    I think that Keim will be smart and go BPA. BPA is exactly what it means, best player that is there. If that means that on their draft board Shazier is BPA, then they will take him. If bridgewater is BPA on their list then he will be selected. Just because we have a qb doesn’t mean we wont draft one. BPA is how keim ran the draft last time, not sure why people would say that he would change it up. Changing it up is what allows you to miss on a prospect (such as ellington who the cardinals did not need), despite taking a RB with the previous pick, they selected BPA. See how it paid off?

  7. By sportsblogger16 on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    Keim will go BPA. If that means Bridgewater, manziel, shazier, bortles is the BPA, that is who they will take. Even if they don’t “need” a qb, if it is BPA then they will take em. Remember how we took ellington after we selected a RB in the previous round? That has paid off bigtime and probably saved the cardinals season last year. In the end, I know keim will choose the right guy and not draft for a need and force a pick.

  8. By D on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    So you QB fans think Best PLayer available would make Keim take a QB if one was available when they know this QB class is not a WOW class and would not start over Palmer. They would draft a QB to sit while other areas of the team could be addressed in Round 1 at Safety, Pass Rusher/DL or at RT with a starter? The BPA in Round One always correlates with the teams’s need. Round 1 player is not the same as drafting another RB in Round 6. This is a year by year league, you don’t draft First Round players to sit.

  9. By sbrown on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    Keim had said in an interview a while back, that he would like to have 3 “impact” draft picks each year.
    With his first draft you can say for sure Mathieu and Ellington made an impact, with Taylor next. Cooper will make his impact this season after his injury. Also need to have Minter and Okafor to step up.

  10. By T. Stone on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    Re: Wow Factor

    BA did not say there is no WoW factor in this draft. He Said.
    “I don’t know how many of them have a ‘Wow’ factor, but there are some really, really good ones, guys that are going to play in the league for a long time,”

    He knows there are 2 Wow factors if you can get them at 20. Mark my words.

  11. By D on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    Good thing Keim has final say because if the playoffs are what this team wants in 2014, the odds are greater with Palmer than this year’s available QB at 20.

    I would watch to see what the Browns do at the top of the draft. If they go a Non QB then I would be tempted to call them up when when the Cards are on the clock and work out a trade down to 26 and grab another 3rd Round pick in this deep draft.

  12. By Aj on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    BPA is what works. I doubt that keim will take a qb at 20 but if it is BPA on their board, even if he wouldn’t start I am sure that he would draft him. Impact players come in all positions and sizes.

  13. By tyman on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    It will be interesting to see the picks this year.
    No real glaring needs when you look at the depth chart. Guest best available player left on the board should be the pick.

  14. By Dr. G. on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    My 2 cents on the QB thing…again…. QB is probably the sole position that is ideal to practice and learn. It is usually detrimental to a rookie QB to start game 1.

    There have been only a few passing QB’s in the league who stared and became successful immediately. The play book is really heavy for this position, and the earlier you start a rookie, the fewer plays he can use. And it takes time as a protege to learn to read defenses and call audibles. He needs to learn every offensive position…not easy.

    This is why gray matter is at the top of the list of qualifications. Ideally, a year or 2 with some intermittent subbing is called for. ((Rogers is a perfect example))… Keim will draft a QB if there is a good one available. If not, next year….

    Give Lindley a chance to check out his options. Stanton is 30 next week!!! A new QB will be 10 years younger and 12-13 years younger than Palmer. A PICK could possibly play for the ensuing decade after Palmer retires. God forbid injuries…

    Those of you who saw Lindley come in panic mode will remember how it destroyed him… Be well Cards Fans…

  15. By Aj on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    My prediction is that the cardinals either draft a linebacker or a safety. Even though cro might be able to cover some tight ends I think that the biggest “need that really isn’t a need” is a safety to help.

  16. By Coach K on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    I have a strong feeling we will take a quarterback in round one, even though I do not agree with it. Someone of high value is going to fall, and I hope it’s not Bridgewater. I’m hoping we can trade down with Cleveland.

  17. By CreditCard on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    Every NFL team echoes “best player available”, Every NFL team also drafts the BPA by position fulfilling their specific needs.

  18. By T. Stone on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply


    you don’t draft 1st rounders to Sit?
    Tell that to GB w/ Rodgers, Giants W/Eli. Bengles W/Palmer. That’s just recent. Should I keep going? Yes, Yes you do if you can.

  19. By georgiebird on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    Several weeks ago, I said the Cards would draft a QB @ #1. It was met here with thumbs down. Still don’t know if it will happen. But for all the reasons I gave, the QB talk is making the rounds-both here and with the national guys. It’s always good to be ahead of the curve.

  20. By Darren Urban on Apr 29, 2014 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: QB

    I will be stunned if this team takes a QB round one.

  21. By Scott on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    BPA only works if the player your getting is better than what you already have at that position. Otherwise it’s a wasted pick.

  22. By Canadian Redbird on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    I’m perplexed with the notion that Cleveland would somehow switch its 26th for our 20th and a 3rd rounder. There isn’t a team between us and Cleveland that needs a QB, so why would the Browns give up a 3rd rounder. I could possibly see Houston stepping ahead with its 1st pick in Rd 2 selection to get ahead of Cleveland’s 26th pick in the 1st round.

    I think a lot of the teams that are picking 1 – 10 believe they can pick up a value QB like Carr, McCarron,Grappolo in the 2nd round that will still have an impact on their team. The fall out of this draft strategy is that there could still be 1 of the top 2 QB’s available at the 20 position. If this happens, I truly believe they pull the trigger on a QB with the 20 pick otherwise they pick Pryor or the next best safety available.

    Sure wish Levi Brown would have played a game for the Steelers and given us an extra 3rd rounder

  23. By steve88 on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    The Browns??? you would watch what the Browns do????? Let me clue you in to what the Browns are going to do…………….they’re going to blow it, mess it up. Last time they had 2 first round picks……Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden. Those 2 picks right there shifted the power structure of the National Football League. Listen D, DON’T waste your time watching the Browns. There’s a reason why the Browns have a top 5 pick EVERY SINGLE YEAR!! Look at their leadership and how they pick head coaches, having good players like Joe Thomas and Josh Gordon is not enough. Remember the niners when singletary was their coach???

  24. By Jonathan corona on Apr 29, 2014 | Reply

    Speaking of the draft I hope there is still some type of draft party this year. I can’t find any news on it. I already have a road trip planned to go to Arizona from Cali for the draft. Darren any news on this? Thanks!

  25. By Darren Urban on Apr 29, 2014 | Reply

    Jonathan —

    RE: Draft party

  26. By Jonathan corona on Apr 29, 2014 | Reply

    Thanks darren!

  27. By Jsoully on Apr 29, 2014 | Reply

    The wow factor isn’t important, granted I was skeptical when we picked Jonathan Cooper but jeez he is an athlete that is monstrous, and I believe that Steve Keim and Bruce Arians know what they are doing. In my opinion there isn’t much you can do at 20 without someone falling into our laps or reaching for a player (Dee Ford & Kony Ealy have been rated 2nd Round one point or another) so I think we trade down so we can get the player we want at Carolina’s or San Fran’s spot, and we don’t reach for Trent Murphy from Stanford or Marcus Smith from Louisville.

  28. By Big Ken on Apr 29, 2014 | Reply

    @T. Stone So who are these two wow-wow’s? tell tell tell

  29. By PDIDDY on Apr 29, 2014 | Reply

    New to site can’t wait for season GO CARDS!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. By iammattyoung on Apr 29, 2014 | Reply

    I’ve read a few articles bandying the idea around that, if one QB-needy teams in the top 8 opt for one of the defensive studs (Clowney, Mack, Barr) in the first-round, that they might try to trade up into the late first round to nab a QB if he’s there. The Cards are right in that area of late first round. What do you think the chances are that the Cards would trade out of the first round, and what would it take for them to do it?

  31. By Big Ken on Apr 29, 2014 | Reply

    Bridgewater????? 1st round???

  32. By Mike Ellingboe on Apr 29, 2014 | Reply


    I think it’s something Keim would be very open to. Let’s say the trade partner is Cleveland, who could be realistic as they have 10 picks and are seemingly always in need of a QB. If we were to swap our #20 for their #26, according to the trade chart a fair value would be their second third round pick at #83. If we traded out of round 1, the same chart shows the value being their second round pick at #35 and their first third round pick at #71. I’d be good with either, but as deep as this draft is, picking at #35, #52, #71 & #84 inside the first three rounds, or going #26, #52, #83 & #84 would be preferable to standing pat (#20, #52 and #84).

    All that is just as close to fair value as I could get it. Desperate teams don’t always think that clearly so I’m guessing that would be the least of what we’d get to trade with them. I’d like to see it happen.

  33. By T. Stone on Apr 29, 2014 | Reply

    @ Big Ken

    Not Wow Wow. Just Wow. As in Wow I can get that dude at 20? Manziel and Bortles, but personally, I would take Carr or Bridgewater at 20 also.

  34. By Coach K on Apr 29, 2014 | Reply

    I am hoping we go Defense in round one and two. Here is my latest BAP mock:

    1. Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio St. (Abraham’s understudy)
    2. Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU (Dockett’s understudy)
    3. Logan Thomas, QB, Va. Tech (Project for B.A. and Moore to develop)
    4. Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford (Size, speed, smart, and can play FS or SS)
    5. James Hurst, OT, UNC (Coop’s old line mate who adds depth)
    6. Jeff Janis, WR, Sag. Valley (Tall, fast receiver who may surprise)

  35. By georgiebird on Apr 29, 2014 | Reply

    re QB’s
    We can all agree the Cards are in for a tough battle this year-getting to the playoffs will be difficult. With the Cards’ #1 pick, getting a defensive player who should start at S, LB or DL is better than a star QB who will sit.
    If the Cards are going to be an above .500 team for the next 3 years or so- when are they going to draft this franchise QB ?
    If BA really likes one of the available QBs- he will bite. Nearing age 62, BA wants to show that he’s the Man when it comes to developing a young QB- this is his NFL legacy.

  36. By clssylssy on Apr 30, 2014 | Reply

    I’m confident BA/Keim have a plan for the draft and that includes playing their strategy close to the vest. BA has liked to throw out red herrings to the media in the past so anything I read I write off as smoke and mirrors. That being said, Keim has done some of his best work after the draft picking up talents and filling holes while keeping it under the radar.The Cards have a pretty good base to build upon so I’m not all into the hype as some fans, mostly my interest in the draft comes from watching college football and being curious about which talents will go where; this is an exciting time to these young men and just to play in the NFLwill be the fulllfillment of a dream for any of them.
    I also read a prediction that we would lose to Atlanta (really?), the Seahawks twice, the 9ers and Broncos but I think we can at least split with the Hawks and am not worried about the big games. It’s the trap games (like the Chargers or Raiders) that concern me more because we take them for granted and usually play up to our opponent. Before we can think about being World Champions we have to make our nest some place other teams do not want to go, like the Dome or Seattle. We have to win at home as well as knock some of the big boys off in their house; beating Denver is doable and would REALLY get some attention, perhaps more than the Seattle game. If we were merely picking up where we left off with the same team, I would feel like we merely would need to follow the map we already have but obviously we have some holes, especially on our defensem which is not to say a detour won’t work. Not banking on the draft and see it more as gravy than the main course but have faith in the end product! Let’s Get This Party Started and on to recapturing the division!

  37. By georgiebird on Apr 30, 2014 | Reply

    Everyone has a opinion about the Cardinals this year- and those opinions vary more than probably any other team in the NFL.
    There are some that feel the Cards can play in an AZ SB and there are others, like in the NY Post, who feel the Cardinals game is one of the three easiest games on the Giants schedule.

  38. By jason on May 1, 2014 | Reply


    Two things: 1. Just because media and fan bloggers are agreeing with your prediction of QB in the first round (and they have been for as long as you’ve been predicting it) doesn’t mean you’re validated or “ahead of the curve”. The only thing that will validate that prediction is if the Cardinals in fact draft a QB. I for one didn’t give you a thumbs down because there is always a possibility that it happens…none of us know what that Cards board looks like (although Keim did say on Jim Rome that whoever they take @20 is going to be a factor as soon as they walk in the door which doesn’t scream QB). 2. Joe Flacco, Aaron Rogers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Nick Foles, Drew Brees, Andy Dalton and Tony Romo or 28% of the league found their long term starters after pick 17 in the first round so even if we are successful we can still find a starter.

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