The chances of trading down

Posted by Darren Urban on May 4, 2014 – 10:56 am

General Manager Steve Keim made it pretty clear last week when it came to his thoughts on potential draft-day trades, especially with the Cardinals sitting with only six draft choices as of right now: “I think our philosophy would be to acquire more picks and move back.”

(Yes, it could be a smokescreen but I do not think so. Keim is about the draft picks.)

“We do think it’s deep enough where I really do think that you are going to get third-round players in the fourth and fifth round, guys who can come in and be immediate impact players for you,” Keim added. “I think, when it’s all said and done, you want to acquire more picks.”

Whether that can happen will be seen. Sure, the Cards would like to pick up an extra pick or two. They pulled off a couple trades last year that could end up paying off. The second-round trade down — essentially giving up the chance to take linebacker Manti Te’o and instead picking up linebacker Kevin Minter — provided the extra fourth-round pick to take guard Earl Watford. Watford could very well end up being a starter this season. And trading down in the fourth round so the Giants could take QB Ryan Nassib (the Cards took pass rusher Alex Okafor six picks later) netted an extra sixth-round choice that turned out to be running back Andre Ellington — and we all know how that turned out.

“Acquiring more picks, it gives you a better chance to hit on players,” Keim said. “It’s just simple mathematics.”

But another team would have to want to trade up, obviously, to make something happen. The Cardinals aren’t the only ones who a) like to gather draft picks and b) understand the depth of the draft. It also depends on what is going on in the draft at the time the Cardinals are on the clock. Who is sitting there the Cards might take, and who could be there by the time the Cards — if they trade down — would be able to pick again. Those are the factors a team must weigh.

“If we’re trading back, in particular, what clump of players are we looking at in our own (top) 120 that are still going to be there?” Keim said. “Dropping back six or seven picks, then you know you have to have six or seven guys left on your board that you like or have a similar value to the player you’re possibly missing out on. That’s the one thing you have to really drive home with the room is, ‘Guys, we may miss out on this player, but here are the five or six guys that could be in contention.’ As long as you’re OK with those players and they fit what you do, I think trading back makes sense.”

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36 Responses to “The chances of trading down”

  1. By James Krehbiel on May 4, 2014 | Reply

    There is no urgency to press for early pics. Trade down for additional players to create depth.

  2. By William Barry on May 4, 2014 | Reply

    We definitely need more picks. We are a solid team at 10-6, but unfortunately lost out in the playoff race!!!!!! Now its our turn to win the Super Bowl!!!! Go Cards!!!

  3. By Andy Kw on May 4, 2014 | Reply

    Trading down from #20 is best. I think Kony Ealy, Dee Ford, or some other OLB will drop down so I believe we can snag one of them further down in Round 1.

    Imagine if we traded our #20 First Round Pick for the Houston Texans 2nd (1) & 3rd (1) & 7th (1). I would not mind this at all.

  4. By Pete Dowdle on May 4, 2014 | Reply

    I hope they have the mind to get the best player available at the 20th pick, and then make moves elsewhere to pick up additional picks. While this Draft appears to be deep in talent, I think there’s still a considerable drop-off from the top one to three players at the positions the Card’s have a real need for to the rest of the field. Get the best you can at #20, and then get all you can the rest of the Draft. #20, unless a QB, would likely be a starter come Game 1, and the rest of the picks, especially from the mid-rounds, would be at least impact players early on, and then in rotation with the starters, especially along the lines, towards the end of the season. I don’t see anyone the Card’s would count worth trading up for from the 20th pick…

  5. By Ricardo cortes on May 4, 2014 | Reply

    Trade down a few spots with teams looking to not lose their wr(panthers,49ers) or a team not wanting to lose on one of the qbs that slipped(browns)pick up their second rounder for shure and maybe squeeze out one 3rd or 4th.
    1 round:DE Rasheed hageman(Calais cambell body 2 inches shorter and that will solify our dline for years with Campbell and hageman getting to the quarterback
    2 round:SS buccanon(the strong dafter we need to cover tightends and is good at helping with run)
    2 round:OLB Kyle can noy(high motor great insticts and with Campbell next to him he has the speed to create a lot of pressure on the quarterback basically he fits our system
    3 round: TE Austin sefarian Jenkins (so much potential gronkowski type tight end just needs a coach who can help him develop his potential and straighten him up. I think BA can do it and veterans in the locker room.
    4 round:WR Bruce Ellington ( fast receiver fits in the slot for us)
    5 round:CB Pierre desir( corner back that is a sleeper someone who has crazy potential and the perfect body and speed for a nfl corner back.
    6round:best qb

  6. By Scott H on May 4, 2014 | Reply

    Geez…if I didn’t know better, I might have thought this was a picture of BA and the team’s newest O or D-lineman. Keim just has that kind of look to him. I swear, he looks like he could put on a uniform right now! I wouldn’t want to line up across from him, I’ll tell ya that!

  7. By Andy Kw on May 4, 2014 | Reply

    Ricardo Cortes,

    I was the obsessive guy for NFL Mock Drafts. Now, I think it is time to wait for the NFL Draft to come. It is less than a week away so making predictions is not necessary. ASJ won’t fall to the third round in my opinion and Kyle is not a need in the 2nd Round. I think OLB will be addressed in the first round.

  8. By CreditCard on May 4, 2014 | Reply


    I’ve been impressed by the Cardinal scouts especially finding players from DII or DIII schools. Can you comment (it might be a club secret) on the scout(s) that visit, engage or review non-high profile type players, and what they look for etc…

  9. By Andy Kw on May 4, 2014 | Reply

    SS DEONE BUCANNON PLEASE BE AN ARIZONA CARDINAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. By Scott H on May 4, 2014 | Reply

    Not related to the Cards but to the draft in general…question – is there ANY event on this planet at this point that takes longer to come around than the NFL draft???? I swear, this is B-R-U-T-A-L. This is yet another wrong direction that Goodell is taking the league in. C’mon, man, wasn’t it just a few short years ago that the draft was done in a weekend? Now, the first round needs its own day? And the whole thing needs 3-4 days? And I’m quite sure Goodell wants to expand that, too. My God, ENOUGH ALREADY with expanding everything, Roger!!!

    The draft is one area where the NFL needs to go back in time because the past was SOOOOO much better. We need to go back to when the draft was in mid-April and it wasn’t taking steroids. I liked it so much better that way.

    With the way Roger seems to prefer things, I’m expecting that it won’t be long before the draft is taking place in late June, there will be 10 rounds, and it will take place over an 8-day period. And in at least 4 different countries because, lord knows, we NEED to globalize the game.

  11. By Coach K on May 4, 2014 | Reply

    I think trading down is reasonable depending on how many more picks we can get in the top 100 talent pool. If we trade down, I would want to stay in round one and acquire at least two more picks within the top three rounds.

    Moving down could allow the Cardinals to get quality players like Jimmy Ward, Stephen Tuitt and JuWuan James just to name a few that could fall into positions within 7 picks of the current positions.

    There is very little difference between rush defensive ends and outside backers from picks 15 through 85. The same for longer defensive tackles and 3-4 ends which go from pick 25 through 120 with not a major difference in talent grade.

    Bottom line, moving back in this draft class makes sense.

  12. By ChristianR on May 4, 2014 | Reply

    Ricardo, the Cards will most likely trade down for an OLB, seeing as they wouldn’t move if one of the top safeties were available and the depth at D-line in the draft (not to mention having Dockett next season, and possibly after that). And if they get two second round picks, they’ll trade one of them down to acquire more late round picks. And if that trade gets them multiple third round picks, they’ll probably trade that one down to acquire more late round picks. I remember the frustration and joy last year watching Keim trade down. If you think it will happen once (which I do), expect it to happen multiple times. Especially in a draft with this depth.

  13. By Dr. G. on May 4, 2014 | Reply

    Darren – Can you confirm the cap space at about $5.3MIL? And, with minimum salary + signing//workout bonuses, etc., how many realistically GOOD PICKS can the team get that will make the roster and make them feel good about their worth?

    There are also possibilities of more free agents that could be added, right? I look at Cooper’s deal – we couldn’t get many of those under the cap.

    Moving down to simply obtain more LATE picks that may be cut seems a shotgun approach and a dice roll. I would think 7 strategic picks that Keim thinks can produce makes sense. Of course, if our guy is not there, then dealing a bit is practical. Keim seems to have the nose for talent.

    A few guys like Ells deserve a bump in salary also… The Cards will be maxed out soon with the signing of some good keeper prospects… Thanks in advance for your added examination on this….

  14. By Darren Urban on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    Dr. G —

    RE: Cap

    1) That sounds about right, cap-wise.
    2) Don’t forget the Cards are currently carrying the entirety of Daryn Colledge’s cap number until June 1. When June 1 arrives — before any rookies sign — the Cards will gain another $5M or so of cap space on that move alone.
    3) Not sure what you mean on good picks, worth, etc. Rookies are slotted with their contracts. It’s all bee figured into the equation.
    4) If by “Ells” you mean Ellington, first of all, you aren’t bumping a guy in his second year anyway. Regardless it is prohibited. Players can’t get a new deal until after their third season under the current CBA. Ellington has two more years he must play.

  15. By shannon robinson on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    Trading down is great and you have to have a partner – runs on CB, OT, and quarterback could set us up for a first round move. Steve Keim’s first draft surprised me, (not as much yelling as when we took Leinhardt over Cutler), and then I figured out what Mr. Keim did and was ecstatic. Personal note: the UNM Lobo Womens Rugby Team I coach beat UCF in the Sweet 16 and lost to Westchester U in the Round of 8. We get to come play U of A and ASU this fall. Go Cards!

  16. By cardsalltheway on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    Scott H.,
    “we NEED to globalize the game”

    The NFL is about $$$, not what’s best for the game, the fans, or players for that matter.

    Ricardo cortes,
    “3 round: TE Austin sefarian Jenkins (so much potential gronkowski type tight end just needs a coach who can help him develop his potential and straighten him up.”

    Do you mean a head coach and former TE like Ken Whisenhunt who can “develope” TE’s? I can’t stand the word “develope” as it relates to the AZ Cardinals.

  17. By Dave Chaney on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    I think Steve Keim is a very good judge of players. Both talent wise as well as character wise. It wouldn’t surprise me for him to trade the 20th pick for more picks, particularly if one of their top guys is taken. As has been proven in the past, there are some good football players available in the later rounds. Generally speaking, the blue chip prospects are gone by the time the first 10 picks are taken so why not get more bodies who you can pay less. As a footnote, I think the NFL draft has become too much of a media circus but guess what? I still like it. Thanks again for your great work Darren.

  18. By Big Ken on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    He’ll probably be an UDFA, but I’d like to see the Cardinals bring in Zack Bauman from NAU. He tore it up at the East-West Shrine game and disappeared. I’m not sure if he got a combine invite. Durable, can catch the pass, give him a shot!

  19. By D on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    I think if the Cards could trade down 3-6 spots, then they will take Hageman or Tuitt if they are still there (Tuitt will be for sure) but if they can’t and stay at 20 I have a feeling they will draft the LB from OSU

  20. By AzDesertRat1953 on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    All they did last year for more picks Worked. Like Keim has said all along, he wants at least Three that can have an impact right now and he did that last year with Cooper, Mathieu and Ellington.(yes Coop was injured but we know he can play and have an impact on the o-line)

    I am Very interested to see how they wheel and deal and who will Keim, BA and Michael Bidwill get in the draft this year, even more so than last year.

    1 side note;
    Thankfully, in a little more than three days the NFL Draft will be upon us and the Mock Drafts will DIE!!!

    GO CARDS!!!

  21. By clssylssy on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    I use to look forward to the draft but believe the NFL has pretty much ruined it for many old school fans by overexposure and hyperbole. It is over rated and if we get two or three players who can translate into the NFL, I’ll feel blessed.
    I see where the Eagles just drafted a former Army Ranger, 6’9″, 227 lb DE, UFA who last played at West Point where he was their top WR . Was Alejandro Villaneuvo even on the Cards radar? i would think his four years in Afganistan had to be a pretty good “training camp” for life in the NFL and his experience at WR/TE/DE would have made him a standout to scouts and hard to miss
    . Wow, I’m beginning to think the Eagles are getting a whole lot better (they already got Sproles) and not a team to be taken lightly! Our schedule was a tough one to begin with and I’m not thinking making the playoffs will be as easy as we are being led to believe. It’s one thing to have team spirit but reality isn’t always the same thing. Let’s make Phoenix Stadium a place other teams don’t want to play and the crowd noise on a level with KC and Seattle! LET’S BRING THE NOISE!

  22. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    Good blog post, good comments. Won’t be long now bros/sis. Btw, delayed or not … the draft is worth waiting for.

  23. By NoFlyZoneUK on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    I can see various options with the #20 pick:
    There will be quite a few names available at this stage in positions we would prefer. The likes of S Calvin Pryor, S Jimmie Ward, OLB Dee Ford, OT Morgan Moses could all be available here. Gives us the flexibility to trade a few places to get 1 or 2 more picks whilst still drafting a quality impact player with our 1st.
    Plus you never know how the draft will develop in terms of QB’s, will there be a run on them? will teams needing a QB gamble on one in first round who have question marks.
    If so do we pick one up before the best have gone by the 3rd round? Saying that, there’s no pressure on us for a future QB, I imagine Arians/Keim would have to really fall in love with one to choose one in the first round.
    Either way, one thing is for sure and #1 is Clowney, can still get odds of 1/2 on that…. printing money 🙂

  24. By Andy Kw on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    The Cleveland Browns want another First Round Draft Pick:
    -Now is the Cardinals chance to trade their #20 First Round Pick for the Cleveland Browns 2nd (35), 3rd (71), & 4th (106) Round Picks.

    -I think the Cleveland Browns want a speed receiver and they feel that the Cardinals will draft WR Brandin Cooks at #20. Both teams trade and both teams win.

  25. By Dynosoar on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    Scott H,

    You left out that the first day will be in London, second in Asia, third in Australia, fourth in Africa, fifth in South America, sixth in Mexico, seventh from Antarctica and the last round in NY.

    Going back in time would be nice. Real nice. Second week of April, three days. If teams are prepared to make play calling decisions mid game they should be quite capable to make two picks on day 1.

  26. By Matthew on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    Is that a risk to trade away our 1st round pick for more draft pick. “It may be crazy but can it be worth it.”

  27. By Dr. G. on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    Darren – Very informative response. I did not remember as in your #4 that in the CBA, whatever a rookie inks, he must live with for 3 years – and about the other $5MIL coming from the College cap #… It appears that the Cards are in a decent position to add a handful of good prospects and put together a viable practice squad via the draft or FA… THX…

  28. By Dr. G. on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    Darren – Just one more thing today. Anything on the DWash decision from Goodell? The silence is deafening. Comparing the two things he has conceded fault, it appears 4 games could be the least suspension coming for him.

    Doesn’t the NFL/NFLPA have some published protocol, procedure and time-frame to complete these notifications? It could seem a little unfair to go well beyond a month now after the court decision. With an admission, there seems nothing more to investigate. DWash needs to move on… and Keim would certainly like to know for planning purposes. Am I wrong in sensing a little lack of consideration here? You can’t answer that! ….Thank you….

  29. By Darren Urban on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    Dr. G —

    RE: DWash

    As soon as I hear something, I’ll let you know, but I haven’t heard anything.

    I don’t know if anything is unfair. He won’t miss any time until the regular season, so the punishment doesn’t impact the Cards for a while. Plus the Cards said it won’t impact their draft, so nothing there.

  30. By Dr. G. on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    Darren – I did not mean a month after the court decision – I meant two weeks. In any event, the Comish has had plenty of time, IMO…. Thank you

  31. By Scott H on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    Dynosaur –

    I wish you and I ruled the world ( at least in regard to the NFL, anyway ). Because if we did, the world would be a MUCH better place,

    Cardsalltheway –

    Of course the NFL is all about $$$. That is clear. It’s a shame that fans really have no re-course, either. I mean, you can say stop going to the games, stop buying the jerseys, etc, but….seriously, how many of us are going to do that? And why should we have to??? These “punishments” only punish US, the NFL doesn’t feel a thing. And that is the problem – the NFL feels no pain. Ever.


    The Eagles were 10-6 and were one of the best offenses in the league last year. And they won the game they played against the Cardinals, albeit a close one. Never mind them “getting better.” They are already there. Most people would put them right up there with the Cardinals in the NFC right now.

    But 2 things – the Eagles got fat playing a bunch of pathetic NFC East teams last year ( seriously, they ALL sucked ) AND it will be interesting to see if Nick Foles can continue playing at the same level in 2014 now that the league has had a whole off-season to study this guy. If teams have figured him out, the Eagles are in trouble.

    The Cardinals are a much more battle-tested team because of the competition in THEIR division and I think Carson Palmer is going to be better in 2014. Even if he is only a LITTLE better, that should still be enough as long as our D is as good as they were last year.

  32. By georgiebird on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    Trading down makes sense for some teams. But not for the Cardinals. When you are trying to unseat the two best teams in the NFL, the Cards will be well advised to pick the best player.
    If the Cards were trying to get by lesser teams, then it might be worthwhile to be safe in numbers.

  33. By Lee on May 5, 2014 | Reply

    Darren first time commenter here, please ask Steve and/or Bruce to take a good look at Allen Robinson (Penn State) hopefully he’s already on our top 20 list 🙂 nobody seems to mention him, cud b the steal of the draft! Just makes football plays! thanks Darren. ps maybe don’t even post this, (is that possible) just ask him 🙂

  34. By clssylssy on May 6, 2014 | Reply

    @Scoot H.
    I totally agree with you on most subjects and I do about the Eagles too. Losing that game to them last season was, I believe, what made the difference in the Cards not making the playoffs however who can say; it was a hard loss. Playing them at home this season, I kinda felt would fall to the Cards in a hard fought game. I have always liked Nick Foles and believe his star is on the rise under any circumstances. Certainly, Chip Kelly (who I have little respect for) was not napping while everyone else was “mocked out” and comatose because of the strung out delay in the draft and pulled off something of a coup in snagging this n former Army Ranger talent DE/TE/WR at a very Cap friendly price! I now think this is a home game that will be one of the best and “iffy”, but agree that the Cards are more “battle tested” and it’s doable. We do need to be able to win at home all the time to become a dominant force in the West once again. Our D is going to be key to our success and I have every confidence that any shoring up will be addressed in the coming months. Let’s Get’R’Done!

  35. By Scott H on May 6, 2014 | Reply

    clssylssy –

    Yeah, that loss to the Eagles hurt but I don’t think it was the difference for the Cardinals either making the playoffs or not. Even if the Cards win that game, the Eagles are still getting in as a division winner. Honestly, I thought the game that crushed us was the 49ers – Falcons game late in the season. Just when it looked like the Falcons might pull off the up-set, the 49ers take a pick the other way for a score and clinched a playoff spot right there. THAT was a killer.

    Getting back to the Eagles, I forgot to point out that the loss of DeSean Jackson is huge for them because it seems doubtful that they will have a even-up replacement for him come opening day. And w/o him on the field, guys like Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin are not nearly as scary as they would be. What just sucks is that the Eagles could win that division with an 8-8 records this year ( maybe ) and make the playoffs again while the Cardinals could be 10-6 ( again ) and out of the playoffs ( again ) because they share a division with the 2 best teams in the NFL.

    Seriously, the NFL needs to change ( NOT expand ) the playoff format. There does not need to be a team from each division if that lets teams in who do not belong. It should be the 6 best teams in each conference, period.

  36. By sbrown on May 6, 2014 | Reply

    just some info on a couple of players mentioned above…
    Big Ken –
    talked about Zach Bauman, RB from Northern Arizona
    5 ft 7, 196 lbs, ran 4.48. was a four year starter, has 5132 rushing yards in his career, including four straight 1000 + seasons. last year had 1446 rush yards with 9 TD and another 305 receiving yards with 1 TD.

    Lee –
    talked about Allen Robinson, WR from Penn State
    6ft 2, 220 lbs, 4.57 he is a Junior, was a two year starter on a Penn State team last season had 97 receptions for 1432 yards 6 TD.

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