Wednesday before the 2016 draft

Posted by Darren Urban on April 27, 2016 – 4:57 pm

The draft, thank goodness, is close.

There are many who love the run-up to the draft each year. I’m not really one of them. Let me know who the new Cardinals will be and we’ll go from there. It’s a little different when this franchise was picking top 10, but 29th (or 30th, we’ll get to that in a second)? There’s just so much that can happen that changes the dynamic whenever it is the Cards actually make a pick. Still, I wanted to put out some thoughts as we head into the 2016 selection process.

— I won’t be surprised if the Cardinals trade down Thursday night. Yes, Steve Keim said it’ll be harder for picks to make the team, but if they can spin the late first-rounder into an early second-rounder and maybe an early fourth, those guys are far enough up the food chain to be near-locks. So much of it has to do with who is available when the Cards are on the clock. That seems obvious but it’s also true. You figure the quarterbacks available — and teams trying to move up to get one — would influence that the most.

— The Cardinals (without a trade) will pick the 29th player but the NFL is still listing them with the 30th pick. No. 29 was supposed to be the Patriots, who lost it in DeflateGate, so if you are curious to know why the league’s draft tracker has a difference, that’s it.

— If I had to guess, I’d say the Cardinals do draft a QB at some point but it’ll be Saturday.

— It’s hard to argue with those who think the Cards would take center Ryan Kelly in the first round if he’s there. I don’t think he will be. I think it’ll most likely be defense — a cornerback if one is there, a defensive lineman if not. Wouldn’t rule out linebacker/pass rusher, but I’d lean toward an up-front guy.

— I don’t do mock drafts these days — I know, a crushing disappointment — but we do have a mock coming from the Cardinals, straight from the mind of safety Tony Jefferson. He has the Cards taking Clemson safety-or-corner T.J. Green. Maybe Jefferson eventually follows in the footsteps of one-time Cardinals defensive back Corey Chavous, who was a draft guru even when he was playing and continues working in that role these days.

(Cohort Kyle Odegard will have a full mock draft roundup of all the picks made across the internet for the Cardinals tomorrow.)

— The Cardinals currently have 73 players on the roster, so room for 17 right now. With six draft picks, that means 11 undrafted free agents. I think there will be more than 11 undrafted rookies signed, so I expect some cuts, and that doesn’t include the possibility of adding picks.

Even if the Cards don’t make a pick tomorrow, it’ll be an interesting night all the way around. See you then.

2016 NFL Draft


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44 Responses to “Wednesday before the 2016 draft”

  1. By Scott H on Apr 27, 2016 | Reply

    Darren –

    God bless you for not being as gung ho about the draft as many others are. I know for many, the draft is THE best day ( now DAYS ) of the season, and that is fine. It was just never my thing, either. Kinda odd, really, that someone as CRAZY about pro football as I am is just not that into the draft. That doesn’t even make sense to me!

    For those who love it, enjoy the next few days!

    For me, the draft is yet another thing that the NFL just continues to screw up more and more by making it – you guessed it – bigger. Like everything else the NFL is expanding these days, it is totally un-necessary. In its current form, it has become entirely too big of a production. Once upon a time ( and really only a few short years ago ), the entire draft was DONE in a much shorter time frame. Now, the first round alone needs it’s own night. Please. Before we know it, the draft will take a full week, with each round having its own day. Don’t bet against it.

  2. By Darren Urban on Apr 27, 2016 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Draft length

    You know why it’s longer and could get even longer, right?

    People will watch. They wouldn’t do it if people didn’t like it.

  3. By sbrown on Apr 27, 2016 | Reply

    hello Darren,
    well here we go, Draft 2016 !
    a lot of stories, team moves and even some broken dreams begin tomorrow.
    all we can ask for is that MB/SK/BA and the front office has a great three days and draft young men to become Cardinals.

    I do have a roster question, I still have ILB Kenny Demens listed on a roster, but he is not on the web site player list.
    I know he was placed on IR, but I thought he came back after the season , with the futures contract players.
    Do you have any info about Kenny ?

  4. By Darren Urban on Apr 27, 2016 | Reply

    sbrown —

    RE: Demens

    Contract ran out and he has not been re-signed.

  5. By Grandpa Black on Apr 27, 2016 | Reply

    Way to go out on a limb Darren. But hey we know you can’t print everything you feel.

  6. By Darren Urban on Apr 27, 2016 | Reply

    Grandpa —

    RE: Limb

    I truly believe everything is on the table right now. I said I think they go defense, but anyone being much more specific than that is guessing themselves. Cardinals don’t even know what they will do yet.

  7. By shane on Apr 27, 2016 | Reply

    Cant wait for tomorrow its always exiting as a football fan first too watch the draft..
    i think the cards have a good chance to pick a player that would usually go earlier in the draft in most other years because of the depth this year…

    my prediction for the cards at 29
    my gut tells me it will be – Noah Spence if he falls to them i think they take a chance on him to make sure that what used to be the cards biggest weakness for years is now a strength with Jones & Spence .. everybody saw what the broncos did last year will a bad oline and really a bad qb for the most part pass rush is the way too go ..

    i also can see Ryan Kelly but looks like he will be gone by then .
    i can see William Jackson lll, mackensie alexander or Artie burns to pair with pat pete .

    my surprises would be a guy like robert nkemdiche who the cards worked out .. hes a top 10 talent & kiem likes too take the best player “available” over need .

    my big surprise is .. i totally wouldn’t be shocked if the cards traded back from 29 & took a guy like Jaylon smith i wouldn’t love it just because i would want a guy that could contribute in 2016 .. but hes arguably the best player in the draft when healthy & i wouldn’t put it past the cards too take a chance on him a red shirt him .

    also can see them taking a safety ..

    lol well im pretty sure im going to get one of these right … but i guess well see tomorrow .

  8. By jerrytown on Apr 27, 2016 | Reply

    I feel pretty confident that we’re going to get a solid player regardless. Lots of talent available through the middle of the 2nd round, so even if we trade back we’ll be in good shape. Here’s to Steve Keim and the scouting group. In the words of Bart Scott….can’t wait!

  9. By CARDS62 on Apr 27, 2016 | Reply

    Hope some of you can be online tomorrow night and we all send in our pick right before the Cardinals draft. Lot of draft talk about us going secondary with our 1st pick so we will see. Would not be upset if we went corner depending upon who is available, but I also want a center and another pass rusher.

    Keep hearing about us drafting a QB and some say Cardale Jones from OSU. That is my college team and this will be a bad pick. He is not as good as Logan Thomas and Logan could not make our team. I know he won a national championship, but with a great oline and a running back gaining 200 yards every game. Cardale is not accurate enough to even be a starter in the Big10.

    I hope we draft a punter like the kid out of Utah.

    Draft is fun but no way can you watch all of it. I will probably turn it on around pick # 20 tomorrow night and come here to read what Darren writes about our day 2 and day 3 picks.

    Go Cards draft well!

  10. By Kyle D. on Apr 27, 2016 | Reply

    Unlike some of my fellow Birdgang fans, I am pumped up about the draft! What a great way to learn about up and coming players and the scouting process. I am still astounding about the way BA has shaken up the culture of this organization, coupled Mr. Bidwells commitment to running a top tier organization. I feel like we’ve been drafting solid players year in, year out, and making incredibly thoughtful moves in free agency (reads: Chandler Jones > Cooper + 2nd rounder). Noah Spence is my guess, I see him as the safest selection given the talent available at “#30”; wouldn’t be upset with Robert Nkemdiche either. I don’t see a trade down in our spot, unless a team wants Hackenberg and Paxton Lynch is gone (or we don’t take him 🙂 ).

  11. By Mark in Chandler on Apr 27, 2016 | Reply

    Darren, I am one of those who lives for the draft. I spend the year studying college players, ranking them, keeping notes on each one. For me this is almost like the super bowl.

    That said, I think the safe thinking among the many talking heads are the names you mentioned. Kelly meets a need and is an instant starter, Spence would be a great addition, Maybe DL if someone is there that can play the 5 in anticipation of Campbell’s departure next year, and everyone locally anticipates secondary. (Most of the1st rd CB and S in mocks are really 2nd round DBS. Once you get past Ramsey and Hargreaves, they all are average with significant holes in their games.)

    But let me go conspiracy theory: Christian Hackenberg. He has been maligned and disparaged yet he continues to be considered as a potential 1st round pick. He has one thing that all of the other above-average-arm-talent QBS don’t. He is the only one who consistently was asked to call protections at the line, pre-snap read, and then have multiple reads down the field. He had the latitude to change plays at the line and did so successfully frequently. He worked under center from a huddle. He just had a really bad OL, below average receivers and a system that did not emphasize his traits. The only other QB in the draft who even comes close to having the same responsibilities like a pro QB was Cook and Hackenberg did it better than Cook. (I realize the same rational could be said for Cook but I like Hackenberg more :-))

    Here is the conspiracy part: The Cards have talked to just about every possible QB of interest except Hackenberg and Cook. It has been made public knowledge by the players all the times when QBs came in for a visit, when they had a work out- heck even when the Cards flew to Ohio to visit with Cardale Jones’ people. But not a sound on Hackenberg or Cook. Add to that, that when Hackenberg was recently interviewed and asked what he would bring to an NFL team, he said “Coaches know they can trust me”. He went on to say he will be a leader and take care of the ball, but I am wondering if the Cards asked Hackenberg to keep visits with them quiet so no other team will know the Cards had interest. Why would the Cardinals visit with all other QBs from Lynch to Prescott to Sudfeld to Driskel and not include Hackenberg? On every level he is exactly what they would want. I know he has mechanical flaws but so do every other QB I listed. Logically he is a perfect fit but the Cardinals are completely quiet on him. The lack of noise is making me wonder if that silence is by design. Should be fun come #29.

  12. By All Day on Apr 27, 2016 | Reply

    I still stand firm that if Connor Cook is there at 29 we draft him

  13. By dan on Apr 27, 2016 | Reply

    If Ryan Kelly is available we better draft him or I may blow a gasket.

  14. By Tradersbrain on Apr 27, 2016 | Reply

    Darren –

    I would love Keim to select a center (Kelly, Martin or Tuerk in my humble opinion) in this year’s draft because I see it as a position of need. After watching the Draft Primer on the OL and listening to your comments regarding Shipley, it’s obvious you don’t see him as the answer, but is he a better option than a rookie at this point? Thanks.

  15. By Darren Urban on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Traders —

    RE: Options at C

    It would fully depend on the rookie, I’d think. You draft Kelly in the first round, I’d hope he’d be ready to go. You take a guy in the fourth round, there might be a transition process.

  16. By Canadian Redbird on Apr 27, 2016 | Reply

    Darren, given the fact that Butler had the lowest ranking of any punter in 2015, it would be a huge mistake if at some point we didn’t select a kicker. Losing 10 + yards on each possession is not an option. Who is your top ranked draft eligible punter?

  17. By Darren Urban on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Canadian —

    RE: Punter

    They aren’t going to draft a punter. I won’t be surprised if they sign an undrafted rookie, but they won’t draft one.

  18. By Scott H on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Darren –

    Oh, yeah, I know why it’s longer and could get even longer – because it’s the NFL and people can’t get enough of whatever they do. Pro football is probably second only to coffee as far as our national addictions go. As stated in the movie, Concussion, the NFL OWNS a day of the week.

    But all that said, the draft should be a big thing, I guess. It IS one of the biggest events related to the sport, so….it’s gonna be big, and rightfully so. I just don’t like the NFL’s on-going tendency to take things that are already big enough and making them bigger, just because they can.

    AND I don’t claim to not be as addicted as anyone else. I am.

    Anyway, it I’m just looking forward to getting to the point where we can actually begin discussing what DID happen in the draft. You can only talk about mock drafts and speculations for so long before it’s just been beaten to death. And we reached that point, what….about a month ago??? Didn’t the draft used to take place in March? I liked THAT better, too.

  19. By Eric G on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    I do think it’s Noah Spence or the best CB on the board, which I’d be ecstatic about. As much as we need a center, Keim and Arians won’t draft one with the first pick unless they trade down. The second they said Cooper was going to move to center let me know they don’t value the position that highly. Paxton Lynch won’t be there as he won’t get past the Jets.

    Here’s what I think happens

    1. Noah Spence or William Jackson III
    3. Cardale Jones (seems like they are high on him and I don’t think they chance it letting Chargers pick him in the fourth)
    4. Graham Glasgow (or best center on the board)
    5. LB
    5. CB or Safety
    6. OL

  20. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Mark in Chandler;


    I like you theory.

    When watching his workout, I thought this guy is better than all the other QBs. But then I remembered his games.

    Much like Logan Thomas, this guy really struggled with hitting his receivers. I watched one game and thought this guy will go undrafted.

    I see every year players rise and fall during the 4 months of workouts, but I have to trust in the games. And if he is inaccurate in college, he will not be accurate in the pros.

  21. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply


    I think Tony Jefferson is on to something.

    I have posted many times that TJ Green is a safety who can be converted to CB in the same way Randall from ASU was by the packers.

    I just thought they ould get him early in round two after a trade down. Now don’t get me wrong, I have loved the nastiness of Alexander and the pure ability of Apple, but have thought for a while Green is a sleeper.

    He is long like apple with the press ability of Alexander. If TJ is right, it would be a nice pick.

  22. By joe holst on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    CB, DL, OL,QB, WR, DE- that order

  23. By Nick on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply


    I think they still list the Cards at 30 because if the Patriots trade into the first round before pick 29, the earlier pick is the one that is forfeited and they would be allowed to make the later pick. I know its semantics and would not effect the Cards pick but

  24. By Darren Urban on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Nick —

    RE: Patriots

    No, that’s not right. If the Pats trade for, say, pick 20, they’ll make the 20th pick.

  25. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Rumors on top of rumors

    The cowboys trade up to #29 as the cards drop to the first part of the second round.

    We will find out in a few hours if it is true. Don’t know who the boys are after. I would say an edge rusher like Dodd or Spence. Maybe a QB.

    Funny, some believe only 2 QBs will be drafted while Pro Football focus did a story on 5 QBs being drafted in the first round.

  26. By Luke4710 on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    I see us taking a 3-4 DE like robert or a center like kelly (or possibly taking whitehair a guard and converting him to center). I think we will get cb michael jordan in the 3rd or 4th round.

  27. By Duane Spencer on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    To add to the Hackenberg theory…I totally agree, you have to factor in two things, 1st is that he was very good in his 1st year running a more pro style offense, the last two years he was asked to perform in a different system that wasn’t suited to his skill set…..also, this off season, he has been working on fundamentals with Carson Palmers brother in Southern California… I would not be upset with him on our team.

    that being said, I’ve been hoping all along for our pick at 29 to be Jackson, Kelly or Spence.

  28. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Card fans


    I see people are all over the place with who they want picked at 29th. Probably, because it is so hard to know who is going to be there.

    So, if these players are there, who do you want the cards to draft?

    Ryan Kelly – Center
    Robert Nkemdiche – DE
    Noah Spence – OLB
    Eli Apple – CB
    Mackenzie Alexander – CB
    Paxton Lynch – QB
    Nick Martin C/G
    Cody Whitehair – C/G
    Vernon Butler – DE
    Conner Cook – QB
    Christian Hattenberg – QB

    or Trade with Dallas and take Who???

    For me, trade with Dallas and take TJ Green CB. Then I come back giving up a 3 and 4 to climb into the top of round 3 or bottom of round 2 to take Nick Martin if he is still there.

    Go on record and say what you do.

  29. By RagingREDBirds on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    This draft thing was so easy when the Cards picked in the top 10 every year. What a great problem to have now a days!

  30. By Dr. G. on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Hey Darren – – No intent to contradict, ‘cuz I know that you meant – – draft a 1st round player to start right now…with the probable exception of the QB position.

    From history’s perspective, it is “rare” to roll the dice on a QB in a later round and have him be the next Tom Brady or Joe Montana. So if the candle is burning down, it may be prudent to pick a QB as high as possible even when the cost is not coordinate. The stats are clearer for the better QBs, especially those who play tougher schedules. No more Lindleys. ((Leinart was an unusual malfunction!))

    So, if we can get Lynch at #29, great…otherwise Spence or BPA that is there. be well

  31. By Darren Urban on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Dr. G —

    RE: QB

    Agree that the better QBs come early. But I can find plenty of QBs who went early that weren’t good. Many in the last five to 10 years. Leinart wasn’t the only one.

  32. By Dr. G. on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Darren – – Agree, it is mostly a dice roll on any QB regardless of the round. I mentioned Leinart as just one example from the Cards.

    I always look forward to the new personnel on the field – – the somewhat boring lengthy draft process is just a necessary part of the business. Our team looks to be coming together very well so far…G’day

  33. By Enrique on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Would be happy with Kelly or Nkemdiche. Who ever the Cards Brass have graded higher on their draft board.

  34. By Eric G on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    The only player i don’t want to hear the Cards call tonight is Nkemdiche. Highly doubt its him, too risky for Arians’ taste IMO.

  35. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    How about you Darren ?

    I know you dont like living in the world of “ifs and buts”, BUT, who on that list, with everyone listed available, do you take?

  36. By Darren Urban on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: List

    I suppose if that were my list, I’d take Apple or Kelly.

  37. By Chuck 1 on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Being a Penn State grad and watching Hackenberg for three years, I agree with Mark.
    Bob O’Brien, the former QB Coach for the Patriots (Brady) and later their Offensive Coordinator, became the Penn State Head Coach prior to the 2013 season. He recruited Hackenberg and “Hack”, under O’Brien’s tutelage, had an excellent season as a true Freshman. O’Brien left after that season to become the NFL Texans Head Coach. Franklin was hired from Vanderbilt to replace O’Brien. Franklin’s QB Coach and Offensive Coordinator came with him from Vandy. Those three coaches used a dual-threat QB offense at Vandy . Although Franklin and his coaches kept the Pro style offense of O’Brien in 2014 and 2015 (because Hackenberg wasn’t a dual threat QB), Hackenberg was hindered by an Offensive Line that had been depleted by sanctions that had been imposed on Penn State by the Sandusky incident. Hackenberg was sacked a record 100 times in one season and developed bad habits from the constant battering. I wouldn’t be surprised if O’Brien chooses him in the draft.
    Hackenberg will be a much better NFL QB than Jones.

  38. By D on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    My pick would be DL Chris Jones

    The game is won and lost in the trenches. Kelly should be off the board by #29 so you should take a DL that would be a nice addition next to Gunter the next 4-5 years.

    The secondary is needed too, but whoever they draft will be the #4-5 option this year behind, PP, Bethel, Honeybadger and Branch. Can get that player in Round 4.
    I like I. Seumalo in Round 3 as my Center.

  39. By Chuck 1 on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Correction: Hackenberg was sacked 100 times in his three years @ Penn State.

  40. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply


    Forgot Chris Jones. Good DE.

    add him to the list too

  41. By CARDS62 on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply


    You have a great list there and I will be happy if several of those players are available to us. It would be hard for me to trade back unless it was a top 3 pick in the second round and at least 4 of these names that I like were available.

    I like many but I am pushing all my chips in for 2016 Super Bowl so I am going with Noah Spence. His risk is drugs so I am hoping he beats it for his sake, He lied to OSU coaching staff about his first positive test before a bowl game and told his coaches someone spiked his drink at a party, but of course the truth always comes out. Just so everyone knows OSU liked Spence and did not kick him off the team or out of school. The Big Ten has a rule that he violated so he was suspended by the league from all Big Ten Colleges.

    Cards fans that is my pick as I am going for best player for next couple of years, followed by Robert N., then Ryan K., then Houston or Apple at CB

  42. By Eric G on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    Hmm, do the Cards draft Myles Jack if he keeps falling and is there at 29? I’d love the pick.

  43. By CARDS62 on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    ERIC G

    I was thinking the same thing, Miles Jack, If physical report says we can get 3 to 4 years out of him I think we go for it. A top 5 talent, but it all depends upon the medical report. If report is good I think we take him, and if not based upon other teams selection I think we have to go defensive line,

    Steve Keim make us Super Bowl Champs!

  44. By CARDS62 on Apr 28, 2016 | Reply

    LOVE the pick. High risk high reward. I think we found another D. Dockett.both on and off the field, and I will take another DD every year

    Going to have to learn how to spell and pronounce his name.

    Great pick now lets get a center in round 3, and unlike Darren I want us to draft the punter from Utah.

    Go Cards!

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