Foster, Peppers news adds draft factor

Posted by Darren Urban on April 24, 2017 – 12:23 pm

Twice in the last five days has the news come out that a notable player set to be taken in this week’s draft ended up with a “dilute” drug test at the Scouting combine, which for the NFL means it will be treated as a failed test as those players come into the league. Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster brought it up himself last week, and then Monday the news broke that Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers had the same thing happen.

Now teams have choices to make (Foster was expected to be a higher pick than Peppers in the first place, although Foster is coming off a shoulder injury too.) It isn’t about why the tests were dilute, although in both cases the explanation is that they were sick and trying to stay hydrated for the combine work. Each NFL team will have to decide, to begin, whether to believe. The bigger issue is that the NFL treats it like a violation of the policy for substances of abuse and will put the players into the league’s program.

It’s not a big deal if the players were indeed loading up on water because they were sick. But these are the things teams must weigh. You don’t want to end up with a player with a high risk of eventually getting suspended because of personal choices. The Cardinals in particular know too well what that is about, with Daryl Washington’s issues.

This is a little less cut-and-dried than, say, the Joe Mixon question and whether to have him on a team’s draft board. Foster and Peppers are going to be picked. It’s another factor in the draft’s risk-reward situation, and why the Cards have worked so hard to collect as much data as they have on each player.

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45 Responses to “Foster, Peppers news adds draft factor”

  1. By JTDG on Apr 24, 2017 | Reply


    You forgot to add in one of the top DL prospects, Calib Brantley.
    He is being charged with assault on a woman.

    He was ranked as one of the top 5 DL in the draft.
    Got to believe he is off many boards and others may take a flyer very late.

  2. By D on Apr 24, 2017 | Reply

    First of all, R. Foster’s excuse is a joke. Coming off a shoulder injury/surgery, everyone knew he wasn’t going to participate in drills at the Combine, so keeping “hydrated” to have meetings with medical personal and teams raises my BS alert meter.
    As you mention Darren, this team is all too familiar with players like this with DWash still fresh on everyone’s mind. I don’t see Foster being drafted by Mr. Keim. Plus, if Foster and Reddick are both still available at 13 (say 2 RB’s and 2 QB’s are drafted in the top 10 and push good players down the draft) then I would think Reddick, who is bigger/faster and with less off the field questions, would be the ILB to draft. Plus, after drafting R. Nkemdiche last year who also had issues off the field, didn’t exactly show everyone that he was ready for the NFL last year.
    This draft is way too important for Mr. Keim, (and his young kids) to take another gamble 2 years in a row.
    With the losses of Cooper, Swearinger and Jefferson, it would be hard to believe Mr. Keim doesn’t draft 1 secondary player in the first 2 Rounds this week.

  3. By mitchaz on Apr 24, 2017 | Reply

    The It’s a Sin To Kill a Mockingbird Mock
    (aka The Mud Slide Slim Mock)
    Trade down into the 20s—pick up extra 3rd:

    1. Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
    2. Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
    3. Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
    3. Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
    4. Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
    5. James Conner. RB, Pittsburgh
    5. KD Cannon, WR, Baylor
    6. C.J. Beathard, QB, Iowa
    7. Jay Guillermo, C, Clemson

  4. By JTDG on Apr 24, 2017 | Reply

    I see Sidney Jones as Jaylon Smith last year.

    The cowboys took the risk on a badly injured player with the 36th pick. Although he is not 100% yet, all signs are positive.

    So, it is like the cowboys traded the 36th pick in 2016 for the 5th pick in 2017, as a healthy Smith is a top 5 guy.

    Same applies to Sidney Jones. Many had him as the top CB (I do). In worst case, the #2 CB. He would have been a top 10 pick this year had he not blew out the achilles.

    Got to believe the same thing applies, except, with so many good CBs in the draft, he could slide to middle to late 2nd round. Can’t see him getting out of the 2nd round.

    If I could land a Revis or McCortney for a lower dollar one year deal. I’m grabbing Jones in round 2. He would be the perfect compliment to PP in 2018. Revis or McCortney would be upgrades over last years CB2. Remember, they were on teams #1 last year, but that doesnt happen on a team with PP.

    Last year, as the draft approached, I thought the cards should take Smith at 29. This year, take Jones with the 2nd round pick.

  5. By Darren Urban on Apr 24, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Smith/Jones

    But I will add the caveat, as this team has seen with Mathieu, healthy does not necessarily equal the same player.

  6. By krehbieo14 on Apr 24, 2017 | Reply

    R. Foster is a high risk selection for multiple reasons, including shoulder healing problems, attitude at combine and violation of NFL urine sample standards. IMO, he’d be off my board. There are a host of other defensive options available to Keim that make more sense.

  7. By D on Apr 24, 2017 | Reply

    If the draft plays out with J. Adams, Lattimore, Hooker, Humphrey, Reddick all off the board at 13, then I would attempt to make the trade with Denver (if really an option and not some rumor) to trade for QB P. Lynch and move down to #20 in the draft.

    At #20, you should still have the option of the following:
    F. Lamp- would be a starting RG for AZ in 2017
    J. Davis ILB
    O. Melifornwu, CB/FS

    Then still be able to take the best option at CB/S/LB in the second round.

  8. By joe holst on Apr 24, 2017 | Reply

    I wouldn’t draft either one in fact this upper portion of the draft is turning into a disaster, hopefully the Cards can drop down in the 20’s and get extra picks, Foster is a 2 down player with bad shoulders and a failed drug test, while Jabrill Peppers lacks playmaking skills with 1 interception last year, ..The pick should be Haseem Reddick only if they drop down to 20’s.

  9. By steve on Apr 24, 2017 | Reply

    This is indeed bad news, particularly for Foster who I thought would be a great fit for our defense. The whole “I was sick and trying to stay hydrated with lots of fluids” excuse smacks of agents doing their best damage control to try and protect their clients, frankly it sounds like BS. I would still hope that Keim and Michael Bidwill might give Foster a chance if he is there at 13 but I wouldn’t blame them if this news makes them go in a different direction.

  10. By DAVEMAHAM on Apr 24, 2017 | Reply

    D –

    Foster did not say he was hydrating to perform at the draft. He said he had had food poisoning or the flu and had fluids coming out of both ends. Whether you’re performing or not, if you’ve ever had the flu, you’ve likely called in sick and wouldn’t want to sit through 20 team visits. Thus the medicine and extreme hydration.

    And why is this draft so important for Mr. Keim? He has a pretty strong draft record, and a deep lineup. Are you insinuating that he is under performing as a GM?

  11. By creditcard on Apr 24, 2017 | Reply

    Trade down!

    Obtain Reddick, and an extra pick.

    In my opinion and for the most part, there is not much difference in talent between a 1st and 3rd rounder. Many 1st rounders have the physical attributes (taller, quicker etc..), but may not have the desire a later round player exhibits.

    I do not have the stats on this, but most 1st round QBs do not pan out. I would guess for every 1st round QB that becomes a serviceable NFL QB, there must be a half dozen to a dozen that do not pan out.

  12. By texascard on Apr 24, 2017 | Reply

    I would take foster off my board as well. But this brings up a question for the cards tem as a whole. Why was nkim k acceptable after taking a drug induced leap out of a 2,3,4 or 5 story window? How was floyd acceptable (poor performance and all) and then in a bit of a 180, dropped? Dropped!!! How was it ok Chandler jones shows up a police station partially clothed in a drunken stuper? It appears that the head office believes its not a problem until its a cardinal problem. Nkim k, no failed test, not signed to team no problem. Floyd, has an incident, under contract, big problem. C jones, it happened in another uniform. D wash, no problem until it became a cardinal problem. Maybe it time for head office to be a little more pro active with their little band of wayward talent. I litterally cringe thinking of how keim is going to screw this team in the first round again. But at least it wont be foster because as DU explains there is now an official failed test which translates to cards if they take him. That makes it a cardinal problem if he is drafted which goes against “it aint no problem til its a cardinal problem”

  13. By JTDG on Apr 24, 2017 | Reply

    Last year, Laramy Tunsil was on video with the gas mask on getting high. He dropped to pick 13.

    Got to think Foster will still be picked in round 1. Because the draft is strong with DBs, I think Peppers could fall to round 2, but probably not.

  14. By JTDG on Apr 24, 2017 | Reply


    “But I will add the caveat, as this team has seen with Mathieu, healthy does not necessarily equal the same player.”

    OK, so a simple question. Why did Keim give him the highest paid contract for a safety while he was injured , after his second major injury?

  15. By Darren Urban on Apr 24, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Mathieu

    Simple answer. They did not want to risk losing him. And while I have a feeling I know what you will say, if they had let Mathieu reach his free-agent year and he had actually had a big year, it could have been messy. It was a calculated risk. But I’m guessing you knew that.

  16. By Cactus jeff on Apr 24, 2017 | Reply

    TJ Watt is the best defensive player in draft. Don’t blow it again SK with players not long enough. No more Eric Minters.

  17. By Scott H on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    Darren –

    No blog about the schedule?? Was hoping there would be…one comment I had about that was that I hate seeing Cards-Seahawks as a Thurs Night game. Sunday or Monday Night? Hell, yeah! THURSDAY Night? When both teams are playing on a short week? NO! That is the wrong spot for that game. The NFL finds a way to screw everything up….

  18. By Darren Urban on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Schedule

    To be honest, I thought about it. But I was off and out of town, and I thought, “Maybe I should actually be off when I am off.”

    (Even though I did tweet a couple of things. And post a couple of things I had pre-written.)

  19. By JTDG on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply


    Calculated risk;

    Exactly. Which brings me to my point.

    Sidney Jones suffered a torn achilles. Grant it, not a great injury to have, but others have had it and come back 100%. It takes, imo, about 18 months to be fully recovered. Which is about when next years camps start.

    I guess I am thinking, if you could get the best CB in the draft in round 2 (and yes, I rank him over Lattimore because Lattimore is always injured with hammys), shouldn’t you do it?

    This is more of the 3 year plan than a win today plan, which goes against what I have been saying, but isn’t it a really good calculated risk.

  20. By Darren Urban on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Risk

    Really good? I don’t know. If he is there in round 2, and you have him rated really high, then maybe it is.

    But see, this is where I am confused. You have long sounded upset the Cardinals gave the contract to Mathieu. But you’re willing to gamble the second round pick on Jones. Just feels like those are opposite viewpoints. Do you like taking risks or no?

  21. By JTDG on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply


    Ha, are you saying I am contradicting myself? lol

    First, Badger has never played 16 games. It wasn’t one injury you are gambling with, it is multiple ones. 4 straight years.

    But, Actually, signing Badger was not the issue. (and grant it, I am not in the meeting behind the scenes) but for someone on the outside, the highest paid safety was at 9 million a year average and they signed Badger to 12.5 million. Seems like a huge jump. Plus Badger still had a year to go.

    Then you get into, what position is Badger? Is he a safety who slides into the slot on passing downs or is he a 3rd CB? If you are using 5 DBs all the time, ok makes sense, but if he is off the field on run downs, that is a lot of money for a slot 3rd CB.

    With all that said, I can live with the contract. I am sure they have a plan to make him into a play maker. I think I have been saying 2017 is a big year for him.

    What I believe I have said repeatedly, is due to the escalating contract and cap savings next year, if he isn’t healthy this year (2017), it would be time to cut ties in 2018.

    One risk is smart. They took a risk with him with the drugs. two risk, well he was injured and was promising. 3rd risk, a history of injuries and his second major one. Ok, we are where we are at. Either produce and earn the paycheck or time to move on.

    As for Smith or Jones, yes, I would take the risk on both of them.

  22. By texascard on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    There is a time for risks and this is not that time. The first three rounds is not that time

  23. By JTDG on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply


    Taking risk;

    To follow up, generally speaking, I do not like taking risk in the draft. I think with today’s medicine and if my doctors said he would be alright, then the risk is minimized.

    I would not risk an early pick on a QB, but I would take the chance we can land our QB in 2018.

    I would have never taken the risk with Nkemdichi. But I would have taken the risk to wait on the Badger contract.

    Calculated risk.

  24. By D on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    This is the draft where Mr. Keim needs to add 1 impact player and plenty of depth..
    The Team needs depth at: QB, RB, G, KR/WR, ILB, CB, S

  25. By Scott H on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    Darren –

    RE: Being “off”

    Off? What is that?? I hear ya. I’m “off” this week and I’m spending my days doing yard work I am clearly getting too old for.

    The schedule makers love to put us in Seattle for Week 16 or 17, don’t they? But it don’t matter because with Palmer under center, we OWN the Seahawks in Seattle!

    Now, if we could just figure out a way to beat them / not tie them in OUR building…..

  26. By Darren Urban on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Seattle late

    Well, the NFL decided a few years ago they wanted division games at the end of the season to spark the races that might be going on at the time.

  27. By JTDG on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    Back to the Badger for a minute;

    What are they planning to do with him in base defense? Any insights?

    They signed Bethea to most likely be SS. Badger has said he is not a fan of playing the deep safety.

    So is he a safety? If the cards go with 5 DBs in the base, aren’t they really small provided they have Bucannon already playing LB?

    Does Bethea move to FS in the base or do they go to a 4 / 2 / 5 defense. I would love to see a 4 / 2 / 5 provided Bucannon was moved to SS and a bigger LB was brought in. But with Golden not as strong against the run as you would like, and 6 DBs, aren’t teams like the Rams and niners just going to play power football?

    So, what are your thoughts of what they will run and what they do with Mathieu?

  28. By Darren Urban on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Safety

    Don’t know yet. We’ll see when they start lining up on the field this offseason.

  29. By Joe C. on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    Okay, today there is an article that says Cutler doesn’t want to retire but he won’t get a staring gig. So…I say sign him to back up Palmer and evaluate him. Trade Stanton for a pick, 5th rd?, and don’t draft a QB. Is everyone on board? Darren can you tell SK?

  30. By Bryan B on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    Speaking of Daryl Washington, I just saw the headline that he was conditionally reinstated. I couldn’t help but laugh thinking of the flood of questions this blog is going to get about it. Sorry Darren…. On another note, I rarely comment but I do really enjoy this blog and most of the comments/opinions that are given.

  31. By Scott H on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    Darren –

    Yeah, I am aware of the divisional game trend that IS now the NFL schedule for Week 17. I get it.

    Now…I just saw the news about D-Wash being reinstated by the NFL. Get ready for the questions!! I have a few of my own, but….I know it’s too soon to really know anything. One thing I note right off the bat – he is now 31….and it’s just a damn shame he was effectively banished from existence as far as the NFL was concerned during what SHOULD have been his peak years. But ya wonder what that means NOW. I mean….is he a a VERY out of / nowhere near football shape 31 years old? Or is he a VERY well rested and preserved 31 years old?

    Get ready for the D-Wash on-slaught. We’re ALL gonna want to know what this means for a possible future with the Cardinals. AND if that future will start soon enough for him to be a factor for 2017. MIGHT this be the Antonio Cromartie / Dwight Freeney-type player this off-season seems to deperately need????

  32. By NJAzCardsFan on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    Darren- Any chance after the draft, you could ask BA,. who he thought was the one rookie QB who was ready to start…???

  33. By Darren Urban on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    NJAz —

    RE: QB

    I will try. Doubt he will answer.

  34. By TucsonTim on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    “-Not that it means much, because I feel confident in saying the Cards have moved on from Washington. I personally do not believe he is going to be reinstated
    OK. That’s my Washington post for the year, unless something happens. I know, famous last words.”

    Looks like something happened!

  35. By Erik on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    Washington is back, finally! If they don’t try to restructure him and let him play they are fools.

  36. By JTDG on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    Well Darren,

    Daryl Washington has been reinstated. The cardinals own his rights and it seems like they were aware this was going to happen.

    So what now?

    If he is in shape and still can play, are we going to see a 2013 reunion at LB?
    What does this mean for Bucannon, who has said many times he would rather be a safety?

    All very interesting.

  37. By MartinK on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    Regarding the risk: All draft choices are risky. Essentially a personal opinion is formed based on “subjective” evaluations of players. That subjective opinion is the basis of the pick regardless that the future outcome is unknown. Insisting on one particular player being the pick (falling in love, Sidney Jones, ignoring failed tests or prior injury etc) increases that risk which is the reason for a draft board.

    On that draft board you should find multiple players per position. Liking only one quarterback and trading up indicates the person has fallen in love. Such a move is inherently “irrational” because history shows that each draft has at least two quarterbacks that end up performing well if not more, and some of them are chosen in later rounds.

    Waiting for your turn is the lowest risk because it eliminates the “irrational” risk. Trading down, on the other side, will allow you to capitalize on the irrational risk taken by others who send good players down the ladder by reaching up.

    Trading down for next year’s first round pick may be a great move if next year’s draft is stacked with rookie starting quarterbacks. Texans, Redskins, Kansas, New Orleans (second first), Steelers, may be tempted to trade down for the quarterback they love. Either way, trading down has its rewards.

    My favorite scenario for this draft is trading down for Texan’s first next year. I would try to trade for another second round pick involving Ellington or Bethel. Denver may trade us Lynch as above mentioned. If not, I would wait for Kizer to fall to the second round.

    1st best available corner
    2nd Paxton Lynch for Ellington/Bethel, then Kizer, then Buddha Baker/best available safety
    3rd best available guard (we need one, — we are not set)

    and Daryl Washington renegotiate his contract and stay on (I know Darren….).

  38. By JTDG on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply


    Are you being serious about the Lynch trade?

    Ellington was a FA. The Broncos could have signed him if they wanted to. Bethel, a special teams player is going to be traded for a first round QB? I don’t get it?

    Why the Texans? Who are the Texans trading up for? I’m not sure the Texans are looking to move up.

    I do like the Budda Baker pick though.

  39. By JTDG on Apr 25, 2017 | Reply

    Just released;

    Sidney Jones doctor says he could be ready by Sept.

    OK, ready and 100% are two different things, but he could be playing later in the year.

    Love me some Sidney Jones at pick 45.

  40. By jasonc on Apr 26, 2017 | Reply

    NJAzCardsFan & Darren-

    John Gambodora has been stating on the radio that the QB was DeShone Kizer…not sure who his source is or if it is accurate, but that is what has been reported.

  41. By JTDG on Apr 26, 2017 | Reply


    Out of all the QBs since the beginning of this offseason, I thought KIzer was the best prospect.

    Still would not draft a QB in 2017, but if it is Kizer with a traded up 2nd, it is a much, much much, better choice than Mahomes or Trubisky.

    In that case, round one is TraDavious White (now that Conley has fallen off the map) and a trade up for Kizer.

    Not sold but could work.

  42. By JTDG on Apr 26, 2017 | Reply

    I would much rather have a 3 round draft like this;

    1st round – Mike Williams WR

    2nd round – Sidney Jones CB

    3rd round – Pat Elflein C/G

    But if you want that 2nd round QB, you must get that CB in round 1

  43. By Scott H on Apr 26, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG –

    Dude, I swear….if I see QB of the future take priority over CB….I’ll freak.

  44. By Coach K on Apr 26, 2017 | Reply


    I have got to be real here and try to see things from the Cardinals view. If its possible, I think the Cards should trade out of pick #13 and move down at least five picks and try to get an extra second round pick.

    I think Haasan Reddick would be a steal at pick 18, and I feel the same about Cory Davis. I actually like Davis over Mike Williams because of his speed and better route running. We need a big athletic receiver who is in the mold of a young Fitz. That is Davis. Either Reddick or Davis would be steals at #18.

    With two picks in the second round, the corner and safety positions can be addressed easily with good athletes. I would focus on Tight end in round three. This is a good class of tight ends and we need to get one of them.

    I would grab a project quarterback in round five like Kelly of Olo Miss, or Kaya from Miami. That’s how I see things this draft eve.

  45. By MartinK on Apr 28, 2017 | Reply

    The Texans would move up in the draft to pick Watson. They could have traded with us directly for a first round next year which we could have used to trade for Lynch or even Bortles who was in the discussion, in addition to a player to open room under the salary cap. You never know…..
    Safety is out now for second pick because Bucannon can move back a bit and Tyrann can stay back and support corner. Still, corner highest priority now then guard.

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