Bumped from the Fanpost section, a very well thoughout breakdown of the Arizona Cardinals team needs heading into April's draft from one of ROTB's newest members.
To me the question of the draft is a combination of what we need as well where the depth of the draft is at those positions. Here is where I see the 5 main draft needs being this year. I have put them in the order I think they should fall, however, the order would change if a high graded draft pick should fall to our pick.
1-OLB needs to be added. Okeafar is a FA next year and Berry may not be back, plus we were poor in sacks with who we had. There are some very talented OLB in the 1st round. Most will be converting from a DE so a year as a back up will benefit them. (keep in mind we already have 4 OLB under contract so it is likely that the final 53 will need to make room for 5 OLB)
2-RB: We cannot miss on a RB and therefore I understand the argument to take a RB in the 1st round. However, I think we can get a quality RB and an OLB pass rusher. I have even considered going Center or DL with this pick and picking RB in the third. It will depend on who is still on the board at 63. Assuming that Mack or Moala, Brace, or the like haven't fallen to us then go RB. Green, A. Brown (who I think is a sleeper) or R. Jennings, would all be a great compliment to Hightower and Wright. My thought is that one of these 3 may be available in the 3rd round as well therefore it may be tempting to take a chance and wait to pick one in the third.
3-DL. A quality NT would allow Robinson to move to DE with Campbell. (still frustrated with Branch. If he had materialized this wouldn't be an issue) Drafting a DE would provide depth and competition at this position. A 3-4 DE is not so much about sacks as he is about drawing double teams and filling the run gaps. If there are not any good choices for DL there will still be some post-draft FA likely available. (I have my eye on Vonnie Halliday who was released by Miami and would be a great depth guy at DE)
4-Center: LT is not the weakness on the OL. Gandy did well although he had a poor SB. The weak link is Sendlein, especially when playing against a 3-4. One of these times he is going to break Warner's ankle when he steps back. There are at least 5 centers in the draft who would be an upgrade, but what round do you spend a draft pick on a center? That is why I go center in the 4th but if Mack is available in the 2nd I would take him. Of the top 5 center (Mack, Unger, Wood, Luigs, Caldwell, Shipley) I think there is a decent chance that Luigs, Caldwell, or Shipley will be available at the end of the 4th. Worst case is Shipley, who played well for Penn State. He is a solid center but he was cursed with shorter arms, which is death for a tackle but not as big of a deal for a center. (Keep in mind with Vallejo, E. Brown, and Keith under contract you would have to make a tough decision; Do you will cut one of these three or make room for 9 OL in the final 53 with the additional center.)
5-ILB: Beisel found greener pastures so a replacement needs to be found. Right now we have Togafau and Highsmith as our back up ILB. Both play well on special teams but Togafau is 240 and Highsmith is 225. Highsmith cannot play linebacker in the NFL unless he puts on another 15+ pounds. We have a hard hitting athlete already who weights 225 and he is an all-pro Strong Safety. Look for the cards to pad the LB spot both with drafts and post-draft FA in order to find some depth at this position.
The rest of the draft is a wash and an uphill challenge to make the team. We no longer need a TE. (I am high on Becht as a blocking TE which has been the weakness. At 280 he ought to be able to move a LB out of the way on the edge.) They may look at the handful of FB in the draft in the later rounds but if they can't find one they like, when they like, then bring back T. Smith.(T Smith is a average FB but has not been an asset on special teams) OL and DL projects may also be picked here to spend some time on the practice squad to develop.
That's my take. Where do you think I am flawed in my thinking? What am I forgetting?