When the site went down for a little bit yesterday it threw off my plan for the mailbag this week to coincide with some prospects to watch in the upcoming bowl games this weekend as well.
The Cardinals are in an interesting place where they can't turn their attention fully to the draft yet because of the 7-8% chance, depending on the site you look at, of them still getting into the playoffs, but the combination of a Carolina win and Cardinals loss will put this season on ice for Arizona, and will allow the front office to turn their attention to the draft fully.
The other interesting questions have to do with the upcoming free agency in 2014, so let's dive right in with the Cardinals mailbag.
We need a legit pass rusher first and for most. Lots of tackles in FA this year. I would love to see us address the tackle spot with a free agent and draft a young pass rusher first round. Abraham is showing us how good this D can be with sacks from the OLB position…something we have not seen in many many years. Oher Gross Monroe Collins Alberts Veldheer even Fox…we should be able to land one of those guys one way or another.
By Bubs Solo
Interesting and not necessarily the wrong thought process, with the way the NFL is going though you have to account for being able to keep your own free agents and not relying on others.
If you are going to pay a Veldeheer, Albert or Collins $8+ million a year you are just going to take yourself out of resigning guys like Dansby and others right away.
As for positional needs, pass rusher does rank slightly higher in terms of importance to a team than left tackle, but the fact that the Cardinals tackle play has been so bad and that the defense is able to generate pressure consistently, well outside of last week, it's pretty subjective to say that the Cards NEED a pass rusher.
If there isn't a left tackle signed in free agency or drafted I'd be slightly surprised, but that doesn't mean much with the amount of needs this team has.
Haven't seen much on Moses, so can’t comment there.
But if the Cards were able to get Lewan, I might start writing over the top, fawning comments like AZRetiree.
Talked to some scouts a couple of weeks ago and the consensus I heard was the Lewan is a right tackle in the NFL, not a guy that you trust in pass protection to play on the left side.
The name that was brought up constantly as a comparison was Jon Runyan, the former Eagles right tackle who was excellent in the run game, really a bull, had good athleticism to get to the next level, but didn't translate it to pass protection consistently.
Everyone is going to have their opinion on the offensive tackles coming out, but Lewan is the guy that was projected to go to Arizona top 10 last season, and now there's talk he'll be available late in round one, that should say something.
No, and it's not because of a dislike of Cutler, but more because of what I touched on earlier, the Cardinals have finite resources, and using those resources on a big time free agent, albeit at the most important position on an NFL roster, is crippling to a franchise if it's a miss.
This isn't to say to shy away from signing a guy because that's just playing scared, which the Cardinals have done most of their time in Arizona when it comes to trying to find a quarterback, but if Cutler is "your guy" that's going to be your legacy if you're Keim and Arians.
Is that the guy you risk a legacy on?
This is an easy one for me, but I'll give several names outside of the one I have been drumming for.
CJ Fiedorowicz from Iowa is without a doubt the guy I have adopted as the tight end I want on this roster in 2014 alongside Rob Housler.
CJF is an "old school" inline tight end who has the ability to get open consistently and be an asset in the run game AND pass game.
He plays with that nasty streak that Iowa is known for and will be the safety valve to whichever quarterback is throwing to him in the future.
Speaking of who to watch in the bowl games, here are some draft prospects I'll be providing notes on:
Gildan New Mexico Bowl-
Deone Bucannon, S Washington State
Weston Richburg, C Colorado State
Shaquil Barrett, OLB Colorado State
Crockett Gillmore, TE Colorado State
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl-
Derek Carr, QB Fresno State
Austin Wentworth, LT Fresno State
Marcel Jensen, TE Fresno State
George Uko, DE USC
Devon Kennard, OLB USC
Xavier Grimble, TE USC
Dion Bailey, S USC
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl-
Khalil Mack, OLB Buffalo
Bryce Quigley, LT San Diego State
R+L Carrier New Orleans Bowl-
Cairo Santos, K Tulane (Yes if you get a chance to watch this game tonight pay attention to Santos, there's chatter he could be drafted).