Last offseason I wrote that it was possible the Arizona Cardinals 2013 NFL Draft could have been entirely members of the Oregon Ducks since need met best player available in one of those Twilight Zone moments.
And just like my winning the lottery, I fell jusssst a little short with no Ducks being selected.
But being an Arizona Cardinals fan since their inception, I know disappointment and laugh in the face of scorn and ridicule thrown my way (though I usually tell my mother to be nicer, otherwise I'm moving out) and persistence is the key to having success.
Therefore, I bring you my 2014 mock draft with a similar theme: Family and familiarity. Who knows total strangers that you're willing to invest time and lots of money better than siblings, teammates and former alumni?
Terry McDonough is the new Director of Player Personnel coming from the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he concentrated on building the OL and DL lines with selections such as Eugene Monroe, Eben Britton, Tyson Alualu, Andre Branch, Will Rackley and Terrance Knighton.
Now, he also drafted Blaine Gabbert and punter Bryan Angerer in the third round, but if Keim can keep him away from kickers, safe to say he goes trenches again and picks...
Rashede Hageman. The Minnesota Gopher DT/DE will be Darnell Dockett's eventual replacement and should garner playing time this season with the lack of depth along the front defensive line.
Andre Ellington was a pleasant surprise for a sixth round choice with his cutback moves and surprising speed for a smallish guy. His elusiveness (ask Darelle Revis) and playmaking ability changed the Cardinals offense as the season unfolded. And evidently, the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree as his cousin enters the draft and Arizona with the 52nd pick selects...Bruce Ellington WR from South Carolina.
Yeah, this is higher than what most draftniks are projecting, but the more I read the more I think he makes the 2nd round. As the saying goes, "Cousins are different beautiful flowers from the same garden."
Cards need a strong safety in the worst way with Yeremiah Bell probably retiring, Honey Badger hurt, Tony Jefferson inexperienced and Rashad Johnson with only 4.5 digits. The defensive already has LSU alumni Patrick Peterson, HB and LB Kevin Minter - so what's one more Tiger from the 2010 11-2 SEC champs? So in the third round the Arizona Cardinals select...Craig Loston, safety.
Possibly a reach at this round, SS are in short supply and Keim and Co. have reached into the LSU bag often and early last few drafts. PP, HB and KM will give the FO the MO. If not, Cards are SOL.
The left side of the OL seems to be set this season with Jared Veldheer and Jonathon Cooper. The right side...not so much. But guess what? Cooper had a teammate in North Carolina that manned the all important LT position and started a school record 49 games, got the most out his ability and despite a fractured fibula suffered in final collegiate game should make an NFL team, likely as a right tackle. So, with Cooper's blessing and inside information Arizona fourth pick goes to...James Hurst OL from North Carolina.
He doesn't look pretty, but he gets the job done. Just don't wish this pair to "break a leg" on the upcoming year.
Carson Palmer is maybe on his last season as a Cardinal, as his contract basically runs out after the 2014 season. He's not getting any younger and a suitable replacement will have to be found sooner rather than later. Coach Bruce Arians was seen at his alma mater sending a certain QB though a private workout. Keim has said they will draft a QB every year until they get it right. With that being said, Round Five selection is...Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech.
He fits the Arians tall, strong, physical tool mold with running ability if the pocket breaks down. He is similar to Colin Kaepernick, yet bigger. And on the plus side, he has yet to be arrested by Miami police.
Continuing with the "familiarity breeds success" theme, Cardinals GM Keim attended North Carolina State and they have a very underrated player in a position where the team has a need. Yeah, Rob Housler, John Carlson and Jake Ballard are a good starting point, they're on last legs or as in Housler - lost hands. Keim has probably watched tons of his collegiate institution games and....Asa Watson TE is the final "Hey, I know you!" pick.
Unless of course, someone on the team knows someone who knows someone who knows someone from Canada's Carelton College. Then it all changes.
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