An NFL offseason is full of unpredictability. Whether it be a player getting released (Demarcus Ware, DeSean Jackson, Darrelle Revis, etc), a player getting signed (the 3 previously named, Jared Veldheer, Aqib Talib, Jairus Byrd, etc), a player getting drafted, or a player making or not making a roster, we just don't know what's going to happen. But that's the fun part, and making bold -- or call 'em crazy and/or stupid -- predictions makes things interesting. Here are mine:
1. Tyrann Mathieu will practice in training camp
I'm calling it now - we'll see the Honey Badger back in action come August. Don't get me wrong though - this is a bold prediction. The Cardinals would have to tread lightly with his recovery and Mathieu would see minimal work when the rest of the team participated in the primary drills. Wouldn't it be encouraging though? Especially after Mathieu blew out the ACL and LCL in his knee just last December. Some say the recovery time varies anywhere from 8-11 months, and there was even this report that Mathieu was weeks ahead of schedule. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. That leads me to my next point..
2. Tony Jefferson will earn a starting role
With Mathieu likely missing the start of the 2014 season, the Cardinals desperately need safety help. Jefferson isn't the prototypical strong safety at 5'11, but he showed some potential his rookie year. With little competition at the moment, it's likely the Cardinals draft a safety early or bring back Yeremiah Bell for another year. Bell is well past his prime however, and left a lot to be desired in 2013. At just 22 years old, I think Jefferson wins the job and steps into the void next to Rashad Johnson.
3. Bobby Massie will be cut following camp
I know, I know. It's not what most fans are hoping for and definitely not what I want. After a rocky rookie season that saw Massie improve as time went on, it was disappointing when the right tackle couldn't grasp Bruce Arians' system during last year's offseason workouts. As a result, the team brought in Eric Winston who started at tackle for the entire 2013 season. This time around, I'm predicting Massie struggles again in camp and is ultimately released. With Nate Potter, Bradley Sowell, a potential return of Winston, the Cardinals have enough experience between the three of them to feel comfortable with Massie's departure.
4. Johnny Football becomes part of the Birdgang
Most draft pundits don't expect Johnny Manziel to fall past the quarterback-needy teams sitting at the top of the draft order. I however, have heard enough draft-talk this offseason to warrant the prediction. I've heard everything from Blake Bortles going first overall, to Teddy Bridgewater being the most pro-ready, or to Derek Carr being worthy of a top-ten pick. I'm convinced that no one knows which - if any - quarterbacks will fall off the board in the first round. I do however, think the Cardinals will snag Manziel if he is sitting on deck when they're on the clock at 20. Manziel is a rare talent that can create plays out of nothing. Carson Palmer will be 35 years old next season. It makes sense to let Manziel develop behind Palmer for his rookie year.
5. Ryan Williams gets traded during the draft for a 6th round pick
A 7th round pick is certainly more conceivable but that wouldn't strike many as a bold prediction. There are a few things to keep in mind in this situation. First, Williams is not Arians guy. He didn't draft him, he sat him out of the entire 2013 season despite his injured knee being fully healed, and he appears to be happy with Andre Ellington, Stepfan Taylor, and the newly-signed Jonathan Dwyer at running back. Second, Ryan is just 23 years old (24 when the season begins) and showed play-making ability prior to his 2011 injury. Third, due just north of $1 million in 2014, Williams would come cheap to a team during the third day of the draft when late-round picks aren't always a sure thing.
Anyone care to chime in?