2014 NFL Draft shows Keim's plan for the Cardinals

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

What the Arizona Cardinals did in the 2014 NFL Draft shows that Steve Keim understands the here and now, but has an eye on the Cardinals future.

Want to know what I did over the draft weekend as I was away from ROTB?

Well you can find out more about the players the Cardinals drafted:

Deone Bucannon
Troy Niklas
Kareem Martin
John Brown
Logan Thomas
Ed Stinson
Walt Powell

You can see how I graded (begrudgingly) the Cardinals draft and now I get to speculate on what the Cardinals and Steve Keim were doing on draft day.

It took me a couple of days to piece everything together, but Sunday I tweeted it out, and now I can hypothesize what, in my opinion, what the Cardinals were doing over the weekend.

In round one it became obvious when they traded out of 20 that their target(s) were gone and they were going to pick for "need" by taking their guy in Deone Bucannon.

The targets that we know about? Blake Bortles went at three and Ryan Shazier went at 15, so that means the Cardinals were taking Bucannon, unless you believe the report that they wanted Ja'Wuan James which I have not been able to confirm.

They knew that there was one team who wanted Deone, that was New England, so they had to stay in front of them, and they did.

The other team, the San Francisco 49ers, were allegedly interested, but they had the ammunition to move up with ease if they wanted too, then they took a player who is the complete opposite of Bucannon in talents, but with all of that I can still buy that they were interested, so we knew it was imperative to be at 27 at worst.

Bucannon fit exactly what the Cardinals needed in their defense, a big, physical, run stopping safety.

In round two it was much the same, as they took Troy Niklas, the offensive linemen that so many had hoped for, except he is a tight end, who can be an excellent security blanket for Carson Palmer and eventually more for Logan Thomas (hehe).

Niklas is a nice fit and again, the Cardinals pulled the trigger because they knew the Patriots were lurking waiting on Niklas allegedly, but also because the top three were off the board and Niklas was at worst the fourth on most boards, some had him even higher.  They didn't want to wait, they couldn't wait, and they didn't wait.

The first two picks were the "need" fits in the draft, they weren't reaches, they may have not been best available either, but they were exactly what the Cardinals needed at these picks.

Round three is where we started to see some of the interesting aspects of the draft.

They took a personal favorite of mine in Kareem Martin, which also coincides with another "need" pick.  He brings better pass rushing upside than almost anyone else in the draft, but he's got a way to go to get there.

He also brings you the ability to move on from certain people in the near future if need be, Abraham, Acho if he doesn't improve, but also can be moved to defensive end if he can't hang as a linebacker.

Speaking of moving on from defensive ends, Ed Stinson gives you that ability soon, because he is a dominant type run defender.  If Darnell Dockett isn't willing to take a pay cut, or his play continues to diminish, Stinson is could be the answer in 2015.

Then you have the double dip at wide receiver.  Everyone is aware of the Larry Fitzgerald situation, so most think that is the reason to draft two wide receivers, as hopefully one turns out and it could be easier to move on (as easy as it can be to move on from Fitz), but what about Michael Floyd?

The Cardinals will have to make a decision on Floyd in 2015, like they did with Patrick Peterson this year, whether or not pay him the average salary of the top paid 3-25 wide receivers in the game which is just over $7 million this year.

You may be thinking "why the hell wouldn't they just extend Floyd?"  That's a fair question, but here's my rebuttal, what if they are able to renegotiate with Fitzgerald in 2015, and move his salary down to a more manageable $12-14 million through the rest of his time in Arizona?  Sure you pick up that $7 million for 2016 (it'll be more though) but Brown and Powell could be insurance for 2017 and beyond if need be, especially if they are able to renegotiate with Fitzgerald as you can't pay wide receivers 20+ million.

The last thing on Floyd, when they pick up his 2016 option next off season, it is only guaranteed if they keep him on the roster in March of 2016, so if there are any issues in 2015 they can drop him (they shouldn't have too). Same with Peterson in 2014.

Brown is a smaller, deep threat type right now, he has to get stronger off the line, but he has Mike Wallace upside.

Powell is the really intriguing one, as he reminds me of Antonio Brown, was picked in the same range, and has a similar style of play.  Powell will have to win a spot early as a special teamer, but if he can find a way to run cleaner routes, he was thrown to short mostly, he can be a good weapon.

Brown is a vertical threat, Powell is a shifty, run after the catch specialist who can make big plays with the ball in his hands.

Then there is the diamond in the rough... Logan Thomas.

He is hopefully the future... That's all you can say.

Here is the thing though: He was a fourth round selection, most fourth round quarterbacks are looked at as developmental, back up type of quarterbacks.  Ryan Nassib, Matt Barkley, Landry Jones, Tyler Wilson, Mike Kafka, Stephen McGee, Kyle Orton, Stefan LeFors, Luke McCown, Seneca Wallace, David Garrard, Rohan Davey, Chris Weinke, Sage Rosenfels, Jesse Palmer are the quarterbacks taken in round four since 2000.  That's a lot of suck... A LOT!

If Thomas is a back up for his career, this was a good pick, if he's more, then this draft is going to get fawned over.

Keim showed he's looking to win this year, hello Bucannon, Niklas and Stinson, but he also has an eye to the future, and not just with the Logan Thomas pick.

He understands that soon it'll be time to make decisions at the wide receiver spot and Brown and Powell could be factors if need be.

Of course Martin is going to get some situational work this year, but he's also being looked at as he future replacement for a number of players.

In Keim we trust... That's still it right?

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