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4-28-11: Bird Droppings - Draft Day, Bulger Rumors

Well now, the Draft is finally here. So, time for some links on this great day where it seems like if the Cardinals stay at the fifth overall pick, they would like to choose from Von Miller, Patrick Peterson, and A.J. Green. Also, some new news on the Bulger front.

There are a lot of links today for your enjoyment.

Trading down in NFL draft a tricky proposition for Arizona Cardinals
In evaluating any possible trade offers for the fifth overall pick, the Cardinals must consider not only what they would receive in compensation, but also what they would be giving up. That pick has great value. And while trading down would give the Cardinals additional choices, it could cost them a chance to draft a player who can change a game. For that reason, there's a premium the Cardinals should want in return for that selection.

Rush Or Cover?
Pressure or coverage can be chicken-or-egg debate

Inside the Arizona Cardinals' draft room
Though the NFL draft headquarters are in New York, the real work is done at the teams' headquarters. Television broadcasts show us the commissioner announcing a selection, the player donning his new team's hat and then posing for pictures. In reality, the selection process started several minutes earlier. Here's how it typically works in the Cardinals draft room.

Kiper mock 5.0: Thoughts on Cardinals - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Mel Kiper's fifth mock draft for 2011 provides the foundation for discussing how NFC West teams might proceed this offseason. I'll conclude with a look at his plans for the Arizona Cardinals, who hold the No. 5 overall choice.

Word From the Birds Blog - A few final words to mock
The first round of the draft is tonight, and so, I thought I’d take a quick moment to talk about what might be going on. For the first time in a long time, I won’t have a full first-round mock. To be truthful, with the Cards picking so high, I just don’t know enough of what may be happening after, say, the 10th pick. And I’ve had some other things going on too. Anyway, on to the draft.

The Arizona Republic's NFL mock draft 2011 - final edition
I've had Miller going to the Cardinals almost from the start and it would be a sensational pick for Arizona. He will help immensely right from the start. The problem is his stock is soaring and he could go higher. If that's the case, the Cardinals would be more than happy with LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson - or maybe even Blaine Gabbert if he drops this far.

Cardinals, Bulger already have a deal? - ArizonaSports.com
Rumors about Marc Bulger coming to Arizona are nothing new. That there may already be a deal in place between the two parties? That's something different. Len Pasquarelli of CBSSports says that may be the case.

Down on QBs, ESPN analysts talk about draft - ArizonaSports.com
The Cardinals may need a quarterback, but neither Merril Hoge nor John Clayton feel the Arizona Cardinals will find one in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Interesting Cardinals draft facts - ArizonaSports.com
The race for the Super Bowl begins with the NFL Draft on April 28, when rookies are selected to rejuvenate the rosters of their respective NFL franchises for the coming year. The Cardinals hold the fifth overall pick this year, looking to improve from a 5-11 record last season and build for the future. Here are ten interesting draft facts about the Cardinals heading into this year's draft.

Character should be priority when Cardinals make draft choices - ArizonaSports.com
The NFL Draft is just hours away and I'm sure the Arizona Cardinals are set up in the war-room at their facility in Tempe. There's no doubt in my mind they have every bit of information they need to make the right decision with the number five pick and throughout the rest of the draft as well. They're well prepared with every number and stat -- including 40-time, bench press, vertical leap, etc. -- but what about the intangibles…the things that are not measured by a number…what about their character?

Arizona Diamondbacks fall to Philadelphia Phillies
None of the Diamondbacks' players' wives had a baby for the third consecutive day, but the Diamondbacks still felt some labor pains Wednesday after losing 8-4 to Philadelphia. Diamondbacks starter Joe Saunders probably needed a couple of antacids after his upsetting performance. The left-handed pitcher failed to reach the seventh inning for the fifth time this season, allowing six earned runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings of work. Saunders was in trouble as soon as Shane Victorino led off the game with a single at Chase Field. Two RBI doubles later, Philadelphia held a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

Video Gallery - azcardinals.com
Coaches Recall Draft Memories

Video Gallery - azcardinals.com
Cardinals Draft Roundtable

NFL draft: Arizona Wildcats' Brooks Reed full of blond ambition
It's a bit unfair to compare Arizona Wildcats defensive end Brooks Reed to the NFL's most dominant defensive player. But on NFL draft day, Reed is happy to have Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews in his life.

Lawrence Guy among ASU football draft hopefuls
Lawrence Guy knows people have questioned his decision to leave Arizona State, passing up his senior season, but the quick defensive tackle doesn't have regrets.

NFL could learn from Arizona Cardinals fan in labor dispute
It was shaping up to be one memorable date night. It started with courtside seats at a Suns game, courtesy of a cousin, and ended with music and laughs at a Glendale bar. When the early-morning hours of March 26 arrived, Jason Taylor left the establishment and headed toward his car.

Cardinals may "already have understanding" with Bulger | ProFootballTalk
The Cardinals' apparent intent to pass on Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert at No. 5 in the draft has fueled the belief that Arizona plans to sign a stopgap, free agent quarterback to be its starter in 2011.

NFL Draft History: Top Picks Include More Busts Than Booms - Desert Dirt - SB Nation Arizona
With the 2011 NFL Draft mere hours away and the Carolina Panthers about to go on the clock with the first overall pick I thought it would be a worthy pursuit to look at the recent no. 1 overall picks. I'm sure when Panthers fans saw their team struggle through a 2-14 season they thought well hey at least we'll get a franchise changing talent at the top of the draft! Well my southern friends are in for a surprise.

Cardinals, Dolphins turn players away, too | ProFootballTalk
Though the NFL has yet to announce whether the doors will be opened or closed while the 8th Circuit considers the league’s motion to stay the order lifting the lockout pending appeal, at least three teams have turned players away.

NFL allows coach-player interaction - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The NFL has released a statement saying the following will take place beginning Friday at 8 a.m. ET (I am running this verbatim from the NFL):

Chat wrap: 49ers fan fretting Blaine Gabbert - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Zona fan (Arizona): Hey [who] is in more of a need of a QB, the Seahawks or Cards? And who drafts one rather then gets one in FA?

No player trades before Friday at earliest - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The NFL's recently announced post-lockout guidelines did not include rules for free agency or player trades. The league plans to announce those no earlier than Friday.

Sifting through six 2011 NFL mock drafts - NFC West Blog - ESPN
I've gone through several updated mock drafts to put together a chart showing how analysts expect the first round to fall for NFC West teams.

2011 NFL Draft: Acquiring franchise QBs - ESPN
Trades or free agency may seem less risky, but numbers tell another story

Drafting a QB is risky -- so what? - ArizonaSports.com
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~Thomas Edison The hesitation with drafting quarterbacks is understandable. The last time Arizona took a QB in the first round the Cardinals selected Matt Leinart, and all they were ultimately left with was four years of failure with a side of crushed hopes and dreams. Before that? Tony Sacca, in 1992, and he followed the great Kelly Stouffer, who was chosen in 1987. Look at this history and it is apparent the Cardinals are to drafting quarterbacks what Derek Anderson is to completing passes. Still, everyone and their mother knows the Arizona Cardinals need a new quarterback.

NFL Blog Blitz: Arizona Cardinals powered by SportsFanLive.com
With the NFL Draft now just one day away, the Arizona Cardinals face a very tough choice at pick No. 5. While Arizona had the worst rushing attack in the league and the second worst passing game, the Cards must go defense with their first-round pick. I realize that Max Hall is the not a franchise quarterback but the fact of the matter is that neither is Blaine Gabbert.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Whisenhunt must keep Cardinals in title hunt
After getting a mulligan hot on the heels of his worst season by a wide margin as the Cardinals’ head coach, just how much pressure is there on Ken Whisenhunt heading into his fifth season in the desert? In league circles, Whisenhunt has been compared more than a few times to Bill Cowher, the coach he worked under in Pittsburgh. While Cowher was highly successful during the vast majority of his 15-year stint as head coach of the Steelers, Cowher did have a few notable speed bumps, but managed to persevere with strong support from team ownership.

Replay: Arizona Cardinals and NFL chat
Replay: Kent Somers answered your questions about the Cardinals, the NFL draft and labor dispute.

Word From the Birds Blog - Draft teaches Grimm East, not West
When Russ Grimm was drafted in the third round of the 1981 draft, he got a call from the Washington Redskins telling him he was going to be their selection. "When they said Washington Redskins I thought, ‘OK, Sonny Jurgensen, Billy Kilmer,’ things like this," Grimm said. "But I always in my mind had pictured that the Redskins were in the state of Washington, not the nation’s capital. So I got my ticket and they said, ‘Washington, D.C.,’ and I said, ‘Ahh, that’s not that far away.’ So it worked out pretty good." Grimm was from Pennsylvania. He clearly has a better grasp of the nation’s geography these days.

Madden bruiser: Peyton Hillis voted onto game's cover - ESPN
ESPN.com users have spoken, and the face of Madden NFL 12 will be Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis. Hillis was announced Wednesday as the winner of the fan vote, under way since March 21, on "SportsNation" on ESPN2. In all, almost 13 million votes were cast during the process -- including more than 1 million in the final.

Mailbag: Moment of truth on QB class - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Shane from Los Angeles thinks the absence of free agency helps the Cardinals by preventing them from trading choices to Philadelphia for Kevin Kolb. He'd rather see the team draft Von Miller or Patrick Peterson, then offer a 2012 first-round pick with a conditional 2012 third-rounder for Kolb once free agency opens.

NFL.com news: Cautionary tales shed light on first-round QB risk
In a sense, they have become as much a part of the fabric of football history as anything else. The players that failed to live up to their promise, the would-be superstars who flamed out in a tight spiral of lost potential and painful disappointment. It's a list that gets longer every season, with new tales of failure added to the scrapbook and then reappraised in springtime, draft season, when the parade of prognostication returns.

Audio: NFC West draft conversation - NFC West Blog - ESPN
On the Arizona Cardinals: "I almost wonder if in the back of their minds they wouldn't mind having those top quarterbacks off the board when they pick, and then it's not an issue."

Judge denies NFL, orders league year to start immediately - ESPN
The federal judge who lifted the NFL lockout has denied the league's request to put her ruling on hold.

Carolina Panthers narrow top pick to Cam Newton, Marcell Dareus, two others, sources say - ESPN
The Carolina Panthers have narrowed their choices for the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's draft to Cam Newton, Marcell Dareus, Patrick Peterson and A.J. Green, team sources told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio on Wednesday.

NFL Videos: QB Quandary: Worst-case scenario
The ripple effect for drafting a bust at quarterback in the first round can be immense. Find out why it's such a dangerous game.

Fans chant outside Radio City Music Hall, "We want football!" | ProFootballTalk
We made the trek the New York today for the draft, and at roughly 9:15 p.m. ET, I strolled with Mrs. PFT and Florio Jr. past Radio City Music Hall, across the street from a throng of roughly 500 jersey-wearing fans who jeered every 10 seconds or so at someone who was being particularly demonstrative about the team whose colors said fan was wearing. When not create noise that sounded like a roaring murmur, the assembled fans periodically broke into this chant: "We want football! . . . We want football!"

John Elway of Denver Broncos the 'biggest fan' of QB Tim Tebow - ESPN
John Elway recognized the Broncos will need to be committed and patient for Tim Tebow to eventually succeed.

Peter King says Texans GM Smith is "loathe" to trade up | ProFootballTalk
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle was adamant this week that the Texans want to trade up in the draft, specifically targeting LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson and Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller. Miller looks increasingly out of reach, as ESPN’s Todd McShay, Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, CBS Sports’ Rob Rang, and NFL Network’s Mike Mayock all anticipate the Butkus Award winner going No. 2 to Denver. At worst, Miller would go No. 3 to Buffalo. Peterson, in theory, could be a realistic target if he falls to No. 5 or 6. McShay went so far as to predict a Texans-Cardinals trade in his final mock, slotting Peterson to Houston with Arizona moving down.

Kiper mock 5.0: Thoughts on 49ers - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Mel Kiper's fifth mock draft for 2011 serves as the foundation for discussing how NFC West teams might proceed this offseason. I'll continue with a look at his plans for the San Francisco 49ers, who hold the No. 7 overall choice.

Kiper mock 5.0: Thoughts on Rams - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Mel Kiper's fifth mock draft for 2011 provides the foundation for discussing how NFC West teams might proceed this offseason. I'll continue with a look at his plans for the St. Louis Rams, who hold the No. 14 overall choice.

Kiper mock 5.0: Thoughts on Seahawks - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Mel Kiper's fifth mock draft for 2011 provides the foundation for discussing how NFC West teams might proceed. I'll begin with a look at his projection for the Seattle Seahawks, who hold the No. 25 overall choice.