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4-7-11: Bird Droppings - Draft Talk, Whiz Interviews

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Time for some links, including stuff on the draft, interviews with Coach Whiz, wins by the Suns and D-Backs, along with a loss by the Coyotes.

High-Profile Path To The Draft
The pre-draft period -- from combine to pro days to analysis -- has changed

Ken Whisenhunt talks draft strategy | ProFootballTalk
We hear a lot teams talk about taking "the best player available" and a lot of caution about "drafting for need." The truth is that great drafts combine the two. Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt detailed his draft strategy on PFT Live Wednesday, saying you have to align needs to an extent.

PFT Live: Arizona set for 2011 rebound | ProFootballTalk
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt recalls his high school job working at the Masters, explains what he thinks was behind his team’s 2010 slide, delves into draft strategy of filling holes vs. accumulating great talent, says he expects more from his star players and more in the final segment of today’s PFT Live.

Word From the Birds Blog - A chance to mock, and the schedule
All this talk about mocks, it’s only fair you get a chance to do one if you want to. So you can click right here and take part in the mock contest from Chevron and Give yourself a chance to win an autographed jersey of whomever the No. 1 draft choice is — do you go with Miller? Peterson? Gabbert? Oh, the possibilities are endless (your chances to win might not be if, say, you put Jake Locker as the fifth overall pick, but hey, it’s your mock). blogs - Kent Somers - NFL continues to run same route: holding pattern
A federal judge today urged the NFL and its players to resume negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement and said it will take a couple weeks for her to issue a ruling on the players' request for an injunction to stop a lockout. In short, there will be no short ending to the labor troubles. But dreaming was fun, wasn't it?

Arizona Cardinals QB Stock Watch -
With all the talk and speculation about who will line up under center for the Arizona Cardinals in 2011 -- if there is an NFL in 2011 -- we decided it was time for someone to simplify the entire process. With that in mind we put together our QB Stock Watch where you can find out who's moving up, who's moving down and who's just not moving at all.

Don't believe what Ken Whisenhunt has to say -
Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt wants you to know that you shouldn't believe anything he or anyone else involved in the NFL says. At least when it comes to the NFL draft. The head coach made it clear that this time of year the NFL has more people bluffing than the World Series of Poker and sometimes they're even doing it unintentionally

Coach wants Fitzgerald to stay in AZ, out of QB decision -
In what will likely not go down as the shock of the summer, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt wants Larry Fitzgerald to stick around for a while.

McShay and Kiper agree on who the Arizona Cardinals should take -
Everyone knows the Arizona Cardinals have a few key needs in the first three rounds of the NFL draft. Two different ESPN NFL Draft analysts have pinpointed those needs as quarterback, linebacker and offensive tackle in that order. While they agree on the positions, Todd McShay and Mel Kiper don't see eye-to-eye on which players they should pick. In their newest mock drafts on both analysts projected every selection in the first three rounds of the draft. In the first round both have the Cardinals selecting Missouri signal caller Blaine Gabbert with the fifth overall pick. Although they both agree on the player, they have differing opinions on why.

Arizona Diamondbacks avoid sweep, beat Chicago Cubs
Chris Young drove in two runs, scored twice and made a pair of nice catches in center field as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Chicago Cubs 6-4 on Wednesday.

Phoenix Suns beat Minnesota Timberwolves as Marcin Gortat scores 20
The Suns' visit to Target Center went according to the playoff chase plan. The Suns left the building headed for New Orleans, having dispatched of the NBA's worst team, Minnesota, 108-98 on Wednesday night with the bench carrying them to close the back-to-back set. But with the 11 losses in 15 games before it, the Suns are seven games behind New Orleans to leave them with the same immaterial goal they held before the All-Star Game break - just get to .500.

Phoenix Coyotes miss chance to clinch in loss to Los Angeles Kings
That big sigh of relief will have to wait. The Coyotes missed a chance to clinch their second consecutive playoff appearance Wednesday, but with the scrambled Western Conference race, new scenarios pop up every day, and they remain solidly in the mix. blogs - RichardObertRattlers Blog - RichardObertRattlers - Rattlers remain No.1 in coaches' poll
Through the first four weeks of the Arena Football League season, the Rattlers (4-0) are atop the coaches' poll for the second straight week. They needed to dig out of a 21-0, first-quarter hole to beat previously unbeaten Orlando 48-47 to stay on top. They also needed an interception by Virgil Gray on a tipped pass at the Arizona 5 with 27 seconds left.

Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat embraces improvement
Minnesota's Kevin Love is one of the more-obvious Most Improved Player candidates for how he became an All-Star amid inadequacy. Love did not play against the Suns on Wednesday night due to a groin strain but there was still a big man putting up Love-like numbers who is a legitimate Most Improved Player candidate. news: Player mentioned among top 10 who scares you most
Every year, there are players who get drafted in the top 10 who shouldn't because of one thing or another. We asked writers and NFL Network analysts to name the player who has been mentioned as a possible top-10 pick with the most "bust" potential. Here's what they had to say:

To dream: NFC West free agency primer - NFC West Blog - ESPN
It is possible, even likely, that the NFL and its players will continue their staring contest through the 2011 draft -- even with a ruling from U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson. The appeals process could take weeks or longer, during which time it's unlikely the league would open for business. We're probably doomed to status quo, in other words.

Draft Watch: NFC West - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Each Thursday leading up to the NFL draft (April 28-30), the NFL blog network will take a division-by-division look at key aspects of the draft. Today’s topic: history in that spot.

NFL sides request mediation; area at issue - ESPN
The NFL and its players both want to go back to mediated talks -- but the sides don't agree on where those discussions should take place.

Mailbag: NFL head coach rankings - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Rob from Phoenix wonders whether the Cardinals would select Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley with the fifth overall choice, if available, even though the team doesn't have obvious needs on its defensive line. Texas A&M pass-rusher Von Miller would not be available under this scenario.