One of the fun things to do is look at what could have been for the Cardinals this year.
What that means is looking at the 2013 draft, and reshuffling the picks that Keim and company made for their first of their careers.
This doesn’t mean a second guessing, that the Cardinals made bad picks, or that guys like Earl Watford won’t work out, it just means that this 4-4 team, the one on the cusp of the playoffs, has holes that could have been filled in the draft, and hindsight is always 20-20.
What could the Cardinals have done with their 2013 draft picks?
Could this 4-4 team be even better if there were some slight adjustments?
Rules: Can’t draft anyone that was taken before the Cardinals picks, even if they made a trade, so that means I am not even contemplating a Geno Smith in round two.
The results the players have had this year are just transposed to what they would be if taken by the Cardinals, so no taking away injuries to make a case for the player, if he is/was injured, that’s the break.
Let’s dive in.
Round 1 Pick 7
Was- Jonathan Cooper, OG North Carolina
Now- Sheldon Richardson, DE Missouri
Cooper has had an unfortunate injury that leads to this redraft, but this isn’t an indictment of him, this is an admiration of how great Richardson has been.
Darnell Dockett isn’t the guy he used to be, and Richardson has been one of the best 3-4 defensive ends against the run in the NFL, and he’s not too shabby rushing the passer either.
Adding Richardson to an already stacked defense would be the best first round addition for the Cardinals.
Star Lotulelei, DT Utah
Eric Reid, S LSU
Round 2 Pick 45
Was- Kevin Minter, LB LSU
Now- Larry Warford, OG Kentucky
What the Cardinals lost in Jonathan Cooper they gain in Warford, who has been one of the best guards in the NFL this season.
He has been a pass blocking phenom, something sorely needed on the right side of the line, and is a better run blocker than any rookie other than first rounder Kyle Long, who isn’t nearly the pass protector Warford has been this year.
Adding Warford replaces Paul Fanaika, and all of a sudden the offensive line is less terrible, and the interior of the line may even be… really good.
Johnathan Hankins, DT Ohio State
Jamie Collins, OLB Southern Mississippi
Round 3 Pick 69
Was- Tyrann Mathieu, DB LSU
Now- Tyrann Mathieu, DB LSU
If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
Round 4 Pick 103
Was- Alex Okafor, OLB Texas
Now- David Bahktiari, OT Colorado
Sure he has a bad grade through PFF, and he hasn’t been exactly lights out at left tackle, but he’s better than what they’ve had over there through eight games.
Having a viable option at left tackle instead of Sowell would be a nice switch up from what they have now.
Shamarko Thomas, S Syracuse
Round 4 Pick 116
Was- Earl Watford, OG James Madison
Now- Levine Toilolo, TE Stanford
Pickings are slim for fits, plus needs, plus impact, but Toilolo has shown flashes of ability to be a guy who can come in in specific situations and make an impact, like DC Jefferson, except with the ability to run and catch.
Earl Wolff, S North Carolina St
Devin Taylor, DE South Carolina
Round 5 Pick 140
Was- Stepfan Taylor, RB Stanford
Now- Kenny Stills, WR Oklahoma
While this may be the most unpopular of the redrafts thus far, it answers the continuing problem of a deep threat.
Stills was someone that I highlighted in my time with Arizona Sports as a possible deep threat option, and he has been that and then some for the Saints with 16 catches for 362 yards and 3 touchdowns, or 22.6 yards per catch.
He’s the deep threat this team sorely lacks.
Jordan Mills, OT Louisiana Tech
Zac Stacy, RB Vanderbilt
Round 6 Pick 174
Was- Ryan Swope, WR Texas A&M
Now- DeVonte Holloman, LB South Carolina
The Cardinals whiffed on Swope, but in the redraft, the Cardinals have a deep threat in Stills, now they need a guy who can play outside linebacker after the rash of injuries.
While Holloman hasn’t gotten a ton of snaps, in the sixth round the Cardinals could afford a chance on him, and he flashed quite a bit in the preseason.
Mychal Rivera, TE Tennessee
Round 6 Pick 187
Was- Andre Ellington, RB Clemson
Really? Was there a question?
Round 7 Pick 219
Was- D.C. Jefferson, TE Rutgers
Now- Marcus Cooper, CB Rutgers
Probably the defensive rookie of the year thus far, he’s been exceptional in coverage for the Kansas City Chiefs.
He’d be the answer to the corner opposite Patrick Peterson, and make this defense… well one of the better coverage units in the NFL.
Zac Dysert, QB Miami of Ohio
Zeke Motta, S Notre Dame
While Cooper and Minter will look to make their impact in 2014 and beyond, the impact of this redraft would be… impressive, and make this season even better than it has been thus far for the Cardinals.
More from Revenge of the Birds:
- Arizona Cardinals: 2nd half predictions for the team
- 5 questions with Darren Urban, Kent Somers and Jess Root
- Arizona Cardinals: Karlos Dansby having 'legendary' season
- Arizona Cardinals: How are the players from the 2013 draft class doing?
- What has been the best performance of the 1st half for the Arizona Cardinals?