We all came away pleased with the Cardinals draft haul, right? I think Keim and Arians excelled and made us stronger going forward, but I would have made a couple of changes if I had it my way. So here is my 'Re-Draft'. My selections for each Cardinals pick as they happened, including the trades that went down. I can only select players at each pick that were yet to be selected at that point in time, so here we go.
1.07: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
We couldn't really go wrong with this pick. The three elite offensive tackle prospects had already been selected, along with the two highest rated pass rushers, leaving the Arizona Cardinals with an array of offensive guard talent. Cooper was my highest rated guard for the Cardinals coming in, because of his superior athleticism, scheme versatility and positional strength. Able to play both tackle and guard puts him over the top of fellow prospect Chance Warmack. Cooper excels as a pass blocker who pulls well, aiding both the run and passing game. Suited well to the Cardinals zone-blocking scheme, Cooper makes tremendous sense here, even if guards shouldn't be taken this high, he is a day one impact starter, this was the right move.
2.13: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
Everything about this move I loved. First of all the trade down with the San Diego Chargers to pick up an extra fourth round pick I felt was a nice move, giving us some room to move around, and then selecting Minter, a talented linebacker, to play in the 3-4. The Cardinals defense was one of the better ones in the league, however one of its weak points was stopping the run. What does Minter excel in? Making tackles and stopping the run. This move would allow Daryl Washington to roam and make plays, knowing Minter can clean up. Another likely immediate starter which will impact the team.
3.07: Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas Pine-Bluff
Here comes my first alteration. The Cardinals horrific offensive line was just improved by Cooper at LG, now its time to add depth at offensive tackle. Some rated Armstead as a late first round talent who experienced an unexpected slide. Armstead is a developmental tackle with outstanding athleticism and high upside. I have been a proclaimer of moving Levi Brown inside to RG, which would mean Armstead likely starts at LT. To me, this is an upgrade at two positions. The original pick, Tyrann Mathieu, I like as a prospect, if he gets his act together. A third round pick is probably a little rich for his value.
4.06: Dion Sims, TE, Michigan State
The Cardinals have depth issues at tight end right now. Rob Housler is a nice receiving tight end, but with that poor offensive line, we could use a tight end who would help on the edge. Sims is the best blocking tight end in this draft, which mixes size and athleticism which gives him a large catch radius, with underrated ball skills. Arians likes to use two tight end sets, with one splitting out and one blocking. Housler and Sims would make a nice duo. Original pick, Alex Okafor, is a steal at this point, I like his game a lot. I am not certain he fits into a 3-4 as an outside linebacker, I see him more as a 4-3 defensive end.
4.19: Jonathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
Love this trade down as well, picking up a sixth round pick, used to exploit the falling talent. As we find out later in the draft, the Cardinals go running back, so I thought I would advance the selection a little. Franklin is the top back in the class on a lot of boards, who had fallen into the fourth round. Behind Rashad Mendenhall and Ryan Williams, two backs who have a long injury history, there really isn't much there. Franklin is an underrated blocker at running back, with a nice change of pace and is elusive in the open field. A back who does everything well and could well compete to start at training camp. His value was real good at this point. We selected guard Earl Watford here, considering I already took two offensive lineman, I wasn't going to make it three, sorry Earl.
5.07: Quanterus Smith, DE/OLB, Western Kentucky
Feeling at this point we need to address pass rush. Smith was a gifted edge rusher in college, outlined by the Alabama performance where he made first round tackle D.J. Fluker look very average. Smith explodes off the edge with great speed and has a range of moves to beat blocks. A bit of a tweener in terms of his position, but gives him versatility in sub-packages. Tearing his ACL late on really hurt Smith, leading to his fall, but the talented edge rusher is way ahead of schedule in rehab and should be fine for day one, where he would be a backup at first and should compete to start in 2014. Stepfan Taylor was the pick here. Having just selected Franklin, I wasn't going to double dip at running back, not yet anyway.
6.06: Bacarri Rambo, S, Georgia
Having released starting safeties Kerry Rhodes and Adrian Wilson, we needed some talent at depth in the secondary. Rambo sled due to some character issues but a talent in the sixth round, and would compete to start for me. A round three prospect to many. Rambo is an ideal fit at free safety, with the necessary athleticism to excel. He has tremendous ball skills, and play-making ability, making him a primary contributor for turnovers, a real value pick. The Cardinals selected wide receiver Ryan Swope with this pick. I really like that move, but I personally think the Cardinals needed some outside depth at wide-receiver, I think Andre Roberts is developing nicely as a slot guy, with Housler and Sims to attack the underneath routes.
6.19: Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson
Are you kidding me? A second round running back in the sixth round. I loved this pick. Having spoken about the Cardinals lack of running back depth, Ellington is an explosive back who brings some talent to their backfield. Mendenhall is on a one year deal, and is not likely to return, especially with Franklin and Ellington in the mix. The packed backfield shoudl now bring some life into the Cardinals run game. A solid mix of explosion and strength, who can move the pile and hit home runs, the Cards now have a talented and versatile backfield. Keim and Arians we spot on here, this is some serious value and a day one contributor in the sixth round.
7.13: Da'Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech
Having already outlined my feelings for an outside receiver, I feel this pick could have been used on a talent such as Da'Rick Rogers. Eventually going undrafted due to character questions, seventh round draft picks rarely make an impact in the NFL, so might as well use that pick on a player with upside. I understand all his downfalls, but Rogers is a talented guy, who knows, he may be able to turn it around, Under the watchful eye of Larry Fitzgerald to mentor him and help him along, Rogers may be able to right his wrongs. D.C. Jefferson was selected here. Taking Sims in the fourth would make this pick redundant.
Undrafted Free Agents
A list of 25 Undrafted Free Agents I would consider signing for the Cardinals:
Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh
Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee
LaAdrian Waddle, OT, Texas Tech
Zach Sudfeld, TE, Nevada
Lawrence Okoye, DL, England
Keith Pough, OLB, Howard
Christopher DeVonte, WR, Utah
Luke Marquardt, OT, Azusa Pacific
Ray Ray Armstrong, SS, Miami
Cory Grissom, DT, South Florida
Xavier Nixon, OT, Florida
Ryan Griffin, QB, Tulane
Ryan Otten, TE, San Jose State
Alvin Bailey, OG, Arkansas
Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford
Nickell Robey, CB, USC
Brett Maher, K, Nebraska
Robert Lester, FS, Alabama
Chris Faulk, OT, LSU
Brad Wing, P, LSU
Rod Sweeting, CB. Georgia Tech
Matt Summers-Gavin, OG, California
Kevin Reddick, ILB, North Carolina
Tony Jefferson, FS, Oklahoma
Sam McGuffie, WR/RB, Rice
I'd like to go on the record to say I approved of the Cardinals real draft, and think every pick should contribute. I graded it as an A-/B+, I felt Keim and Arians had a real solid draft, hit some target areas and combined value with talent and need.