Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians held a pre-draft press conference on Wednesday and there a number of things discussed. One was how the team finished putting together its draft board.
Keim said they have a Top-130 board, which is 10 players more than normal. He said, without mentioning which ones, there are some positions that are very deep.
Is 130 players enough to get through seven rounds and 256 picks? It is. Keim said in years past, with only a 120-player board, they still end up with 8-15 players left over after the draft is done. The players who are left become the priority rookie free agents to sign.
He indicated there are players who end up off their board because of medical or character issues.
That led to a question about how much it weighs into a decision. Players end up off a board for some teams and on other teams' draft boards.
"it's always going to be enticing for (teams), regardless of their issues, if they have tremendous skills," he explained. "I've said this before, if Hannibal Lecter ran a 4.3 (40-yard dash), we'd probably diagnose it as an eating disorder."
Talent level always factors in. If a player has elite talent, a team is much more likely to take a chance.
Teams get burned. That's how we end up with the spectacle of the Aaron Hernandez murder trial. If he had never been in the NFL, it would have been news, but it would not have been a spectacle.
Linebacker Daryl Washington had some concerns coming out of Texas Christian. The Cardinals got burned and continue to get burned.
But there are some who come around, like Tyrann Mathieu. His story is well known. He was kicked off the football team at LSU. He had drug problems, but his time away from the game made him realize how much he loved the game of football and that drove him to get better.
Keim said the Cardinals will always be willing to take some chances on players. They key is "to find out the player's passion and love for the game because if you take a chance, you have to take a chance on a guy who's potentially going to point themselves in the right direction because of their love for the game."