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If You Became the Cardinals’ GM

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2018 NFL Draft Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

What would your thought process be on the head coaching situation, the current personnel and the 2019 off-season?

Here are my thoughts:

Head Coach:

  • I want an offensive guru as head coach, one who could groom Josh Rosen and turn the offense into a juggernaut.

My List of HC Candidates:

John DeFilippo (OC Vikings)

Matt LaFleur (OC Titans)

Mike McCarthy (HC Packers)

Adam Gase (HC Dolphins)

Pete Carmichael (OC Saints)

Josh McDaniels (OC Patriots)

Freddie Kitchens (OC Browns)

Chris Peterson (HC University of Washington)

Lincoln Riley (HC University of Oklahoma)

  • I want to switch back to a 34 base because I believe our personnel is better suited for it and it is a stronger base in stopping the run. I want a DC with experience. No first year guys.

DC Candidates:

Todd Bowles (HC Jets)

Vance Joseph (HC Broncos)

Mike Pettine (DC Packers)

Matt Burke (DC Dolphins)

Don Martindale (DC Ravens)

Current Personnel:

QB:

I am fine with Rosen, Glennon and Kanoff. There are two potential Day 3 QB2s I love in this draft: Eric Dungey (Syracuse) and Trace McSorley (Penn St.)—-both are tenacious competitors and bring some mobility, something we have lacked at the position. if we draft a QB on day 3, then i would try to trade Mike Glennon.

RB:

I would make a conscious effort of having David Johnson split time at RB and WR. I think Chase Edmonds will be much improved next year, particularly if he gets a more steady diet of carries. I like T.J. Logan as a situational receiver out of the backfield. But, I want to add another RB to this group via the draft or free agency. I really like Mike Davis (Seahawks) and T.J. Yeldon (Jaguars) as free agent options.

WR:

I want Larry Fitzgerald back. I am very high on Christian Kirk. I believe Chad Williams will break out as some point. J.J. Nelson will land somewhere else in free agency. I think that both Trent Sherfield and Jalen Tolliver have upside. But adding a WR to this group is one of the top priorities. In free agency i like Chris Hogan (Patriots) and Randall Cobb (Packers). While I am not in favor of using the 1st round pick on a WR, there could be some top prospects available at the top of the 2nd round: A.J. Brown (Mississippi), Parris Campbell (Ohio St.), NKeal Harry (Arizona St.) D.K. Metcalf (Mississippi) and Marquise Brown (Oklahoma).

TE:

I like Ricky-Seals Jones a lot and feel that he will keep progressing. I would release Jermaine Gresham despite the cap hit because he cannot be trusted. Thus, I would like to add a UFA TE and draft a TE. My top choices are Jared Cook (Raiders), Tyler Kroft (Bengals), Noah Fant (Iowa) and Caleb Wilson (UCLA).

T:

I was very encouraged by Korey Cunningham’s debut at LT. He looks like a natural LT to me. Obviously, he needs experience, but I am having a very hard time banking on D.J. Humphries, especially with his option year salary being close to $10M. While I think D.J. has talent, he cannot help the club from the tub. I think $10M to keep him is a major risk and I would try to trade him if he isn’t willing to agree to a long-term contract based on playing time incentives that protects the Cardinals if he continues to get hurt.

On the other side at RT, I am a huge fan of John Wetzel. As a BC alum and Cardinals fan, I have seen every one of his college and NFL games. Wetzel is a RFA, so I would give him one of the higher tenders and finally give him a chance to win the RT job.

The free agent Ts that I like the most are Ja’Wuan James (Dolphins) and LaAdrian Waddle (Patriots) and in the draft I like Mitch Hyatt (Clemson), Trey Adams (Washington), Isaiah Prince (Ohio St.) and Adam Monteiro (BC).

G:

I like the idea of moving Justin Pugh to LG. He’s played his best football in the NFL there. Adding a veteran RG would be wise, imo. My top UFA choices are Arie Kouandjio (Redksins), Ramon Foster (Steelers), Rodger Saffold (Rams), Eric Kush (Bears) and A.J. Cann (Jaguars). In the draft, G Chris Lindstrom (BC) is very worthy of a Day 2 pick and can start right away.

C:

I am impressed with Mason Cole and feel that he will get stronger and wiser with each year. A.Q. Shipley and Daniel Munyer would provide solid depth, but if Alec Eberle (Florida St.) , Dalton Risner (Kansas St.) or Sam Mustipher (Notre Dame) can he had in the 5th round—-one of them would be a very good pick.

NT:

With a return to the 34 base, Corey Peters and Rodney Gunter (priority UFA, imo) have the bulk and the experience to dominate.

DT:

Rodney Gunter is a very good fit at both DT and NT. Olsen Pierre has been slowed by injuries this year, but could have a huge breakout season next year.

As for Robert Nkemdiche, his breakout game versus the Chargers is not only a boon for him but it is for the Cardinals. This game tape alone has skyrocketed his trade value. The big question is—-would it be better to trade Nkemdiche or hope he can stay healthy and as dispuptive as he was this past game? He is such a tightly wound athlete and can get generate such short area explosion——it almost seems inevitable that he is going to be injury-prone his entire career.

If it were up to me, I would trade him because I think we could get a lot for him. His one Alabama tape in college got him drafted in the 1st round. This tape against the Chargers will have GMs and DCs drooling. I could see Jerry Jones and the Cowboys offering a player (CB Chidobe Awuzie or CB Anthony Brown) and their 2nd and 6th round picks—-something like that. I would take that. The fact that Nkemdiche has 2 years remaining (2019 and option year in 2020) makes him all the more tradable.

It would be a good year to trade Nkemdiche because this year’s draft is loaded with outstanding DTs. Quinnen Williams (Alabama), Christian Wilkins (Clemson), Ed Oliver (Houston) and Dexter Lawrence (Clemson) are top 10 prospects.

Mike LB:

I like Josh Bynes a lot, but he is more of a Will than a Mike. We need to make the Mike a high priority need this off-season. I would do all I can to add C.J. Mosley (Ravens), Denzel Perryman (Chargers) or Jordan Hicks (Eagles).

Will LB:

I think that Bynes could thrive at this spot—-but I am also eager to see what Zeke Turner and Dennis Gardeck can do, given game reps. I would re-sign Jeremy Cash as well. Deone Bucannon has been injury-prone and highly inconsistent the past few years to warrant a 2nd contract.

OLB:

I think Chandler Jones is at his best when he can stand up on the edge. On the other side, I am not sure of what Markus Golden’s market value is at this point. if he insists on a lucrative contract, I would move on. I love his motor and his character—-but he is not as athletic as i would prefer.

I remain very high on Haason Reddick, but strictly as an edge player. He just does not have the feel for ILB. I think that if Reddick is trained and groomed to play on the edge, then he will compare nicely to the Chiefs’ Dee Ford. It has taken Ford a few years to blossom on the edge, but he is having an excellent season this year (32 tackles, 9 sacks and 5 forced fumbles). I envision that type of production from Reddick, given the training and the reps.

These days you need at least 3 edge rushers. if the Cardinals wind up picking 1st in the 2019 NFL Draft, they should take DE Nick Bosa. team him with Jones, Reddick, Zach Moore and Vontarrious Dora and that would be quite a talented group.

I also like Benson Mayowa. He’s a better, more aggressive run defender than I thought. If we do not pick 1st in the draft, I would re-sign Mayowa.

CB:

Obviously, the biggest question this off-season is whether or not to trade Patrick Peterson. Seeing as he has two very affordable years left on his contract it makes him attractive to trade or to keep. But, if Peterson reiterates his desire to be traded and he threatens to hold out, then for me, that seals the deal.

I don't think the Cardinals can get 2 1st rounders for him, but I do think they can get a starting CB and a 1st round pick for him. Yesterday, I proposed a CB Josh Jackson plus 2019 1st round pick from the Packers for Peterson. The works for me.

There has been the long proposed deal with the Vikings in which they get Peterson for CB Trae Waynes and a 1st round pick. I am less high on that deal, because Waynes’ 5th year option would cost $9M and I do not believe he has been consistent enough to warrant that type of salary just yet.

Obviously, a new GM has to do what Steve Keim has been unable to do—-find a keeper at RCB. In FA this year, I would go after Steven Nelson (Chiefs), Kareem Jackson (Texans) or Bradley Roby (Broncos).

SS:

Budda Baker is a stud. Look at how the defense played without him this past week. I like Jonathan Owens behind Budda. Owens was injured in pre-season, but to that point he was playing at a high level. It helps too that Zeke Turner can provide depth here.

FS:

Antoine Bethea is having another good year and he continues to provide strong leadership. Rudy Ford has shown some flashes of speed and hitting ability, but needs more reps. I am up in the air about Tre’ Boston. I like his physical style and his versatility, but I question his range and instincts over the top. If he wants to return at a reasonable salary—-I would keep him. Unless...

I would like to make a splash at this position in FA because there are two FSs I think are outstanding: Landon Collins (Giants) and LaMarcus Joyner (Rams). I’d be willing to pay top dollar for either one of them. Being strong in the middle in today’s NFL is of paramount importance.

LS:

Aaron Brewer has been solid and is signed.

P:

Andy Lee was extended and is having a Pro Bowl worthy season.

K:

By now everyone knows my belief in Matt McCrane. I was a kicker in high school and I coached a number of high school kickers during my years as a head coach. I have rarely seen such perfect form and timing as I have seen from Matt McCrane. His kicking plane is pure and his follow through is outstanding. Because of his exemplary form, he does not have to give it that little extra on long kicks that often are shanked or hooked.

Pure form = consistency

I would also hire an assistant coach to work with the kickers. I am surprised that teams don't tend to do this. The fact that Matt McCrane was coached by Sean Snyder at Kansas St. is especially appealing. McCrane has been very well coached.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours? Where do you and i agree and disagree?

It’s fun playing GM for a day. Imagine playing it for real!

GO CARDINALS!