With a week to go until the commencement of the 2018 NFL Draft, the stories being published online right now, whether it’s on Twitter or a specific team site, have gone from guesses to plain absurd. We are all ready to get this thing underway to see who the Cardinals take.
Some of the stories may be as fun as much as they are insane. One of those is ESPN’s Bill Barnwell’s latest “All-Trade 2018 NFL Mock Draft”. The point of this article, which should not be taken too seriously in any way, was to find the craziest trades possible for each team while also keeping them within some sort of realm of reason.
The Cardinals were included in this fun piece on three separate occasions, each one involving Steve Keim cashing in some assets to trade up. I wanted to write this piece to look at each scenario and determine which ones could even potentially be plausible.
The first trade in dealt with our old friend Jason Licht. The Cardinals would trade their currently held 15th pick and star running back David Johnson (on the last year of his deal) to move up to the 8th pick in the draft. Moving up to the 7th pick would likely get the Cardinals in range to draft one of the top quarterbacks in the draft, even if we don’t know specifically which ones would be there.
To me, this was the most far-fetched of all the trade ideas. Yes, Johnson is going to cost a pretty penny to keep around after this year, whether you franchise tag or extend him. But he is the type of player that you would take in the top 5 of a draft if he were coming out of college and people knew him like they do now. No reason to dump such a valuable player like that for what would be an unknown.
The next trade idea involved Arizona shipping off Robert Nkemdiche, the 15th pick, the 47th pick (second round) and next year’s second round pick in exchange for the 8th pick from the Bears and a fourth round pick from the Bears next year.
At this point, Nkemdiche has largely been a disappointment, so he isn’t going to carry much value in a trade, a la Jonathan Cooper in the Chandler Jones trade a couple years ago. Yes, he still has potential, and maybe a fresh start could do him some good. But again, this trade is contingent upon which players are still on the board at the eighth pick. If someone like a Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield or Josh Allen falls to that spot, then maybe the Cardinals look at doing something like this. But keep in mind, if the Cardinals get rid of Nkemdiche, not only has the team now had two big first round busts in the Steve Keim era, but the Cardinals would then be woefully thin along the defensive line.
The last trade scenario involves the Cardinals receiving the 32nd pick, currently owned by the Eagles, in exchange for their 97th pick and a first round pick next year. This would, ideally, be to trade back into the first round to get a quarterback and then you would have him for four years plus an option year instead of just four years. That extra year can mean a ton, especially with a quarterback.
To me, this is the trade that makes the most sense. If you like a player at the bottom of the first round enough, you go up and get him. It’s as simple as that. Keim proved that he is willing to do that when he went up to the top of the second round last year to get Budda Baker. Take the potential downfall of losing what could be a really nice pick next year out of your head. At some point, Keim is going to need to take a big gamble, and this could be big enough to get the guy you want while also not selling off all your good picks for the next three years.
What do you think, fans? Again, without taking the Barnwell article too seriously, I thought it was kind of a fun exercise. If you want to read his reasoning for making the trades for the Cards, as well as the other trade scenarios throughout the first round, click the link.