Like they say, the NFL is a copycat business. Thus, I thought it might be interesting to speculate what Bill Belichick and Howie Roseman would do if they were in charge of the Cardinals’ 2018 draft.
What Belichick and Roseman have in common is a strong belief in building a team from the inside out. Being strong up the middle is of paramount importance. Look at the way Belichick attacks defenses----the bread and butter plays are a variety of runs and passes that are designed to exploit the middle of the defense. This is why Belichick wants to amass an arsenal of TEs, slot WRs and RBs. Every effort is made to keep the safeties preoccupied with the middle and to keep the linebackers on their heels.
It’s a philosophy that is akin to what one learns while playing Pac Man---the best way to elude the hungry ghosts is to escape repeatedly through the middle.
Thus, here is a hunch as to what Bill Belichick would do with the Cardinals’ 8 picks:
- Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama. When Nick Saban, Belichick’s long-time friend, raves about a player, Belichick listens. There are good reasons why Fitzpatrick is called “Nick Saban’s son” at Alabama---on the personality test that they give to incoming freshman, Fitzpatrick scored the closest to Saban’s. It’s their fastidious attention to detail. This is why Fitpatrick can play every position and conceivable role in the secondary, and play with such precise timing and aplomb.
- Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn. St. Classic Belichick pick---take the best pass catching TE in the draft.
- Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis. Tough and sure handed in the slot, particularly in the red zone.
- Mason Cole, C, Michigan. Belichick likes big, physical, smart players inside. Cole fits the mold to a tee.
- Mark Walton, RB, Miami. One of the more dynamic dual threat RBs in the class. In this offense, RBs need to show burst between the tackles and RAC ability as receivers.
- B.J. Hill, DT, North Carolina. Big DTs are key in keeping the LBers clean.
- Joe Ostman, DE, Central Michigan. High motor edge play who would excel on STs.
- Chad Kanoff, QB, Princeton. Smart, decisive record-setting Ivy League QB who chose Princeton over Vanderbilt. He’s 6-4, 219.
As for Howie Roseman---he’s been in this position before---with Sam Bradford as his starting QB---and Roseman decided to waste no time or expense to draft Bradford’s successor in Carson Wentz.
Therefore, the Cardinals will trade up as far as they can get and will give up the #15 and #47 picks plus their 1st and 4th round picks in 2019. My hunch is that Roseman would prefer Josh Rosen or Josh Allen. Because of Rosen’s accuracy, the nod goes to him: (so now the Cardinals have 7 picks).
- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. The QBOF is on board.
- Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma. The TEs make the offense click.
- Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon. Can pound, block and catch.
- Genard Avery, ILB, Memphis. Speedy thumper.
- Tre-Quan Smith, WR, CFU. All-purpose WR, who moves the chains.
- Dane Cruikshank, CB/S, Arizona. Can be an asset in sub packages versus TEs and slot WRs.
- K.C McDermott, T, Miami. Just the kind of long and aggressive T he likes.
As a hypothetical, if you had to choose between these two drafts, which would you prefer?
If Steve Wilks was making all the draft decisions, here’s a guess at what he would do:
- Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise St. Solidifies the middle versus both the run and pass.
- Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hayes St. Helps to keep the LBers clean.
- Braden Smith, G, Auburn. Big, physical drive blocker.
- Quenton Meeks, CB, Stanford. Big, physical zone CB.
- Durham Smythe, TE, Notre Dame. Good, strong blocker and downfield target.
- Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona St. Multi-talented RB with size and speed.
- Tracy Walker, S, Louisiana. 6-1, 198 centerfielder with 4.3 speed.
- Kyle Allen, QB, Houston. Talented developmental QB.
How does this draft stack up versus the others?
Enjoy the draft, my fellow Birdgangers. Thanks for making the path to the draft a fun and informative ride.