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What We Learned From Cardinals Flight Plan Episode 6

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The behind the scenes look inside the war room for the 2019 NFL Draft did not fail to disappoint

Arizona Cardinals Introduce Kyler Murray Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Well, that was a lot.

As always, one of the best parts of the Arizona Cardinals’ annual off-season video series is that it gives a “mostly” unfiltered look into an NFL team’s actual draft room, something that very few people in the world get true access to, and there’s plenty to glean from it.

Last year we got to see the trade up with the Raiders, the fear of the Broncos taking a quarterback and the Arizona Cardinals selecting Josh Rosen with the 10th overall pick.

This year? The episode did MORE and went deeper into the draft room, showing insight on all 11 picks.

If you haven’t seen the episode yet, check it out below because there will be spoilers involved in this article and this is your warning!

Done? Alrighty then.

As for the takeaways? Here were the biggest ones.

#1. The Colts weren’t the only team to get “prank called” by Browns GM John Dorsey on draft day

In a clip that’s gone viral, Browns GM John Dorsey called the Colts GM Chris Ballard, who promptly hung up on him, knowing it was a prank.

Cards GM Steve Keim acknowledged that, saying that Dorsey was likely “trying to (bleep) with me.”

It’s a hilarious peek into an NFL circle where nothing beats a prank call to diffuse a bit of tension in a high stakes game like the NFL Draft.

2. It seemed the Murray decision wasn’t a last minute one...to say the least

They didn’t need to clarify exactly who it was that they were drafting when sending the pick in to their man on-site. “Write it down and put it in now” was the quote, no name given.

Because apparently no different name was needed.

There was a lot of pre-draft chatter about Arizona possibly going in a different direction but overall Steve Keim didn’t seem disappointed with the pick and Dru Grigson came up to him and said “He’s going to light the stadium on fire.”

Well, hopefully not literally arson.

3. Steve Keim’s got some shoe game

Keim asked Murray if he was ready to be the “second best shoe game in the building” and then later when meeting Kyler face to face took a look at what he was wearing and exchanged a verbal barb back and forth.

Seems like the GM has a secret passion project.

4. Kyler is self-aware about his smaller than usual size

Murray was talking about his preferred type of pads that offered a good enough combination of torso protection and also maneuverability to hold onto the football. He even joked about how small he was saying that they’d “need to get the kid’s size” when they didn’t have the exact type available.

HA!

He’s a joker, folks.

5. The Cardinals had a top 5 grade on Byron Murphy

Top 5. You read that right, not only was he their number 1 corner in the draft but they had a top 5 grade on him.

Whew.

It helped explain the photo of Murphy meeting with Kliff and Keim and a local Arizona restaurant back in February despite the fact that the team was picking at 1 and Murphy was expected to go in the top 15 picks. (Trade back was still an option, perhaps?) Guess that showed it.

Byron’s PFF ranking was 6th overall, showcasing that the team’s analytics research lined up with their opinion of players when scouting and for them to get him at 33 is a tremendous value for the team overall.

6. Did the Cardinals...go away from their board?

The most fascinating moment of the whole draft was when the Dolphins were about to be on the Clock and had made an offer to Arizona for Josh Rosen. Kliff when talking about Andy Isabella had nothing but the highest praise for him, saying it’d be “incredible” to land him and that he’d make them better right away.

But as @senorjessroot pointed out on Twitter, if they had a top 25 overall grade on a player, did that mean that they didn’t on Andy Isabella but took him regardless?

7. Kingsbury was the deciding vote in the Josh Rosen trade.

When Dolphins GM Chris Grier called with a “last chance or die” request for pick 62 and a 5th in 2020, Keim and Bidwill weren’t jumping at the chance.

But Kliff Kingsbury WAS. And after they drafted Andy Isabella he was noticeably fired up. I don’t know if Arizona would have taken Rosen, but Kingsbury was more sold on the prospect of Andy Isabella making them better right away than he was about keeping Rosen as a backup.

It also shows that Arizona.....really had no leverage. The Fins were giving THEM the last choice rather than Arizona leveraging Miami. Clearly it wasn’t a “slam dunk” trade but it seemed like Arizona was more than content with the trade.

8. The Cardinals would have potentially taken Hakeem Butler with the first pick of the 3rd round.

This was the most interesting takeaway, in my opinion.

Arizona also had another receiver they seemed to be quite high on in the draft near pick 62 and 65. They got Isabella with the first pick, but would have considered BOTH guys. They instead took Zach Allen, who had a top 25 grade on their board, along with another defensive lineman who we can guess at.

It would have been a pain for many Cardinals fans to know of the possibility of pairing Isabella and Butler only for it to not happen. Fortunately, that didn’t have to be the case, as Michael Bidwill said that they practically ran the card in on camera and weren’t going to wait long.

Quote: “We’re gonna hand it in fast.” LOL, they knew they got a steal.

9. The Cardinals have a grading system based on football and personal character that goes by AA, A, B, C likely from their interviews as well as college connections.

The team graded Andy Isabella as an “A” and Zach Allen as a “double A from the combine”. That means that there’s more than just a typical score or grade, and when you draft a guy who’s a “Double A” it means they’re of the highest grade you can give. They believed they were getting a true stud.

From my time in scouting, this also counts and includes a player’s health background as well.

On another note, Kliff Kingsbury mentioned a “Coach Scott” on the phone when talking to new safety Deionte Thompson. That coach would be Karl Scott, who was Kingsbury’s own cornerbacks coach at Texas Tech before he left to be the defensive coordinator at Louisiana-Lafayette, home of one 6th round pick Harlan Miller (also by the Cardinals). He was a personal connection for Kingsbury to help recommend Thompson to the team.

10. Lamont Galliard might play guard for the Cardinals in addition to center.

With Mason Cole and A.Q. Shipley returning it’s possible the Cardinals see some competition all along the interior of their offensive line.

11. Wide Receivers coach David Raih was excited for Keesean Johnson

He was hootin’ and hollerin’ with the best of them. Perhaps because he gets another guy to coach but it also seems like he had a personal stake in the player himself, and to get him all the way in the 6th round must have been a treat.

12. It’s almost impossible not to root for D-Lineman Michael Dogbe

The man cried on the phone and was so, so grateful for the opportunity it seemed to give Keim, Kliff and Bidwill chills. His emotion and raw outburst made you instantly want the guy to succeed, never mind the fact that he’s a late 7th round pick and their past history of sticking in the NFL isn’t as good as some others.

If this episode proved anything, he’ll have quite a few people pulling for him come training camp.

That’s all! What was your favorite part of the episode? Leave a comment!