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Cardinals Short and Long Term Needs

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Short Term Needs:

What do the Cardinals currently lack?

  • Speedy deep threat at WR—-Andy Isabella (4.31) and Johnny Dixon (4.41) are the fastest WRs on the team, but Isabella hasn’t yet proven himself as a starter and Dixon hasn’t yet made the 53 man roster. Can the Cardinals count on Isabella fitting the bill this year? Or—-should they be aggressive in adding a speed WR in the draft? Is Isabella alone, enough?

The sub 4.40 speed WRs in this draft are:

  1. Henry Ruggs III, Alabama (4.27)—-Day 1
  2. Quez Watkins, Southern Mississippi (4.35)—-Day 3
  3. Darrell Mooney, Tulane (4.38)—-Day 3
  4. Denzel Mims, Baylor (4.38)—-Day 1
  5. Antonio Gibson, Memphis (4.39)—-Day 2
  6. Devin Duvernay, Texas (4.39)—-Day 2

Trade Candidate:

Eagles: DeSean Jackson (2020 salary: $6.28M)—-would likely cost the Cardinals their 7th round pick (#222). The Eagles currently do not have a 7th round pick. By all accounts the Eagles are planning to draft a WR or two, using their 1st round pick on one. That could impel them to trade Jackson who went on the IR last year in early November with a core injury.

  • A safety who can cover good TEs—-FS Budda Baker is under-sized, although he gave his all trying to cover George Kittle. 2nd year players Jalen Thompson and Deionte Thompson have adequate size and speed, but lack experience. A wild card here could be Byron Murphy, if the Cardinals would be interested in training him to cover TEs.

Top Cover Ss in 2020 NFL Draft:

  1. Isaiah Simmons, Clemson (6-4, 238, 4.39, 39” V)—-Day 1
  2. Xavier McKinney, Alabama (6-0, 200, 4.63, 36” V)—-Day 1
  3. Grant Delpit, LSU (6-3, 203, 4.39 pro day)—-Day 1, 2
  4. Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois (6-3, 221, 4.45, 41” V)—-Day 1, 2
  5. Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhine (6-1, 2i7, 4,49, 42” V)—-Day 2
  6. Ashtyn Davis, California (6-1, 195, 4.45est.)—-Day 2
  7. K’Von Wallace, Clemson (5-11, 206, 4.53, 38” V)—-Day 3
  8. Terrell Burgess, Utah (6-1, 211, 4.46, 33.5” V)—-Day 3

Long-Term Needs:

  • Here is a list of the starting positions that the Cardinals do not, as of yet, have definitive long-term building blocks: RB (Drake), WR2 (Fitzgerald), RG (Sweezy), RT (Murray, Gilbert), 34DE (Allen, Bullard), 34NT (Peters), Nickel Edge Rusher (Reddick), WILB (Campbell), CB1 (Peterson), CB2 (Alford), FS (Baker).
  • Possible answers in this year’s draft:
  • RB—-Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU (Day 1, 2), Zack Moss, Utah (Day 2, 3), Antonio Gibson, Memphis (Day 2, 3), Joshua Kelly, UCLA (Day 3)
  • WR2—-CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma (Day 1), Henry Ruggs II, Alabama (Day 1), Jerry Jeudy, Alabama (Day 1), Devin Duvernay (Day 2), Van Jefferson, Florida (Day 2, 3), Chase Claypool (Day 2, 3), Antonio Tandy-Golden (Day 3), Quartney Davis, Texas A&M (Day 3)
  • RG—-Tristan Wirfs, Iowa (Day 1), Damien Lewis, LSU (Day 2, 3), Robert Hunt, Louisiana Tech (Day 2, 3), Ben Bartsch, St. John’s (Day 2, 3), Jack Driscoll, Auburn (Day 3)
  • RT—-Tristan Wirfs, Iowa (Day 1), Jedrick Wills, Alabama (Day 1), Andrew Thomas, georgia (Day 1), Mekhi Becton, Louisville (Day 1), Josh Jones, Houston (Day 1), Ezra Cleveland, Boise St. (Day 2), Austin Jackson USC (Day 2), Lucas Niang, TCU (Day 2, 3), Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn (Day 2, 3), Jack Driscoll, Auburn (Day 3).
  • 34DE—-Derrick Brown, Auburn (Day 1), Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina (Day 1), Ross Blacklock, TCU (Day 1, 2), Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma (Day 2), Justin Madabuike, Texas A&M (Day 2), Davon Hamilton, Ohio St. (Day 2), Kahlil Davis, Nebraska (Day 3), James Lynch, Baylor (Day 3), Raekwon Davis, Alabama (Day 3), Jason Strawbridge, North Carolina (Day 3), Rashard Lawrence, LSU (Day 3), Jordan Elliott, Missouri (Day 3), Broderick Washington, texas Tech (Day 3), McTelvin Agim, Texas A&M (Day 3)
  • 34NT: Leki Fotu, Utah (Day 2, 3), Benito Jones, Mississippi (Day 3), Darrien Daniels, Nebraska (Day 3), John Penisini, Utah (Day 3)
  • WILB: Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma (Day 1), Evan Weaver, California (Day 3), Logan Wilson, Wyoming (Day 3), Malik Harrison, Ohio St. (Day 3), Mykal Walker, Freson St. (Day 3)
  • Edge Rusher: K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU (Day 1), Curtis Weaver, Boise St. (Day 2), Josh Uche, Michigan (Day 2), Bradlee Anaea, Utah (Day 2), Anfernee Jennings, Alabama (Day 3), Jonathan Greenard, Florida (Day 3)
  • CB: Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio St. (Day 1), C.J. Henderson, Florida (Day 1), Jeff Gladney, TCU (Day 2), Jaylon Johnson, Utah (Day 2), Amik Robertson, Louisiana Tech (Day 2, 3), Lamar Jackson, Nebraska (Day 3), Tony Pride, Notre Dame (Day 3), Reggie Robinson, Tulsa (Day 3)
  • S: Isaiah Simmons, Clemson (Day 1), Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois (Day 1, 2), Kyle Dugger, Lemoir-Rhyne (Day 2), Ashtyn Davis, California (Day 2), K’Von Wallace, Clemson (Day 3), Terrell Burgess, Utah (Day 3), L’Jarius Snead, Louisiana Tech (Day 3)

Conclusion:

Steve Keim, by virtue of the DeAndre Hopkins trade and his plethora of free agent signings has been in a “win now” mode.

Thus, this draft could go one of two ways—-Keim could continue on the “win now” path and with his 1st 2-4 try to select players who could make the biggest immediate impact (particularly in a shortened off-season)—-or—--Keim could feel that he has adequately covered all of the bases at the starting positions so that he can devote this draft to adding 2021 starters at positions where the Cardinals have veteran starters in their last year of their contracts.

My Guess:

Johnny Venerable tweeted this yesterday. I believe that if Isaiah Simmons and Jeffrey Okudah are off the board, Steve Keim will want to trade down. While it could be with the Browns at #10, it might be with the Raiders at #12 (who could take WR Jerry Jeudy). Keim will be of the belief that WR CeeDee Lamb or WR Henry Ruggs III will be available at that pick. The Raiders give the Cardinals the #12, plus the #81 pick (3rd Round—-the Raiders have 3 3rd round picks: #80, #81 and #91).

There are two other scenarios that could emerge:

1—-Bucks Brooks in his Live Mock on NFL Network last night created a scenario where both Tua Tagovailoa and Jordan Love were still available at #8—-while this may be unlikely—-it’s quite possible because the Dolphins may indeed take Isaiah Simmons at #5 and then look to make a trade back up for Tua. Or—-another team sees this as a great opportunity to swoop in and take Tua at #8. if that’s the case, the Cardinals could receive a whopping offer that included multiple draft picks in return.

2—-Steve Keim even after trading down once either to #10 or #12, could receive another trade offer that is too good to resist. His recent interviews with LB Kenneth Murray and T Josh Jones suggest that Keim is already aware of some trade scenarios if the right players are on the board at #8 for teams looking to trade up. Those are discussions with parameters that GMs tend to have a strong knowledge of before the draft so that the deals can be made promptly.

What do you want Steve Keim to do?