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Fan Nation’s Off-Season Plan for Cardinals

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Roy Countryman of si.com’s Fan Nation has created an impressive set of NFL off-season free agent and trade predictions, which provides the context for his 7 round mock draft.

https://www.si.com/nfl/draft/mocks/monday-2021-nfl-mock-draft-7-rounds-trades-free-agency-predictions

Question to Cardinals’ fans: would you be happy with Roy’s off-season plan for the Cardinals?

Cardinals Acquire:

  • RB Aaron Jones
  • CB William Jackson III
  • WR Marquise Brown in a trade with BAL for WR Christian Kirk and the Cardinals’ 2021 7th round pick.

Cardinals Re-Sign:

  • WR Larry Fitzgerald

Cardinals UFAs Defections:

  • OLB Haason Reddick to CAR
  • CB Patrick Peterson to LV

Cardinals’ 2021 Draft:

  • Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama —- R1
  • Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio St. —- R2
  • Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami —- R3
  • Shane Buechele, QB, SMU —- R5

Commentary:

  • Roy’s effort her is highly commendable and so many of his predictions were carefully thought out.
  • I know that some of you would not be happy to see the Cardinals pay in excess of $10M a year to RB Aaron Jones, but pairing Kyler Murray with one of the top RBs in the NFL, particularly the RB who graded out the best and most productive between the tackles in 2020, could take the Cardinals’ offense to potentially elite level. When was the last time the Cardinals had a premier RB1 for a stretch of years?
  • I would be pretty much on board with Roy’s pre-draft signings and his trade for Marquise Brown, except that, of course, I would be very disappointed to see Haason Reddick sign elsewhere.
  • The fact that Roy has the Cardinals signing two premier UFAs in RB Aaron Jones and CB William Jackson, but losing OLB Haason Reddick and CB Patrick Peterson, if it plays out something like this, it would likely mean that the Cardinals would not receive any 2022 compensatory picks other than perhaps a 7th rounder.
  • Roy only predicts free agent signings for the top free agents, so we don’t know whether the Cardinals were able to sign another CB or a C or a RT or a WR. However, if the Cardinals are not able to sign C Corey Linsley, whom Roy has signing with LAC, I think we can expect the Cardinals to sign one of the following UFA Cs: Austin Reiter, Austin Blythe, Nick Martin, Alex Mack or Ben Jones.
  • I also think that the Cardinals, even if they trade for Marquise Brown, will sign a UFA WR. Probably not one of the most expensive ones, but a mid-level WR like Emmanuel Sanders, Breshaud Perriman or Jamison Crowder (if the Jets release him).
  • However, if this is all the Cardinals are able to do before then draft, then I would prefer a draft that looks like this, with a trade down in the 1st round to acquire an added 3rd or 4th round pick: (going by which players are available at each of the Cardinals’ picks in Roy’s mock)
  • Teven Stevens, T, Oklahoma St, —- R1
  • Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida St. —- R2
  • Patrick Jones II, Edge, Pittsburgh —- R3
  • Pete Werner, LB, Ohio St. —- R3 (acquired in trade)
  • Zech McPherson, CB, Texas Tech

Check out tis block by RT Teven Stevens on Texas’ Edge Joseph Ossai (projected 2nd-3rd round pick):

I believe that the Cardinals want their version of Tristan Wirfs at RT. If they do not re-sign kelvin beach or sign a UFA like Rick Wagner, then I think that will tell us that the plan is to draft a tackle in Round 1 or 2.

I consider the CBs in round 2 to be just as talented as the CBs in round 1. I think that Asante Samuel, Jr. is one of the most instinctive and stickiest CBs in the draft. Plus, Roy has Greg Newsome (Northwestern) going to the Bills at pick #30, but should this Wildcat be available in round 2, the Cardinals, who have met with him, could try to make a move to trade up for him the way they traded up for Budda Baker.

Plus, i don’t know about you, but I would be very happy to take Eric Stokes (Georgia) or Ifeatu Melifonwu (Syracuse) in Round 2.

The Cardinals have met with Teven Stevens and Asante Samuel Jr. That combination makes a lot of sense, although if they have Patrick Surtain rated higher than Teven Stevens, then they could take Surtain at #16 and draft one of the very good tackles at #48, like Samuel Cosmi (Texas), Walker Little (Stanford), Jackson Carman (Clemson) or Liam Eichenberg (Notre Dame).

Using Roy’s 7 round mock, what would be your draft for the Cardinals?

Which of Roy’s moves for the Cardinals do you like? Which ones are you not too keen on?

I am feeling very ambivalent about Larry Fitzgerald because I do not get the sense that he is feeling happy with his situation (role in the offense, chemistry w/ teammates, lower salary?) with the Cardinals this year.

If that is the case, then I wouldn’t blame Fitz for playing elsewhere this season, if he chooses to play for an 18th season. If he was happy with his situation with the Cardinals this year, it would seem very likely that he would have signed by now.

So please chime in with your thoughts about Fitz as well.

Thank you, as always, ROTB Birdgand.