- Jun 26, 2003
- Reaction score
- On a flying cocoon
Doesn't sound like the FO is that high on Cutler
Cards not planning to move up
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 23, 2006 12:00 AM
In the past two NFL drafts, the Cardinals' philosophy has been to keep things simple.
They've just stayed in their allotted spots, barely even thinking about trading out of them, and taken the highest-rated players on their draft board.
They believe that blueprint has served them well, and it's one they'll probably follow in this year's draft, April 29-30, in which they have the 10th overall pick.
"The 10th spot is a very good spot for us to be in," said Rod Graves, the team's vice president for football operations. "I think that if we stay there we're assured we'll get an excellent football player."
Staying put requires no imagination, but it does take discipline. It's easy to fall in love with a certain player and give away too much in trading up to get him, or to be dejected when a targeted player is gone by the time you pick.
"That's why it is important to like a lot of players," coach Dennis Green said. "You really can't fall in love with a player. You can do it in free agency and pay more money to get that player. But in the draft, you can't do that."
The Cardinals like a lot of players in this draft; they just won't say which ones. The players they've mentioned - running back Reggie Bush, tight end Vernon Davis, quarterbacks Vince Young and Matt Leinart - all figure to be gone by the 10th selection.
It's possible, Graves said, the team could trade up a few selections, but it's more likely they'll just stay at No. 10.
"Obviously, when you talk about moving up, it's what do you have to give up to do that?" he said. "And we really kind of felt good about the fact that we've made the best of our draft opportunities over the last couple years. And I think we'd have to be pretty doggone sure that it's worth it to give up draft picks."
It's especially tough for a team that's won 15 games in the past three seasons (11 in Green's two years) to give up the chance to draft as many players as it could. The Cardinals have needs everywhere, including on the offensive line, quarterback, outside linebacker and tight end.
They have seven picks in the draft - one in each round - and need every one of them.
No one seems to have a handle on what will happen in front of the Cardinals on Saturday. Much of it depends on where the quarterbacks are taken.
Rumors are New Orleans might take a quarterback with the second overall pick, although the Saints signed Drew Brees in the off-season. Tennessee, which has the third pick, is going to take a quarterback and supposedly likes Young.
It's possible Young or Leinart could drop to Oakland at No. 7. Quarterback Jay Cutler of Vanderbilt could be available when the Cardinals pick.
The Cardinals declined to reveal their thoughts about Cutler, saying only that he deserves consideration at No. 10.
His availability could make for some interesting drama. Starting quarterback Kurt Warner turns 35 this summer. Green is high on backup John Navarre, a seventh-round pick in 2004, but he has yet to prove himself.
Providing a backdrop is the Cardinals' lack of success under Green. He'll be under pressure to win this year, especially with the move into Cardinals Stadium. Does Green take a quarterback who probably won't even play in 2006?
"We wouldn't look at it that way," Green said. "We would never be afraid to take a player, because you have to take more than one, and everybody knows I like John Navarre, but if you have three quarterbacks in your top 15 players, anything can happen."
Well, now that he's cleared that up . . .
Key to the Cardinals' decision could be their belief that they weren't as bad as last season's 5-11 record indicates.
They were hampered by injuries, and Green thinks last year's draft class, which didn't contribute much, will prove its worth this year. So maybe the club can afford to take a quarterback and develop him.
But it will be difficult to pass on a player who can make an impact this year. The Cardinals have been high on Florida State linebacker Ernie Sims, who will fill an immediate need on the weak side.
Southern California offensive tackle Winston Justice could help shore up the offensive line.
In this draft, the only thing the Cardinals are sure of is that they don't want to pick this high again.
But, then, they've said that before.
Three for (Round) 1
Possible Cardinals picks:
Ernie Sims, OLB, Florida St. Would fill an immediate need on the weak side, a key spot in the Cardinals defensive scheme.
Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon The "G" in Ngata is silent, but he makes considerable noise on the field.
Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland Cardinals will drop to their knees in thanks if he falls to 10.
Pick a Card
Rating the Cardinals' past two drafts:
Round 1 - Cornerback Antrel Rolle: Missed most of the season with a knee injury.
Round 2 - Running back J.J. Arrington. Hit in the backfield too often early in the year and became tentative.
Round 3 - Cornerback Eric Green: Showed promise when he was healthy.
Round 3 - Outside linebacker Darryl Blackstock: A good athlete who could contribute as he learns the defense.
Round 4 - Offensive guard Elton Brown: Forced to start before he was ready.
Round 5 - Linebacker Lance Mitchell: Didn't make much of a contribution as a rookie.
Round 7 - Receiver LeRon McCoy: Improved throughout the season and was a nice late pick.
Round 1 - Receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Made the Pro Bowl in his second year. Some people always say they should have taken a quarterback.
Round 2 - Outside linebacker Karlos Dansby. If he can stay healthy, he's an impact player.
Round 3 - Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett. His play suffered last year when people around him were injured.
Round 4 - Center Alex Stepanovich. He has to prove he's a starter this year.
Round 5 - Defensive end Antonio Smith. He played well last year in place of the injured Bertrand Berry.
Round 6 - Center Nick Leckey. Should contend for a starting job this year.
Round 7 - Quarterback John Navarre. Coach Dennis Green thinks Navarre can be a quality starter.
- Kent Somers
Doesn't sound like the FO is that high on Cutler