RM's Cardinals 2013 Offseason Breakdown

RugbyMuffin

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Good Morning ASFN,
Took me a while to get this out this year... things are busy, and in a good way. My work has picked up, BIG TIME. Hope it is spreading across the country.

But there is always time for breaking down new players, new coaches, and the future of this organization.

Here we go, new front office, new coaching staff, and a new hope.

Free Agency starts March 12th, and the Cardinals are already evaluating what they have in house. Headed by Steve Keim, Jason Licht, and Bruce Arians they are getting a plan together on what needs to change for the Cardinals to have success. Of course on the coaching side of things, it would be hard to believe that he tandems of Tom Moore & Harold Goodwin on offense, and Todd Bowles & Tom Pratt on defense don't have a say on what is going on as well.

The grocery list is being made, and soon the Cardinals will go to the market with some returns, and some purchases. But, what are they going to do, what is the plan ? With only a few weeks of research, reading, and thoughts on the matter the best we can do is take educated guests at what will happen, or to use a better team, what could happen.

#1 - "The players make the system." & "This is the player's team"

#2 - "History.....It's in the past, we are looking towards the future."

For this squad, it is all about the players. Who you bring in, what they do well, and how they work as a group. From what I read, the one thing a player on this roster can do, to get them sent packing, and quickly is to not buy into the system, and more importantly not buy into the team as a family. I cannot be sure what Bruce Arians idea of this concept is, I know his staff, whom he knows very well, will understand what Bruce Arians means by this mantra, but for myself I can only guess. Of course, this will imply a rugby story, and it my experience the best teams I have been on during my lifetime of playing sports, are the ones that are close. It is not all lovey dovey, but there is a respect. This baseline respect for your teammate is what is important. It is not that you have to be best friends, or even like each other, but the respect must be there. Much like a family. Not everyone in a family likes everyone else, but the respect is there between one another. When you have that, it creates a "us versus the world" mentality. That you team is your haven, and that is all you have to worry about is if the team is OK with you, and what you are doing. Outside of the team, nothing matters.

If you combine this idea, with the next man up line of thinking, you create an atmosphere where it feels that you can play with anyone, and that no one is irreplaceable. Everyone has to do their job, and well, and have the same accountability.

I cannot speak for the offense, but I feel our defense already has a good chemistry along these lines. Veterans like Vonnie Holliday, and Nick Eason made efforts to come back, just to play on the defense again because of the "vibe" in the locker room. There is a special group for the Cardinals on defense, and I hope that continues. The trick is the offense. That rudderless, mess of an offense where I couldn't even fathom trying to figure out who the leader is on offense, and what kind of chemistry is on that side of the ball. To me, the offense looks like a group of dogs that have been beat on for too long. Just don't care, or something to that effect. To be blunt, my opinion of the current offense is not only do they lack talent, and I mean REALLY LACK TALENT, but they also have zero fight in them.

So what to expect ?

From the "new" front office, I don't know what to expect. Not one bit. As a fan base, all of us are hoping that the "trimming of the fat" when it comes to the front office, the firing of a good number of scouts at the end of last off-season, and the biggest changes in the organization since I was in high school. Are these the men that got us Anquan Boldin, Kurt Warner, Bertrand Berry, and Patrick Peterson, or the people that got us Daryn Colledge, Beanie Wells, Cody Brown, Michael Floyd, and Levi Brown ? We will know soon enough. I will say this, if the people that are not in control are the ones that have brought in some big time players, and Arizona has some really good players on their roster, then we can start getting excited. Case in point, we can stop thinking about hits and misses, and just start thinking about drafts being more Terrell Suggs, AND Anquan Boldin, and not Calvin Pace/Skillet Johnson and Anquan Boldin.

There will be changes, from Azcardinals.com:

- Keim: "Will have to get Arians different players to make it work"
- Keim: "Will need to free up some money"

From the coaching staff, it will be small tweaks to what we have seen, and a goal for better execution all around. It has been said time and time again, that the offense will be simpler, and better suited to the players they will have come training camp 2013. For the second time I am being promised a power running game, with play action and vertical passing games, at least that is the system that is going to be strived for. But, as Bruce Arians and Tom Moore have said over and over, the players will dictate what the offense will be. And in my opinion, the offense is no where near where it will be come training camp 2013.

On defense, I think the transition will be slight, but noticeable. Expect a step back on defense. We are trading the LeBeau 3-4 defense, for the Belichek 3-4 defense. Todd Bowles has lived in that defensive system for years now, and will follow that thinking and philosophy. I think we have many pieces for Bowles defense, but there are definitely a few that are missing. Not to mention depth. Our defensive depth was a lot easier to see when Horton had his guys in those depth roles. Now not only is Horton gone, but a lot of those depth guys are free agents. How many will be going to Cleveland, or Pittsburgh where they can get a starting position, get more playing time, and stay in the zone-blitz system ? Not to mention that John Pagano, Chuck Pagano, Ravens, Patriots, and Broncos are all in the vein of this 3-4 defense. Our defensive starters are strong, but our depth is going to be an issue.

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Quarterback:

- Kevin Kolb (3)
- John Skelton (1)
- Ryan Lindley (3)

No where to go but up for this situation. I believe Steve Keim is the saving grace for this position. While Bruce Arians, and Tom Moore don't know much about the current situation, and are looking into it, Keim knows. I am not buying into that the Cardinals are going to work with what they have.

Both Bruce Arians, and Tom Moore want some basic things from their QB:

1. It is essential that they throw an accurate deep ball.
2. They need to be good on 3rd downs and the red zone.

The Cardinals do not have a quarterback that even remotely does those to things well. Actually, that is the weakness of every single QB on this team. All the Kevin Kolb, and John Skelton apologists in the world are not going to be able to find even the faintest example of either doing those two things well. I won't even warrant Ryan Lindley as part of the discussion, cause he is horrible, and mentally is not NFL material. Could I be wrong, is there hope for any of these quarterbacks ? Sure, there is. The biggest thing in these player's corner is it seems like all quarterbacks whose last name is not Warner has severely regressed under the "coaching" of Whizenhunt and company. It seems like the longer QB's were in Whizenhunt's system, the worse they became. I feel for Phillip Rivers.

Yet, this is my post, and I will make the decisions here, LOL. Get rid of them, all of them. Kevin Kolb is injury prone, doesn't throw an accurate deep ball, and is god-awful on 3rd down, and even worse in the redzone. John Skelton ? Double Deuce is gone, IMO. If the Cardinals keep any QB, it will be Kolb for money reasons, and for the fact I think Kolb can at least get to a point where he can get the bare minimum down. John Skelton ? I just think Whizenhunt has ruined him, not to say he was ever going to be something, but that ship has sailed in my opinion.

Now that being said, the 2013 off-season is not going to provide much at the QB position, but that is OK. Cause there is nothing on the current roster that is going to provide much at the QB position either, and out current QB's are near the bottom of the bargain basement barrel when it comes to talent. Think band aid fix for 2013 in my opinion. There is no QB in the draft that is going to come in and start right away, there is no QB that will be available, as of right now, as a free agent that is any better or worse then Kevin Kolb. So, I think the Cardinals should focus on building a team and not one position.


Free Agency:
- Chase Daniel
- Byron Leftwich
- Jason Campbell
- David Garrard
- Matt Moore
- Charlie Batch
- Drew Stanton

QB's under contract to keep an eye on:
- Josh Freeman
- Alex Smith
- Ryan Fitzpatrick
- Brandon Weeden
- Ryan Mallet

As you can see, there is not much there. I like Chase Daniels, and it a year where things are kind of up for grabs, why not sign him to a 2 or 3 year contract ? If some other team is going to sign him as a starter, then let them, but if the Cardinals have a chance to bring him in, on a trail biased contract to give him a shot, then I say pull the trigger. The guy has the tools, and has some ability to run. After that, it is a bunch of retreads. Byron Leftwich is old, injury prone, and way past any type of prime. Yet, he knows the system, and can run it better then any QB we have. Players like Jason Campbell, David Garrard, and Matt Moore are quarterbacks that may be a little better then what we have here on the roster already. It would be up to the coaches if any of those QB's seem a better fit to what they want to try and do. As for Charlie Batch, and Drew Stanton ? I am thinking the 3rd QB position for the sake of knowing the system, and being able to do better then Ryan Lindley if needed, and that is not asking much.

Of course Alex Smith is an option since it is well known he will be available this off-season, but at what price, and would he really be "the guy". Not to mention that the Niners still have some control and where he goes, so it is not looking likely that he will be an option for the Cardinals. Josh Freeman is an absolute pipedream to become available. I cannot think of a reason why Tampa Bay would trade him or let him go. It is so hard to find a QB, and I have no idea what Tampa Bay would be thinking, or doing in letting Freeman become available. If they did, then the Cardinals should jump at that option. I think Freeman would thrive in the environment that has been set up in the desert. Josh Freeman is everything this current offense wants. UPDATE: Scrap that idea, cause the Bucs just said they are "All in" as Freeman as their QB. Two other QB's that may become available are Ryan Fitzpatrick, whom I have always liked, and Brandon Weeden. I think they are better then what we have, but they both would have to be released in order for me to think the Cardinals going after them would be a good idea. They are not worth trading for, IMO. Then there is Ryan Mallet whom I disregard. After the Kevin Kolb situation, I am very wary of over-hyped depth players. A backup QB is a backup QB until he shows he can start. For every Matt Schaub, and Kolin Kapernick there is a Matt Cassell, or Matt Flynn.


Draft:
- Geno Smith: 6'3" 214lbs, West Virginia (1st Round)
- Mike Glennon: 6'6" 232lbs, North Carolina State (Rounds 2-3)
- Tyler Wilson: 6'3" 220lbs, Arkansas (Rounds 2-3)
- Ryan Nassib: 6'2" 229lbs, Syracuse (Rounds 2-3)
- Matt Barkley: 6'2" 230lbs, USC (Rounds 2-3)
- Landry Jones: 6'4" 216lbs, Oklahoma, (Rounds 2-4)
- E.J. Manuel: 6'5" 234lbs, Florida State, (Rounds 3-4)
- Colin Klein: 6'5" 226lbs, Kansas State, (Rounds 5-7)

Mitch has a good thread about this subject, "QB or not QB" about choosing a QB in the 1st round. That is the big question for the Cardinals. Do any of these players warrant a first round selection. There are going to be some really, really good prospects at the seventh overall spot in the draft. In my opinion, the crop of offensive linemen are too talented to pass up, and not to mention that a defensive player too good to pass up may slide down to us. I would not pick Geno Smith in the 2nd round because I do not believe he will be anything close to a NFL ready QB, and not to mention I think it will take him too long to learn how to play in the NFL. He is not RGIII whose mental skills are more impressive to me then any of his athletic qualities. Players like Mike Glennon, Tyler Wilson, and Ryan Nassib are QB's I could get behind taking with our second round pick, yet all have some glaring question marks about them, and none are ready to start right away in my opinion. We also must remember that we do not have a back up quarterback, or third string quarterback. While they are all under contract, I don't see how or why any of them should be kept. Players like a Landry Jones, or Matt Barkley would be great value in the 3rd round if that’s the way the draft goes. A guy like EJ Manual whom seems close to the Mike Glennon mold, may be available in the 3rd round or later, and would be good value as well. Finally, why not take a flyer on Colin Klein in the later rounds ? We have the spots open for project QB's like Klein, who is a winner, and a leader.

The starting quarterback is where it begins and ends in this league. I don't like it, and miss the days where teams could still win and compete without a good QB, but those days are over. The NFL is a different sport then the 1980's version, and it begins with the starting QB. I don't see that opportunity this off-season. I don't see the guy that is going to be "the guy". I see a band aid situation, we are looking for our Alex Smith to lead the offensive while we look for a QBOF. After that ? We are starting all over, IMO. I cannot see keeping Skelton or Lindley, and that opens the door for maybe drafting two QB's and looking at late round QB's to come in an learn.



Running Back:

- Ryan Williams (2)
- Beanie Wells (1)* - option
- Foswhitt Whittaker - (1)

What the heck happened to this situation ? Actually, what the heck are the Cardinals doing with this position ? Like the quarterback position, the running back position is a mess, and that may all revolve around the offensive line, but we will get to that later. Beanie Wells is a bust, cut him loose. He is slow, he gets tripped up too easily, he is a poor pass blocker, he is injury prone and he lacks competitive fired. The team cannot rely on Ryan "The infirmary" Williams to be a full time running back, he is made of glass. Fozzy Whittaker will be lucky to make it out of camp. LaRod Stephens-Howling is not coming back (he will be in San Diego, IMO), and the same can be said for Alfonso Smith. I would like to see William Powell brought back as the 3rd running back on the roster, and I would not be going out on a limb to say we can expect a Bruce Arians favorite, Mewelde Moore to be signed as the 4th running back. Moore is extremely versatile for his age, and position. He plays special teams, returns kick offs, can play full back, can pass block, and of course can still run the ball if asked to, not well, but can do it.

What the Cardinals need is a power back to replace Beanie Wells, who is anything but. Outside of that situation, I do not expect there to be any major move at running back. No high round draft pick, no big money free agent. It doesn't seem to have ever been the way Bruce Arians, or even Tom Moore attacked the running back situation. Not to mention when they have, it has not turned out well, with Rashard Mendenhall being the best back those guys picked out.


Free Agency:
- William Powell
- Mike Goodson
- Rashad Jennings
- Chris Rainey
- Peyton Hillis
- Mewelde Moore

There are other big names out there to be talked about, but I don't see them being part of the big picture. In the modern day NFL, I believe you either have a stud running back, or you have to find players that are versatile. If you cannot run at an elite level, then you better have your niche, and be able to pass block. Mike Goodson is a versatile back from Oakland whom have a crowded backfield between Darren McFadden, and Marcell Reece lost his role. He is a good running back and could be had at a fair price. He would fit in this system because he would fit with Ryan Williams. Rashad Jennings, who was hurt last season has good size, and could be another player who can complement Ryan Williams and his style, and again, would not break the bank to sign. Finally, and least likely cause he is a flake of a person, Peyton Hillis will be out there. Bruce Arians is no stranger to having a big power back as an option in the offense, yet again, Hillis is a knuckle-head, and who knows where he is mentally in his career. If he is finally humbled, then he can be had at a cheap price, and produce in a role, IMO. But, there would be a lot of in's and out's to check over before having Hillis come in as an option. One year contract only, in Hillis' case. Then there is Chris Rainey who lost his job for an off-field situation that never happened, or was never proved. He showed some decent skill for the Steelers, and may be someone to bring in and look it as well.


Draft:
- La'Veon Bell: 6'2" 238lbs, Michigan State (Rounds 2-4)
- Montee Ball: 5'11" 210lbs, Wisconsin (Rounds 2-4)
- Michael Dyer: 5'9" 210lbs, Arkansas State (Rounds 3-5)
- Spencer Ware: 5'11" 223lbs, LSU (Rounds 4-6)
- Knile Davis: 6'1" 226lbs, Arkansas(Rounds 5-6)
- Cameron Marshall: 5'11" 223lbs, Arizona State (Rounds 6-7)
- Christine Michael: 5'11" 215lbs, Texas A&M ( Rounds 6-UDFA)

There are plenty of the generic power backs coming out in this year's draft. With defenses getting smaller, a one cut and up the field running back can be very effective. Yet, when it comes to power it helps to have size, but you need the right attitude too. Beanie Wells may have had a big body, but he was a powder puff, IMO. You look at a Frank Gore, or Marshaun Lynch and their size is not what makes them powerful, it is there mindset, and that is where Beanie Wells was soft. There is a list of seven big backs that are sprinkled over the entire draft. There is an opportunity to pick up any one of these players in any of the rounds of the draft. Again, the goal is not to get an every down back, though if it were to work out that way no one would complain. We need a role player. We need a 3rd & 1 guy that can push the pile, and do it consistently. A player like Spencer Ware, Knile Davis, or Christine Michael could be that guy, and be drafted after the 3rd round too.



Fullback:

- Anthony Sherman (2)

I don't have any reason to think Bruce Arians and company would not love Anthony Sherman on this team. He is a younger Mewelde Moore type. He can play anywhere, and do most things you need from an offensive player. Good on special teams, can run the ball need be, can pass block, can catch, and is a pretty good fullback to boot. Word is that Bruce Arians is a tight end nut. He likes to have good tight ends, and he proved it be spending a high round pick in last year's draft on Coby Fleener. He has had many tight ends that play H-back for him, ala Jim Dray. Yet, when it comes to Jim Dray, and Bruce Arians and what he wants at that position, it will have to wait till I tackle the tight end position.

I feel Anthony Sherman, my assumption that Mewelde Moore will be signed, and that Bruce Arians will use a tight end as an H-back as well, will take care of the fullback position.



Wide Receiver:

- Larry Fitzgerald (6)
- Michael Floyd (3)
- Andre Roberts (1)
- LaRon Byrd (2)
- Early Doucet (1)

It seems so long ago, this list said Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston. I cannot think of a bigger damnation of last year's front office then the wide receiver position. This is not like the quarterback position where their best player retired, or the offensive line where the organization has never gotten it right. This position was killed by the old front office. They trade Anquan Boldin because they couldn't operate like a professional sports team, and they let Steve Breaston go, and for who ? Andre Roberts who while is talented, is still not getting the production, or clutch catches that a Steve Breaston was able to give a team, and then there is "Anquan Boldin's replacement" in Early Doucet who just plain sucks. Early Doucet is the shining example of why Whizenhunt, and the old front office were just plain bad a judging personnel. There is a reason Early Doucet dropped in the draft, and there is a reason why Early Doucet never became anything then a second rate slot receiver, it is because he is simply not NFL quality. He is not tough enough, he is not clutch enough, he doesn't have good enough hands, or speed, yet he has been kept around for years.

Bah....just let SI.com come do the talking for me:

"22.2 percent. Early Doucet's drop rate of catchable balls, worst among receivers with at least 50 targets, per Pro Football Focus. Never was he more unreliable than in Week 9 against Green Bay, when he was targeted four times and caught nothing."

Time for Doucet to go. With Doucet gone we have a decently balanced wide receiver core that is really only missing a speed component. Fitzgerald is a waste of time to talk about because he is a Top 5 receiver. Michael Floyd, whom I feel will never play past the equivalent of a 3rd round pick and was a disgusting reach that screwed us out of any 1st or 2nd round talent in last year's draft and would have been better spend on Cordy Glenn or Dont'a Hightower does have a role for all the spite I have for him and where he was picked. Michael Floyd has the potential to be that 2nd WR on the outside. He is a big body, and seems to have the potential to be a good possession receiver, but he has to work harder, and want to improve. I don't see it personally, but even if he puts in a half-assed effort he can be a role player. Andre Roberts has shown enough that he can be a weapon in the slot, so I feel we are good there. Finally, the potential that LaRon Byrd has shown should be given a fair chance in camp this year. Bruce Arians is not tied to Michael Floyd, and if LaRon Byrd is better, then Byrd will be the guy ahead of Floyd on the depth chart.

But speed. It works well in a Bruce Arians, and Tom Moore offense. There is a chance that no wide receivers other than UDFA come into Arizona this off-season. I cannot see a big money deal or high draft pick being used on a wide receiver this off-season. Yet, that is not to say a roster move to bring in a wide receiver is off the table.


Free Agency:
- Mike Wallace
- Devery Henderson
- Donnie Avery
- Josh Cribbs
- Emmanual Sanders (RFA)
- Steve Breaston

There is absolutely no way the Cardinals are going to sign Mike Wallace, and while I would love to put Anquan Boldin's name up here, Michael Floyd will prevent that from happening, plus Boldin is going to retire if he is not a Raven next year. The team traded Boldin because "they couldn't put that much money into the wide receiver position" and then went on to spend more total on trying to replace him...typical but I digress. Devery Henderson would fit in well with this WR core. He has great speed. Emmanuel Sanders is a RFA but keep an eye on that situation since that is one of Bruce Arians guys from his Steelers days. The Steelers have some roster turn over coming up and it will be interesting to see where they put there money. Donnie Avery, and Josh Cribbs also make the list because Avery was a Colts guy last year with Arians, and personally I think Josh Cribbs is a weapon that any team can use. He has speed, special teams ability, and allows for versatile in any situation, plus Cribbs is in a position at this time in his career where he would not command top dollar and can be more of a role player.


Draft:
Marquise Goodwin: 5'9" 183lbs, Texas (Rounds 3-4)
Kenny Stills: 6'1" 189lbs, Oklahoma (Rounds 3-4)
Ryan Swope: 6'1" 206lbs, Texas A&M (Rounds 3-5)
- Emory Blake: 6'2" 193lbs, Auburn (Rounds 4-5)
- Josh Boyce: 5'11" 203lbs, TCU (Rounds 4-6)
- Roy Roundtree" 6'0" 177lbs, Michigan (Rounds 7-UDFA)

Again, speed. If the player doesn't have any I don't know why the Cardinals would waste a pick on a wide receiver in the draft. You already have three wide receivers that can play, and a very promising fourth going into camp. The role that is wide open is for speed. Josh Boyce from TCU is a guy I have circled for the 4th or 5th round that would fit in this group very well, and have opportunities to help this team from day one with just his speed. Edit: I added 3 names to the list, post-combine. Why ? Cause they all have speed, if one of them drops then they could be somone the Cardinals look at. Right now, Boyce, and Swope line up to be the right pick at the right time. Yet, all that being said, Arians has stated he likes what he has at the WR position.



Tight End:

- Jeff King (1)
- Rob Housler (2)
- Jim Dray (1)

This position is completely up in the air. Jeff King is coming off a horrible year, in which you can say that he was still recovering from injury but it was still quite poor, and could cost him a roster spot, especially since the Cardinals would get some cap room if they did. I personally would keep Jeff King around, and maybe redo his contract, but that will be up to the coaches. Rob Housler. I cannot stand Rob Housler. To me, he is the most over-hyped player for the Cardinals, and he has such a long list of apologists for his poor play that he will be back in 2013. I have no idea why. While he has potential, he has no idea how to use it, or how to improve himself to a point where all that skill actually results in something good out on the field. Not to mention he is a worse blocker than Larry Fitzgerald, and Michael Floyd. In my opinion, the Cardinals need a tight end, and good one. Word is Bruce Arians likes to have good tight ends on his roster, and that would leave me to believe he will be bringing in at least one tight end. As for Jim Dray ? That is a Whizenhunt guy, he is gone, and on his way to San Diego. If the Cardinals try for a tight end in free agency then I can see an all-around type being brought in, but as for the draft, I cannot believe that a tight end will even be thought about until after the 3rd round. If you are going to draft a pass catching tight end with blocking issues, then just invest time into Housler for now.


Free Agents:
- Martellus Bennet
- Brandon Myers
- Delaine Walker
- Dallas Clark
- Dante Rosario
- Leonard Pope

I would love to see the Black Unicorn, Martellus Bennet come to the desert. He can block, he can catch, and though he is a little different in the head he is a player. It would cost some money to bring him here, but Bruce Arians likes tight ends and Bennett would help out day 1. Brandon Myers is like a poor man's Heath Miller whom Arians loved in Pittsburgh. Delaine Walker is not going anywhere, and will probably be back with the Niners, but he is the type of guy Arians loves in his offenses. A guy that can line up anywhere and get any job you need done. Of course Dallas Clark is on the list, because if would be crazy to think Tom Moore wouldn't like to have Clark back as one of his weapons, and Clark would instantly help our QB position as maybe the best "safety valve" in the game. I don't think Donte Rosairo brings any more to the table then Jeff King but he is a guy that King has played with and worked well with. Finally, there is Leonard Pope whom has seen time with the Cardinals, Steelers, and Colts, so while I wouldn't want him, he will probably be on a list somewhere in AZ offices.


Draft:
- Dion Sims: 6'5" 285lbs, Michigan State (Rounds 2-3)
- Travis Kelce: 6'6" 260lbs, Cincinnati (Rounds 3-4)
- Michael Williams: 6'6" 270lbs, Alabama (Rounds 4-6)
- Ben Cotton: 6'6" 255lbs, Nebraska (Rounds 6-7)

Tight ends have to block. Coming out of college, tight ends are either elite pass catches with freakish size and speed, or they better no how to block. We already have a pet project of a pass catching, no blocking tight end, and don't need another. Give me one of the four blocking machines I have listed above, and that will be enough for what we need out of our current crop of tight ends. Everyone of those players are good blockers, and have size. A 270lbs tight end is going to be effective against rush OLB'ers and smaller DE's. A player like Dion Sims is an advantage on the corners of the line in the run game, and the pass game. Jeff King right now is our blocking tight end, but is older, has a bad knee and one year on his contract. Jim Dray is a bottom of the roster carry over from the last coaching staff. We need some blockers to come in and solidify the group of tight ends. Personally, if we get Michael Williams in the 5th round it would be a steal, in my opinion.


Offensive Line:

The offensive line is a unit of 5 players. We talk about offensive tackles, offensive guards, and centers, but that is getting too specialized. I have heard a couple of times that the best 5 guys are going to play, and everything is going to have to learn how to be versatile. Listen to our new coaching staff, and they will tell you the new philosophy when it comes to the offensive line, and in essence the new offense.

Tom Moore: "Everything in the passing camp starts with protection."

Agreed, and the Cardinals have nothing when it comes to that. The current offensive line is horrible, and has been horrible. When I wrote this post for the 2012 season, I made a very strong case that SOMETHING needed to be done to improve the offensive line. It was glaringly obvious, and has been for some time that the current collection of linemen are not going to get the job done. If you look at the offensive line for what it really is, meaning to be cold and truthful, it is no surprise that the offensive line is so poor. Levi Brown is a bust of a 5th overall draft pick, Daryn Colledge was the weak link in a very average offensive line, Adam Snyder was a bust of a player for the Niners and nothing more, Jeremy Bridges was a never was that was washed up, and Lyle Sendlein has had a free ride here in the desert from day one. I bothers me a lot that Bobby Massie, Nate Potter, and Senio Kelemete played for the Cardinals last season, and I so no drop off in production on the field, and in some cases there was improvement. That being said, that investment of offensive linemen were all 4th round and later picks/talent. I give credit that the Cardinals got some decent talent, but that is not exactly what I call investing in the offensive line. I won't even touch the disasters that were Lyle Sendlien's extension, Levi Brown's extension, and the signing of Synder, and Colledge to cap crippling contracts. Can I get a _____ Russ Grimm from the crowd. Most overrated coach EVER! Him and Mean Joe Greene could have a battle for worse HOF coach ever. A Grimm offensive line going against a Greene defensive line would look like a Monty Python sketch if they played together, and both have coached the Cardinals at one point....yeesh.

Enter Bruce Arians and company. There is no where to hide. Levi Brown is no one's bust of a 5th round overall pick. Daryn Colledge, and Adam Snyder are no one's horrible free agent signing. Lyle Sendlein is no one's lap dog. Bobby Massie, Nate Potter, and Senio Kelemete or no one's draft picks, and on a more positive note, are looked at as equals by the current staff. Finally, Rich Ornsberger is not on the roster, and may go to San Deigo to go suck at a level in the NFL never seen before....man, did that little troll of a man suck at playing football.

In my opinion, the Cardinals have the opportunity to really pack in the offensive linemen this off-season, and then sort out the bad by 2014. If the Cardinals keep eight linemen, then currently there is an open 8th spot:

1. Levi Brown
2. Bobby Massie
3. Nate Potter
4. Daryn Colledge
5. Adam Snyder
6. Senio Kelemete
7. Lyle Sendlein
8. [OPEN]

I would hope that there are some veterans that get thrown out by the time the 2013 season starts, but if not, then so be it. Colledge, Snyder, Sendlein, and Levi Brown become very "cuttable" next season. Talk about a last chance for a lot of players on this offensive line, and it should be. Bruce Arians is looking like a person that sees reality for what it is. I tell you this, if I was the head coach of the Cardinals I would throw 5 coaches at the offensive line. Look at the history, and especially in Arizona, the offensive line has ALWAYS been a problem, and what makes it worse, is that the organization has tried to fix the situation and fails miserably every time. Something I heard on Doug & Wolf that has hit home, and sticks with me. How many offensive linemen have the Cardinals let come and go, and then they go on to do something somewhere else ? Not many, if any. Sure Leonard Davis went to a Pro Bowl, but as a Cowboy and it IS the pro bowl, which just had Jeff Saturday, who was benched mid season starting. Look at that situation, because it shows that the Cardinals just have no clue what makes an NFL offensive lineman. None. They suck here, and they suck everywhere else they go. Talk about a huge undertaking.


Offensive Tackle:

- Levi Brown (4)
- Bobby Massie (3)
- Nate Potter (3)

Left tackle is the name of the game here. Who is going to play left tackle for the Arizona Cardinals ? We will let the coaching staff sink its teeth into this squad, but I cannot see where Bobby Massie is not playing right tackle for this team next year. The player who dropped in the draft because he could "only be a right tackle" is doing just that for the Cardinals, and I couldn't be happier. I am excited to see Bobby Massie enter a season after working full-time, as an NFL RT, and having a full off-season under his belt. The same goes for Nate Potter. Potter, at the very least has made a case for himself to be a backup for this team. I buy into the mantra that good NFL offensive linemen, are usually the best athletic big men you can get. Potter seems to have very good feet, yet is missing the strength and mass needed in the NFL. In my opinion he looked every bit as good as Levi Brown at LT. Which leads us to Levi Brown. How can a Cardinals fan not believe in the rumor about Russ Grimm and his inability, and lack of interest in coaching up young inexperienced players ? I sure do, and if it is not true then why is Russ Grimm currently unemployed ? The re-signing of Levi Brown was done strictly cause Russ Grimm sucks as a coach, and I guarantee that Grimm figured continuing on "coaching" Levi Brown was easier then starting over. :sigh: flippin' Cardinals!

Levi Brown is an offensive tackle right now. Will he stay one ? Will he stay a Cardinal ? The staff is going to make those decisions, and some of them real soon. I can see with, and deal with Levi Brown starting for the Cardinals next season at a couple of positions, but I am certainly not excited about it.


Free Agents:
- Jake Long
- Branden Albert
- Sebastian Vollmer
- Ryan Clady
- Jermon Bushrod
- Bryant McKinnie
- Gosder Cherilus
- Winston Justice
- Demetress Bell
- Jason Smith
- Tony Hills

There is going to be some talent out in free agency, but it is going to take big money to bring in some of these players. Not to mention having a pick at the #7 overall spot in a draft that has some serious offensive line talent at the top is going to play a part in this situation. I think Long, Albert, Vollmer, Clady, and Bushrod all are superior talents to put at left tackle then what we have. I think McKinnie when it comes to age and drive, is about on par with Levi Brown for what they are worth (not saying they are equal in production where McKinnie > Brown). Cherilus has some background with the coaches, as does Winston Justice whom may be brought in for camp competition, same goes with Tony Hills. I think it is safe to say, if the Cardinals have to go out and sign one of the bigger names to big money, then what many of us has assumed is true. Our offensive tackles are just plain horrible, talent wise, and we need a big band aid to stop the bleeding.


Draft:
- Luke Joeckel: 6'6" 310lbs, Texas A&M (Top 10)
- Eric Fischer: 6'8" 305lbs, Central Michigan (Top 15)
- Menelik Watson: 6'6" 310lbs, Florida State (Round 2-3)
- Klye Long: 6'6" 311lbs, Oregon (Round 2-4)
- Jordan Mills: 6'5" 318lbs, Louisania Tech (Round 3-5)
- Alex Hurst: 6'6" 340lbs, LSU (UDFA) <-- missed 2012 with personal issue

In the first round, if the Cardinals want a tackle then it is Joeckel, or Fischer or nothing. There are way too many good players that will be there at #7 to reach for a tackle, especially when a decent one can probably be had in the second round as well. Again, a 1st round selection of an offensive tackle would be an indication that our situation at offensive tackle is dire. That Levi Brown is not the answer now, and never was. A pick of Joeckel or Fischer is a good solid selection if needed. As for the latter choices, it is up to the current staff. Nate Potter and Bobby Massie look promising but again, the new staff is going to look over every single small aspect of this line (why else would they have so many coaches for the position) and decide on what they need. Personally, I like Jordan Mills, who is known for his mean streak and good run blocking. If Nate Potter and Bobby Massie are not the answer, then drafting Mills in the later round would be great competition at camp.


Offensive Guard:

- Daryn Colledge (3)
- Adam Snyder (4)
- Senio Kelemete (3)
- Jeremiah Warren (Future Contract)

Sigh. The best way to talk about the offensive guard situation is to ask who has been the best guard playing for the Cardinals since coming to Arizona ? Pete Kendell ? Leonard Davis ? Deuce Lutui ? Alan Faneca ? If there is anyone else I would like to know. Cause all I ever see at this position is crap. Maybe just maybe the missing piece has never been the tackle position but the guard position. Hard to pass the ball with your guard being pushed into your QB's face one second after the ball is snapped, hard to run the ball when the defensive linemen almost beat the running back to the hand off. Awful, just awful, and the two clowns we had there last year may be the worse yet, but don't worry cause we are paying them out the butt too. sigh.

Russ Grimm, in his infinite glory and wisdom, runs Rich "I suck" Ornsberger out on the field when Snyder is banged up, and when Sendlein goes down, and refuses to send Senio Kelemete out on the field, because he is lazy, and cannot teach the position. Thus we have to wait four weeks to see Kelemete come out and show some push at the point of attack. Figures. The only one that looks like a guard is sitting on the bench.

The point is, these three are not going to cut it. Even if Senio Kelemete becomes a starter, Colledge is horrible, and Snyder is not a starter at any position. These is by far the worse position on the field, yes, worse then quarterback. In the new NFL your guards have to keep the pocket and cannot be collapsed, because your QB has to be able to step up in the pocket, they cannot (as Kevin Kolb showed us over and over) run around like a chicken with there head cut off. Your guards have to be stout and hold their ground. Not to mention in the running game these are our supposed to be your main blockers, which push the pile, and create holes. In a power running game, a guard should be able to push a defenseman back enough to not only create holes in the line, but to create vertical holes by pushing defenders "off" the line. Our guards do none of these things. Our guards get blown up, or are too slow to get to where they are, or when they get there are not athletic enough to block the guy, or are stood up by a 240lb LB. Just horrible. Something needs to be done. There is at least some promise at the offensive tackle position with Massie and Potter, but Kelemete has a lot to prove, and our two incumbents suck eggs.


Free Agency:
- Andy Levitre
- Ramon Vasquez
- Ramon Foster
- Chris Williams
- Garret Reynolds
- Chris Spencer

The Cardinals can choose to go the free agent route, and there are two good names that may see the market. Andy Levitre is a one trick pony, but he does it well. The guy can run block, and plays with an edge. There is talk that Buffalo is going to let him test the market. My personal favorite out of this group is Ramon Vasquez who may fit our offensive line and philosophy better. He is not a big name, but he has some hype around him right now. If the Cardinal pick up any other player off that list, it probably means that one of our current guards are gone. Finally I have Chris Spencer noted on this list, for no other reason than to say, "NO" to Chis Spencer. He is damaged goods, and is not going to help any team.

Draft:
- Chance Warmack: 6'3" 320lbs, Alabama (Top 25)
- Jonathan Cooper: 6'3" 295lbs, North Carolina (Round 2)
- Barrett Jones: 6'5" 311lbs, Alabama (Round 1-3)
- Larry Warford: 6'3" 333lbs, Kentucky (Round 2-3)
- David Quessenberry: 6'5" 294lbs, San Jose State (Round 3-4)
- Blaize Foltz: 6'4" 310lbs, TCU (Round 4-6)
- James Wilson: 6'3" 314lbs, Florida (Round 6-7)

Chance Warmack is my guy for the pick at #7. Don't care that he is "just a guard" because he is a freak athlete. A great blend of speed and power. Can run block, and can pass block. Strong enough to hold his position, and quick enough to pull, and get to the 2nd level. He is what this offensive line has lacked. This is not Leonard Davis, he is not some really big guy. He is an athlete. Touted by many as the best player in the draft. How do you pass on the best player in the draft ? Last time we picked the best player in the draft, we walked away with Patrick Peterson. As for the position Warmack plays ? If you have a dominating guard, it is like a turbo boost for your offense. See Larry Allen, and Steve Hutchinson for two modern day examples. Yet, there is still good talent throughout the draft. There are your athletic guards, like Jonathan Cooper whom some think is better than Warmack, and David Quessenberry who is also quite versatile as well. There are your power guards like Larry Warford, or James Wilson. Regardless, there has to be some investment in our interior line. It is such a weakness and put the offense as such a disadvantage that I cannot see the Cardinals going through this draft without taking at least one interior lineman. If Kelemete doesn't figure into next year's plan, then it is certainty. Yet, even if Kelemete sticks around a guy like David Quessenberry, or Barrett Jones could bring competition at guard and center.


Offensive Center:

- Lyle Sendlein (3)

This will be the most interesting position for me personally. I am not a fan of Lyle Sendlein and never have been. When I think about NFL quality offensive linemen, I think about how Lyle Sendlein is not one of them. Again, now that the old regime is gone, it will be really interesting to see how the offensive line is evaluated. It always seemed like some players were protected in the past, and none more then Sendlein. I cannot remember, not even once, where Sendlein had any real competition for his job. So much so, that when Adam Snyder was given a brief opportunity to play center, we saw improvement at the point of attack, and the overall push that the interior was getting. As per the norm though, I think Sendlein gets a free ride again. Unless the Cardinals draft someone there is not a lot out there when it comes to the center position. That being said, with Adam Snyder's contract being so ridiculous that it would be foolish to cut him, maybe he gets the job done at center. It is a continuing weakness on Cardinal offensive lines.


Free Agency:
- Doug Legursky

Lyle Sendlien = Doug Legursky. So, there is not much there in free agency that I can see.


Draft:
- Barrett Jones: 6'5" 311lbs, Alabama (Round 1-3)
- Brian Schwenke: 6'3" 307lbs, California (Round 3-4)
- Mario Benavides: 6'4" 300lbs, Louisville (Round 4-6)
- Joe Madsen: 6'4" 310lbs, West Virginia (Round 6-UDFA)

Barrett Jones is the prize of this group, and the second best center may be David Quessenberry. What scares me about Barrett Jones is that he always seems to be injured, there is no doubt Jones has talent, and talent to play guard, center, and in a pinch tackle. Yet, he needs to be on the field ,and his consistency with being banged up has to be a concern. Quessenberry is the type of player I would like the Cardinals to draft. He is a good athlete, who needs to put on a little weight. He can play center or guard, and would be in a position to wait and grow. Outside of those two players there are a few names that if they were announced on daft day I would not be too upset. Schwenke is a solid player out of California, and a good athlete. Benavides, and Madsen have NFL size, and good resume from their respective schools.



Defensive Line:

- Calias Campbell (4)
- Darnell Dockett (3)
- Dan Williams (2)*
- David Carter (2)
- Ricky Lumpkin (Future Contract)
- Everrette Thompson (Future Contract)

This is still a strong point of the defense. There is a lot of talent. Campbell is the star of the group, yet Dockett plays better then what he is given credit for in my opinion, and Dan Williams is vastly under-rated at how he execute in his role. I would find it to be a mistake if the Cardinals do not enter the season with Campbell, Dockett, and Williams as their starting defensive line. The problem is depth, after David Carter there is literally no one. I like Ricky Lumpkin as much as the next guy, but there needs to be more than that talent wise, and numbers wise. The Cardinals are going to have to bring in some defensive linemen. They are going to be "depth guys" but none the less they gotta find replacements for the roles Nick Eason, and Vonnie Holliday filled for this team in the past. Luckily, since we are talking depth, there are a lot of options out there.


Free Agents:
- Matt Roth
- Isaac Sopoga
- Vance Walker
- Casey Hampton (NT)
- Ricky Jean-Francios
- Maake Kemoeatu (NT)
- Derek Landri
- Tony McDaniel
- Sedrick Ellis
- Antonio Johnson (NT)
- Fili Moala
- Amobi Okoye
- Ropati Pitoitaa

As I said, we are talking about depth guys here. Players like Derek Landri, or Tony McDaniel have played for Todd Bowles in the past. Antonio Johnson, whom played some NT for Indy last season, is known by Bruce Arians. The rest your standard depth players, that have the size and skill to play in a 3-4 front. A player like Matt Roth who has a lot of experience playing in a 3-4 would be an ideal pick up. I would not be surprised to see Derek Landri, and Antonio Johnson be brought in during free agency.

Draft:

Defensive End:
Datone Jones: 6'4" 280lbs, UCLA (Round 1-3)
Joe Kruger: 6'7" 280lbs, Utah (Round 4-6)
Damion Square: 6'3" 286lbs, Alabama (Round 4-6)
Baker Steinkuhler: 6'6" 290lbs, Nebraska (Round 4-6)
Omar Hunter: 6'2" 290lbs, Florida (Round 6-7)

Nose Tackle:
Kwame Geathers: 6'6" 350lbs, Georgia (Round 3-5)
Montori Hughes: 6'4" 327lbs, Tennessee-Martin (Round 5-7)
Brandon Williams: 6'1" 341lbs, Missouri Southern (Round 5-7)
Jose Jose: 6'2" 345lbs, Central Florida (Round UDFA)

With David Carter already on the roster, and filling the need for Dockett's role on the defensive line, I would expect for the Cardinals to be looking for a player that fits more Campbell and Holliday's style of play on the line. I really like Datone Jones from UCLA because he has good speed to go along with his size but I don't see the Caridnals taking him. The steal in the draft may be Damion Square in the late rounds. Square was part of that great Alabama defense but his job was to make things easier on everyone else. He would strictly be a depth/role guy for life, but you know he can do his job and sacrifice glory for the good of the team since he has done it in college. Of course there is the popular favorite in Joe Kruger, and why not ? He has great size, and who better to back up Calias Campbell, not to mention our already tough FG block team would be even more dangerous. One of the bigger surprises I saw in this draft as I looked over all the information out there, was there is A LOT of nose tackles coming out in this draft. Many can be had in later rounds. With the exception of Geathers, whom I think has some great athletic skills for a guy that is 350lbs, the nose tackles in the later rounds would be guys that would have to compete with Ricky Lumpkin, and that is not the worst thing in the world. Lumpkin showed he can be a depth guy last year, IMO. If we draft some one late, and he beats out Lumpkin ? More the better.................... and yes, there is no denying that have Jose Jose on your team would be fun.



Outside Linebacker (or as the kids say "Rush" Linebackers):

- Sam Acho
- O'Brien Schofield
- Tim Fugger (Future Contract)

The more I see of O'Brien Schofield, the more concerned I am about the outside linebacker position. Another injury to Schofield whom I believe is not going to make the roster this year. Why? He is more of a pass rush specialist type talent, and doesn't pass rush well. He is too small, and doesn't make enough plays on the field. He vanishes for long stretches as well. I am a person who likes Sam Acho. I like how he plays, I like his instincts, and while he is not the best pass rusher, he plays in this defense very well. That is it. That is it on this roster for outside linebackers, and that is alarming. Stewart Bradley is as good as gone, IMO, and I don't need to see Reggie Walker out there again. Bruce Arians came out and said there is a great need at this position, but where to get it from.

Free Agents:
- Paul Kruger
- Shaun Phillips
- Victor Butler
- Antwan Barnes
- Quentin Groves
- Jamaal Westerman
- Calvin Pace
- Dwight Freeney

I would be happy if the Cardinals re-signed Quentin Groves. He is a good depth for the position, and IMO, was/is better than O'Brien Schofield. I don't see the Cardinals spending a good chunk of change on Paul Kruger whom came out in his contract year and made plays for the Ravens. I am extremely wary of the hype-machine known as Victor Butler, who hasn't done anything to warrant said hype. Thus picking up Shaun Phillips would not be helping the pass rush, but would bring in a stable player at the position. A tandem of Acho, and Phillips is not going to generate a lot of sacks but they will be reliable players at the position. I don't see Pace coming back (rather have Phillips anyway), and Dwight Freeney is going back to a 4-3 defense, IMO. Yet, I think it is a safe bet that we will see Jamaal Westerman back on our roster for camp. There is not much to get excited about here, but in free agency, at this position there never is.


Draft:
- Damote Moore: 6'4" 250lbs, Texas A&M (Top 20)
- Ezekeil Ansah: 6'5" 274lbs, BYU (Top 20)
- Jarvis Jones: 6'2" 242lbs, Georgia (Top 20)
- Bjoern Werner: 6'4" 255lbs, Florida (Top 20)
- Dion Jordan: 6'7" 243lbs, Oregon (Round 2nd)
- Alex Okafor: 6'4" 261lbs, Texas (Round 2nd)
- Brandon Jenkins: 6'3" 260lbs, (Round 3-4)
- Travis Long: 6'3" 256lbs, Washington State (Round 4-6)
- Stansly Maponga: 6'2" 265lbs, TCU (Round 4-6)
- Dan Giordano: 6'4" 260lbs, Cincinnati (Round 7-UDFA)
- Nathan Williams: 6'3" 260lbs, Ohio State (Round 7-UDFA)

Right off the bat, I will say I do not like Jarvis Jones. Not at #7, not anywhere. He just wreaks of bust. There are injury concerns, work ethic concerns, and he is only 242lbs. If the Cardinals take a pass rusher at #7 I would hope it turns out to be Ezekeil Ansah, or at worst Bjoern Werner (don't think Moore will be there). Ansah is a freak type athlete at 6'5" and 274lbs. We need a pass rusher ? Well, Ansah can do just that for us. You get a guy like Ansah in front of Tom Pratt and things could get moving in a positive direction early. Yet, as we know, my pick at #7 is Chance Warmack. Yet, I understand that a pass rusher is needed on this team. I think that can be had in the 2nd round. I really like Dion Jordan for the fact he is an experienced 3-4 OLB. He has played the position, knows coverages, and comes in more polished at the position. I also like Alex Okafor who can rush the passer and is respected by his peers as one of the best of his class. Again, it is a student of the game type player whom could blossom under the coaching here at Arizona. As we all know, the farther down the draft you go the more of a project a player becomes. Yet, a player like Brandon Jenkins could be a quality selection later in the rounds, he has the talent but is coming back from injury. A guy like Travis Long that has put up good stats in college, or pick up a high energy player like Giordano, or a talented player coming back from injury like Nathen Williams. Pass rushers in the draft are always a crap shoot. I do not care if they are chosen 1st or 301st, they are less then a flip of a coin chance of producing anything. With too many holes on offense, I would be surprised to see a pass rusher chosen at #7, yet hope to find talent at the position in the 2nd round.


Inside Linebacker:

- Daryl Washington (5)
- Stewart Bradley* (3)
- Reggie Walker (1)
- Conlin Parker (Future Contract)

Stewart Bradley is gone, or as good as gone. It is a shame. If he was 1/2 the player he showed in Philly, he would be exactly what we need at the strong side inside linebacker position, but alas, he sucks. Daryl Washington is a an absolute stud at WILB and while he won't come close to 10 sacks next year, I see at least 4 interceptions in his 2013 season. Reggie Walker will be an interesting situation. He EXPLODED onto the seen last preseason, played well at the beginning of the season, and was derailed by a concussion midseason. He came back before the end of last season but not at the same level. The Cardinals are short on depth at inside linebacker, so I expect to see Walker on the team next season. Yet, Paris Lenon is not coming back, and the Cardinals need an inside linebacker or two. For all the camp fodder I have listed in this post, aka (future contract) guys, Colin Parker is one of the few that could amount to something. You still need at least four inside linebackers, and he might be the fourth, he showed some talent last off-season.


Free Agents:
- Tim Dobbins
- Dannell Ellerbe
- Larry Grant
- Jasper Brinkley
- Brad Jones (AJ Hawk)
- Bart Scott
- Moise Fokou
- Nick Barnett
- Barrett Ruud
- Justin Durant*

There are some opportunities at this position in free agency. The middle linebacker position is like the running back position for defense, where it was once a big money, big glory position it is in decline in importance. Most of the time these are two down players. I really like Jasper Brinkley, who has great size for the position and has played well for the Vikings. He would be a good fit in my opinion. From what I saw from Tim Dobbins, he could be brought in and he would be solid (like a younger Paris Lenon). I don't think Dannell Ellerbe will be let go by the Ravens, and if he makes it to free agency he will be expensive, too expensive, IMO. I bet people are wondering who the heck Larry Grant is. He is another hyped up player. He is the guy backing up Navorro Bowman, and Patrick Willis on the 49'ers. A lot of teams like Grant, but what can be said for a guy that has hardly played ? Green Bay has a decision to make on their defense, where Brad Jones might be re-sign for the sake of releasing AJ Hawk, yet the Packers did make some cuts already and Hawk is still with the team, thus Brad Jones may be a player the Cardinals look at. I also added Justin Durant, whom has never played in a 3-4 to my knowledge, but is one of my favorite players in the NFL. He has decent size, but really good speed. Putting Washington and Durant out on the field could be the fastest pair of linebackers in the NFL. As for Moise Fokou, if he has recovered from injury by the time camp rolls around he will be signed, and brought in. He has followed Todd Bowles every where he goes.


Draft:
- Kevin Minter: 6'2" 245lbs, LSU (Round 2)
- Kiko Alonso: 6'4" 244lbs, Oregon (Round 3-4)
- Jonathan Bostic: 6'1" 243lbs, Florida (Round 3-5)
- Nico Johnson: 6'1" 249lbs, Alabama (Rounds 4-5)
- A.J. Klien: 6'2" 244lbs, Iowa State (Rounds 4-5)
- Vince Williams: 6'0" 247lbs, Florida State (Rounds 5-7)

Forget Ogletree, and Teo, give me Kevin Minter. The guy is an animal, and IMO, would be the perfect compliment to Daryl Washington. Minter can play in coverage, but he is a strong tackler and makes lots of them. After Minter it is rather vanilla. Guys like Alonso, Bostic, and Johnson seem to be solid prospects but nothing to circle as a must have type of player. I like AJ Klein out of Iowa State, but he would be a 50/50 chance at being able to play at an NFL level. I didn't expect to see Vince Williams so low on the draft boards, he is a really good linebacker against the run, the classic two down type, but he struggles mightily in coverage. He would be worth taking a chance on late, IMO.



Cornerback:

- Patrick Peterson (2)
- William Gay (1)
- Jamall Flemming (3)

I have not given up on Flemming, not by a long shot. I think he could turn into at least a nickel back, he showed some skill last year, IMO. Peterson is obviously a HUGE feather in the cap of the Arizona Cardinals right now. He is a athletic freak. The question on defense is who is number 2, and for a Todd Bowles defense, who is number 3 is really important. I wouldn't rule out the old Cardinal three safety formation, but I would assume a nickel back will take on an even more prominent role on the defense. WIlliam Gay can be cut for some cap room need be. I have no problem with William Gay but I can imagine he would be happy to be cut, and go to Cleveland. Needless to say the Cardinals need a starting cornerback and some depth. A last minute thought about depth at cornerback, Justin Bethel who is slated as a safety may move back to cornerback for the club, more on that below.


Free Agents:
- Sean Smith
- Domonique Rogers-Cromartie
- Mike Jenkins
- Kyle Arrington
- Antoine Cason
- Jarraud Powers
- Darius Butler
- Greg Toler
- Terrence McGee
- Alan Ball
- Cassius Vaughn

Sean Smith is looking for 8mil a season, so forget that. DRC ? Been there and done that, the guy is a flake, IMO. Mike Jenkins ? Pass. Maybe Kyle Arrington but I think that is going to cost too much when thinking about the cap we have. I would like the Cardinals to resign Greg Toler. There are some ex-Colts & ex-Dolphins that will be available, like Darius Bulter, Jarraud Powers, Cassius Vaughn. The secondary for the Cardinals played fairly well, and the stats support it. That is why I think the team would be best off signing Toler, and as for depth, with Toler, even if they cut William Gay, the Cardinals would be filling in the 4th and 5th spots on the roster. Leaving those spots to be filled by a late round draft pick or one of the many options for those positions that will be available.


Draft:
- DeMarcus Milliner: 6'1" 182lbs, Alabama (Top 10)
- Jonathan Banks: 6'2" 185lbs, Mississippi State (Round 1)
- Xavier Rhodes: 6'2" 215lbs, Florida State (Round 1-2)
- Logan Ryan: 6'0" 190lbs, Rutgers (Round 1-2)
- David Amerson: 6'3" 194lbs, North Carolina State (Round 2-3)
- Jamar Taylor: 5'10" 180lbs, Boise State (Round 2-4)
- Tharold Siman: 6'2" 194lbs, LSU (Round 2-4)
- Rod Sweeting: 6'0" 184lbs, Georgia Tech (Round 3-4)
- Darius Slay: 6'1" 190lbs, Mississippi State (Round 4-5)
- Travis Howard: 6'1" 196lbs, Ohio State (Round 4-5)
- Kenny Okoro: 6'1" 190lbs, Wake Forrest (Round 5-6)
- Terrence Brown: 6'1" 178lbs, Stanford (Round 5-7)
- Brandon McGee: 6'0" 190lbs, Miami (Round 5-7)

This draft is full of big cornerbacks, and there are some available in each round. As much as I like Chance Warmack, if DeMarcus Milliner was for some reason at #7, I would take him. It is not going to happen, but none the less, that is the talent we are talking about with Milliner. That being said, the Cardinals have the ability to take a project at cornerback, and put him in a dime situation or even on the bench as he learns. I really like David AMerson, and Tharold Siman for those reasons. I can see them slide a bit in the draft for lack of experience, but if the opportunity presents itself they would be good picks for the Cardinals. With the combine this weekend, I am going to keep a close eye on heights and weights in this group, cause how many guys can be 6'1" and 190lbs.


Safety:

- Kerry Rhodes (1)*
- Adrian Wilson (3)
- Justin Bethel (3)

The safety position, again, will be interesting. Rhodes, and Wilson are good players, yet there are a lot of safeties available in free agency, and the draft is deep at the position as well. Justin Bethel is an interesting prospect at this point and time. We all must keep in mind that Bethel was a rookie last season, and a year under his belt should make him better. The biggest question is if Bethel can make the transition to be a better player on defense. His special teams, and natural ability is already there. He is a terror on special teams, and forces teams to deal with him, but he needs to achieve a level of play on defense where he can be the 3rd safety or dime cornerback. Needless to say I expect Bethel to be around next season.


Free Agents:
- Charles Woodson
- Chris Clemons
- Kenny Phillips
- LaRon Landry
- Rashad Johnson
- James Sanders
- Ryan Mundy
- Eric Smith
- George Wilson
- Tyrone Culver

Chris Clemons is an interesting player who has a history with Todd Bowles, so there might be a chance he comes into play this off-season. I have no problem resigning Rashad Johnson and/or James Sanders. Both of which will have options and opportunities in Cleveland, and San Diego, was well. Tyrone Culver is another Miami player who has a past with Todd Bowles.


Draft:
- Kenny Vaccaro: 6'1" 215lbs, Texas (Round 1-2)
- Matt Elam: 5'10" 205lbs, Florida (Round 1-2)
- T.J. MacDonald: 6'2" 211lbs, USC (Round 2-3)
- Phillip Thomas: 6'0" 210lbs, Fresno State (Round 3-4)
- Jonathan Cyprien: 6'0" 209lbs, Florida International (Round 3-4)
- Tony Jefferson: 5'10" 212lbs, Oklahoma (Round 3-4)
- Copper Talyor: 6'5" 235lbs, Richmond (Round 4-7)
- D.J. Sweaninger: 6'1" 210lbs, South Carolina (Round 5-7)
- Shamarko Thomas: 5'11" 208lbs, Syrcacuse (Round 5-7)

These are the safeties that I feel best fit the Cardinals, but there are a host more going into the draft. What I really like about this draft class is there are a good number of strong safety candidates, and in the last few years there have not been many out there. My biggest problem I had with Rashad Johnson was that he was not a great tackler, and that is what is missing right at safety. Rhodes' strong suit is not tackling. Of course Wilson can tackle but at some point we have to start thinking about life after ADub. The opportunity is here in this draft, and while I have a 6'5" 235 lbs safety on my list, the guy doesn't have to be the monster that Adrian Wilson is. A guy like Jonathan Cyprien, who made a big impact literally and figuratively, at the senior bowl would be a great fit.


Special Teams:

- Jay Feely (1)
- Dave Zastudil (1)
- Mike Leach (2)

I don't see any reason why we should get rid of Mike Leach, who has done a fine job at long snapper. Zastidul has seemed to recover well from his injuries, and was one of the better punters in the league last year. The problem I have is with Jay Feely. He is getting older, and while I can live with him as our kicker for now, I would not be against the Cardinals looking at other kickers. Rob Bironas and Lawerence Tynes are slated to be free agents, and both bring more to the table than Jay Feely, IMO.

That's it ladies and gentlemen. That is my break down for the off-season. I will follow up with some mocks, and rosters in the future. Tear it up, give me your thoughts, my mistakes, etc., etc.

Go Cards!
 
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Catfish

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Wow Muffin-----I have only finished the offense so far, but this is great stuff. My guess is that since Arians has a penchant for running two TE sets, this will be a significant help for our O-line. Unlike Whiz, he will use them to help with edge rushers and not leave OT's on an island alone against the world. Also, as you have pointed out, most of our offense has been poorly taught, (or merely thrown into the fray without being taught at all). I remember Levi learning on the fly, by trying to get the edge on the snap count. He played so tight to the count, that he often jumped ahead of the count to get position and punch on his opponent. He was on the very edge every play. Ultimately he had many false starts because of it. This happened not because of poor teaching, but because there was NO teaching for this unit. As you have shown, none of our cuts, BIG aside, ever did anything anywhere else.

One of the things that Arians said, was that he intended to teach proper fundamentals and techniques to our O-linemen. That may go a long way to help also. I also expect an infusion of strength into our interior line, especially in the draft. There may be little help in Free Agency this year do to cap conditions.

You are so very right on about Whiz and company not coaching up any offensive players, (or improving any offensive positions), during the time players were starters on this team. The offense IS the mess you described, and it is that way because it was turned that way by an inept offensive philosophy and coaching staff. With the exception of Kurt Warner, ALL our offensive players tend to regress rather than progress as they played, and that includes Larry Fitzgerald. He has become merely a token of what he once was. Hopefully he will show new enthusiasm for his job with the new coaching and front office changes.

In any event, you have done a masterful job of presenting the reasons for our lack of any offensive potential at this time. I hope we see the change that is needed to get this unit back to being a potent force in the game. Like you, I tend to believe that help has to come to the O-line first, before any real progress can be had. Then, we can address QB, RB, TE, HB, FB, WR, etc.

Nice job Muffin, I am anxious to read your defensive strategy.
 

WildBB

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. Can I get a _____ Russ Grimm from the crowd. Most overrated coach EVER! Him and Mean Joe Greene could have a battle for worse HOF coach ever. A Grimm offensive line going against a Greene defensive line would look like a Monty Python sketch if they played together, and both have coached the Cardinals at one point....yeesh.

Barrett Jones is the prize of this group, and the second best center may be David Quessenberry. What scares me about Barrett Jones is that he always seems to be injured, there is no doubt Jones has talent, and talent to play guard, center, and in a pinch tackle. Yet, he needs to be on the field ,and his consistency with being banged up has to be a concern. Quessenberry is the type of player I would like the Cardinals to draft. He is a good athlete, who needs to put on a little weight. He can play center or guard, and would be in a position to wait and grow. Outside of those two players there are a few names that if they were announced on daft day I would not be too upset. Schwenke is a solid player out of California, and a good athlete. Benavides, and Madsen have NFL size, and good resume from their respective schools.

The above is classic. :thumbup:

I like Schwenke (3rd) and Frederick (3rd)
but I would like a bunch of other upgrades too, but you can only do so much in the draft. We're stuck with Snyder and Sendlein, going to need them to fight it out me thinks.
 

az240zz

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Wow Muffin-----I have only finished the offense so far, but this is great stuff.



. With the exception of Kurt Warner, ALL our offensive players tend to regress rather than progress as they played, and that includes Larry Fitzgerald. He has become merely a token of what he once was. Hopefully he will show new enthusiasm for his job with the new coaching and front office changes.

y.

With this in mind and the fact that we need more draft picks, should Larry be on the trading block??
 

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