Tuesday, April 26, 2011
A very quick peek at Cardinals' draft board
By Mike Sando
Five things I noticed when watching the Arizona Cardinals' latest offseason video production, which focuses on the 2011 NFL draft:
- The team was proud of the fact that "all five picks from non-Division I-A colleges from 2007 to 2009 were starters" last season. Those players were: cornerback Greg Toler, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, running back Tim Hightower, tackle Brandon Keith and tight end Ben Patrick.
- A look at one of the team's draft boards showed late-round linebackers in good enough focus to decipher names. Central Florida's Bruce Miller was listed in the box above Iowa's Jeff Tarpinian, among other details sure to shake up draft rooms across the league (or not). Cheta Ozougwu's name is visible in another column.
- General manager Rod Graves described the "winner" and "ability" grades the team assigns separately. Graves formulates the "winners" list based on players' effort levels, smarts, physical nature and football character.
- The team included video showing Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, among others, meeting with coach Ken Whisenhunt and scouts. That was Texas A&M pass-rusher Von Miller wearing the "LB19" jersey and barreling around a blocking dummy at the combine.
- Player personnel director Steve Keim is featured prominently. His name came up informally for GM jobs not long ago. The Cardinals' struggles last season lowered his profile, but bounce-back seasons from some of the team's younger players -- Toler, Rodgers-Cromartie, Calais Campbell and others -- would help his cause. Getting something from Beanie Wells would, too. It all starts with finding a quarterback, of course. Success at that position can launch careers throughout a building.
OK, back to breaking down that brief video clip of the draft board at the 4:18 mark.