Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Scout's take: Where Cardinals stand in draft
By Mike Sando
Any team with Larry Fitzgerald at wide receiver would seem to be set at the position, or close to it.
But as Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. explained when we discussed receivers Tuesday, there's a reason Mario Manningham made the key reception for the New York Giants against New England in the most recent Super Bowl.
"They talked about Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl saying, 'Give them Manningham,' and then Manningham makes that crazy catch," Muench said. "That was because they didn't want Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz to beat them."
The concept, explored further in the "First Take" video above, could justify any decision Arizona might make to select a wide receiver, most likely Michael Floyd, with the 13th overall choice in the draft Thursday.
A few more thoughts on the Cardinals' options, lifted from my conversation with Muench ...
Sando: You like where the 49ers stand in this draft. What about Arizona?
Muench: The Cardinals are not in a bad spot. They are going to get Michael Floyd or Riley Reiff, the way I see it. And really, I don't think you are upset about either one of those picks. To me, it's Buffalo and Arizona. What Buffalo does, Arizona will take the other player. Buffalo needs a tackle and would like to get a playmaking wide receiver. The same for Arizona.
Sando: I've felt as though improved quarterback play would be the key to maximizing the Cardinals' existing weapons. That might be the case, but your point on Manningham and the Giants resonated, too.
Muench: Kansas City tried to get Jonathan Baldwin to play next to Dwayne Bowe. San Diego had some success with Malcolm Floyd and Vincent Jackson. It's what those guys make defenses do in coverage and also to defend the run. When you have two guys on the outside, it's tough.
Sando: Arizona used third-round choices for Andre Roberts and Early Doucet. Without a second-round choice this year, those are the types of receivers that might be available to them if Reiff is the choice in the first round.
Muench: The Cardinals haven't had that guy to draw attention away from Fitzgerald. Steve Breaston was a good complimentary receiver, a good sub-package receiver, but he was not going to force a coordinator to make a tough decision. Floyd could do that.
Sando: OK, then, let's say your theory plays out, but the Bills take Floyd.
Muench: Riley Reiff would start at right tackle from day one. I don't think he's a left tackle, but some of Matt Kalil's weaknesses are Reiff's strengths. He is a tough, hard-nosed guy -- not the most athletic, but he finds a way to get it done and is tough in the run game. Sort of like the Jon Runyans of the NFL. He immediately makes you better and starts for years.
Sando: Best-case scenario, then, which player would the Cardinals get at No. 13?
Muench: With no second-ronder, from a roster standpoint you would almost rather them get Reiff because it's a deeper receiver class and you could find some guys in the third round to come in and contribute, like a Brian Quick from Appalachian State. He has a lot to work on, but if he realizes his potential, he's going to be a starter on the outside.