Maybe Bruce Arians hasn’t read all the mock drafts available out in cyberspace, but he thinks he might have, given two extra weeks before the actual draft this year.
The Cardinals’ coach enjoys the entertainment.
“So many times they are all based on need,” Arians said Thursday during his annual pre-draft press conference alongside General Manager Steve Keim. “ ‘They need this, so they are going to take this guy.’ Well, he’s a fourth-round pick. You are going to take him in the first or second round because you need one?
“It makes for great banter and chatter and good bar talk, but there’s not much reality to it.”
Added Keim, “There’s a lot of spitballing going on.”
Not that Arians and Keim were about to clarify much. The Cardinals finished their “120” board Thursday before the press conference, the ranking from which Keim will ultimately make his draft decisions beginning in a week. Next come multiple mock drafts of their own Tuesday, as the Cardinals use their pro scouting to develop various scenarios they could see in the first round.
The Cardinals – barring a trade – will pick 20th. Not surprising, Keim referenced the 120 board to note “at the top there are 20 guys we certainly like that will fit us (and) that will make an impact on our team.”
As for any possible trade, Keim wasn’t about to completely rule out a trade up. But he came close – not unexpectedly – and emphasized a trade back was much more likely. Keim wants more picks than the six the Cardinals currently own, and picking all the way down at 20, movement wouldn’t shock.
“(The draft) is deep enough where I really do think you are going to get third-round players in the fourth and fifth rounds,” Keim said. “You want to acquire more picks.”
As for the other burning question for the Cardinals and their draft outlook, the door for a new quarterback remained ajar, but neither Keim nor Arians sounded absolute in making such a selection. The quarterback of the future is needed at some point.
Keim said there were a “few quarterbacks we like in this draft and they fit what we do.” Arians did say a good football team – which the Cards no doubt feel they are after a 10-win season – can afford to roll the dice and have an early-round quarterback sit and watch.
But Arians also said the quarterbacks taken in the middle or late rounds are there for a reason, and usually in a quarterback-driven league that doesn’t make them a promising prospect. Arians said it would be difficult, in fact, for a third-round quarterback to come in and even beat out current third-string quarterback
The only certainty from the Cardinals is that they aren’t going to tip their hand at their favorites – asked how many quarterbacks the Cards consider first-round picks, Arians said “Ten” – and that they will have to wait. There are a lot of different ways the first 19 players can be selected before the Cards are even on the clock, and other teams aren’t announcing their intentions these days.
“Anything you hear this time of year is the furthest thing from the truth – except from us two,” Keim deadpanned.