Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2011 Draft grades

5th pick - Patrick Peterson CB.  Only three times have the Cardinals picked who I wanted in the first round.  The first time was Antrel Rolle.  The second, Matt Leinert.  I'm not sure if I'm happy about that or not, but there it is.  The third time was Patrick Peterson.  Landing the best player in the draft at the 5th spot is unlike the Cardinals.  Usually they land the 63rd ranked player around the 5th spot.(Wendell Bryant anyone?)  Peterson is one of the rare freaks in sports that should change the way the position is played.  He's big and physical and athletic.  Some say he'll end up being a safety like Rolle.  For now he's the perfect compliment to DRC.  Where DRC can guard the speed WR, Peterson can guard the physical one.  I love this pick.  Grade:  A+.

38th pick - Ryan Williams RB.  I'm a little kid when it comes to drafts.  I was working during the second round of this one and on a break had my friend read the 2nd round picks in order so I could predict and grade them as he read each.  I couldn't believe Akeem Ayers was still on the board when he got to the Cards.  (I'm still smarting from when they drafted Beanie Wells over Rey Maualuga in 2009.)  So I was excited to hear the Cardinals could actually address a glaring need with a guy who fell almost 20 spots to them.  He was an easy steal.  And then they turned back into my Cardinals.  Explain this to me.  They already only run the ball 36% of the time with Timmy and Beanie, who share the load.  Throw in The Hyphen and you have a crowded backfield.  So their brilliant plan is to draft another one?  Each of them will get, what, 5 carries per game?  What the heck?  And even on top of that, when are they going to learn the RB are a dime a dozen.  You don't even have to draft them. (See Legarrette Blount and Arian Foster for further details)  Oh, and RB's only last like 3 years anyway.  I hate drafting RB's this early.  In spite of all that, I actually like this Ryan kid.  He's determined and tuff, if not small.  He also doesn't fit this "running system" as he's more between the tackles.  The Cards seemed to like to run outside last year.  He actually did grade out well(88), so this is a high grade pick.  But they absolutely ignored need.  That's myopic. Grade: D

69th pick - Rob Housler TE.  After passing on a quality LB in the 2nd, I was sure that they wouldn't do it again in the 3rd.  Especially with Justin Houston on the board, (a projected 2nd rounder, top 50 player).  Why do I always underestimate the Cardinals?  Of course they pick the TE a round too early that can't block or catch with his hands.  Housler is a major athlete, and when he gets the ball he will leave most LB's in the dust.  But he can't block the run.  Another indication that Coach Whiz is being stubborn and gonna throw, throw, throw.  Even though they currently don't have anyone to throw the ball.  If he can learn to block, (his strength grade indicates he can) he will be a quality tight end.  Right now he's a tall WR who lines up at TE.  He will be a poor man's Vernon Davis.  Grade: C-

103rd pick - Sam Acho DE.  I love this pick.  As far as the draft is concerned, he's a steal.  He was projected to go in the 3rd or even late 2nd.  He both fills a need and he grades out high.  A high quality pick.  As far as his play, he's actually not great at any one thing.  He is that consistant guy who seems to be in the right place at the right time.  He won't blow by many lineman, but he will take the correct angles in pursuit and will bring stability at his position.  He reminds me of Michael Bankston.  Not sexy, but consistant.  His greatest asset is off the field.  He is a respected and loved leader on his team and is a servant to communities both in and out of America.  This is a high quality guy.  Great pick.  Grade: A

136th pick - Anthony Sherman FB.  Drafting a FB not named Mike Alstott is never interesting.  This guy is a solid, yet exclusive blocker in a system that doesn't really use one very well.  However he looks to be a special teams dynamo which I'm all for.  Those guys are always underrated.  Grade: C

171st pick -Quan Sturdivant ILB.  Somewhere out there Rod Tidwell is screaming, "That's my word!"  At least he's staying in the Cardinal family.  This guy is more than a name though.  Projected to go 2 rounds earlier he falls into the Cards lap in the 6th.  He is heady and tuff.  He isn't quick or even extremely athletic.  But he will beat you to the spot with smarts.  Normally, you question whether a 6th rounder will make the team.  This guy might start at some point this year.  Grade: A

184th pick - David Carter DT.  Not a bad backup.  Although I see them sticking with veteran to back up Dan Williams, so I'm not sure if this guy makes the team. Grade: D

249th pick - DeMarco Sampson WR.  Sometimes I think the Cards should trade their 1st three picks for a plethora of late rounders.  They seem to draft better in the late rounds.  DeMarco is a solid pick.  He's a good guy with good athletic ability and loaded with confidence.  He was the 2nd in a tandem at SDSU with Vincent Brown, so its possible we haven't seen all from him yet.  This guy has some good upside.  He will have a fight on his hands to crack this WR roster though.  I hope he makes it. Grade: B

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kolb for DRC is asenine

This whole talk of Kolb at QB has got me yelling at the radio in my truck. There are just too many reasons its a bad move.  But throwing in DRC is over the edge.  Let me explain.

First off, the 2010 debacle on offense is Whisenhunt's fault alone.  I'm fully convinced.  End of story.  And no, I don't believe they were bad because of the lack of talent at QB.  Yes, I believe that to be great you have to have a stud QB.  But when you don't have one, you have no option but to run the air out of the football.  The great recent examples are KC with Cassel, Chicago with Grossman, and the Ravens with Dilfer.  (If Chicago can win with Rex Grossman than the Cards can win with my grandma at QB)  Coach Whiz ran this offense like Kurt Warner was still back there and not DA, Hall, and Skelton.  No one bears the blame on this offense but the head coach.  Why didn't the players execute?  Because they weren't put in positions to be successful.  Think about this, with D.A. struggling the Cardinals threw the ball 64% of the time.  64%!  Who's genius idea was that?  The best friend of a struggling QB is supposed to be a good run game.  Instead they just had him throw more.  And remember, this run offense posted a top 10 yards per carry average in the league(4.3).  A coach should know what he has and should do anything to make it work.  He tried to pound these guys into being Kurt Warner, and I'm sorry, only 3 guys I can think of can do what he does, and they are under contract in Indi, N.O. and N.E.  My point, QB wasn't the problem with the 2010 Cards, it was philosophy.  Sadly, the former OC in Pittsburgh didn't know how to change from a hall of fame QB system to an average QB system.  Plain and simple. 

Now about this trade.  Kolb is obviously unproven.  In 2009, Kolb had his best season; he played two and a half games and had an 88.9 QB rating.  He posted a very respectable 64.6 completion percentage and looked amazing against a very bad KC team.  But he was very average against the Super Bowl Champion Saints team.  That's it. Two games.  In 2010 he gets his first real look as starter and his horribly average; starting 5 games with a 76.1 QB rating 7TD's 7 INT, and gets a concussion.  He still posts a very good completion percentage(60.8%), which is a major plus for me.  But it isn't enough.  This is an uproven player with concussions in his history.

Also, any stock broker worth a lick knows to sell high and buy low.  Well, Kolb's stock is skyrocketing.  Not because he did anything, but because everyone's desperate for a QB and they keep outbidding each other.  This reminds me of the fantasy football draft when I see guys go "all in" for Chris Johnson while I relax and grab Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne and Arian Foster for the same price. The worst thing you can do is panic and sacrifice your future for a questionable commodity now.  This is the worst time to buy Kolb.  What about DRC?  Well, he's coming off easily his worst season.  So his stock is way low.  Absolutely the worst time to sell. 

Mark my words:  DRC will be a probowler in 2011 if he's in AZ.  Ray Horton is the new DC and he will light a Herculean torch under DRC's butt.  No one knows how to get more out of a DB than Horton.  This guy made Brian McFadden look good.  And if DRC doesn't perform well, then Ray'll do what the useless DC refused to do in 2010 and sit his butt on the bench.  I am salivating at the thought of Ray Horton leading Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes, Patrick Peterson, Greg Toler, and DRC in the backfield next year.  It could be the makings of greatness.

I don't know about you but I thought John Skelton looked good.  Not great, mind you.  Just good.  The thing that stood out in my mind is his poise under pressure.  He reminded me of Big Ben.  I don't know if he's gonna be that good, but he has definite similarites that helps teams win.  That is, if they know how to run the football.  And I see his stock rising.  There is ample potential there to be cultivated.  No matter what veteran they get this year, John will push for the starting spot.  With that in mind, should the Cardinals give up a lot to get Kolb who "might" be the future or just roll with an average veteran and coach Skelton up?  I'm going with the latter.

As for picking up a veteran, there a plenty of serviceable QB's out there at a low cost.  For one year I could see Hasselbeck, Orton, or even Bulger coming in.  Only Orton might give you more than a year, but Skelton should overtake all of them before 2012.  Hasselbeck seems like the natural fit, but I don't know if he'll have the fire that Orton will have.  Orton wants to earn a job somewhere in this league while Matt just wants to finish another season safely.  If Orton doesn't cost much (3rd rounder or later), I'd nab him.

One last thing on Kevin Kolb: he wants big money.  I hear he wants to be paid like the big boys and that has me petrified.  This guy has done NOTHING.  NOTHING!  You're putting all your chips on a guy that has a lifetime QB rating of 73.2.  That's nuts. 

I'm actually not against getting Kolb.  But it has to be the right price.  I think I'd give up a 2nd rounder for him if he'd listen to reason and take a moderate contract.  But I'm not breaking the bank for him.  And I'm certainly not giving up a 1st rounder (which will end up being a good player) or DRC (who will be a star).  This trade wreaks of needless desperation.