Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 10/24/11
When it became clear the Cardinals were headed for their fifth straight loss Sunday against the Steelers, writers throughout the press box began a frantic search for new ways to spin the same old story -- about what felt like the same old team. Mine was an innocent tweet, a little gallows humor to lighten the mood. "The Cards are currently No. 4 in the NFL Draft order." It wasnt original. It probably wasnt funny. But it still evoked some humorous replies on Twitter as Pittsburgh put the finishing touches on a 32-20 win. My favorite came from @braindaham, who reminded us of the national campaign sweeping Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis, Jacksonville, Denver, Seattle and now Phoenix: On Twitter, its known as suckforluck. Those of you who stuck around until the bitter end of Arizonas 2010 debacle will remember how talk turned to tanking at the end of the season so the Cards could draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. The Cards, of course, didnt tank, winning two of their final four games. In an unrelated event, Luck elected to return for his senior season in Palo Alto, which brings us limping forward to 2011. The Cards 1-5 start, coupled with San Franciscos 5-1 start, has made it clear there will be no playoffs in Arizona for a second straight season. So why not play the rookies and youngsters and take a crack at drafting the surest bet of a franchise quarterback since the turn of the millennium? Its the kind of talk that fans and media members discuss when they're out of better ideas. But its not an idea ever discussed by teams (except maybe Indy) -- at least not openly. First, sacrificing your whole season on the off chance you might draft No. 1 is pure folly. There are too many variables in a season. For the Cardinals, one of those variables is known as the NFC West, where winless St. Louis and how-have-they-won-two-games Seattle lurk, waiting to outdo the Cards ineptness. Counting on three losses in those three games is risky business. There are some teams to which you just cant lose repeatedly, no matter how hard you try. More important, no team (except maybe Indy) is going to tank an entire season to get Luck. And thats a good thing. You dont want the type of management, coaches and players who would be willing to do that. It should be their nature to fight for every possible, win and the Cards will most definitely do that. Do I think the Cards would draft Luck if they had the No. 1 pick? Absolutely. Even if they decided not to keep him because Kevin Kolb shows promise, hes still an asset that could be parlayed into more assets. Do I think the Cards should play their younger players anyway? Yep. In Arizona, its all about the future. Several veterans wont be around next season, and the young players need all the game experience they can get this year, before coach Ken Whisenhunt officially enters his hot-seat season. Do I think the Cards have a good chance of landing the No. 1 pick? Based on what Ive seen so far this season? Um, yeah. Keep in mind that Arizona has the easiest schedule in the NFL based on last seasons records. If that holds true, the Cards would win all tiebreakers for the top pick. Did that strength-of-schedule nugget make you more depressed while viewing the Cards 1-5 record? Then take heart. No matter where the Cards finish in the NFL draft order, it will be high, meaning theyll get a good pick. It may not be the No.1 pick, but hey, they did get Levi Brown with the No. 5 pick in the 2007 draft.
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