Three Potential NFL Draft Picks for the Arizona Cardinals
A new NFL draft feature to grace the pages of TSHQ.
by Eric Judd
If you scour the Internet, you will find no end to mock drafts and pundits already assuring you of whom your favorite team will choose in April. The point of this series is not to flaunt the psychic powers of TSHQ, it is to provide NFL fans with some names to, not only watch for during the draft process, but also to provide direction in doing your own research and evaluations. So between now, and the start of the NFL Draft on Thursday, April 23, all 32 teams will get a “Triple Shot”, so keep an eye out for your NFL team, and what we (okay, me) here at TSHQ think would be a good fit.
Triple shot is broken up into the categories. “Best Shot” players who should hear their names called on the opening night at Radio City Music Hall. “Long Shots” are 2nd day players who make up a bulk of the typical NFL roster. However, don’t expect your favorite team to assuredly fill an immediate need with a “long shot” draft choice. A “Shot in the Dark” is a day 3 pick. With just a fool’s hope of being that diamond in the rough that makes all of your favorite team’s issues disappear.
Major Need: Quarterback
While many factors may be responsible for Arizona’s abysmal 1-11 finish to the season, the most glaring need is under center. Since the retirement of first ballot Hall of Famer Kurt Warner after the 2009 season, the Cardinals have fielded the moteliest crew of B-list QBs. From the horrifically inaccurate Derek Anderson to the Moxie-filled, but woefully out-classed Max Hall. In 2012, Arizona started, and subsequently benched, 4 different QBs. The overpaid Kevin Kolb, the 6th-rounder-for-a-reason, John Skelton, the (also) overmatched 6th rounder Ryan Lindley, and lastly, waiver wire pickup Brian Hoyer.
Obviously, improving on the plays of this “fearsome foursome” would benefit the Cardinals immensely. Unfortunately, as the Cardinals well know (as they watch the rest of the NFL find starting QBs in the draft), finding an NFL quality quarterback is easier said than done.
Best Shot: Geno Smith QB West Virginia. While the name Mike Glennon out of NC State has been gaining first round traction in the national media, the only draft eligible quarterback with top 10 potential is Geno Smith out of West Virginia. His athleticism is a perfect fit for the NFL, and his deep ball is a thing of beauty. Compared to pre-season front-runner Matt Barkley out of USC, Smith has the arm to make all the NFL throws, but also in the new Bruce Arians-led Cardinals offense. Unfortunately, Smith’s footwork can falter, appearing almost lazy at times, causing accuracy and power to suffer. Being the top QB, Geno Smith making it to the Cardinals at the 7th overall selection is doubtful, at best, especially with possibly 5 of the 6 teams ahead of Arizona with unsettled quarterback situations.
Long Shot: Tyler Bray QB Tennessee. Tyler Bray has the best arm in the 2013 draft. He has room to grow in to his 6’6” frame and easily could look the part as a NFL signal caller. Unfortunately, his footwork doesn’t fit in a community center dance class, let alone in the NFL. Lucky for Bray, if he does end up in the desert, (most likely in round 2), he will be paired with Arians and QB guru (and new Cardinals assistant Head Coach/offense) Tom Moore, who each helped coach Peyton Manning into the quarterback he has become. Sadly, aside from Arians and Moore, and his alma mater, Bray and Manning share little else.
Shot in the Dark: Zac Dysert QB Miami (Ohio). Day 3 quarterbacks are rarely, if ever, successful (see: Skelton, John and Lindley, Ryan). That doesn’t mean you stop trying (see: Brady, Tom). Dysert had a rough senior bowl week, spending most of his time, checking down to the running back, and forgetting that the entire NFL world is watching. Dysert has acceptable arm strength but has yet to display his skillset against quality competition. Dysert is the definition of a long-term prospect. He needs serious work behind a competent QB and years under NFL coaching tutelage. Perhaps, eventually, Dysert could manifest his skills into something more than wishful thinking.