The Arizona Cardinals came on at the end of last season, but they have a big cloud of confusion surrounding their quarterback situation. John Skelton has started quite a few games the last couple of years, and the team paid a lot of money to bring in Kevin Kolb from the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cardinals also tried to lure Peyton Manning, the biggest free agent arguably in NFL history, to come play for them and brought him to town for a visit.
That all being said, I think the Cardinals have some really nice pieces on both sides of the ball, and can possibly get back to contending for the NFC West title this year despite some iffy-ness at the quarterback position. Calais Campbell signed a big five year deal, and he is one of the most underrated defenders in the league.
Patrick Peterson emerged last year as a rookie in the return game, and he should once again be dynamic in that area, but even better as an actual defender.
Offensively, the Cardinals have an established superstar in Larry Fitzgerald, and they drafted Michael Floyd–the first receiver they have picked in the first round since Fitz–to complement him on the other side. Here is the full list of players added by the Cardinals in the draft and undrafted free agency.
- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
- Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma
- Bobby Massie, OL, Ole Miss
- Senio Kelemete, OL, Washingon
- Justin Bethel, CB, Presbyterian
- Ryan Lindley, QB, San Diego State
- Nate Potter, OT, Boise State
- WR Stanley Arukwe, Troy
- LB Broderick Binns, Iowa
- WR LaRon Byrd, Miami
- G Braeden Clayson, Idaho State
- FB Jared Crank, Purdue
- G Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech
- DE Tevita Finau, Utah
- S Blake Gideon, Texas
- WR Tre Gray, Richmond
- LB Marcus McGraw, Houston
- LB Zach Nash, Sacramento State
- CB James Nixon, California (Pa.)
- DE Conrad Obi, Colorado
- LB Paul Vassallo, Arizona
- C Scott Wedige, Northern Illinois
- WR Marc Wilson, St. Anselm
- LB Colin Parker, Arizona State
Best Undrafted Free Agent: Broderick Binns, DE/LB, Iowa
Binns has been a very valuable reserve for the Iowa defensive line over the last few years, and now he’s ready to break out as a starter. Binns is a pass rusher through and through. He knows how to get to the quarterback, and made one of the biggest plays of the year for Iowa last year against Arizona–an interception returned for a touchdown that tied the game, only to be ruined by a missed extra point that would have given Iowa the lead. Binns is a little undersized for defensive end, but he could really make an impact this year after spending the last three years behind one of the most talented lines in team history and waiting patiently for his time to shine.
**Binns is a guy who is going to come in and be very tough to cut for the Cardinals, who could use some pass rushers off the edge. He’s not an elite athlete, but he has good length and solid pass rush moves, and is still developing in that area. I think of the UDFAs signed in Arizona, he has arguably the most upside.
OT Levi Brown (cut and re-signed)
OL Adam Snyder
WR Early Doucet (re-signed)
OT D’Anthony Batiste (re-signed)
K Jay Feeley (re-signed)
CB William Gay (Steelers)
LB Reggie Walker (re-signed)
CB Greg Toler (re-signed)
P Dave Zastudil (re-signed)
S James Sanders
RB/RS LaRod Stephens-Howling (re-signed)
S Rashad Johnson (re-signed)
CB Richard Marshall (Dolphins)
WR Chansi Stuckey (released)
OL Rex Hadnot (released)
S Sean Considine (Ravens)
QB Max Hall (released)
OL Deuce Lutui (Seahawks)
Biggest Offseason Acquisition: OG Adam Snyder, San Francisco 49ers
The Cardinals seriously needed some starting help on the offensive line, and Adam Snyder isn’t a household name, but he’s going to get the job done and he will likely begin as the starting right guard. They tried to get Peyton Manning and failed, and weren’t able to get anybody like Carl Nicks or Ben Grubbs either, which would have probably excited the fans. Still, Snyder is a solid addition for the offensive line.
Biggest Offseason Loss: DB Richard Marshall, Miami Dolphins
Marshall was a solid starter for the Cardinals who is a lot better than he’s given credit. He may just be an average defender but he can play multiple positions and I think he will be pretty valuable for the Dolphins. The Cardinals were already pretty weak in the secondary, so this could be a big loss.
Projected Depth Chart (offense)
QB: Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Richard Bartel, Ryan Lindley (R)
RB: Chris Wells, Ryan Williams (Blake Griffin rookie), LaRod Stephens-Howling, Alfonso Smith
WR1: Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts, Jaymar Johnson
WR2: Michael Floyd (R), Early Doucet, DeMarco Sampson
TE: Todd Heap, Jeff King, Rob Housler, Steve Skelton
LT: Levi Brown, Nate Potter (R)
LG: Daryn Colledge, Senio Kelemete (R)
C: Lyle Sendlein, Ryan Bartholomew
RG: Adam Snyder, Chris Stewart
RT: Bobby Massie (R), Jeremy Bridges
Projected Depth Chart (defense)
DE: Calais Campbell, Ronald Talley
DT: Dan Williams, David Carter
DE: Darnell Dockett, Nick Eason
OLB: O’Brien Schofield, Antonio Coleman
ILB: Daryl Washington, Quan Sturdivant
ILB: Paris Lenon, Stewart Bradley
OLB: Sam Acho, Brandon Williams, Broderick Binns (R)
CB: Patrick Peterson, Greg Toler, Justin Bethel (R), Michael Adams
CB: A.J. Jefferson, William Gay, Jamell Fleming (R)
FS: Kerry Rhodes, Rashad Johnson
SS: Adrian Wilson, James Sanders
K: Jay Feeley
P: Dave Zastudil
LS: Mike Leach
2012 NFL Draft Recap and Analysis
1. Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
PROS: Perfect size, deceptive speed/quickness…does a great job of shielding the defender…sure handed…playmaker…nose for the end zone…has experience in both pro style and spread offense now…really the total package in terms of a WR, QB’s best friend…consistent performer…doesn’t shrink against top competition…plus at reading coverages…can catch the ball in traffic…routinely makes spectacular catches…catches the ball at its highest point…good blocker
CONS: Character concerns (DUI’s)…has also missed at least one game in 2008, 2009, and 2010 due to injury (2011 season is currently on-going)…doesn’t have elite straight line speed…doesn’t offer anything in the return game (well I wrote that and then his first punt return went 40 something yards)
Player comparison: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
The reason I compare Floyd to Fitzgerald is because of the way that he can go up and catch the football consistently at its highest point. Now Fitzgerald was considered a model citizen, hard working, natural leader heading into the league and we know that dedication to football is half the battle in the N.F.L. But the way they play is very similar. This guy is an absolute monster when the ball is in the air…he’s coming down with it. He also has similar size (he’s actually a bit bigger). Fitzgerald only ran a 4.63 40 yard dash at his combine and Floyd will run there or faster.
It doesn’t mean Floyd will become the player Fitzgerald is because I like I said a lot of that is predicated on dedication, hard work and keeping focus. Can Floyd do that? If he, can some team has a true #1 WR.
Michael Floyd is an absolute monster. He has great size, he catches everything thrown his way. He can run with the ball in his hands. What separates him from most wide receivers his is ability to catch the football with people draped all over him and with his ability to get the ball always at its highest point. Floyd has the ability to be a monster in the Red-zone and is a number one WR in the N.F.L. I love him as a prospect. Of course the “character concerns” always bother you, but his talent on the field is top rate.
If his head his on straight Floyd is the best WR in the 2012 draft.
If ever there was a more appropriate player to look at and use the term “shaking my head” I have yet to find him in this class of players. Floyd was a high school All-American and a top notch collegiate prospect who was heavily recruited out of St. Paul, MN. Has been a dominant playmaker every year he has been at Notre Dame, but has two underage drinking violations (2009, 2010), and will be suspended indefinitely by the Notre Dame coaching staff until he cleans up his act off the field. It’s a wonder he wasn’t kicked off the team for good, but the coaches obviously see something in Floyd, and hopefully this incident and subsequent punishment will help him turn his life around. Floyd needs to realize that he is not just playing for the prestigious Notre Dame, he is performing his audition for all 32 NFL teams, and they don’t miss a thing. In fact, NFL teams will probably dig so far into Floyd’s past, that they will bring up stuff in interviews HE doesn’t even know about. On the field, there is absolutely no questioning his talent. Floyd is a big play receiver who can score every time he touches the ball. As a member of the Fighting Irish, Floyd has caught 171 passes for 2,539 yards and 28 touchdowns. That included a junior season where Floyd caught 79 passes for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns. Big, strong receiver who is probably the top overall receiver in the class of 2011 among seniors. If he can get his head on straight, he should be able to have a long, successful NFL career.
2. Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma
Instinctive and makes a lot of plays on the football (doesn’t always catch them, or catch them cleanly)…Has been a very productive special teams player and that could continue at the next level…plays faster than he’ll probably time…plus hips to turn and run…willing run supporter (though not a great tackler)…does a good job of stripping the football…is built like a safety…has improved his strength since last year…back pedals well
Doesn’t possess elite straight line speed…good, not great height….doesn’t catch the football as well as you’d like…overagressive
Late first to mid second
Drayton Flornece, Buffalo Bills
Flemming seems like a cornerback who will be at his best playing the football in front of him (zone coverage). He does a good job of breaking on the football when it’s being thrown in his direction because he has good recognition skills and because he can accelerate quickly and is willing tackler. He could excel as a special teamer, but he doesn’t have any elite measruables teams are looking at he’s just pretty good to good at everything.
Few players have impressed me as much as Fleming from the Bowl game until now. Flemming is stronger than I thought and has good recovery time speed.
Productive two year special teams player for the Sooners, which will be extremely valuable going to the NFL level. 27 special teams tackles over the last two seasons are the best on the team. Had an excellent junior season where he intercepted five passes to go along with 71 tackles and a sack. Really emerged as a cover corner in 2010 and should continue to improve. Not the fastest cornerback or the most imposing physical specimen, but should be a starter in the NFL.
3. Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss
Terrific size with long arms…athletic for his size with a good deal of upside…quick feet…gets to the second level well…has experience playing both LT and RT at Ole Miss (mostly right tackle)…durable…
Needs to work on his technique is raw in that area…has struggled at times with speed rushers, especially ones who can counter move…can work on pad level…
Round Projection: Late 2nd to early 4th
Even though Massie has played the majority of his career at Ole Miss as the right tackle he has the quick feet and athletic ability to eventually make the switch to LT at the N.F.L. level. He has a good deal of upside, but needs to improve his technique and pad level. He needs to continue to work on positioning his feet in the right spot and working against speed rushers. He’s a player who could really impress at the combine and with his long arms and great frame, and upside could find himself drafted in late round two when all is said and done, but he’s not there yet.
4. Senio Kelemete, OL, Washington
An athletic player who lacks ideal height and arm length for offensive tackles, but has enough height for a guard…as impressive range…fires out of his stance…still plays like a defensive linemen, aggressive and strong…has a mean streak in his game…usually plays with good leverage…really nice run blocker…uses his hands well
Lacks ideal size…needs to continue to improve his technique (probably not a starter until his second or third year)..is he a guard or a tackle…probably better suited inside
Pro Football weekly:
Compares to Browns 2010 third-round pick Shawn Lauvao
2011: Started all 12 games at left tackle … named a team captain for a second straight year … named second-team All-Pac-12 … named the John P. Angel Offensive Lineman of the Year Award at the team’s postseason banquet.
5. Justin Bethel, DB, Presbyterian
Bethel is a wildly athletic, big defensive back prospect who will provide the Cardinals with instant depth in the secondary and on special teams. He is still very unpolished in his overall game, but I think the Cardinals got a really nice later round player here. He has all of the tools you look for physically in a defensive back, and he can come in and contribute to this team in a variety of ways. He was extremely productive, but at a lower level of competition, and I think the Cardinals did a pretty good job in the past scouting Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and getting him making plays early in his career. I don’t think Bethel is going to be as quick an impact player, but he will let his presence be known blocking kicks and running down punt returners. He blocked nine–NINE–kicks in college.
6. Ryan Lindley, QB, San Diego State
Pre-season Scouting Report
Lindley has a nice, quick release, looks like he has nice footwork, and he throws a catchable ball. He puts nice zip on his throws, and can make the tough passes like quick outs, mid-outs. Sometimes his arm strength can be a negative for him, as he tends to make some overthrows and his accuracy numbers are reflective of that. He has not completed more than 57.7 percent of his passes in a single season and had 45 interceptions as of 11/19/11. Doesn’t make great decisions under pressure, and has a lot of developing to do in terms of pocket passing. Not a great athlete, but has excellent size at 6’4″ 230 pounds. Delivery slightly resembles that of Philip Rivers, as he releases the ball from about his ear, and sometimes that will lead to bad trajectory on the ball or defensive linemen able to knock it down at the LOS.
PROS: Size, arm strength, footwork, quick release, able to make all the throws
CONS: Accuracy, decision making under pressure, interceptions, athletic ability (not going to get positive yards scrambling)
7. Nate Potter, OL, Boise State
4 year Starter
Can play multiple positions
Has great footwork
Under rated power in the run game
Has played in a pass first offense and is highly advanced in his pass protection
Sustains his blocks well
Has played well against top competition
Academic All American (hey why not promote and highlight quality school work?)
High Football Intelligence Quotient, picks up blitzes well
While he has played well against top competition, he has not played them very often
Solid in the run game but will struggle in short yardage situations
Can play too upright at times
Speed Rushers can give him big problems
Might have to play Guard in the NFL
Could stand to get stronger
Player Comparison: Eric Winston
Round Projection: 5th round
Nate Potter is a experienced, versatile player who would prosper in either a zone offense or on a pass first team. He has played well at multiple positions and against skilled pass rushers. Potter is a guy who can develop into a N.F.L. starter.
NFLmocks preseason bio
Potter is an All-American and All-WAC first team offensive tackle, and one of the best senior offensive linemen in the entire country. What’s interesting to me about Potter is that the Boise State coaching staff moved him to left guard two years ago because they felt it was the best fit for him, so you have to wonder if he will be better fit for that position at the NFL level. He’s a big, strong offensive lineman who has the athletic ability to play tackle or guard at the NFL level. Boise State fans seemed a bit lukewarm on Potter at the start of last season, wondering whether or not he would be the next Clady or the next Daryn Colledge. Potter is an academic All American, but because of the uncertainty of whether or not he will be a tackle or guard in the NFL, I’m glad that he’s coming back to school for another season to validate his draft status. Still, some are more high on Potter than others. Gil Brandt of NFL.com has him rated as the fourth best player in the entire class of players, underclassmen included. He is one of five pre-season All-Americans coming out of BSU, and he has been the anchor of an offensive line that ranked second in the nation in total offense and scoring.
Overall Draft Thoughts
This was another very solid draft for the Cardinals, who were able to address their offensive line with three very good prospects despite using their other first two picks on wide receiver and cornerback. The Cardinals were able to strike on late picks in Justin Bethel who has a ton of upside and Nate Potter, who was at one point considered a first round prospect in the sixth and seventh rounds respectively. Just a very good overall draft for the Cardinals, who also got another solid developmental quarterback in Ryan Lindley. Michael Floyd should come in right away and be a stud across from Larry Fitzgerald.