My Round 1 Predictions... If Joe Thomas (Wisc) slides to the #5 pick I would be thrilled! This kid is something. Keep in mind that ML is a lefty which mean the most import spot on the O-line is the RT spot.
I would not be suprised to see the Cards trading for a higher pick to secure Thomas. If we miss Thomas look for Levi Brown, OT, Penn St. or possibly Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson if he is on the board.
Free Agency Key signings in the FA Pool
Look for Lance Briggs, UFA, Chicago Bears. This could be a huge signing for the Cards to give some stregth on the weak side. The bears have invested way too much money on the LB core that I would be suprised to see them signing Briggs. However I could be wrong since the entire team is build on that position.
Na'il Diggs, UFA, Carolina Panthers He is looking for that big contract. Once again he could help the weak side.
Look for Nate Clements, UFA, Buffalo Bills and Asante Samuel UFA New England Patriots for hot CB FA players. However there is a chance Buffalo could use a tag on Clements, and the Patriots will more than likely cater Samuel.
By Jon Lopuch, Associate Editor Cardinals Offseason Needs We continue our team-by-team look at offseason needs with the Cardinals, a team fresh off a disappointing campaign that cost Denny Green his job. How will new head coach Ken Whisenhunt utilize their potentially elite fantasy weapons and what moves might the new regime make to extract the most out of them?
Areas of Need: While the Cardinals are stellar at the skill positions, they have to address their porous offensive line, specifically the lackluster play of their tackles. The Keystone Cops were better at stopping crime than Oliver Ross and Leonard Davis are at stopping pass rushers. Davis was the second overall pick in the 2001 draft (three ahead of some guy named LaDainian Tomlinson) and is expected to depart via free agency this offseason. Ergo, tackle will be a primary concern this spring, but the front office will be looking to add some quality depth to the interior of the line, as well.
Arizona needs to upgrade its defense if it wants to be a contender, so look for them to target a new starting linebacker and also look at an eventual replacement for safety Robert Griffith. Since Bertrand Berry can't stay healthy for an entire season, depth on the defensive line is also a priority. The Cards are satisfied with the progress Karlos Dansby has made in his career and Gerald Hayes held down the starting middle linebacker spot last season, but Orlando Huff isn't the answer on the weak side and Darryl Blackstock's 15 tackles in two years hasn't done much to inspire confidence in him.
Help is on the Way? The Cardinals could make a pick in the first round that is both an excellent value and fills a glaring need, but only if former Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas falls to them with the fifth selection. If he doesn't last that long, they could look to safety LaRon Landry or defensive tackle Alan Branch, both of whom fill needs, but aren't immediate starters like Thomas. In later rounds, Arizona would be wise to look at some interior lineman on both sides of the ball because quality ones can still be had on the second day.
If they want to make a splash in free agency, the Cardinals could target linebackers Lance Briggs or Cato June. However, Briggs is expected to be slapped with the franchise tag and a bidding war for June may price him out of the Cardinals budget. That will leave the Cards with second- or third-tier options to replace Huff and Blackstock, and they may decide to go another year with those two or look to the draft for the answer.
If Cleveland passes on Joe Thomas, the Cards will be able to grab him. I can't really see that happening though.
Levi Brown is slated at the middle of the first round so it's a possibility that the Cards might trade down to pick up a couple of later picks. Especially if Calvin Johnson is still on the board. Highly unlikely.
There are A LOT of extremely solid OTs and OGs that can be had in the later rounds of this draft. Unfortunately they won't be immediate starters like Thomas, but they're out there and could potentially have an impact after a year of learning the system. A couple examples would be: Chase Johnson - Wyoming and Ryan Clady - Boise State.
If no Joe Thomas (I've been praying for a couple weeks now that we get him) then it's the best DE/T on the board and so far Gaines Adams and Jamaal Anderson have looked virtually identical. Alan Branch is also in the same league. I think Anderson might actually be the best fit.
Not sure really. A Carolina fan told me that the Panthers might be cutting DE Mike Rucker, who's a veteran with great leadership. Adalius Thomas LB - BAL could enter FA and would be a huge pickup for the Cards. Unfortunately a lot of holes to fill.
Joined: 1 Sep 2004
Home Cafe: Football
Location: Reser Stadium; lamenting the D-Line for 2011
Wants and Needs: The Cardinals offense features plenty of weapons at the skill positions, but they need some serious help along their offensive line. Their biggest hole is at left tackle, especially now that Leonard Davis is a Cowboy. The unit did show improvement as last season wore on and there is hope that guys like Deuce Lutui, Nick Leckey, Mike Gandy and Milford Brown can help form a productive line. However, depth is a concern and should be addressed on the second day of the draft. Arizona's other needs are on the defensive side of the ball. Arizona will look hard at landing a top-notch safety because right now they'll enter training camp with Aaron Francisco and Terrence Holt battling for the starting job opposite Adrian Wilson. They should also address their need for a defensive tackle, although they don't need to use a first-day pick there unless it is a good value. The Cardinals will think about using a first-day pick on a linebacker because the loss of last year's weak-side starter Orlando Huff is a step in the wrong direction for already shaky unit.
Potential Selections: If Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas falls to the Cardinals in the first round, the members of the front office will trip over themselves racing to the phone to call in the pick. Defensive tackle Alan Branch of Michigan and LSU safety LaRon Landry are also options if the Cards don't opt to trade the pick, a distinct possibility if Thomas isn't available. Safety Brandon Meriweather would add some talent to their defensive secondary if he's there in the second round. Of course, the Cards may target an offensive tackle in second round if they don't land Thomas in the first. If Arizona goes that route, expect them to look at guys like Joe Staley or Tony Ugoh. Linebackers expected to be available in the middle rounds that the Cardinals may target are guys like Earl Everett, Rufus Alexander, and Stewart Bradley.