Guess who finished in the top five? The Cardinals, of course.
Number five to be exact. Of the Cardinals, the site wrote this:
5. Arizona Cardinals
Highest Grade: A (Prisco, Cole)
Lowest Grade: C+ (Silva)
Comments: The Cardinals and Vikings tied for fifth and had the same lowest grade, but Arizona had a lower standard deviation so we'll list them fifth here. The Cardinals addressed one of their major needs with their first pick and continued to add contributors throughout the draft, even if some (Mathieu) come with notable asterisks. Prisco and Cole were both very high on fourth-round pick Alex Okafor, who has the potential to be a huge steal. Silva praised most decisions but thought more should've been done to address the offensive line and the long-term need at quarterback.
Look, I haven't been too shy about my feelings regarding the Tyrann Mathieu pick. It felt like an unnecessarily large risk, one that could cast Patrick Peterson in the role of babysitter as much as a mentor.
The fact that Tony Dungy -- the man who elevated mentoring to an art form -- said on The Dan Patrick Show that he would not have drafted him didn't make me feel any better.
"I wouldn't have. Not after I know everything LSU did to help him, it's going to be a long road," Dungy said.
But it's done. It's over. And now it's up to Mathieu to make it work; earn some trust and some money.
It certainly won't detract from what I feel was a shrewdly executed draft by Steve Keim. It appears many, whose eyes are far more experienced than mine, agree.
With a chance to sleep on it, here are three quick thoughts about the Cardinals selection of Jonathan Cooper and what the future holds on Friday:
• Coach Bruce Arians made it pretty clear Cooper was a starter. Refreshing. One of my major pet peeves (and you know I'm not alone of this one) of the Ken Whisenhunt era was his reluctance to acknowledge that an incoming rookie might be a better football player than the one already on the roster. Competition is a great motivator and I understand the concept of making a guy earn it. But if you're worried about a player feeling entitled to a spot just because he was drafted, then you probably drafted the wrong player in the first place.
• Watching Miami give up their second round pick (42) to Oakland to move up from #12 to #3, the natural thought is to wonder why the Cardinals didn't do the same thing to go get their tackle. Then you wake up this morning and see the wealth of options available at #38 and you're thrilled (at least I was) that they stayed put. On a team with as many holes as the Cardinals, trading two starters for one just wasn't the right play. The Cards didn't have a second rounder last year and it hurt.
• Speaking of today, it's difficult to predict what the Cardinals will do today. It's like an M. Night Shyamalan movie. You know the surprise is coming; now you're just trying to figure out what it is. I'd be surprised, and disappointed, if it's a QB.
The news of Lance Blanks and the Phoenix Suns parting ways (and what precisely that means is unknown as I write this -- was he fired? Reassigned?) is stunning in only one regard; it means the three amigos, the three L's of Suns basketball, Lon, Lance and Lindsey, are breaking up. It was so easy and convenient to assume they were a package deal and it's encouraging to see that Babby can read the handwriting on the wall just as clearly as the next guy.
Simply put, Blanks had done nothing to earn the opportunity to make one more important decision. You couldn't entrust a high lottery pick with the same decision maker who gave Michael Beasley $18 million or decided, in sloppy fashion, that Lindsey Hunter was to be his handpicked coach.
And so Babby, empowered by his new deal, came to the conclusion that many had reached long ago -- the Suns can do better. Good for him for resisting what could have been a comfortable urge to give Blanks one more chance and instead opt to venture into undiscovered territory. Not that this absolves Babby from all responsibility but if talent evaluation is the problem, go hire a better evaluator. Clearly one is needed.
As for Hunter, it's easy to assume (or hope) that with a new GM comes a new coach. Presumably, Hunter just lost his biggest advocate in Blanks. Remember though, that the structure of the Suns front office is anything but typical or traditional. It's hard for me to envision it, but perhaps he stays.
What I'm curious to see now is how the rest of the league views this opening -- a question that will be answered by the candidates it attracts.
From my idealistic perception, I see the job as an opportunity to man an organization that has the fourth-highest win percentage in the history of the NBA. A once proud franchise in desperate need of a breath of fresh air akin to the James Bond or Star Trek reboots.
The pessimist in me sees a business that might have a tough time attracting top talent. A lot of capable people have walked in, and out, of those doors over the last few years. The notion of the Suns as a destination organization feels as quaint as catching a John Hughes movie on late night cable.
Whether the Suns dream big (Phil Jackson), bold (Grant Hill), bizarre (Charles Barkley) or bland (an assistant GM somewhere waiting for his big break), make no mistake -- keeping Blanks was an untenable option, one that would have elicited the worst of all reactions.
Ken Kendrick's controversial decision to force fans sitting in the most visible of all seats at Chase Field to cover their Dodgers gear with merchandise fresh from the D-backs Team Shop got me thinking about that date.
December 23, 1993.
On that day, a die-hard Suns fan living in Seattle went to a Suns/Sonics game at the old Key Arena, pulling for the team he had loved his entire life. He watched that team get 27 points (he had to look it up, he admits sheepishly) from Dan Majerle on 7-of-11 shooting from behind the three-point stripe. He was loving the fact that players he hated -- guys like Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp and Detlef Schrempf -- lost on their home floor.
And yes, I was wearing my Suns gear. The shirt I'm wearing in this photo as a matter of fact.
Justin Upton's torrid start. Ken Kendrick's dress code. The latest Cardinals draft rumors. Tiger's gaffe.
Blah. Blah. Blah.
Normally I'm watching ESPN and the MLB Network; today I'm glued to CNN. Normally I'm following the twitter accounts of Pro Football Talk and Sports Illustrated. Today it's the Boston Globe.
The bombing took place while we were on the air Monday, and ever since I have found my interest in anything outside the horror in Boston to be waning.
We'll return to our regular scheduled programming soon; likely as early as Tuesday's Burns and Gambo show when I'm sure we'll be much more focused on our usual topics. But I did want to share with you one of the items I read yesterday that really stuck with me. Can't explain why.
I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, "Well, I've had it with humanity."
But I was wrong. I don't know what's going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.
But here's what I DO know. If it's one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness.
But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago.
So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, "The good outnumber you, and we always will."
A struggling organization fires a popular leader and replaces him with the handpicked, my-guy-replacement that is short on experience or proven success but is long on front office endorsements.
The stories of Lindsey Hunter and A.J. Hinch are similar, but with one distinct difference. And it's that difference that gives the Suns the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of their next door neighbors.
With Hinch, the D-backs had made it clear: he was the manager, not the interim guy. It was decision that even at the time made a debatable hire even more dubious. Nothing about Hinch ever felt right. From his lack of experience to the absence of a buy-in from the players or fans, Hinch was a stranger in a strange land.
I'm sure this sounds awfully familiar for Suns fans. And after reading Gambo's blog, the similarities are striking.
The difference is that the Suns are not tied to Hunter the way the D-backs were to Hinch. They have a choice to make and an opportunity to recognize what the D-backs could not.
For the haters, it has done nothing but strengthen their position. For the true believers, an unavoidably uncomfortable pall has been cast on the first week of the season.
Have you seen the start Justin Upton is off to?
It's a silly question; like asking if you've seen the Peterbilt truck parked in your living room. Kinda hard to miss.
After a 4-for-4 night on Monday, Upton is now batting .423 with six homers in seven games and a robust OPS of 1.641. It won't last, of course, but that's not the point. In the rush to declare a winner of the trade, it's real easy to point to the Braves. I'm pretty sure even Karl Rove would approve.
Or is it that simple?
After all, I could easily counter with a reminder that the D-backs have won five of seven to start the year. Or point out that entering Tuesday, the D-backs are tied for first in hits in all of major league baseball, 5th in runs scored, 6th in batting average and 9th in OPS.
They rank ahead of Atlanta in all of those categories.
I'd be a fool to use those stats as proof of a win for Kevin Towers and Gibby-Ball without the requisite reminder that we're one week into the season. It's early; an argument that applies equally to Upton and the D-backs.
In reality, nothing has changed. If you hated the deal, you still hate the deal. If you loved it, you still love it. Nothing has happened yet to swing the argument. That, of course, will change depending on who cools off first.
As long as the D-backs keep hitting and, more importantly, keep winning, the team and its fans can tolerate Upton's hot start.
These days, it's a real challenge being a Suns fan.
The mere act of watching a game can be tough to stomach. Ten losses of 25 points or more, including seven under interim coach Lindsay Hunter. The season has been reduced to a giant calendar with each game representing another opportunity to cross a day off with a black sharpie. It can't end soon enough.
The challenge comes in assessing what's next -- and what we, as fans, want.
If the goal is to lose games and amass draft picks, the current regime has been exceptional at it. Lance Blanks has assembled one of the worst teams in the rich history of this organization and Hunter has doubled the number of blowout losses incurred by his predecessor Alvin Gentry. Between the timely "resting" of Goran Dragic and the injury to Marcin Gortat, the Suns have virtually assured themselves of a top-five pick and a decent shot at a top-three selection.
Some of the radicals have suggested that if the Suns were to follow up this masterpiece of awfulness with an encore, it would be even more helpful. I guess this Andrew Wiggins kid is that good.
Perhaps. But for that core group of fans who still care -- the ones who were upset that Dragic didn't play at home in front of paying customers who expect more -- questions remain. What exactly has Hunter done to validate being handed the job permanently? What key decisions has Blanks made that empower him with the trust that he'll get the next one right? How can you sell either one of them as saviors to your fans?
These are the questions that Lon Babby, armed with a contract extension, has to wrestle with.
The guess here is that if the Lon, Lance, Lindsay trifecta remains intact, some fans will be outraged, an even smaller group will rejoice in the abyss and most will simply shrug their shoulders and react with indifference.
Remember last season, when the Arizona Cardinals were scuffling with injuries at the running back position? Struggling with poor performance at the left tackle position? Do you remember what the Cardinals did about it?
If you can't, it's okay. Because they didn't do anything about it. Like the poets in Springsteen's "Jungleland", they just stood back and let it all be.
When viewed through that prism, the Carson Palmer trade requires no thought. The Cardinals had a chance to upgrade the position and they did. Why wouldn't they make this deal?
I argued a week ago that it all depended on how much money they paid him. Ten million is more coin than I would have expected or maybe even wanted them to spend, but what do I care. Ain't my money.
My co-host John Gambadoro argues that Palmer is just another stop-gap, band-aid guy for an organization whose history is littered with them. Perhaps. But he's better than what they had. A position that says much more about Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley, Brian Hoyer and Drew Stanton than it does about Palmer, but that's irrelevant.