The NFL Draft gets underway one week from Thursday and the Arizona Cardinals feel good about the time and energy they’ve put into researching picks. After all, knowing is half the battle and both general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians know who and what they want heading into April 25th.
“It’s been a great process for us so far, we’ve had some productive meetings. Looking at the process starting back to last June, our scouts started on the road, accumulating information,” Keim said on Thursday. “I looked in the system the other day and we had approximately thirty-one hundred reports in there so it goes to show you that we’ve done our due diligence and have been very productive moving forward.”
This is the first draft for Keim and Arians together in their new roles, but Keim has been with the team since 1999 when he joined the club as a regional scout. Keim was promoted to director of player personnel heading into the 2009 draft. Since then, the Cardinals have selected 30 players, 19 of whom remain with the team heading into the 2013 season.
Since Keim and Arians secured their new positions back in January, there’s been discussion about the upcoming draft and whether or not you select players based on need. Arians seems to think that’s a fine line and a bit of a balancing act.
“You’ll have four or five guys graded within a fraction of each other. If one of them is a need position, then obviously that would take precedent over a strength on your team already. I think they’ve done a fantastic job at setting the board,” he said. “But if all the offensive lineman go flying off the board like all the prognosticators (say they will), ‘hey, we’re going to go get a tackle,’ he might be a third round grade, just cause you need a tackle? That’s when you start having problems.”
Keim has been doing this a long time and he has some thoughts on how the draft board should be put together.
“I think setting your board is like evaluating a player. There’s a certain point where you can overthink it,” Keim said. “If you get to a point where you start maneuvering your board and you start moving cards around, there’s a chance that you’re going to over-think it and you’re going to make a poor decision. Sometimes your first instinct is the best decision.”
Heading into the draft, Keim, Arians and the entire Cardinals staff seem to be on the same page when it comes to the evaluation process.
“Our coaching staff has added another 287 reports and our board is shaping up very good for us. We’re not quite finished, but the hay is almost in the barn, as some would say and we’re very excited about the draft next Thursday,” Keim said.