TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians were not ready to divulge who they would like to draft next week when they spoke to the media Thursday at their Tempe training facility.
They did, however, narrow the list down a bit.
“We started this process last May with our college scouts who went on the road and looked at 13,000 names across college campuses, seniors and draft eligible juniors,” Keim said. “And whittled that number down to a little less than 2,000 NFL prospects for us.
“We went to the board with about 591 players and just this morning we finished up with 120 players on our draft board, so we’ll draft off that board that has 120 players.”
Go ahead and adjust your mock draft accordingly.
As of now, the Cardinals have just six picks in the draft, with their first selection being the 20th overall.
The second-year GM said there are at least 20 players they like in this draft, guys who would fit with their roster and make an impact in 2014.
What position they play, though, is still a mystery. That’s a good thing.
Coming off a 10-6 season, the Cardinals don’t really have any obvious needs. Yes, they could afford to improve along the offensive line. They probably wouldn’t mind adding a pass rushing linebacker or a safety, either. And according to many analysts, the team may be after its quarterback of the future next week.
“The guy that has the most passion, the best football player available because we really don’t have a glaring need,” Arians said of what he’s looking for at 20. “And a guy that would play for free; a guy that loves to play the game.
“You’re going to pay him anyway, but he’d play for free. He brings that kind of passion and excitement to your building.”
The team could really go in any direction, which is not a bad thing considering that at pick number 20, a lot is going to happen before they have a chance to make a selection. But that’s where having a list like the Cardinals do — that goes to 120 but has at least 20 players they are really high on — comes in handy. There won’t be any reason to panic into moving up to nab a guy or worry that their target will be taken. If it happens, just move on to the next one on the list.
“You’ve just got to be patient and trust your board,” Keim said. “I think if you trust the way that you have the players ranked, you know that at the end of the day we’re going to get one of those players ranked one through 20, and we feel good about every one of those guys.”