Throughout this week NFL owners, general managers, coaches and scouts will be wrapping up their preparation for the draft and finish the detailed decision making process with their big boards.
Many will have a precise idea of what they are going to do on Thursday night when the first round begins.
As always, a-snap-of-the-finger-15-minutes-to-think-about-it decision will be made that may very well set up — good or bad — the next 15 years of your franchise.
The decision with the most riding on it has to do with the most important position in all of sports. Do you take a quarterback, and if you do, which one do you take?
This year it seems the question is Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert — at least for the Arizona Cardinals’ sake on Thursday evening.
I’m hoping and going with wishful thinking that the Cardinals — well, Ken Whisenhunt — don’t have to make that decision.
Is the risk worth the reward?
When taking a quarterback in the first round, let alone the top five, you leave yourself a Grand Canyon-sized opportunity for failure.
It’s just too much of a risk for what your potential reward is — especially this year (at least until they become Hall of Famers and I look like an idiot).
The pressure, expectations and responsibility will be there starting Friday morning. Good luck kid — and coach.
So, now let’s get back to Whisenhunt and the Cardinals.
To me their best-case scenario is seeing both Newton and Gabbert already off the board by the time they are on the clock.
Force them to make a decision on Von Miller, Patrick Peterson, Robert Quinn or another playmaking defensive player.
Am I bailing the Cardinals out from having to make what would be a crucial decision?
Sure, go ahead and look at it that way.
When it comes down to it, I am looking for the safer pick. Any of the aforementioned defensive players could be a bust; there is no doubt about that.
But the risk of a quarterback being picked fifth and turning out to be a bust that hurts your football team for years to come is much more likely.
This year is even worse. A quarterback gets picked on Thursday night and then what?
Nothing. That’s what.
I wrote about it two months ago and am sticking by it now. If there is not an agreement by the end of the draft we are going to start seeing the effects of the lockout have a direct impact on what will happen on Sundays this fall.
The Cardinals have too many gaping holes and issues for their first-round pick to be slow at developing and sitting the bench once they finally get to play football next fall. I want — and will expect — their first-rounder to be on the two-deep of the depth chart and flying around the field for Ray Horton’s defense right away.
If a quarterback is selected then my expectations will have to be held back. I don’t want to do that. Not coming off a 5-11 season in a winnable division and what I will assume will be a very winnable division again this upcoming season.
Please, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, do the Cardinals a favor and take the decision out of their hands.
They will silently thank you.
What I learned this week…
Nebraska has a kid who should be headed to his senior high school prom and instead he stole the show — literally — at their spring game last Saturday.
Jamal Turner made an impact with four catches for 93 yards, a 59-yard punt return and had a 54-yard kickoff return. Oh, and the show was him doing a flip in the endzone after scoring a touchdown. Welcome to Lincoln, kid.
Tweet of the week…
This is what I woke up to early Saturday morning. When I later learned the Miami Dolphins could have no contact with Brandon Marshall — except for the team doctor — I realized another reason of how dumb this lockout is. Coaches are advisors, best friends, confidants, father figures and mentors. In a potential life threatening situation they have to sit back and watch. Just wrong.
Details still coming into ESPN, but Dolphins WR Brandon Marshal was stabbed and taken to a hospital, where he has been in intensive care.
Suggestion of the week…
This time-lapsed footage of the Milky Way was taken earlier this month.