ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals remote draft situation pushing team out of comfort zone

Apr 16, 2020, 10:02 AM
Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim speaks during a press conference at the NFL football s...
Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

As sports teams work around the coronavirus outbreak, the Arizona Cardinals are not immune to those challenges.

The NFL Draft will take place April 23-25 and Cardinals personnel will be working remotely from their homes to select this year’s draftees.

“In some cases, I think it’s good to jump outside of your comfort zone and there are certainly some things that I’ve learned from this process that we’ll certainly apply to future drafts,” Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim told the media on a Zoom call Wednesday.

Ahead of the draft, the Cardinals IT department and scouts have worked to make sure that the team’s equipped with everything they’d use in the war room.

All of the boards have been replicated for smaller monitors and Keim, head coach Kliff Kingsbury and president Michael Bidwill will be in constant communication with the coaches and scouts.

“Really we have no excuses,” Keim said. “I feel like we’re going to come away with several good players in this draft.”

Keim said they have plans in place in case technology fails, like creating back up draft boards and writing out draft prospect information on individual note cards.

“It kind of takes me back to my young scouting days and it’s also in some ways like learning as a child,” Keim said. “As you’re writing out these names on draft cards, it sort of makes you a little more familiar with the player. That part of the process has been fun.”

In the meantime, Keim said he also has additional help while working from home.

“Unfortunately, three of my sons think they know more about the draft than I do, so on a daily basis I get their updated top-15, who we should take, a lot of comments that I’m trash — so they would agree with a lot of the fans out there,” Keim joked.

The change to a remote draft has also affected their pre-draft preparation.

Generally, the team is used to spending a lot of time on the road visiting prospects at their pro days. This year, they’ve had to rely heavily on watching tape and meeting with potential draftees virtually.

“I think with technology these days, it feels like it is in person,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters last week. “You have the Facetimes, you have the Zoom meetings — your sitdowns become that.

“And honestly, a lot of these kids are more comfortable with doing that. They’re on Facetime 12 hours a day with their friends and people, and so you get the most comfortable version of them in that Facetime, honestly.”

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