Latest ‘Cardinals Flight Plan’ episode details Hopkins trade, draft strategy

Apr 16, 2020, 8:53 PM | Updated: 8:56 pm

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Still doesn’t seem real, does it?

But the All-Pro receiver wasn’t the only focus during the newest edition of “Cardinals Flight Plan” on Thursday night.

The second episode of season three showed some behind-the-scenes action of Arizona’s front office as it prepares for the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft.

The first stop was January’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, in which assistant director of player personnel Dru Grigson and area scout John Mancini discuss their process of ranking players.

“Hone in on all the guys that were interested in and really narrow it down to guys we believe we can win with,” Mancini said.

Following the Senior Bowl, all eyes were on the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

General manager Steve Keim revealed that the team had booklets made for every player that entered their interview suite.

“We don’t miss on the talent, that’s easy, that’s on the tape,” director of player personnel Quentin Harris said.

“We miss on the person. I want to know what makes this guy tick. What’s his motivation? Is he smart enough? Is he passionate in what he wants? Are they willing to put in the work to be better?”

The next stop on the NFL calendar brings free agency and trades, two areas the Cardinals had no problem making a splash in.

Not only did the team sign defensive linemen Devon Kenard and Jordan Phillips in free agency, but Keim was also able to acquire Hopkins via trade while simultaneously unloading the entirety of David Johnson’s contract.

But then COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, halted the entire sports world in an unprecedented fashion.

“To be able to have [Hopkins] as a teammate is going to be something special,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said.

“But honestly, it’s really difficult to get excited about anything with everything that’s transpiring around us. You really see how unimportant sports are during times like this. People are losing their lives, the economy is going crazy right now. So it’s difficult to put it all in perspective.”

The last act of the episode shows a video call in which Keim discusses their plans for their draft room and board for the never-before-seen all-virtual NFL Draft.

“As challenging as this may be, our IT department has certainly been the MVP here,” Keim said.

The general manager went on to say that because the front office hasn’t been able to fly across the country to meet with players due to COVID-19, the ability to do remote interviews with potential draftees has allotted even more information to be gained than if they had met in person.

“Adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it,” president Michael Bidwill said quoting his favorite 19th-century author.

“And I think that’s so true with some of the frontline health care workers, doctors, nurses, tech support that are at hospitals that are on the frontline and fighting this virus for us. I think it’s great.”

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