‘Cardinals Flight Plan’ highlights Isaiah Simmons, Josh Jones picks
May 9, 2020, 2:56 PM | Updated: May 11, 2020, 7:14 am
Episode 3 of Cardinals Flight Plan 2020 gave Arizona Cardinals fans an inside look into what was received by many as a highly productive 2020 NFL Draft.
Although the coronavirus forced an unconventional execution of draft day, the selections seemed to evoke equal excitement for team president Michael Bidwill, general manager Steve Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Starting with first-round pick Isaiah Simmons at No. 8 overall and moving right along to third-round pick Josh Jones at No. 72 overall, the Cardinals found great value in the first two days.
“It fell just right for us. We were able to land a guy we certainly had in the top five on our board,” Keim said about Simmons.
Behind the scenes footage from interviews at the NFL combine show Simmons breaking down his multiple assignments and positions, during his time at Clemson.
Simmons’ versatility was on full display as he discussed spying on quarterbacks, covering running backs out of the flat and lining up at free safety and linebacker.
It left a good impression with Kingsbury immediately after the interview.
“I’m good with that one at eight, if y’all are,” Kingsbury said.
Josh Jones’ interview with Arizona was also impressive to Cardinals offensive line coach Sean Kugler, who ran through different fronts and terminology with Jones, quizzing the tackle at the end of it. Jones passed with flying colors.
“He’s impressive,” Kugler said as Jones walked out of the room.
The Cardinals did not expect Jones to fall to the third round but as the No. 72 pick approached, they knew they had their target.
“I just called my boy, the O-line coach (at Houston), and he just kept saying ‘I swear to you your gonna love him!'” Kingsbury said.
With pick No. 70, the Miami Dolphins were the last real threat in Keim’s eyes to snatch Jones from the Cardinals. The Ravens at No. 71 were already set at the position.
“Unless there’s a trade up, Baltimore has Orlando Brown and the kid from Notre Dame Ronnie Stanley,” Keim said.
When the Dolphins took safety Brandon Jones from Texas, the Cardinals just about new they had their man.
“He’s our 21st-rated player,” Keim said.
The video then detailed the four other draft picks, including fourth-round defensive tackles Leki Fotu and Rashard Lawrence, sixth-round linebacker Evan Weaver and former ASU running back Eno Benjamin in the seventh round.
“The Cardinals said they are gonna pick me. I’m coming back to AZ, bro,” Benjamin said.
One of the secret weapons Keim unveiled to the Cardinals draft success might have been his 14-year-old son Carson. Keim challenged him to write scouting reports on the top 15 players using the Cardinals grading scale.
“When I look back on it his stacking wasn’t much different than mine,” Keim said.
Carson’s report: “Incredibly fast, he’s versatile and can play sideline-to-sideline. He can rush the quarterback and he can play man against anyone on the field.
“I gave him a 9.2.”
Carson also unveiled a shirt by State 48 with the now-famous image of Kingsbury’s draft-day set up with his sockless loafers perched on a coffee table at his Paradise Valley home.
The episode finishes with Larry Fitzgerald delivering food from Steak 44, Ocean 44 and Dominick’s Steakhouse to families throughout the Valley amid coronavirus, demonstrating how the Cardinals have been active in helping the community deal with the unusual circumstances.
“My marching orders to the rest of organization were, No. 1, let’s keep us safe and our fans safe and everyone else, and No. 2, let’s maximize the community impact we can have for the rest of Arizona and I’m really proud of how we’ve come together,” Bidwill said.