Future playmakers found in the late rounds of NFC/AFC West drafts

Dayna O’Gorman
Senior NFL Reporter

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

When people talk about NFL stars who were found in the late rounds of the draft, there are a few names that are always brought up. Tom Brady, Richard Sherman, Bo Jackson, Terrell Davis… it’s a long list. The western divisions in both conferences have a tendency to find these players regularly and turn them into superstars. Let’s take a look at this year’s picks and see if there could be another future star.

You can find an entire list of AFC draft picks for each team here.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs have found some fantastic late round steals in the past. KR Dante Hall, DE Jared Allen, and most recently G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. This year late round gem could also be an offensive line player.

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What will the Cardinals do with their draft pick?

Marquita Quinones
NFL reporter

By Marquita Quinones //@LatinLove729

I can’t believe it but the 2019 NFL Draft is only days from now, and you best believe there is going to be a lot of action going on. NFL is already full of buzz around the potential first round picks and the Arizona Cardinals are the focus of that buzz.

Many experts believe that the Arizona Cardinals will choose quarterback Kyler Murray as their number one pick. As expected, the Cardinals are staying quiet and are taking a stance on not knowing where the organization stands with the first overall pick. 

“We are not done with this process,” general manager Steve Keim said, per Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith. “We have not made a decision on the first overall pick. There are a number of players in my opinion, and our scouts’ opinion, and our coaching staff’s opinion, that warrant being the first overall selection.”

Keim may portray the team as undecided as to who they will choose at number one but the majority of analysts agree that Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray is the right choice. Murray has been viewed as a projected franchise QB. If the Cardinals want to be in the mix of playoff talks, they can’t pass on the opportunity of a player who is deemed to be an NFL starter.

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The Eight “Rookie” Head Coaches of 2019

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor

 

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

This season an unprecedented eight NFL teams will have new head coaches. And for six of these coaches, it will be their first time running the whole show.

Bruce Arians has stepped out of the booth and back onto the field in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have floundered recently and Jameis Winston hasn’t grown or flourished the way we expected him to when he was drafted in 2015. Perhaps promoting former NFL QB turned offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will be the first step in turning Winston around.

But the seven other coaches have their work cut out for them. Let’s take a look at these “rookies” and, maybe the biggest key to their success, who will be under center as they take the field.

This week’s Blitzed Insider’s featured article!

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Could a defensive player be the first pick in the Draft?

Lisa Johnson
Senior Sports Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303

If you’re a person that believes defenses win championships, then this 2019 NFL draft is right up your alley.

This is one of the most top-heavy defensive drafts I’ve seen in quite a while. With the exception of Kyler Murray, who declared 2 weeks ago for the draft, several NFL mocks had eight of the top ten picks being defensive players. Now, how this all really turns out is anyone’s guess, but… it’s interesting.

A lot can happen before we hear the commissioner declare that the Arizona Cardinal’s are on the clock, and you’ll be hearing a lot of names before then, so let’s just start with the two popular names being heard around the league.

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New, Young Head Coaches Smart to Add Veteran Coordinators

Dayna O’Gorman
Senior Sports Reporter

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

With the success that the NFL’s youngest head coach, LA Rams HC Sean McVey, it was no surprise NFL owners wanted to try to find the same needle in a haystack. This offseason brought a fury of hirings of young head coaches. Smartly, those coaches are looking to veteran coordinators to fill out their coaching staff.

While teams like Tampa Bay decided to go with a veteran head coach in Bruce Arians, most other coach-needy teams decided to go young. Arizona, Green Bay, Miami, and Cincinnati have all hired coaches between the ages of 35 – 39.

Not that age has anything to do with coaching, but it does have to do with experience. Bringing in veteran coordinators and specialist not only is savvy, but it allows the HCs to be educated by some of the best.

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After a season to forget, the Cardinals have options for 2019

Dayna O’Gorman
Senior Sports Reporter

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

There wasn’t a lot to say about the Arizona Cardinals in 2018. Honestly, it was basically a throwaway season. However, with the Cards having a new coach and the first pick in the draft, can 2019 bring a turnaround?

After going 3-13, the Cardinals knew things had to change. They started with firing head coach Steve Wilks after just one season, and hiring college football coach, Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury started coaching in 2008 moving from the University of Houston, then on to Texas A&M, and finally to Texas Tech. He had been hired as the offensive coordinator at USC in December, but obviously, let that go to coach at the NFL level.

Reaction to the Kingsbury hire was, to say the least, cool from fans and media. However, he coached quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield, Johnny Manziel, and Case Keenum. So there is reason to think his system could carry over to the NFL. Add to that the fact they brought in former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph as defensive coordinator, this team has a completely fresh start in coaching.

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Wilks fired in Arizona after just one season

Dayna O’Gorman Senior Sports Editor

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

Steve Wilks is out as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals after just one season. Wilks will be the first one and done head coach since Chip Kelly’s firing in San Francisco two years ago.

Wilks started his coaching career at the college level for Savannah State University. He then moved up to the NFL, working for the Chicago Bears and the San Diego Chargers. When Ron Rivera became head coach for the Carolina Panthers, he brought Wilks with him, moving up from secondary coach to assistant head coach in 2015.

Wilks interviewed with both the Los Angeles Rams and the New York Giants before landing the job in Arizona.

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Goff gets back in rhythm leading the Rams to a 31-9 victory

Lucy Rendler-Kaplan
LA Rams Reporter

By Lucy Rendler-Kaplan //@lucyRK78

Rams 31 – Cardinals 9

Admit it. You (read: ME!) were a bit scared upon learning that LA Rams running back Todd Gurley wasn’t going to be playing Sunday. Sidelined with a bum left knee, I WAS nervous that might have the potential to lead us to a third consecutive loss. Luckily, the Rams newest pickup, running back C.J. Anderson more than stepped up in Gurley’s absence, rushing for more than 160 yards and getting a touchdown.

It’s not that I don’t have confidence in the team. I still think the Rams will win the Super Bowl. Losing two games in a row was just so odd and not something we have seen the Rams do this season. So, ok. I got nervous. I’m over it now and when a friend texted me late Sunday night asking “Do you think we can beat the 49ers?” I immediately replied with an enthusiastic “Yes!”

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Larry Fitzgerald to Host Women’s Football Clinic

Calling all Phoenix area women!

On Monday, November 19th, if you’re in the Phoenix area, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will be hosting his 2nd annual Women’s Football Clinic.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn more about football from one of the NFL’s greatest players, and also one of the nicest players.

The football clinic will be open to women 21 and older and will be held at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium from 6:30-10:00 pm Monday, November 19th.

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Chicago Bears Matt Nagy on track his way

Wanda Wiedman, Chicago Bears Reporter

By Wanda Wiedman // @WandaW63

Bears 16 – 14 Cardinals

The expectations for the outcome of Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals were supposed to be low. If you were expecting a blowout, then your expectations were a bit too high. The Bears defeated the Cardinals 16-14 thanks to the defense.

The Bears defense was a little slow at first, including a couple of botched plays in coverage from linebacker Danny Trevathan. Those two ended up in touchdowns. But with some motivation, the Bears defense came alive and held quarterback Sam Bradford to 0 points for the rest of the game.

However, Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky struggled throughout the day, especially when he would drop his eyes the moment the Cardinals would pass rush. He failed to connect on the deep balls but did just enough to lead his team to victory.

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