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.
When it comes to talent on the field, Arizona made sure to keep or bring in some veterans. They re-signed legendary wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to a one year contract, making sure he will finish his career in Arizona. The brought in linebacker Brooks Reed to help build up the defense. But really its only one position that fans are focused on this upcoming year…quarterback.
Last season when Arizona brought in QB Sam Bradford, it caused most to just shake their head. They had drafted QB Josh Rosen in the first round but announced Bradford as the starter. But, as many predicted, Bradford was injured and Rosen had to step in.
While Rosen’s stats weren’t stellar, 55% completion, 11 touchdowns, 2278 yards, they showed some potential. There was some speculation that Kingsbury would look for a different QB with the first pick in the draft, maybe going after Kyler Murray, but they have announced that they planned to roll with Rosen in 2019.
“Every time I’ve turned on the tape, there is something you like and something you can build with.” – Kliff Kingsbury on Josh Rosen https://t.co/pVTiIu4CqL
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) February 15, 2019
That brings up the question, will Arizona trade out of that first draft pick?
Of course, they could keep the pick, draft defensive end Nick Bosa, and no one would think twice. It would be considered a great draft choice. Yet there seems to be many who feel Arizona should turn that pick into extra draft picks or even possibly trading for a player on another team.
Moving back even slightly would be a good move. With the Cardinals not needing a QB, teams such as Jacksonville or even the New York Giants may be eyeing that first pick to find their future franchise signal caller. Josh Rosenblatt of NJ.com did a mock draft that had the Cardinals trading the first pick to the Jaguars, in return getting cornerback Jalen Ramsey and a third-round pick. Although Arizona has added veteran CB Robert Alford so that seems less likely now, it does indicate the type of haul Arizona could get for the pick.
With seven draft picks, but a large number of needs outside of QB and running back, Arizona is truly in the driver’s seat to get what they want. A good haul in the draft could be key to turning this team around in the next few seasons. Let’s just hope the Cardinals front office give their new head coach longer than one season to do it.
Follow Dayna on Twitter // @DaynaOG