With the 13th overall pick in this year’s draft, can the Cardinals afford to repeat their strategy with their last two first-round picks?
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Shot Clock: azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Kent Somers have the latest on the Cardinals draft and the reinstatement of Daryl Washington.
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The Cardinals are hosting draft parties Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at the Great Lawn outside of University of Phoenix Stadium.
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The Cardinals have the No. 13 pick in Thursday’s NFL draft. Several players are linked to the team in many mock drafts.
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azcentral sports’ Kent Somers and Jay Dieffenbach discuss possible Cardinals strategy in the NFL draft, views on picking a quarterback and more.
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Bob McManaman selects his top five defensive backs for the 2017 NFL draft.
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Bob McManaman ranks the top special teams players in the upcoming draft.
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azcentral sports’ Bob McManaman chooses the top five linebacker prospects in the 2017 NFL draft. (Photos by USA Today)
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Arizona Cardinals’ general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians have found some of their best players in the third round.
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Arizona Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald and Chandler Jones discuss the importance of giving back and some bets amongst Cardinals players before the Larry Fitzgerald Celebrity Softball Game on Saturday at Salt River Fields. Patrick Breen/azcentral sports
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Cardinals GM Steve Keim has a tough task when it comes to finding quality talent and character to add to the team through the draft.
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azcentral sports Cardinals insider Kent Somers talks with Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Fostee Rucker. || Video by Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Cardinals defensive tackle Frostee Rucker discusses learning from last year’s expectations and adding Karlos Dansby and other veterans. Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Sarah McLellan discuss whether character matters when evaluating talent for drafts.
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Breaking down the top three games of the Cardinals’ 2017 season.
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An in-depth look at the countless different variables that are factored into the NFL’s creation of its 256-game regular-season schedule.
USA TODAY Sports
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Shot Clock: azcentral sports’ Kent Somers and Bob McManaman discuss the Cardinals’ potential use (or overuse?) of running back David Johnson.
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Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill talks about golf and the NFL draft at Cardinals annula golf outing. Video: Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is ready for the 2017 NFL schedule to be announced.
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Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim talk about the upcoming NFL draft. || David Kadlubowski/azcentral.com
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss Carmelo, a dancer, and the Cards’ quiet, classy young superstar.
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azcentral sports’ Kent Somers and the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald discuss Fitzgerald’s charity softball tournament on Saturday.
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The Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald joined azcentral sports’ Kent Somers to discuss the team and the upcoming season.
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The Arizona Republic presents its top 5 QBs available in the 2017 NFL Draft.
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Scott Bordow sizes up the first day of strength and conditioning for the Arizona Cardinals at their training facility in Tempe. Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Jay Dieffenbach and Kent Somers go over Arizona Cardinals First round pick.
Diana Payan/ azcentral.com
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The Cardinals keep bringing in QBs. What does it mean? Mark Faller and Bob McManaman discuss the team and the NFL draft.
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Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss the University of Phoenix getting out of its sponsorship deal with the Cardinals’ stadium and the tanking Suns.
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USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero recaps the NFL owners meeting and the proposed league rule changes.
USA TODAY Sports
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Bob McManaman and Kent Somers at the NFL owners meetings on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Bruce Arianas likes full-time officials, centralized replay and says there’s 1 QB in upcoming draft who’s plug-and-play. Video: Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ Dan Bickley discusses the NFL’s commercial breaks, kickers and touchdowns celebrations, as well as Tom Brady and the Cardinals drafting a QB.
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Coaches of the National Football Conference take questions from the media in Phoenix on March 29, 2017. Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers and other reporters talk with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians at the NFC coaches breakfast on Wednesday at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. Video by Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ Dan Bickley talks about the NFL moving the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas.
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Bob McManaman of azcentral sports talks to AFC coaches at the annual NFL owners meeting at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Bob McManaman and Kent Somers at the NFL owner’s meetings: Coaches of AFC teams meet the media at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Video: Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Cardinals coach Bruce Arians discusses free agency, quarterbacks and cornerbacks in the draft on Wednesday night. Kent Somers/azcentral sports
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Cardinals GM Steve Keim discusses this year’s rookie quarterback class ahead of the NFL draft on Wednesday night. Kent Somers/azcentral sports
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Can Cardinals afford to be patient with another first-round pick?
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What to know about the Cardinals’ draft party
NFL mock drafts: Popular picks for Arizona Cardinals
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Top 5 defensive backs of 2017 NFL draft
Top 5 special teams players of 2017 NFL draft
NFL draft’s top 5 linebacker prospects
Keim, Arians striking gold in draft’s third round
Larry Fitzgerald, Chandler Jones talk about Celebrity Softball Game
Cardinals looking for ‘football character’ in NFL draft
Kent Somers talks with Cardinals DT Frostee Rucker
Cardinals DT Frostee Rucker on expectations, adding Karlos Dansby
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Top 3 games in Cardinals schedule
How the NFL schedule is made
Cards playing dangerous game with RB Johnson?
Cardinals president Michael Bidwill talks about golf, NFL draft
Bruce Arians wants to know date of London game
Keim on Cardinals’ NFL draft prep
Shot Clock: New face of Cardinals franchise?
Larry Fitzgerald holding 7th annual charity softball tournament
Larry Fitzgerald 1-on-1 with Kent Somers
Top 5 quarterbacks in the 2017 NFL Draft
Cardinals begin strength and conditioning program
NFL Draft: We are (almost) on the clock
Shot Clock: QB for Cardinals at No. 13 in NFL draft?
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Bob McManaman talks to AFC coaches
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Cardinals’ Arians talks free agency and draft
Cardinals GM Keim on draft’s QBs
The concept of redshirting – having an athlete sit out a year to become stronger, faster and smarter – typically is associated with college sports, not the NFL.
Yet the Cardinals have employed the tactic with many of their selections in the past two drafts. Tackle D.J. Humphries, the first-round pick in 2015, didn’t play at all his rookie year. Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, last year’s first-rounder, played in just five games last season.
In the Cardinals’ view, neither player was mature enough physically and mentally to contribute much, if anything, as rookies.
But Humphries and Nkemdiche were taken near the bottom of the first round, Humphries 24th overall and Nkemdiche 29th.
NFL MOCK DRAFT: Bob McManaman’s final picks for the first round
The higher the pick, the greater the expectations. It’s questionable whether the Cardinals can repeat the practice of redshirting this year. They pick 13th overall, and a player taken that high usually is expected to contribute something in the first year, and the Cardinals could use the immediate infusion since they lost five defensive starters in free agency.
Coach Bruce Arians and General Manager Steve Keim, however, won’t be putting that kind of pressure on their first-round pick. If it’s a quarterback, he will sit for at least a year as long as Carson Palmer is healthy. If it’s a player at another position, the Cardinals aren’t expecting him to step in and start, although that would be nice.
Arians believes the roster is deep enough that rookies won’t be forced into the lineup early.
RELATED: Cardinals GM Keim loves draft-day trades, but is he any good at making them?
“I don’t think there is any doubt,” he said.
The Cardinals redshirted most of last year’s rookie class, not just Nkemdiche. The six players started a total of four games, and three of those belonged to cornerback Brandon Williams, who was benched. Only one drafted player, center Evan Boehm, played in every game, and most of his action came on special teams.
Five members of the class remain; safety Marquis Christian was released during the season. Arians is confident those five will make bigger contributions after being in the system for a year.
“If you look at Brandon, who got thrown in early last year and had a rough game because of communication,” Arians said. “Not because of skill but because of a (missed) signal. He busted a coverage and gave up a touchdown.
“His skill is fine. He played his ass off in Seattle in December, playing man to man against those guys. So, it is all about deciphering the amount of information that is going to get thrown at them.”
MORE: Is 2018, not 2017, a better year for Cardinals to draft a QB?
To illustrate, Arians held his hand just above a table.
“College playbooks are like this,” he said. Then he moved his hand considerably higher. “NFL playbooks look like that.”
The Cardinals insist they weren’t disappointed that Humphries and Nkemdiche didn’t contribute as rookies, although Arians criticized both early in their careers for lack of maturity. Humphries had a better reason for a slow start than Nkemdiche, however. It’s harder to play offensive tackle than defensive tackle as a rookie.
Coaches never penciled in Humphries as a starter, or even as a rotational player.
They did, however, expect Nkemdiche to play a role, around 20 to 30 snaps a game.
By late last season, Arians was praising Nkemdiche for his improvement, and the expectation is he will make the same amount of improvement from Year 1 to Year 2. They need him to do that because defensive tackle Calais Campbell left via free agency.
FINAL PICKS: Who experts have Cardinals taking in the first round
But can they afford to be as patient with a player taken 13th overall? Arians said they can, just like they were with Humphries and Nkemdiche.
“They are really good players,” Arians said of Humphries and Nkemdiche. “And they are going to be great players, but that does not necessarily happen their rookie year.”
The Cardinals host their draft party on the Great Lawn outside University of Phoenix Stadium from 4:30-9 p.m.
There is no admission charge, and fans can watch NFL Network’s live draft coverage on video boards.
Among the attractions:
Kid’s Interactive Zone: Featuring combine activities and inflatables
Autographs: Cardinals players, coaches and cheerleaders will sign autographs and pose for pictures
Carnival Rides: Various carnival rides and games will be available for fans to enjoy
Entertainment: Options include a 150-foot zipline along with face painters and balloon artists for guests
The Great Lawn opens at 4:30 p.m. and the draft begins at 5 p.m. Free parking will be available in the West (Orange) carpark at the stadium.
The party continues along with Day 2 and Day 3 of the draft. Friday night’s festivities will take place from 4-9:30 p.m. and Saturday night’s events are scheduled from 5-10 p.m.
There will be live music on both Friday and Saturday night. Food and beverage options.