After starting the season at 4-0, the Arizona Cardinals finished the season with a 5-11 record. Their self-implosion explains the firings of general manager Rod Graves and head coach Ken Whisenhunt. Graves' understudy, Steve Keim, now has a shot to prove he can right the ship by making key acquisitions during this year's NFL draft.
For the second time in three years, the Cards will be picking in the top 10. The last time the organization had a pick inside the top 10, it selected LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson. So you can imagine how badly it wants to hit on its first-round pick again this year.
Let's evaluate the latest news, rumors and reports regarding Arizona and the 2013 NFL draft.
April 15: Arizona now has a confirmed date for the previously reported Ryan Nassib visit. He will visit the Cardinals on April 15 and April 16 (per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk).
April 13: Darren Urban of of AZCardinals.com is sensing that the Cardinals will not take a quarterback in this year's draft. He believes the reason is because of Carson Palmer.
April 5: Like Nassib, West Virginia's Geno Smith plans on working out for the Cardinals in the near future (per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com).
April 4: No confirmed date on the visit, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib will definitely meet with Arizona's top brass prior to the draft.
April 4: Rapoport of NFL.com reported Matt Barkley worked out for the Cardinals on Saturday, April 6 and Geno Smith will workout for the team very soon.
April 3: According to Tony Pauline of Draftinsider.net, Ezekiel Ansah has a pre-draft workout scheduled with Arizona. No word as to when that exact date is.
Will be updated when breaking news happens.
There's a big difference when talking about who the Arizona Cardinals should take at No. 7, and who they will take. When evaluating this team from a talent standpoint, it's easy to see it needs help in a multitude of areas. Offensive tackle, offensive guard, quarterback and outside linebacker could all stand an upgrade.
Carson Palmer is a bridge quarterback to the future, Adam Snyder needs to be replaced at guard, Nate Potter and Levi Brown don't exactly scream elite and O'Brien Schofield is never going to be DeMarcus Ware. Those are the harsh realities in the desert right now.
So instead of targeting the biggest position of need inside the top 10, Arians and Keim need to target the best player on their board. Whether that's Chance Warmack, Geno Smith, Lane Johnson or Dion Jordan. Which one of those players will impact Arizona the most?
To me, Johnson is that guy. He's an extremely effective pass-protector, he has incredible feet and he can get to blocks on the second level. What's not to like? Some believe the Cardinals simply go offensive guard here because of the high-regard surrounding Warmack.
Warmack would be a great pick, no question, but not at No. 7. Guards just don't go that high in the draft, plain and simple. A franchise left tackle is more valued than a left guard. Whether that's truly the case is up for debate, but that's the way talent evaluators in the NFL see it.