Trading Down Or Moving Up? Keim, Cardinals Look Ahead To NFL Draft

Like many teams ahead of the NFL Draft, there are many questions surrounding the Arizona Cardinals pick at No. 16 overall. 

Does Steve Keim and the organization trade up to make a run at Kyle Pitts or another highly-touted prospect? Or, does the organization go in a different direction to trade down and add more picks?

Remember, the Cardinals do not have a third or fourth-round choice due to the Rodney Hudson and DeAndre Hopkins trades. 

The team gave up its third-rounder to the Raiders for Hudson, while their fourth-round selection was given up as part of the deal to acquire Hopkins.

On a call with media on Thursday, Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury discussed the logistics of the trade up versus trade down hypothetical scenario. 

“If you had to weight it out with six picks and where we’re sitting, I think it’d be more likely to trade back than trade up,” Keim said. “As far as trading back and accumulating more picks, it’s no different than a lottery ticket. The more you have, the better you have a chance to hit.”

Based on Keim’s sentiments, it would seem that the front office is favoring trading down if the situation presented itself. However, many last-second calls can be made and things can change in a matter of minutes come draft night. 

Last week, Football Morning In America’s Peter King dropped in on the Brad Cesmat Show to highlight this upcoming draft class. Aside from the talk of quarterbacks, tight end Kyle Pitts has been the shining star that every organization seems to have their eyes locked onto. 

King believes that in order for the Cardinals to have a legitimate chance at Pitts, they’d have to surrender their next two first-round picks, and even then, he thinks it’d be a long shot. Thus, the chances of trading up to try and grab the highly-touted Florida product seem difficult. 

Nevertheless, Keim, like every other NFL GM around the league, has been wow’d by the Florida star. He was just as advertised when he spoke with Pitts over Zoom. 

“Everything you hear about his character, his commitment to the game, and his passion is extremely high,” Keim said of Pitts. “Then you turn on the tape and you see a guy who can do it all. He’s got rare and unusual height, weight, and speed. He’s a real mismatch problem for a number of different positions defensively and I really haven’t seen many guys that possess the skill set that he has.”

The Pitts situation is something to continually monitor. In order to steal the tight end, the Cardinals would have to take a gamble, but it’s with the hope of landing possibly the best non-quarterback in the entire draft. 

As for what positions the Cardinals are looking to address, Keim spoke of receivers, linebackers, and interior offensive linemen. He feels that these groups have the most depth and options available. 

“I’ve been impressed with a number of the receivers and the outside linebackers class, guys who are generally college defensive ends who project as outside linebackers,” Keim said. “That group has been impressive to me. They are guys that are going to be able to come in and start at an early point in their career…those are some of the positions that really stand out to me and I like some of the guys who are inside players – some of the guards and centers. Again, there’s enough depth in this draft that gets you excited.”

The NFL Draft is set to begin on Thursday, Apr. 29 at 5 p.m. local time. 

Fitz Update

With Keim and Kingsbury meeting with media on Thursday, the ongoing offseason question mark of Larry Fitzgerald was once again brought up. 

On that front, nothing has changed. 

“My communication with Larry has literally consisted of golf, investments, or Phoenix Suns basketball,” Kingsbury said. “Like we’ve mentioned before, Larry is going to decide this on his time and he’s one of the greatest players of all-time so he deserves to have that time.”

When asked if Fitzgerald’s decision would affect Keim drafting a receiver or not in the upcoming draft, he also had a response.

“No matter what Larry decides, it does not affect our draft plans,” Keim said. “You can’t have enough good players at one position. There’s guys on one-year contracts and as far as building your team and the type of depth that you have, you can never have enough good players, and obviously Larry Fitzgerald is a great one.”