GLENDALE AZ - DECEMBER 25: A fan of the Arizona Cardinals wears a bag on his head during the NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 25 2010 in Glendale Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 27-26. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Quick show of hands - who else is nominally a fan of Steelers West just because they're Steelers West? I know I would've been rooting wholeheartedly for them if they'd been playing anyone else on February 1, 2009. Anyways, thanks go to Steel34D for the analysis here. Next up: Dallas Cowboys and they'll be represented by Mike Frazer.
By the way, today we're finally able to include one of SBN's minute-long draft profiles with the pick when it's published! It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-
Before the announcement of the Arizona Cardinals pick, I will first recap the season and off-season moves of Steelers West.
After the Lockout in 2011, the Arizona Cardinals continued their standard operating procedure of signing former Steelers. In 2011 it was Nick Eason who was signed to not only help in depth but to teach Ray Horton's scheme. The Cardinals started with an abysmal 1-5 record after learning they had a long ways to go to match the Steelers in week 6. It was their game the next week that seemed to inspire the team to make a push. Against the Ravens in week 7 the defense dominated in the first half and the offense was effective. Ultimately the Cardinals lost but something change with the team after that game. They went on a 7-2 run with very good play from their defense.
The defensive spark ironically came when they replaced two former Steelers in the lineup. Sam Acho, a rookie 4th round steal, replaced Clark Haggans and was an exciting and very intelligent player. O'Brien Schofield replaced Joey Porter and was effective at times, showing much promise. However, the biggest contribution to the team's success in their run was rookie first round pick Patrick Petersen. Though he went through his up and downs in coverage, he was electric in the return game tying an NFL-record 4 punt return TDs in a season. The Cardinals finished 8-8.
After a failed courting of Peyton Manning, the Cardinals made like seemingly every off season and signed yet another former-Steeler in William Gay. Gay will replace the unheralded Team Defensive MVP, Richard Marshall, who signed with the Dolphins. Gay will be a good slot corner for a very young and very talented corner group that includes Petersen, Greg Toler, and A.J. Jefferson . The Cardinals also helped their offensive line by signing former 49er Adam Snyder, who can play both ROG and RT. Snyder is a run blocking RG who struggles with pass protection. They franchised the best young 3-4 DE in the game in Calais Campbell, and to the fan base's dismay, re-signed Levi Brown after cutting him because he was due $16 million.
Last year the Cardinals hit big on Patrick Petersen and hope to do it again. They could use an upgraded pass rusher, O-line help and a true #2 WR. Since Michael Floyd and Melvin Ingram are off the board, they will look strictly to the offensive line. The prospects there that they could consider are:
With the 13th pick in the 2012 BTSC Community Mock Draft the Arizona Cardinals select Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle, Iowa.
There is no denying the Cardinals need a true LT and Reiff has the athleticism to be an NFL left tackle. The former TE for Iowa was moved to guard after his freshman year in 2009. When All-American LT Bryan Bulaga went down with an injury, Reiff filled in very well and in 2010 the Hawkeyes didn't miss the 1st round pick by the Green Bay Packers. Though his arms are shorter than scouts would like at 33", Reiff has undeniable athleticism. At 6'6" 316 lbs, Reiff can move well laterally and naturally bends at his knees. He effortlessly will wash the DE up field creating a pocket. He can effectively run block, though he is very raw and displays the athleticism to get to the second level. He will need to improve his strength and technique, but this is understandable for someone who has only played on the O-line for 3 years total and LT for only 2 years. Reiff has a high ceiling despite his physical short comings and will protect whoever is throwing the ball for the Cardinals. Given the full offseason this year, I believe there will be a drastically different Cardinals offense in 2012. Ryan Williams, the electric RB from Virginia Tech, should return healthy from a knee injury sustained this past preseason. Third round pick Rob Housler, TE will learn the game better and be a bigger receiving threat, and with this pick the O-line should be better. The rest will depend on either Kevin Kolb or John Skelton.
Here is film of Reiff against Oklahoma and Frank Alexander who is considered a draftable DE:
BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:
- Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
- Washington Redsinks -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
- Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
- Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
- St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
- Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
- Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
- Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
- Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
- Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina