Calling Kevin Kolb a disappointment in 2011 is an insult to aspects of our lives that are merely disappointing. Like, say, missing your bus in the morning, or overcooking dinner. No, Kolb was a colossal mess.
But, to be fair, much of Kolb’s undoing after his highly hyped move from Philadelphia to Arizona and his lucrative new contract with the Cardinals (six years, $65 million) lied in his inability to stay healthy. During what was to be his first full season as a starter, Kolb missed seven games, and essentially missed an eighth in Week 14 against the 49ers when he attempted only one pass.
He was bruised and battered often, and was sacked 30 times despite making just nine game appearances. And when he did have time to throw he was largely ineffective, throwing nearly as many interceptions (eight) as touchdowns (nine), while averaging just 217.9 passing yards per game with a rather pedestrian passer rating of 81.1.
Those two painful outcomes during the 2011 season have led to a key and difficult decision heading into the draft for Arizona. Does Kolb and the offense–and perhaps most importantly, Larry Fitzgerald– need another elite target at wide receiver, or another large body on the offensive line who will prevent other large bodies from crushing the highly-paid quarterback more?
We talked to Tyler Nickel from Revenge Of The Birds about the Cardinals’ strategy with their 13th overall pick. He’s leaning towards O-line help, hoping the Cards can get more out of their investment in Kolb by drafting a lineman.
1. Last year there was talk of the Cardinals needing to find a better complement for Fitzgerald at wide receiver, but they pounced on Patrick Peterson when he fell. A year later we’re still talking about that need for both Fitz, and to help Kolb. So if Michael Floyd is there at No. 13, is he the pick?
There is definitely a good chance that Floyd is the pick if he is still there at No. 13. As you said, the Cardinals have been looking for the perfect #2 WR to line up across from Fitzgerald. Although WR is not an immediate need, I have the suspicion that Floyd is pretty high on their board and they will draft the best player available.
2. If Floyd comes off the board early, an edge rusher who can be an effective outside linebacker is a possibility. Will someone like Quinton Coples be too hard to pass on if he’s still available, even though he may not be stepping into an area that’s a high priority?
That said, there is a possibility that if Coples is there, they could take him. Calais Campbell is under the franchise tag and for all we know, they may not be able to re-sign him. Coples could come in and ideally play as a DE in the 3-4 system that the Cardinals run.
3. What about Riley Reiff? Staying upright and healthy is clearly another key to Kolb’s success, and he didn’t do either very often last year.
Kolb staying healthy will be the best chance the Cards have of making the playoffs this season, and adding to the offensive line will be key to that endeavor.
4. Who do you hope the Cardinals target?
Personally, I would like to see the Cardinals target David DeCastro should he still be on the board. From everything I have seen and read, this guy can be a fixture at guard for the next decade at least. He would probably be a starter right away, and will flourish under the direction of Russ Grimm.