TEMPE, Ariz. -- Sometimes they hit, sometimes they miss. That’s the beauty of draft picks.
But the more picks Arizona has, the better its chances are of finding a player who'll be a success story.
The Cardinals haven’t been shy about wheeling-and-dealing their picks over the last decade, giving up a coveted spot in the first round for the addition of another pick later in the draft. Since 2005, Arizona has made 13 trades that involved draft picks. During the last five years, six of those trades have taken place during the draft.
During general manager Steve Keim’s two-year tenure, trading back to stockpile picks has become a philosophy of sorts. In 2013, Arizona traded back twice, losing just seven spots in the second round and six in the fourth, while gaining two extra picks. In 2014, the Cardinals moved back seven spots in the first round while gaining an extra pick.
Because of the last two years, a trade this weekend is expected -- but where it’ll come is anybody’s guess. There’s a good chance Arizona could be on the move in the first round again depending on how the first 23 picks play out.
“At the end of the day you can’t control what other teams are doing, so you have to be prepared,” Keim said. “And it’s a fluid process. As long as you have 130 good players who you feel comfortable with, stay true to your board and don’t panic. That’s, to me, one of things on draft day -- I’m not ruling out that we wouldn’t trade up, but as you’ve seen in the past, any time you can acquire more picks, I think it gives you a better chance of hitting on players.
“Last year, to be able to trade back and get Deone (Bucannon) and to be able to acquire John Brown made us a better football team.”
Here’s a look at how Arizona has fared since 2007 on trades that took place during the draft:
Trade: Arizona sent 20th pick to New Orleans for 27th and 91st picks.
Analysis: Cooks had a solid rookie season, catching 53 passes for 550 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games before having surgery to repair a broken thumb. But Bucannon and Brown had more of an impact on the Cardinals than Cooks did on the Saints. Bucannon filled a necessary role instantly and Brown’s five touchdowns were second most on the Cardinals.
Who fared better: Cardinals
Trade: Arizona sent 38th pick to San Diego for 45th and 110th picks (which was eventually traded to New York Giants).
Analysis: Even though Minter has played in six more games than Te'o since 2013, Te'o has played more than three times as many snaps because he’s been an every-down linebacker compared to Minter, who’s underachieved as a run-down 'backer. Te'o's 122 tackles are almost three times as many as Minter’s 44.
Who fared better: San Diego
Trade: Arizona sent 110th pick to New York Giants for 116th and 187th picks.
Analysis: Even though Watford has played just seven snaps in two seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information, Ellington made this draft worthwhile for the Cardinals. He’s produced 2,099 all-purpose yards with nine total touchdowns since 2013 while becoming the focal point of the Cardinals’ offense. Nassib, however, has been relegated to the Giants’ bench behind starter Eli Manning. His future all depends on when Manning decides to retire.
Who fared better: Cardinals
Trade: Arizona sent 58th and 89th picks to New England for 47th pick (Patriots then traded 58th pick to Houston and 89th pick to Carolina).
Analysis: This is a tough trade to analyze. Washington has been a force, getting more than 100 tackles in 2011 and 2012, when he earned his first Pro Bowl berth. But off-field issues and suspensions have plagued Washington since 2013, when he missed four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He was also arrested and then missed the entire 2014 season for violating the policy again. Tate has 2,363 yards and 14 touchdowns in his career, 1,973 of which were with the Texans. Edwards hasn’t been a factor in his career, catching six passes for 151 yards in 41 games.
Who fared better: Houston
Trade: Arizona sent 123rd to New Orleans for 130th and 201st picks.
Analysis: In the three seasons that Schofield played for Arizona, his numbers trumped Woods' significantly. Schofield played 12 more games during that span but he saw action on 1,013 snaps compared to Woods’ 174. Calvin was traded by the Cardinals a few months after he was drafted.
Who fared better: Cardinals
Trade: Arizona sent Bryant McFadden and 195th pick to Pittsburgh for 155th pick.
Results: Cardinals drafted quarterback John Skelton. Steelers drafted wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Analysis: It’s hard to argue that during the last four seasons, Brown has been one of the top receivers in the NFL. The last two years, Brown had 1,499 and 1,698 yards, respectively. Skelton had a decent run with the Cardinals, for whom he started 17 games in three seasons.
Who fared better: Steelers
Trade: Arizona sent 38th and 105th picks to Oakland for the 33rd pick (Oakland traded the 105th pick to Detroit for two players).
Analysis: Branch’s best season with the Cardinals was his last -- 2010 when he had 35 tackles and two sacks. He was more consistent and productive after he left Arizona. Miller, however, was a force from the year he was drafted. In his final three years in Oakland, he didn’t have fewer than 685 yards. His production has tailed off the last few seasons, including 2014 which was hampered with an ankle injury. Davis hung around the NFL for about a year.
Who fared better: Raiders