The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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Best Player Available or Biggest Need?

Steve Keim has a big decision to make at #8 overall: Should he take the best player available or fill the biggest need on the roster?

Many arm chair draft experts hopped up on mock drafts (like me) will shout from a mountaintop that you take the best player available no matter what otherwise you risk passing on a potential game changing player long term in order to satisfy a short term need.

And the Cardinals may be in this very position. After a productive offseason where Keim and company checked many of the boxes on the Cardinals roster, the Cardinals may be emboldened to just simply take the highest graded player on their board regardless of position.

Could that be Isaiah Simmons? Or Jeff Okudah? Or Derrick Brown? Or CeeDee Lamb? Or Henry Ruggs?

Yes to all, depending on the Cardinals board.

On the other hand, the Cardinals could also fill their biggest remaining need which is glaring; right tackle.

And this happens to be an excellent draft for top end right tackles. The four highest ranked offensive line in Tristan Whirfs, Jedrick Wills, Mekhi Bechton and Andrew Thomas have all played RT in college.

The Cardinals could simplify their war room when they're on the clock and just sit back and draft their highest graded RT regardless of what other players/positions are on the board.

So what should it be? Best available or biggest need?

The answer is both.

The best player available theory sounds great until you realize that many draft boards will be inherently flawed in hindsight. Drafting the top player on your board at #8 may satisfy Joe Mock Draft but if you don't get it right, it can be a monumentally bad decision.

The Cardinals draft board needs to reflect the urgency of their offensive line need, stacking the top of it with tackles who can finally upgrade an offensive line that has been ignored this offseason.

Think about it: Whats the best case scenario for a player like Isaiah Simmons? A bigger, faster, stronger version of Tyrann Mathieu flying around the field making plays at all three levels.

Whats the best case scenario for drafting the right RT at #8? An anchor on the outside of the line that grows with Kyler Murray, improves their run blocking and pass protection and improves their ability to put together fourth quarter drives when defenses have routinely flushed Kyler with three down lineman.

That is exactly what this team needs and it just so happens that in this modern NFL, its going to be the best player available.

As long as Steve Keim just drafts the right tackle, he can't go wrong.

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