Arizona Cardinals GM Steve Keim spoke with the media at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday, and mentioned several key philosophies on the draft, as well as opinions on the players that are already in the fold. The Cardinals finished 10-6 in 2013, just their second 10-win season in the last 35 years. What can Keim do for Arizona to help get them to the playoffs in the competitive NFC West?
Keim mentioned that there wasn't any "margin for error" in the NFC West, but that the nature of such a competitive division "exposes limitations," per Dan Kadar from Mocking the Draft. Keim did say that he believed the Cardinals were "two or three players away on each side of the ball" and that could place quite on emphasis on having a successful 2014 draft.
Arizona is picking 20th, but their exact needs at that spot aren't quite known. The Cardinals have several key positions to fill on their current roster, including along the offensive line, but Keim says that they do need players "who can play outside the box to stop Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick." Arizona is currently negotiating on a possible new deal with impending free agent linebacker Karlos Dansby, but may also want to draft a linebacker even if Dansby is re-signed.
On the offensive side of the ball, Keim says that guard Jonathan Cooper, the seventh overall pick in 2013 who missed his entire rookie season with a broken leg, is ahead of schedule. That should help fill one need on the offensive side of the ball, though Keim added that you should never draft for need.
One such non-need for 2014 is quarterback, with Keim saying that having Carson Palmer means that they aren't under pressure to take a quarterback in this draft. He expressed a lot of confidence in Palmer, as long as they can do a good job of protecting him, noting that Palmer wasn't the most "mobile" quarterback in the league.
That's at least one point with which everyone can probably agree.