April 4, 2019 | Posted in: Publishing

All the intrigue of the 2019 NFL Draft resides with the Arizona Cardinals and the number one pick overall.  Are they worth a pre-draft futures flyer at 25-1 to win the NFC West crown?

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The NFC West is the draft’s most intriguing division yet least intriguing from a future’s standpoint. According to Vegas Insider, the favorite Rams at 5/9 nets you $55 and some change on a hundred dollar bet. The Seattle Seahawks (14/5) and the San Francisco 49ers (13/2) do not offer the sexiest payout on a hundred dollar futures bet.  Do the Arizona Cardinals have any chance to win this division?

The Arizona Cardinals, at 25-1, representing a $2,600 payout, suddenly I’m interested because the hit is so desirable when placing future bets. The possibility of wagering on this particular future is intriguing because of Arizona’s pass defenseranking fourth in the NFL last season. Patrick Peterson plays shutdown cornerback. 2017 second round draft choice Budda Baker is expected to thrive in a primary role at box safety, can play slot corner, and Arizona didn’t bring back safety Tre Boston.

The Cardinals were fifth defensively with 49 team sacks last season. Chandler Jones remains one of the elite pass rushing specialists producing 13 takedowns of the QB last season. The defensive pieces added later this month in Nashville will improve a defense finishing 20th overall because the run defense was atrocious.

Arizona possesses twelve draft picks later this month in Nashville

Vegas future odds will adjust after the draft. One will gauge how well Arizona performed at this year’s draftby the shift in their futures odds to win the 2019 NFC West title. I’m interested in Arizona’s future at the current odds because I’m predicting Arizona trades down and does not use the number one overall draft choice to select Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.

There will be a team trading up to one to select Murray. I’m predicting two trade downs in the first round for the Cardinals in 2019 because, after the Murray trade, someone trades up with Arizona to select Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. I’m predicting Arizona makes their first selection around pick nine accumulating a mountain of draft capital in the process.

Arizona acquires massive early round draft capital

When Arizona nails these first-round trades, and ends up with one of the best offensive tackles on the board around pick nine, the Cardinals immediately become a better team. The twelve total draft picks are deceiving, many of them are in the seventh round as compensatory picks.  The trade downs in the first round later this month give Arizona the draft capital needed to be a lot better as a team when April 27th, 2019, arrives. Their futures odds will require adjusting.

The draft capital acquired in rounds one through three resulting from the first round trade downs allows Arizona to select an interior lineman to help their pitiful run defense. Terrell Suggs was brought in on a one year deal; there’s little doubt a pass rusher to compliment Jones is a top priority. Fresh options along the interior of the offensive line combined with multiple high round draft selections, in 2019, make Arizona a better team.  The Cardinals will shuffle their immense stock of draft capital into future draft capital including 2021 and beyond.

All eyes on Josh Rosen while unleashing David Johnson

The rookie QB, the Hall of Famer from the 2018 NFL Draft QB class, struggled because Arizona as a team was terrible. The offensive line was a mess juggling injuries all season. Rookie wide receiver Christian Kirk showed flashes of brilliance and Larry Fitzgerald continued his march to Canton and will return this season.  During the 2019 draft, with the mountain of round 1-4 draft capital acquired from two trade downs in the first round, a WR will be selected.

The secret weapon on the 2019 version of the Cardinals is running back David Johnson lost to injury for the entire 2017 season. Johnson, two seasons removed from leading the NFL in scrimmage yards with 2,118 and an astounding 20 touchdowns, played all 16 games in 2018. A rookie QB, a disaster on the offensive line, a defense unable to stop the run, all contributing factors to Johnson “struggling” for 1,386 scrimmage yards and double-digit touchdowns.

New offensive linemen, a weapon at wide receiver to compliment Fitzgerald’s quest to pass Tony Gonzalez for second all-time in receptions (Fitz needs 23 catches to overtake the Hall of Fame tight end). Fitzgerald has already cemented himself as second all-time in receiving yards, trailing Jerry Rice by 6,000 yards. Hey Vegas, I want a twenty-year future bet on someone breaking Rice’s 22,895 career receiving yards. I can help you set the odds.

Am I throwing my money away because the Los Angeles Rams are elite?

Is a future bet on Arizona winning the NFC West this season foolish because the Los Angeles Rams are easy money? Giggle. There’s no such thing as easy money when wagering on professional football. The favorite heavy Rams draw me closer to making this pre-draft futures bet. Expectations are sky high in Los Angeles, and while there are vibes of a letdown, it’s difficult to envision the Rams not winning the NFC West.

McVay is breaking in two new starters on the offensive line. Dante Fowler and Clay Matthews offer suspect options to generate quarterback pressure. There aren’t a lot of draft picks, seven in total and both Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters offer plenty of question marks at the cornerback position. Eric Weddle, 34, signing a two-year deal to play free safety and inside linebacker, Mark Barron signing with Pittsburgh create more holes for McVay to fill in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Future Hall of Famer Russell Wilson always a contender

The Seattle Seahawks are competitive because Wilson is their foundation, their rock.  He will lead his team to wins displaying unusual feats on the field despite being surrounded by a mediocre supporting cast.  The offensive line coming together last season was a pleasant surprise.  Chris Carson and his effectiveness make Rashaad Penny a terrible first round draft pick. Pete Carroll’s shenanigans at USC are going to cost him his job in Seattle, maybe this season. Carroll’s been connected to the college admissions scandal, resulting in the indictments of Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, of Full House fame.  There’s a possibility of a tumultuous season in the Pacific Northwest, yet the ever steadying presence of Wilson playing the game’s most important position will steady a potentially rocking boat. The situation in Seattle doesn’t scare me away from a Cardinals division title futures bet.

Niners and the great wide open

Will Jimmy Garoppolo return fully healthy? The San Francisco 49ers, holding the second overall pick in this year’s draft, will be drafting an impact player, perhaps Nick Bosa from Ohio State or Quinnen Williams from Alabama. With all the action over Murray at number one, the Niners stay put and select their best player in the draft at a position of need.

San Francisco has little options at wide receiver and signing Tevin Coleman combined with a returning Jerrick McKinnon creates confusion at running back. The Niners needs a season to sort things out and particularly needs to nail their WR choice this season. Is D.K. Metcalf worth the number two pick overall given San Francisco’s situation? What are the odds on D.K. Metcalf as the number two pick overall this month in Nashville? Prognosticating the future and measuring the results while creating documentation along the way.

Arizona, NFC West Champions, 25/1, 1 Unit.

If Arizona selects Murray with the number one overall pick, I didn’t throw away my money. It’s a risk of making a futures waivers this close to the draft. Should Murray be the number one overall pick, these odds will go to 35/1, meaning I placed my wager before the best available odds. Something draws me to the wager. A larger force. A synergy of the 2019 Cardinals as a version of the 2017 Rams.