At his introductory news conference in January, General Manager Steve Keim said two experiences in his Cardinals career would drive him in his new job.

One was confetti “sticking to my sweaty head,” after the Cardinals won the NFC title game in the 2008 season. The other came while watching the Cardinals lose to the Seahawks 58-0 last December in Seattle and “making a pact with myself that that will never happen again.”

Drafting well over the next three days could go a long way in helping Keim repeat the first experience and avoid the second.

Keim is entering his 15th season with the Cardinals, so he’s been intimately involved in many of their drafts. But this is the first one that will carry his stamp.

This draft is unique for Keim, and not only because it’s the first one he’s supervised. It’s unusual because no one is sure what the six teams in front of the Cardinals are going to do.

Talent evaluators differ even on which offensive tackle is the best one, and which pass rusher would provide the most immediate help.

“There’s an element of the unknown that’s different from years past,” Keim said. “There were times where you could really script out the first six, seven, maybe even top 10 picks.”

Most scripts have the Cardinals selecting an offensive lineman with the seventh overall pick, something Keim finds amusing.

On Wednesday, he emerged from draft preparation to take in the outside world for one of the few times in recent weeks. When he turned on the television, he saw that everyone seemed to have the Cardinals taking an offensive lineman.

That could happen, Keim said, but the Cardinals won’t pass on an elite player to fill a perceived need with a lesser player.

“Looking at the top seven players on our board, we have seven players right now that we’re extremely comfortable with,” he said, “and not all of them are offensive lineman. If it’s a safety, a pass rusher, or a linebacker, that’s a decision we’ve already talked about and we’re not going to force the pick because everybody thinks our offensive line needs to improve.

“Because then what you’re doing is leaving a better player on the board. And in two years, when the needs have changed, you’ve made a huge mistake.”

As is customary, the Cardinals have received calls from teams inquiring about trading up to No. 7 if a certain player is available there. It’s doubtful, Keim said, that the Cardinals would trade up in the draft.

“I don’t think we’re in a position to give away picks,” he said.

Keim changed little about how the Cardinals scout and rank college players. Scouts and assistant coaches were encouraged to speak honestly in draft meetings. The opinions of coach Bruce Arians and Player Personnel Director Jason Licht also carry considerable weight.

But the final call will be Keim’s.

“At times, not everybody is happy,” Keim said, “but that’s what you want. You want your coaches, your scouts, you want everybody to have conviction in that room. They’ve put a lot of time and a lot of work into it. When you have passion for what you do, you expect the emotions to come out.

“We have times where guys are sulking or they’re pouting, and then they get to the next player that they like, and then you put them up where they wanted them, then that smile comes back on their face.”