Alright Cardinal fans, the 2012 NFL season has officially ended with a Ravens with over the 49ers! WOO! Now that the NFL Combine and off-season approaching, fans are starting to look to see who their team could possibly pick up in this year’s draft. I’ve had a couple of these Mock Drafts on the board before which sparked some good debate, so why not keep it going?
That being said, now that have our coach, our new offensive scheme, and know that our defense won’t be running an entirely new defense, but more of a "hybrid" as some would call it. It might be a little easier to see what rookie goes where and who seems to be the BPA. With that being said here are MY picks for the 2013 Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft. In this scenario, there will be no trades. However, these picks might be unpopular amongst the residents here at ROTB, but I will do my best to explain the reasons behind each pick. Please, stay courteous as this took a little while to decipher and write up. Thank you.
Round 1: Alex Okafor - DE/OLB Texas
I know many people here at ROTB think either tackle or guard needs to be the pick, and while I agree, with the recent comments from BA about the Cards offensive line not being in as "dire" condition as some think, and with no QB on the board worth taking with the #7 pick, my pick is Okafor. With his 6’5’’ 260 pound frame and 4.7 40 he resembles that of Demarcus Ware. The one thing the Cardinals lacked in 2012 was consistent pass rush. Okafor in his senior season at Texas Okafor totaled 54 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for a loss, and four forced fumbles. He was used in all pass rush positions from his hand on the ground, defensive tackle, and stand up rush LB. (Alternate Picks: Chance Warmack OG, Eric Fisher LT, Jarvis Jones OLB)
Round 2: Larry Warford – OG Kentucky
Warford is a mauler. That’s what he does. Since playing at Kentucky doesn’t get you the most airtime on TV, the senior bowl was Warford’s chance to shine, and he did just that. He blew up player after player opening holes in the run game and was also solid in the passing game. He would shore up gaps in the offensive line most likely playing next to Bobbie Massie at RG. (Alternate Picks: Kyle Long OT, Eddie Lacy RB, Tyler Wilson QB)
Round 3: E.J. Manuel – QB FSU
Manuel was the most impressive quarterback at the Senior Bowl in the absence of Geno Smith and Matt Barkley not attending. The only scoring drives during the game on the South team were led by Manuel. He showed nice touch on the ball on an intermediate route to the TE in the corner of the endzone. Another drive he scrambled and scored as well. He needs help with his footwork but he has all the mechanics to be a starter in the NFL. (Alternate Picks: Blidi Wreh Wilson CB, Tharold Simon CB, Jon Bostic, ILB)
Round 4: Brian Schwenke – C CAL
Schwenke has played along every interior line position since his freshman year at California. He was moved to center during his senior season and gained all Pac-12 honors by the coaches. He possesses quick hands, a low center of gravity and is very athletic. He would be perfect fit for the zone blocking scheme that Arians seems to want to run. With his ability to pull and get on bigger defenders and keep them in check, it would merit a middle round pick such as this and would also challenge Lyle Sendlein at the Center position. (Corey Lemonier OLB, Le’Veon Bell RB)
Round 5: Mike Gillislee – RB UF
Gillislee wreaked havoc in the SEC this year. Accounting for 1157 yards and 10 TDs and 4.7 yards a carry during his 2012 campaign, he seems to be entering his prime. He has very few miles on his knees seeing as he just started to see major amounts of playing time this year. He may be only 5’11 and 207 pounds, but carried the ball 34 times for 150 yards against a stout LSU defense. He is a well-rounded receiver/pass blocker as well. Could be good value in the 5th round.
Round 6: Omoregie Uzzi – OG GA Tech
With the Cardinals supposedly switching to an zone blocking scheme they will need interior lineman that can pull and get up on the second level quickly. Uzzi blocked for the triple option in college so hes stout and smart in run blocking and how to open up holes. He is projected to run a 5.25 40 yard dash which isn’t horrible for a man his size. He doesn’t have the size or strength to be effective in a power blocking scheme and there is talk that he could and should move to center. (Alternate Picks: Zaviar Gooden OLB)
Round 7: Dustin Hopkins – K FSU
Jay Feely is getting old. He did kick a 60 yarder this year, but hes been inconsistent at times. With the success of rookie kickers Blair Walsh of the Vikings and Justin Tucker of the Ravens among others, why not?
I know it’s a bit wordsy, but I tried my best to explain myself. Prospect rankings and all information came from walterfootball.com and cbssports.com. Thanks for reading. Hope it was insightful.