Mock drafts are changing by the nanosecond, and they are flying everywhere on the Interwebs. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone's latest mock draft. I really don't care about entire drafts. All I care about is who the Cardinals picks are, especially early. So, let me put it out there now: NO QB is worth the number seven this year! Not for the kind of offense the Cards seem to be installing. Now, if the Cards are posturing and feinting, looking for a trade down partner, then I'm cool with that. A decent QB can be found in the second and third rounds. Hopefully the Cards don't panic and reach too high for a QB. With all that said, let's review some of the options at number seven. It's nice to have options...
Most observers believe that Luke Joeckel will be gone by this time. And there's a better than 50-50 chance that Eric Fisher will be taken, also. So among the tackles, this leaves Lane Johnson. Most mock drafts I have read have Johnson going at 11 to San Diego. Well, if he's good enough to be picked just 4 slots later, then he is good enough to be picked 4 slots higher, too. Why is Johnson a reach at seven, but not at 11? I'm reading that his technique isn't as good as Joeckel and Fisher. Well, whose is?
There's more to an offensive line than tackles, though. And this draft has two excellent guards available, Chance Warmack and Jonathon Cooper. Warmack seems to be the consensus choice as the most NFL-ready player. Cooper is well-regarded as well, but is number two for most observers.
And on to centers. Arizona doesn't really need one. Lyle Sendlein should be back from his injury by training camp. If he is healthy, he should step back in and pick up from where he left off. If not, Daryn Colledge and Adam Snyder could play there also, as well as Scott Wedige, a rookie last year.
So, if the Cardinals can't get Joeckel or Fisher, the choice here would seem to be between the number three tackle prospect, Johnson, or the number one guard prospect, Warmack. Arizona couldn't open a hole for the running back to get thru last season worth a damn. And if you want to give Rashard Mendenhall every opportunity to succeed, then the choice is Warmack. Guards are run blockers first. Tackles are pass protectors first. Arizona has three good tackles who have been baptized in fire: Nate Potter, Massie and Levi Brown. There will be a few good tackles remaining in free agency, especially in this tight salary cap year. Pick up one of them for depth. But the pick here is Warmack if available. Then the Cardinals can safely ignore the offensive line again for another five years or so.
Wide Receivers, Tight Ends, Fullbacks, Tailbacks.
No need to worry about any of these positions in the draft. Arizona didn't give LaRon Byrd a decent shot at the number four slot showing his talent because they kept putting the greasy-fingered, drive-killer Early Doucet on the field. Mini-Fitz can produce. Just keep him on the field. And if a QB could possibly throw the ball to him accurately, that would be a big help.
There has been talk about moving current TE Rob Housler to WR, leaving the TE ranks thin. Plenty of decent TEs available as free agents. Housler may not have the speed expected of a typical WR. So, he would be a possession type receiver, expected to go over the middle with short and medium routes. This sounds like the description of a TE.
We already have a stellar fullback, Anthony Sherman, on the roster. He has been massively underused since he made the team. If the coaching staff was smart, they would play the Shermanator at every opportunity. When Sherman hits you, you stay down. Pair him with Warmack on a sweep play, and Rashard Mendenhall will gather as many yards as he wants.
This is where nearly all of the raging controversy is happening. One camp insists the Cardinals have to pick a QB at seven. Although the consensus is that there is no QB worth a high pick this year, compared to last year. The other camp says don't draft a QB until the second or third round, if at all. The new coaching staff are the only people who are (publicly) convinced that the current players are sufficient to handle the job. This will continue to be the most hotly-debated subject related to the Cardinals. The suggestion here: pick a QB late, if at all. Carson Palmer may not become available at all.
Defensive Line, Linebackers.
A pass rushing defensive end, or linebacker, is a priority also. There are some good ones here, also. Sharif Floyd, Ziggy Ansah, Jarvis Jones, Star Lotulelei, and Barkevious Mingo are in the mix here. All of teams ahead of the Cards have glaring defensive deficiencies, too. It is difficult to precisely pinpoint which way a team is going to go with their pick, especially when they have so many holes to fill, like the Cardinals. The consensus so far is that Floyd and Jones will probably be gone by the seventh pick. I previously made the case against Jones at number seven. Ziggy Ansah looks as if he could be a stellar pass rushing OLB, with his freakish athleticism. Lotulelei has been cleared to play with his heart problem. But that still scares me, so I'm telling the Cards to choose between Ansah and Mingo. If they are both available at seven, then Ansah has the biggest potential upside. Mingo has admitted to taking plays off in college. No need for that kind of bad attitude in the NFL.
The Cards need a stud CB to compliment Patrick Peterson. They have sufficient depth behind Peterson. But cornerback isn't as much of a need as offensive line or defensive line and linebacker. Dee Milliner may or may not be available, as he is projected to be long gone by the seventh pick. The next best pick, Xavier Rhodes, is generally seen as a late first rounder. No pick here.
Not a big concern here, either. Arizona recently signed two free agents on one year contracts, so picking up a free agent or two next year is feasible. If there are any good prospects available in lower rounds, then a 6th or 7th pick is suitable. No need to panic here.
I've had my say. What say you, the ROTB Best and Brightest?