The Arizona Cardinals are in the Super Bowl and the draft should be the last thing on our minds but this is a big week in preparation for that weekend in late April (the 25th and 26th to be exact). If you've turned on the NFL Network this week you've probably seen plenty of coverage from the Senior Bowl. For good reason, I haven't been tuned into anything concerning the draft yet, but I couldn't help but get sucked in the other day as I watched some of the Senior Bowl practices. That naturally led to searching for some mock drafts and wondering who the Cardinals would be targeting this year. With that in mind, here's what the draft-niks are saying right now:
- NFL Draft Countdown: Knowshon Moreno (RB), Geogia - There aren't many teams with a more potent passing game than Arizona but their ground attack leaves something to be desired. Edgerrin James already has one foot out the door and while at one point it looked like Tim Hightower might be the long-term solution at running back his lackluster performance down the stretch indicates he is probably best suited for the short-yardage / goalline role. Knowshon Moreno is only a red shirt sophomore but he had two amazing seasons for the Dawgs and will most likely be one of the first two running backs selected. In some ways Moreno is similar to Cadillac Williams in that he doesn't have elite size or speed but he makes up for it with outstanding instincts and vision. Moreno could very well be gone by this point and if that is the case Arizona could turn their attention to LeSean McCoy. The Cardinals could also still use some help along the offensive line. Mike Gandy is solid but they could do a whole lot better at left tackle and a guy like Max Unger would be major upgrades over Lyle Sendlein at center. Don't rule out a pass rushing outside linebacker for their 3-4 defense either because even though they have a bunch of solid players like Bert Berry and Chike Okeafor they lack a genuine difference maker. (For the record though, they do have the Cardinals picking at 21st)
- Draft Tek: Chris Wells (RB), Ohio State - They don't offer any kind of descriptions but if you've never checked out this site, it's worth a look. They are the only site I've found that uses a computer program to simulate the draft using team needs. Obviously this may not work if a team goes by a 'best player avaliable' strategy but it's still a fascinating site that includes a simulation where you can enter the Cardinals' needs as you see them and simulate a full seven round draft.
- New Era Scouting: Jason Smith (OT), Baylor - No description
- NFL Draft 101: Eben Britton (OT), Arizona - The Cardinals offensive line has improved but still needs a bookend left tackle to play opposite Levi Brown.
- NFL Draft Dog: Shonn Greene (RB), Iowa - Greene (5' 11" 220 lbs) came out of no-where in 2008 and won the Doak Walker Award.
- Football Jabber (Lee): LeShean McCoy (RB), Pittsburgh - No description
- Football Jabber (TJ): Alex Mack (C), California - How many times have you seen Kurt Warner stand in shotgun formation and survey the field only to see the snap come unexpected and hit him square in the chest this year? Mack is regarded as one of better centers to come along in a very long time. Arizona would be wise to grab him to eliminate those miscues and improve the interior blocking.
- FFToolbox (Standing): Brandon Pettigrew (TE), Oklahoma - The Cardinals ground game has been much improved in the playoffs, but finding another option like LeSean McCoy here would make sense. Yet Pettigrew, who is touted as a receiver and blocker, is a strong prospect and would fill a need in the passing game that has been a weak link for some time.
- FFToolbox (Long): LeShean McCoy (RB), Pittsburgh - Edgerrin James had a nice run in the playoffs to help the Cardinals offense get to the Super Bowl, but he is on the slower side of 30 and Arizona needs a young, speedy RB to pair with power runner Tim Hightower. While he only played at Pittsburgh for 2 seasons, he made the most of his time with the Panthers rushing for 2731 yards, had another 543 receiving yards, and 36 total touchdowns. McCoy was one of the top elite running back prospects coming out of high school (he was timed in the forty at 4.25 at the time), and would be a great addition to the Cardinals offensive plans under head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
There are countless other mocks out there but that gives you a pretty good idea. It looks like most outsiders see running back as our biggest need and I'm kind of surprised that there aren't more offensive linemen, but that's just me. What other sites do you guys use and what are the most pressing needs in your minds?