At the conclusion of the first round of the draft, most fans are left with more questions than answers. For Arizona Cardinals fans, questions of whom our second round pick, the 38th overall, will be used on. Positions such as outside linebacker and offensive line are must fills in most people's minds for this draft, while drafting a tight end, an inside linebacker, a wide receiver, and even a quarterback would not be such a bad idea either. After the jump, we will look at some of the possibilities for the Cardinals in round two when the NFL Draft continues later today.
Patrick Peterson is a dynamic player, but he did not fill a position that the Cardinals desperately needed to fill. Ken Whisenhunt, Rod Graves, Steve Keim and other Cardinal scouts chose to go with the "best player available" approach, which inevitably landed us one of the highest rated players in the draft.
Peterson will no doubt create an excellent secondary along with Kerry Rhodes, Adrian Wilson, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Greg Toler. With the second round approaching, the Cardinals have to be thinking about filling our most dire need, which is the acquisition of a pure pass rusher.
So the question is: who will the Cardinals select with so many options available? Certainly players such as Akeem Ayers, Brooks Reed and Justin Houston come to mind as good pass rushers (some of which would have to translate to an outside linebacker for our 3-4 scheme) and solid picks.
Would the Cardinals be willing to take a risk on a guy like Da'Quan Bowers who was supposed to come off the board somewhere in the first round? Due to the reports of his injuries and fear that they may be more drastic than once thought, I do not see the Cardinals brain trust taking such a big leap of faith.
Also, players like Kyle Rudolph, the tight end from Notre Dame and Andy Dalton, the quarterback from TCU, may still be on the board by the time Arizona selects. Investing in a tight end that may have the complete package of being able to block and receive may not be such a bad idea considering it is something the Cardinals have lacked for years. Also, planning for the future with a promising young signal caller would probably be a great option as well. However, I believe that if the opportunity arises, the Cardinals must resist the urge to go after either of these players.
I believe the Cardinals should (unfortunately) pass up Kyle Rudolph, Andy Dalton and any other shiny new toy the draft may throw at us in this round and go for a pass rusher. We need a talent that will be able to maybe not start, but at least produce at a high level during his rookie season. My projection for the Cardinals pick goes to Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA.
He is very quick and he knows how to get to the opposing quarterback in a timely manner. His instincts are impeccable and he also plays very well against the run when coming off the edge. His coverage skills as a linebacker seem to be second to none in this draft and he could potentially be a starter year one given the lack of depth at the position. Check out this video of him playing against Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinals last year by clicking here.
When the Cardinals are on the clock and looking to select with the 38th pick, there is no doubt in my mind that we will see a pass rusher holding up a red uniform on the stage of Radio City Music Hall. The draft starts at 3 P.M. Arizona time, are you ready?
Note: As I am completely unsure of how the third round could play out, I will wait as the second round progresses for a bit until I post my thoughts for the third round.