The Cardinals got an instant impact player in Jonathan Cooper, but their work is far from over. One player can't cover all the other holes on the offensive line, let alone the rest of the team. Would anyone really be surprised to see them take another guard today?
I'm sure we've all heard the rumors that the Cardinals are high on QB Mike Glennon in the second round, which would make this entire article a waste of time -- but if we've learned anything from Cardinals draft rumors this year, it's that the guy they're being connected to isn't the guy they're really interested in. Let's take a look at some of the (other) top prospects at positions of need who the Cardinals may be thinking about when day two gets underway.
Larry Warford, Kentucky
A popular mock to the Cardinals in the second round, Warford may still be an option despite adding Cooper in the first. He's a top-32 talent on many big boards and one of the best pure guards in the class. Cooper and Warford could create the best guard tandem in the league.
Menelik Watson, Florida State
A nimble, developmental tackle hailing from England, Watson should probably start out at right tackle in the NFL due to his inexperience but he has the physical tools to move to the left side later in his career. The team lacks depth at tackle, and Watson's upside makes him a tempting option.
Terron Armstead, Arkansas Pine-Bluff
The kind of hyper-athletic tackle prospect that rivals Lane Johnson in terms of movement ability, Armstead has level of competition concerns but played so well in the East-West Shrine game he was called up to the Senior Bowl a week later. Like Watson, he's a developmental guy with immense upside, but it's not clear where he should start out in the NFL. Some think he should play guard for a year before kicking outside, which would work out well with the Cardinals personnel.
Jamie Collins, Southern Miss
Collins blew up the Combine in a similar fashion to how he blew up offenses at Southern Miss. He has the production and measurables, but will need to improve his strength and technique to have the kind of impact in the NFL that he had in college. Collins is one of few players available in this round that has an ideal skill-set to be a full-time starter as a 3-4 OLB.
Alex Okafor, Texas
Let me start by saying that Okafor is exposed in space, and projects as a better 4-3 DE than 3-4 OLB. That said, he is the best pure pass rusher available and he will have a huge impact as a rotational player in any defensive scheme. With Acho playing a complimentary role on the opposite side, Okafor would fit as an attacking, upfield blitzer.
Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
Like Okafor, Moore is a better fit in a 4-3. He doesn't move all that well in space, and the only time he really looks explosive is when he's rushing with his hand in the dirt. Despite that, and also like Okafor, he's one of the better edge rushers in the draft, and could fit as a designated blitzer on certain downs.
Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, Florida State
After tearing his ACL in November, some teams are higher on Carradine than others. His recovery is lightyears ahead of schedule, though, as he was able to work out for NFL teams recently and even ran a 4.75 40. In addition to the injury, Carradine was only a one-year starter at FSU. He carries a significant bust factor. He plays with a high motor and has a long, muscular frame, but his inexperience means his technique is extremely limited. There is obvious upside here, but Carradine is far from a safe pick and a bit oversized for an OLB at 275 lbs.
Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
Anyone think the idea of Manti Te'o playing next to Daryl Washington for the next ten years doesn't sound even a little bit awesome?
Arthur Brown, Kansas State
More of a 4-3 linebacker due to his size, the rangy, aggressive Brown plays the run and the pass equally well and promises to be one of the more reliable linebacker prospects in the draft. More of a Daryl Washington-type than a complimentary piece, Brown isn't an ideal fit for a 3-4 SILB but his talent is tempting.
Kevin Minter, LSU
Undersized and lacking athleticism, Minter compensates with anticipation, vision and timing. He's a good linebacker in a thin class.
Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
Though he lacks elite range and coverage ability, the hard-hitting Cyprien plays smart and is a reliable presence in the box. There are level of competition concerns but he has played well against the best schools on FIU's schedule, and garnered a lot of praise at the Senior Bowl.
D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina
An intimidating, physical safety, some are concerned Swearinger will struggle with penalties and durability in the NFL due to his hard-hitting style. Good but not elite range, he's a strong in-the-box defender who holds up fairly well in coverage.
Phillip Thomas, Fresno State
Thomas made a ton of plays in Fresno State's 3-4 defense as a senior, demonstrating top-tier ball skills and closing speed on his way to picking off eight passes. Though a big hitter, he doesn't always take proper angles and tends to overrun plays. Range and playmaking ability make him an ideal deep cover safety.
I honestly wouldn't be offended if the team took Warford. Spending back to back picks on the offensive line is a fair price to pay for years of neglect. By most accounts, he'll also be one of the best players available at that pick. I suspect the team looks to fill a different spot on the depth chart, though. Te'o is interesting. There will be some good safeties available in the third and fourth rounds, so I don't think they have to go that way. Jamie Collins might be the best pick here. Though I like some of the OLB's coming up in the later rounds, Collins is by far the most well-rounded prospect and has the best upside. Who would you draft in round two?