Things change in the NFL,and nothing changes with more of a furry than the NFL Draft. From now until May 8th, yes the draft is in May now, we will have plenty of time to digest rankings, reports, mock drafts, and more when it comes to the draft.
Much of that information will be provided by the Revenge of the Birds staff, I'll continue to post my podcasts with Justis Mosqueda and guests on ROTB as well, but the true money maker of draft talk is mock drafts.
Why? Because people love to argue about mock drafts. You'll see plenty of "The Cardinals WILL NEVER do that," or "There's NO WAY prospect ____ falls that far," but the reality is that none of us know anything right now, and we'll likely know less in May.
Projecting the 20th pick is tricky, in the sense that you are relying on a lot of underclassmen commiting in order to push players down to the team you are mocking. I won't do a true mock until April this year... maybe March, but likely April, but for the weekly Cardinals mock, and other team mock's that I may throw up on my other site.
I'll be using a mock simulator, which has their own rankings for players so it allows the idea of going in with a board and then having to adjust based on what happens in front of you, also the mock simulator I have used has some off the wall things that happen, so sometimes I go through five to six simulations before I go forward, so if you want to play around with it give it a try at fanspeak.com but be aware if Teddy Bridgewater, Jake Matthews or Khalil Mack are available... start over.
I'll give a brief look at the players that were on the board before I ultimately made my pick and a small explanation as too why.
Please note: If you disagree with any of the selections please indicate which players you would have preferred that way in future articles those players can be highlighted and referenced.
Also, my rankings DO NOT align with these rankings, so if a player like Taylor Lewan is available at 20 but is ranked 12th on their board that means little to me.
With the names on the board the debate began immediately, do I look for immediate impact or do I pull the trigger on one of the two play making quarterbacks of the future.
Round 1: Brett Hundley, QB UCLA
I've spoken to a couple of scouts and there are two teams that I know of that have Hundley as their top rated draft eligible quarterback.
I also know that there are several teams that have a day two grade on Hundley and believe that, while other have not even looked because they don't think he's coming out, but the reality is this is a pick the Cardinals absolutely should consider if luck falls their way.
Hundley needs time to sit and be broken down by quarterback coaches like Tom Moore and Bruce Arians, and having Palmer for one to two more years would be an absolute blessing for the strong armed and fleet footed signal caller.
Round 2: Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB Georgia Tech
Cardinals fans have been yearning for a young pass rusher and Attaochu fits the bill. He's a long, lean, athletic outside backer that has a good initial step, has some pass rushing moves, but can dip, bend, and turn the corner with speed well.
The hardest players to pass:
Travis Swanson C, Arkansas
La'El Collins, OT LSU
Christian Jones, LB FSU
Round 3: Morgan Moses, OT Virginia
Within the next months this may not be a realistic pick -- hell, none of these could be -- but with the way the board lined up being able to get a top 6 left tackle in this class was a must.
Within the first three rounds the Cardinals have addressed three of their five biggest needs and there is some very good talent at safety and tight end remaining.
Hardest to pass:
Richard Rodgers, TE
Cal Calvin Pryor, S Louisville
Round 4: Dion Bailey, S USC
Everything seems to be falling into place for the Cardinals in the first run through of this mock, as the Cardinals pull out a play making strong safety from a big time defense.
Hardest to pass:
CJ Fiedorowicz, TE Iowa
Jalen Saunders, WR Oklahoma
Round 5: Tevin Reese, WR Baylor
Working on day three is all about finding value. The value of Reese is apparent if you put on any Baylor tape from the beginning of the season when he was flying all around the field, and then put on the tape when he's sitting on the bench and the Bears offense shifts down to a lower gear.
Reese is a burner, reportedly will run in the low 4.4's to high 4.3's and is the type of player missing from Arians offense in 2013.
If he can come in and learn from a guy like Larry Fitzgerald, he could be a steal this late, because his route running needs some work.
Hardest to pass:
Scott Chrichton, DE Oregon State
Round 6: Pierre Desir, CB Lindenwood
Finishing off the first installment of the Cardinals mock is the selection of small school, long limbed corner Pierre Desir of Lindenwood.
He is the best small school corner in the draft and gives the Cardinals a player in the wings that can develop and play on specials and in sub packages until he is ready to take over and play alongside Patrick Peterson.
Hardest to pass:
Chris Coyle, TE ASU
Josh Mauro, DE Stanford
Tight End, defensive end, center.
Obviously in early January mock drafts are more an exercise in page hits and discussion starting than actual information, well that's what all mock drafts are, but this is an interesting idea about the Cardinals, their needs and whether or not drafting a quarterback in round one is really something the Cardinals should do, especially as close as they were in 2013.