As I do from time to time, I gather a bunch of different projections for the 2014 NFL Draft. As we creep closer to the draft, the projections for the Arizona Cardinals at pick number 20 get more and more varied. In one, Blake Bortles falls all the way to Arizona, while in many others he is taken with the first overall pick.
Take a look and discuss which scenarios seem the most realistic, which picks you like the best or worst and which ones seem absolutely ridiculous.
To start, our own Michael Oliver believes that the freakishly athletic cornerback Justin Gilbert will fall to the Cardinals.
"The Cardinals are thin at corner, with Jerraud Powers instated as CB2 as we enter the offseason," he writes. "He has a $4.75 million cap hit this season, he is just not worth it. The Cards need to address corner at some point and find someone to partner with Patrick Peterson. Gilbert is the top corner on many teams' boards."
SB Nation's Matthew Fairburn has the Cardinals taking a corner, but not Gilbert. In his two-round predictions, they select Darqueze Dennard.
"With all of the top pass rushers and offensive tackles off the board, the Cardinals turn to the secondary, where they could use another option across from Patrick Peterson," he explains. "Darqueze Dennard isn't quite the athlete some of the other corners in this class are, so he falls a bit. Arizona doesn't mind, finding another reliable cover man on the boundary."
CBS Sports' Rob Rang has a pick I haven't seen until now -- Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy, who would have to transition to OLB.
"John Abraham led the Cardinals with 11.5 sacks in 2014 but next season will be his 15th in the NFL," he writes. "Ealy starred at defensive end for the Tigers and certainly will be viewed as a quality defensive end from teams operating out of a 4-3 but he's a fluid athlete also capable of making the transition as a standup outside linebacker in the 3-4, making him an intriguing fit for the Cardinals."
Also from CBS Sports is Dane Brugler. He has Arizona taking Darnell Dockett's replacement -- DE Ra'Shede Hageman.
"With Darnell Dockett's future in Arizona a question mark due to his large contract, it won't be a surprise to see them address the defensive line here," he explains. "Hageman is a well-built athlete who might be best suited in a five-technique role, but can do a lot of things up front."
Pete Prisco from CBS Sports goes a different direction, adding competition at inside linebacker -- C.J. Mosley. "Linebackers who can run and hit are valuable to a defense that likes to blitz from the middle," so even with Daryl Washington, Kevin Minter and likely Karlos Dansby, Mosley will have to beat somebody out.
Pat Kirwan, also from CBS Sports, also has Arizona looking at the defensive line, grabbing Florida State DT Timmy Jernigan.
Moving to the NFL.com mocks, Matt Smith says the Cardinals go offense, taking tight end Eric Ebron. "I know they'll take a long look at offensive line and cornerback, but having Ebron slip this far is too good to pass up, and still fills a major need," he explains.
Bucky Brooks has an improbable scenario it seems -- quarterback Blake Bortles is this year's Aaron Rodgers or Brady Quinn and falls to the 20th pick, where the Cardinals take him.
"It would likely take a wild scenario for Bortles to be available at this stage of the draft, but the Cardinals need a young quarterback in place to succeed Carson Palmer in a year or so," he writes. "Bortles is not only the right fit for Bruce Arians' system, but he undoubtedly would benefit from a year on the sidelines before being thrust into action."
Charles Davis says it will be Auburn's Dee Ford at number 20, as he "flies off the edge, and can work into the rotation similar to the way Aldon Smith did in San Francisco."
Daniel Jeremiah says the Cardinals get cornerback Bradley Roby, who "had a few rough outings this year, but his 2012 tape is outstanding and he had an impressive workout at the combine."
In summary, 10 mocks have 10 different players at number 20. They are:
- CB Justin Gilbert
- CB Darqueze Dennard
- DE Kony Ealy
- DE Ra'Shede Hageman
- ILB C.J. Mosley
- DT Timmy Jernigan
- TE Eric Ebron
- QB Blake Bortles
- DE Dee Ford
- CB Bradley Roby
Which picks do you like or dislike?
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