No, it isn't really NFL Draft season, but even still, it doesn't hurt to look ahead a bit to the offseason. It is nice to be focused on the season and the postseason still, though. Nonetheless, there isn't really a bad time for mock drafts, so long as we are looking at them with the right perspective.
We saw Todd McShay projecting FCS quarterback Carson Wentz to the Cards with their first round pick. It is an intriguing pick, to say the least. But let's look at another couple of scenarios.
One is a mock draft by SB Nation's Dan Kadar. With the Cardinals picking 30th overall right now, he has them selecting Florida defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard.
Two of Arizona's defensive ends, Frostee Rucker and Cory Redding, will be 33 and 36 next year. Veteran Red Bryant is working on a one-year deal. If the defensive line is viewed as an issue for Arizona, they have some options this late in the first round. Bullard is a good combo player for Florida because of his ability to play inside and out.
Arizona certainly does have some age on the defensive line. With Rucker, Redding, Bryant and Calais Campbell, their key contributors are aging. Ed Stinson, in his second year, is probably little more than a solid rotation player and they do have a young and raw Rodney Gunter.
This late in the first round, getting a defensive lineman isn't a bad pick. It is a solid scenario, especially since he is versatile and that is something Bruce Arians values greatly.
Another mock is through Pro Football Focus. What is different in this mock is how they handle it. They look at how they grade teams and prospects and match a player with a team and a need at a position. They use their numbers.
In the latest mock draft, Arizona takes an offensive lineman -- Stanford guard Joshua Garnett.
A perfect fit for Arizona's man-blocking scheme, Garnett moves defenders at the point of attack and he can lock on when asked to pull. He profiles similarly to current Arizona left guard, Mike Iupati, so having them opposite each other can only help the run game. Garnett's +33.5 run blocking grade led all guards this season.
Arizona taking an offensive lineman should surprise no one. But the position? This suggests the Cardinals could move on from Jonathan Cooper, whom they drafted seventh overall in 2013. Garnett is not a guy who projects to playing center, either.
Could you see the Cardinals going that direction and essentially saying goodbye to Cooper, officially labeling with the dreadful "bust" title?