It is the time of year where mock drafts reign supreme, yet we have not even seen free agency start yet, so how are we to know how the rosters of all these teams, and most importantly to this site, how the Arizona Cardinals will look?
How can we mock a player, when we can't even confirm what the Cardinals biggest needs are yet? Oh sure, they need help at all the linebacker positions, and maybe at one interior line spot, but if they were to sign, say Justin Houston, would they be in the market to draft Eli Harold still? What if they are able to pry away Stefen Wisniewski from the Raiders? Do they draft Cam Erving still? What about La'el Collins?
That's why, before free agency, I enjoy working through different scenarios over the course of the pre-draft period, before free agency starts.
We've looked at the idea behind drafting and outside linebacker and inside linebacker first, what happens if we look at the offensive side of the ball?
Round 1, Pick 24 Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
No one likes a running back in Round 1 less than I do, and honestly I do not think it is something that the Cardinals and Steve Keim will do, but it gives us a fun scenario and an interesting question.
The Cardinals have gotten not a lot out of their last two second round picks, and nothing out of their 2013 first round pick, so if Gurley is a mostly healthy scratch, or eased in during his first season is that something the Cardinals could deal with?
I do not think so, but the idea of lessening the burden on Palmer every year he is healthy with a big run game, is something I like. It is an experiment; so let's take this for what it is.
Round 2 Pick 55: Ty Sambrailo, OL, Colorado State
Perhaps he is not a guy many people are aware of yet in Cardinals land, but he's a mauler up front and looks like he has the goods to be a guard or tackle at the next level.
If he falls to Round 2, even with the defensive names on the board, I like the idea of continuing to upgrade the offensive line for Carson Palmer and now Todd Gurley. By the way, I do not like drafting running backs because of the names available for this pick.
Round 3 Pick 86: Ellis McCarthy, DT, UCLA
This is where I regret the Gurley pick, because I think Mike Davis is 75% of Todd Gurley, while being able to get a pass rusher or inside linebacker at pick 24, but it is a scenario, and there are some really good names I like, so I went with a guy to replace Big Dan Williams in Ellis McCarthy. He needs work, but he has all the natural talent in the world.
Round 4 Pick 120: Josh Shaw, CB, USC
I may be off on my evaluation of Shaw, but he'll end up in my top 100, and in that, I think he has the skills to translate into a good CB2, maybe even a great CB3.Shaw's skills, they are what the Cardinals like, outside of his baby arms.
Round 5 Pick 151: Davis Tull, OLB, Chattanooga
People I trust have raved about Tull's ability to bring athleticism from the LB position. He is a small school guy with big school numbers. It would be a flier here, and I know his rank on FanSpeak will throw some off, but I wanted to sandwich him in here.
I am not sure how I feel about this draft. While I love all the names, I feel like it is backwards from what it should be with a RB in Round 1 and an OLB in Round 5, but the middle rounds will be where Keim continues to build the draft, and all four picks have starter upside, with special team floors for Shaw and Tull.