In what is full on mock draft season, everyone is participating in some sort of mock draft. I participated in the yearly SB Nation writer mock draft, representing the Cardinals. I posed the question the other day, giving a list of available players and that generated a lot of conversation.
Now the pick has been published and I went with Preston Smith for a number of reasons. I tried to go about making the pick based on how I think the Cardinals would go about it, considering their needs, the types of players they have targeted in recent history and fit.
I also strongly considered Cam Erving and Jalen Collins, but in the end went with Smith. He is the type of player the Cards have targeted (Mike Neal, Pernell McPhee), he has the talent to be special and he also fits the character profile, having been a defensive captain. Collins was as well for LSU, while Erving was a game captain once.
My pick got mixed reviews among commenters, but this is is what SB Nation's draft analyst Dan Kadar thought of it:
On the surface, this is slightly a reach pick. But considering what's mentioned above about Neal and McPhee, the logic is sound. Smith is the type of pass rusher the Cardinals just don't have. They've gone a few drafts in a row needing someone to get pressure on the quarterback, and Smith can be that player. It's also smart to target a pass rusher early, because the deeper you get in the draft, the harder it is to find a good one. The same can't be said at cornerback, where there will be options later.
I will admit that I did fail to note a couple of players who were available -- Eric Kendricks and Arik Armstead. Based on things Mike Mayock said, I felt Kendricks could perhaps be available in Round 2. Had I noted Armstead's availability, I might have gone with him. But I would be thrilled with a pick of Preston Smith if it happened in real life.
How would you grade my selection of Smith?