So we all know, it's draft season. And for those of you Cardinals fans out there that really enjoy this time of year (or just tired of watching the Suns lose.....), there's countless mock drafts for you to read. I mean you could go to a dozen sites without even blinking. But...what they don't typically do is take into account the way that the Cardinals draft players. The players they usually select. The ones that fit their scheme.
Not their fault though. They don't have time. And not that I call myself an expert, but I do have one thing they don't: Time.
Round 1: William Jackson III, Houston, CB
Who they probably won't draft: Leonard Floyd, OLB Georgia; Emmanuel Ogbah, OLB, Oklahoma St.
Who they might: Noah Spence, OLB E. Kentucky; Keanu Neal, S Florida
I've heard lots of people suggesting they will take Floyd. NOT happening. He's far too raw, and doesn't really have the motor that the Cardinals like. Like Markus Golden. In fact, my Round 2 mock pick is a clone of him. Same goes for Ogbah, who I could possibly be wrong on, but he has a lot of questions too.
Now, they may take Spence if he falls to them. But, looking at the way they have pursued free agency, they have been aggressively pursuing a pass rusher, and not the ones I have thought either. Bruce Irvin? Jason Pierre-Paul? I didn't think they were high on them. But that should tell you what they think about this draft class for pass rushers, or their chance to get an elite one. They might jump at Spence because of his pass rush ability. But not Floyd. I'd be willing to bet money on that.
Now Jackson? This is a guy who could be opposite of Patrick Peterson for years to come. And he's fast--boy is he fast. His 40 time at the Combine? Wow. BA does love him some speed. And he's tall, so that helps. I should add, however, that they have Leon Hall coming in for a visit. So if they sign him, they may not take Jackson.
The wild card is Neal. I've heard the Cardinals like him. But is he the centerfielder than Rashad Johnson failed to be at times? I don't know. And now that they've signed Tyvon Branch, they don't necessarily need a safety.
Round 2: Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia
Who they probably won't draft: QB; Hunter Henry, TE
Who they might: Shilique Calhoun, OLB, Michigan St.; Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis; Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama; Darian Thompson, S Boise St.
I know I'm copying a little bit--this is exactly what the Cardinals did in Round 2 of last year's draft. They took a guy-Golden- who many thought was a reach at this point of last year's draft. This may be a reach too, and the Cardinals may not go here if they were to sign an OLB in free agency (that's not looking likely though), or if they trade for one.
Jenkins is a high character guy who was the captain and does well to create pressure on the QB. He's not super fast, but he's very athletic for a guy his size and has a big motor (just watched his highlights, and that's all I could think of was his motor).
They could take a number of different players though at this point. Calhoun is similar to Jenkins though possibly a better pass rusher. Lynch probably won't be there, but hey who knows? The Cards interviewed him at the combine. Kelly could be a long term solution at center, but I'd think they address that later. And Thompson is an up and down prospect who shined at the Senior Bowl but not the Combine.
Round 3: Ronald Blair, DE, Appalachian St.
Who they probably won't take: a RB or WR
Who they might: Any defensive lineman or pass rusher.
Blair is an impressive pass rusher for his size- he's over 280 and is a leader for an unheralded defense at Appalachian St. And he finished with 7.5 sacks this last year, which has to intrigue the Cardinals. The 3rd round has been their round, so I fully expect them to get a young playmaker here.
Round 4: CJ Prosise, RB, Notre Dame
Who they might: Colby Listenbee, WR TCU, D.J. Foster, WR/RB Arizona St.
Who they won't (for the rest of the draft): Any QB other than possibly Cardale Jones
This guy had a similar combine to David Johnson, but I'm torn between him and DJ Foster honestly. Both do well in the passing game, but Prosise is bigger which I think the Cardinals value after seeing Andre Ellington struggle to stay healthy. I wouldn't be surprised if they went with Foster. After all-- J.J. Nelson weighs like what I weighed...in high school.
Round 5: Evan boehm, C, Missouri
At this point....I'm just throwing darts. Actually....that's been this whole time.
Round 5 (Compensation Pick): Scooby wright, ILB, Arizona
Yes, I think he falls this far.
I hope Arizona takes him.
Round 6: Jakeem Grant, WR, Texas Tech
With no 7th rounder, and since the last two rounds are risks anyway, why not take a flier on a guy who just posted an insane 40 time?