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2016 NFL mock draft: Ryan Kelly still most commonly projected player for Arizona Cardinals

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Will the Cardinals pick up another offensive line piece in the first round?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We are about to wrap up the 2016 NFL draft season and we have a couple of mock drafts to discuss. But more importantly, we can see who are the most commonly mocked players to the Arizona Cardinals. As has been the case for some time, Alabama center Ryan Kelly is the leader of the pack.

In our SB Nation mock draft tracker, we can see who are all the players and their frequency on a pie chart. The largest percentage is still "other," meaning there are still more than a quarter of the mocks out there that have the Cardinals going all sorts of directions.

But when it comes to players named, no one is picked more often than Kelly -- 20 percent of the mocks have him going to the Cardinals. Following Kelly are two very intriguing players who have off-the-field issues. Defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche and pass rusher Noah Spence come up next at 9.2 percent of the mocks, followed by safety T.J. Green in 7.7 percent of them.

But Kelly is the big name and in two recent mocks, he is the guy again. SB Nation's Dan Kadar sticks with Kelly, and the well-respected Peter King also has Kelly as the Cardinals' pick.


There may be no hotter player in the draft right now than Kelly. If he's available for the Cardinals, he'd be a smart choice. The closer we get to the draft, though, it looks more and more like Kelly will be long gone by now. Trading back to pick up another pick might be smart for Arizona as well.

And Peter King:

There are not many more highly respected or well-liked players, overall, in this draft than Kelly. He seems like as much of a lock to be good for several years as anyone in this draft, and that's not an exaggeration. With Arizona scotch-taping this position together in recent times (A.Q. Shipley is currently the starting center, and he is a placeholder for the next center), GM Steve Keim would be filling a need spot with a steady-eddie player who should play in the Pro Bowl one day. Or many days.

Shipley is a place-holder. But Arizona has not been using scotch tape to put together its line. It has used a lot of money and a lot of daft capital. They signed Jared Veldheer and Mike iupati to contracts worth more thna $70 million. They drafted Jonathan Cooper and D.J. Humphries in the first round (even though Cooper never panned out). They brought in Evan Mathis.

It is certainly possible for Kelly to be the pick. It would show a continued effort to solidify the offensive line.

He is perhaps the least sexy pick of all the projections. Nkemdiche or Spence would be exciting picks. Emmanuel Ogbah is intriguing. A quarterback brings all sorts of debate. But Kelly? He would probably just be a boring good professional. Nothing wrong with that.