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Eli Apple heads to Arizona Cardinals in final Mel Kiper mock draft

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Arizona needs secondary help and Apple does fit.

Matt Kryger-USA TODAY

Mel Kiper has published his final mock draft of the season. His selection for the Arizona Cardinals with the 29th overall pick in the round fills a short-term and long-term need with a player who really fits what the Cardinals like to do.

With the 29th pick overall, Kiper projects the Cardinals to land Ohio state cornerback Eli Apple.

Almost every team in this draft has "cornerback" listed among their top needs, and at this point Apple looks like a tremendous value. The Cardinals have dealt with injuries, and Apple is great insurance with the potential to be a star.

Right now the Cardinals have their expected starters at cornerback in Patrick Peterson and Justin Bethel, but beyond that, they have almost nothing. On top of that, both Peterson and Bethel had offseason surgery that will keep them out of some offseason work. So cornerback is a need, whether it is depth or someone to compete with Bethel to be the starter.

Apple is a great fit. He is known for his ability to play press man. He has length and speed at 6-1 and a 4.40-second 40 time. He gets his hands on the football, too. He is not a great tackler and he is a little too "handsy" in coverage. Then again, so was Patrick Peterson when he came out.

In most mock drafts, he is off the board, so this would be a great pick. It makes sense as well because Ryan Kelly, Robert Nkemdiche and even T.J. Green are off the board.

Personally, I have been pounding the table for the team to go defensive line. There are some good ones on the board, but going with Apple arguably gives them a better cornerback than they level of defensive lineman they could take. If that is the case, then I am pleased with the pick.