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Arizona Cardinals 2018 Mock Draft - October addition

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Mocking the draft early and often for the Arizona Cardinals.

NCAA Football: Duke at Virginia Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

It’s October, guys, and I’ve added another mock draft for the Cardinals fans to read. You may love it, you may hate it, but in the end, you’ll add input. I apply being ‘different’ to my everyday life, and it starts with the first pick I have. Without further ado.

1st Round (24th Overall Selection from Atlanta Falcons)

  • Daniel Jones - Quarterback
  • Duke - Redshirt Sophomore
  • 6’5’’, 215 Pounds

You want a quarterback, I give you a quarterback. Maybe not the guy you were anticipating, but Daniel Jones could be a surprise entry into the draft, and has had a decent season thus far. That’s not discounting the facts: 1. The O-line at Duke hasn’t done what many thought it would. 2. He is the best mold of clay, in the fact that he fires deep shots, and makes plenty of plays with his legs.

If B.A. is your coach for next year, then Daniel Jones makes sense (if he declares), but if you don’t have time to develop someone, then maybe a guy like Mason Rudolph or Luke Falk could makes sense. Jones wouldn’t be necessarily ‘not-ready’, so if you had enough belief in him starting in the immediate future, then so be it, but development would be beneficial for both the Cards and Jones.

2nd Round (46th Overall Selection)

  • Jalyn Holmes - Defensive End
  • Ohio State - Senior
  • 6’5’’, 270 Pounds

Year after year, Ohio State is putting out stud athletes, and us as fans eat it up. This year, Jalyn Holmes has been phenomenal, and that has him bursting at the scene. No, it’s not sacks in particular, but does all the dirty, technical work while guys like Sam Hubbard, Nick Bosa, and Tyquan Lewis all share the spotlight.

Jalyn Holmes just looks like an all-around freak, and that’s what’s going to have him slide up in the draft. That includes him possibly rising up the board, and maybe being a first rounder. For the value side of this, I am trying to implement a defensive lineman who either will be on the line as a backup, or will shed weight to become an efficient linebacker. This could be the guy that is a major-sub for Markus Golden and Chandler Jones once Kareem Martin possibly leaves.

3rd Round (79th Overall Selection)

  • Sean Welsh - Offensive Guard
  • Iowa - Redshirt Senior
  • 6’3’’, 290 Pounds

The offensive line was horrendous after four weeks, but last week solidified ‘potential’ for me. It all starts up front with the return of D.J. Humphries, who has somewhat had a disappointing start to the season, but seems healthier. To me, there are three open positions on the line next year (right tackle, right guard, and left guard), and it could be a rookie who steps in for the Cards.

I love guys who can put their hand in the dirt for 60 minutes of football, and typically don’t get tired. Sean Welsh is one of those guys. He seems to get beat maybe once or twice per game (he’s human), but to me, it’s not equating sacks for opposing defenses. To be a better run-dominant team, Sean Welsh could be the next step for the Cards.

3rd Round (89th Overall Selection from Atlanta Falcons)

  • Aaron Stinnie - Offensive Tackle
  • James Madison - Redshirt Senior
  • 6’5’’, 295 Pounds

I went run first offensive guard, Sean Welsh, just ten picks before, and now I go pass first offensive tackle. Aaron Stinnie is a heck of an athlete who can flip his hips going against speed-rushers, but seems to get powered off the ball frequently.

There is a sense of urgency to fix the line, especially true since Jared Veldheer has been often bullied at right tackle. Finding a starting tackle (and/or guard) should be a priority in the draft. Aaron Stinnie (like Daniel Jones) is more of a ‘future’ piece, and requires time and development. If you are patient with his development, then Stinnie becomes a pivotal piece on the line.

3rd Round (97th Overall Selection via Compensatory)

  • Christopher Herndon - Tight End
  • Miami (Fla.) - Senior
  • 6’4’’, 252 Pounds

For most in the NFL, it’s fun to incorporate a tight end in the passing game, but it’s not completely necessary for the Cardinals. Until now, the Cards have used Jermaine Gresham and Troy Niklas as blocking tight ends, while attempting to use speedsters (J.J. Nelson and John Brown) as crossers.

That’s not going to change with this selection, as Christopher Herndon of Miami is a big-time target, and has proven he is an able blocker. Yes, I would love to have a Tony Gonzales or Travis Kelce (Gronk?), but that’s not a scheme that B.A. utilizes. Herndon could help evolve what the offense wants to do, but the o-line and tight end position goes hand-and-hand. Getting a guy like Herndon doesn’t mean anything if he’s always a sixth offensive lineman.

4th Round (134th Overall Selection via Compensatory)

  • Darren Covington - Wide Receiver
  • Utah - Redshirt Senior
  • 6’3’’, 205 Pounds

It doesn’t seem to deter Arizona from taking on projects, and Darren Covington is a major project. He would most certainly be a special teamer, but that is the point, the Cardinals NEED to supply more options at receiver.

You cannot depend on inconsistent receivers anymore, you need someone to step up, and that begins by rebuilding through the draft. I love John Brown and his oven mitts for hands (doesn’t drop much, knock on wood), Jaron Brown is coming into his own, and J.J. Nelson gives you a speed-star off the line of scrimmage. Covington is a ladder guy; can climb higher than most defensive backs, but lacks elite speed. If he stays out of trouble, he becomes a pro-bowler.

5th Round (150th Overall Selection)

  • Derrick Willies - Wide Receiver
  • Texas Tech - Redshirt Senior
  • 6’4’’, 215 Pounds

I went ‘all-in’ for sizable receivers, only six-three and above guys, and it seems unrealistic. Steve Keim and B.A. love smaller receivers, and I do too, but now is the time to invest into some tall trees. I think a guy like Derrick Willies (two-year starter) from a spread option could be on the Cards radar, but it depends on whether the Cards are okay with someone who was a backup receiver for most of his college career. Most likely not even a special teamer, but I’m totally okay with that in the fifth round.

When you draft two receivers, you have to be prepared for one of them to be a camp cut, but relax Cards fans, this is me looking at free agency. John Brown and Jaron Brown are both free agents after the season (for the time being), so rounding out the offense would be great. Plus, who doesn’t love deep threats?

6th Round (206th Overall Selection via Compensatory)

  • Bryson Gates - Outside Linebacker
  • Abilene Christian - Senior
  • 6’4’’, 230 Pounds

Stats are the ‘be-all’, but read more into what the Cards are trying to do. They aren’t trying to beat you through blitzing, necessarily, but by man coverage/4-5 guy blitzes. I understand that Markus Golden is a dog, but his injury has exposed the Cards. Haason Reddick was not trained to be a defensive end, so he shouldn’t be starting there. I really love the effort of Kareem Martin, but he’ll be up for a pay increase after the season.

If you are confused about who Bryson Gates is, you will not be the only one. I went with a typical B.A. formula from 2015, when Rodney Gunter was a surprise selection, and I’ve got to say, worthy of a 4th round pick (so far). Bryson Gates is the similar style of beast off the edge, but Markus Golden was more a polished blitzer off the edge. I’m willing to gamble with all of these picks in my wheelhouse.

6th Round (207th Overall Selection via Compensatory)

  • Harrison Phillips - Defensive Tackle
  • Stanford - Senior
  • 6’4’’, 295 Pounds

Talking defensive lineman, why should we not try to upgrade the line? I’ve changed my stance, it might benefit the Cards more if they attempt to keep Corey Peters, and making him a mainstay. Adding different pieces to the line isn’t a bad idea, and here’s why:

1. The Cardinals love to rotate six or seven different linemen. 2. You aren’t going to have a Warren Sapp on the line for 75 plays, but you might be able to play an alternate like Chris Hovan to spell Sapp on different plays. So, getting a guy like Harrison Phillips of Stanford would only boost the line, especially with Olsen Pierre, Xavier Williams, and Rodney Gunter coming into their own.

7th Round (222nd Overall Selection from Baltimore Ravens)

  • Martez Carter - Running Back
  • Grambling State - Senior
  • 5’9’’, 205 Pounds

For my final pick, I went after a running back who probably would be exciting on special teams, and maybe as a receiving threat. He’s not especially big, seems to need development when attacking a blitzer, but it’s effort, guys. Carter is a guy who will fight for extra yards, and rarely goes down off of the first hit.

I can imagine a stronger stable of running backs next year. David Johnson is a workhorse who you can feel comfortable sitting out on 3rd and 10. I hope that Adrian Peterson can share a backfield with Johnson on certain plays. Elijhaa Penny and Kerwynn Williams will probably develop with another offseason. And then T.J. Logan is returning, someone who is exciting, and adds fresh legs. Pair that together, and the Cardinals become a ‘run-first’ offense.

Trades:

1.

Arizona Cardinals receives:
24th Overall Selection (Daniel Jones - Duke)
89th Overall Selection (Aaron Stinnie - James Madison)
2019 5th Round Selection

Atlanta Falcons receives:

15th Overall Selection (Denzel Ward - Ohio State)