This is yet another mock draft that everyone is craving, this time it's a specific teams mock draft, instead of my usual 3-4 round full mock drafts. I went 7 rounds, then removed all the other picks that had nothing to do with the Cardinals.
In this mock draft, I don't want anyone to tell me that the Cardinals would be drafting a certain guy early. I want you to remember, the Cardinals will draft a certain guy that fits exactly what they are expecting to do. You will also notice this is the mock draft of doubles.
Enjoy the 7-round mock. Go Cards!
1st Round (13th Overall Selection)
DeShone Kizer - Quarterback
Notre Dame - Redshirt Sophomore
6'4'' 233 Pounds
The Cardinals had a short list of "5-6 great arms", it was revealed that the QB's the Cardinals were focusing on Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Davis Webb, Deshaun Watson, and Nathan Peterman. Then why the heck am I choosing a quarterback not on the short list? Because to me, I don't think the Cardinals would put that list out there and expect to get the QB of their dreams. Most draft rooms don't let their secrets out the window unless they're trying to mask obvious intentions.
I think that the Cardinals must have some deep-seeded interest in Kizer. Remember that this is a quarterback that is typically someone that the Cardinals would obviously be happy with. A quarterback who has mobility, throws probably the second best deep route (Mahomes), and seemed very intelligent about picking up different offenses.
To me, that's what Bruce Arians wants in his offense. It's a complicated offense, one that Carson Palmer admitted after 3 years that he was still learning the cadences. If Kizer can soak up the information from Palmer and Stanton, I think that his arm talent could carry him into becoming the starter in the future.
2nd Round (45th Overall Selection)
Ejuan Price - Outside Linebacker
Pittsburgh - Redshirt Senior
5'11'' 241 Pounds
Here is what many fans would call a "reach", but remember, the Cardinals don't care if we think it's a risk or a reach. They will select whoever they deem worthy. I think that the defense suffered quite a bit this offseason, and they need to continue to rebuild through the draft.
"But John, the Cardinals traded and re-upped with Chandler Jones, and still have that other 12 sack a season stud? Why would you select another linebacker?" Because random and intelligent fan, why would you settle for two options when the defense has to play 80-100 plays a game, and effort is a hard stat to calculate. Ejuan Price is perfect for that kind of role, as the Cards don't necessarily play a certain formations. It wasn't rare for Ejuan Price to play down-lineman.
I look at it this way, there were times that the Cardinals played 3-4 safeties on any given play last year. We would see Tyrann Mathieu cover slot, Tony Jefferson play over the top, Swearinger in the box, and Tyvon Branch run-recognition. That's just it, the Cardinals don't use classic coverage, it's disguising your blitz package. Now, imagine being able to blitz from any position and to be able to fool blocking schemes. That's what Price brings.
3rd Round (77th Overall Selection)
Ezra Robinson - Cornerback
Tennessee State - Redshirt Senior
5'11'' 189 Pounds
Whenever you have a certain player that transfers from a big time college program to a small school type of program, questions will arise, and football prospects tend to have a draft drop-off. For two season, Ezra Robinson played decently, then the Michigan State product ended up taking a transfer to Tennessee State, something that maybe paid off for him.
The problem is the reason he ended up transfering from MSU to TSU, and the reason he went from being a possible first rounder to a 3rd-priority free agent. His talent was undeniable, as he could play great single high coverage, and was able to make up ground by using proper technique. If not for an underage drinking and driving citation, we would be talking about Ezra Robinson a little bit more.
Almost reminds me of the Tyrann Mathieu image, as Robinson could be looking for redemption, a way to prove that he has changed his ways. The Cardinals are taking on the challenge of rebuilding Robert Nkemdiche's image, I think the Cards could assist in self-imaging. And he really built himself a case for being considered after being one of the more competent corners at the Reese's Senior Bowl.
4th Round (119th Overall Selection)
Jeremy Cutrer - Cornerback
Middle Tennessee - Senior
6'1'' 170 Pounds
Don't you hate when you're characterized as "too small" or "too big"? That's the problem for Cutrer, someone who scouts would consider "rail thin", which is a miscalculation of talent. Cutrer was skinny, but it's not as if that forced him to avoid contact. His coverage was great when playing off-man, seemed to play with a solid base, and seemed more and more like a top zone-coverage player for this draft.
There isn't many top zone corners/safeties in this draft, but it's definitely headlined by players like Budda Baker, Sidney Jones, Damontae Kazee, and of course Jeremy Cutrer. The point of drafting back-to-back corners is to get the best of two different base schemes. One plays more man-to-man, while the other plays more shadow and off-coverage (zone). That's the best part of having Cutrer and Ezra Robinson.
5th Round (157th Overall Selection)
Travin Dural - Wide Receiver
Louisiana State - Redshirt Senior
6'1'' 202 Pounds
The receiving corps is pretty good, as it features plenty of talent at different fronts. There's the first receiving option, someone you're going to for big play capabilities (Mike Williams). Then there's the second (or scoring) option, someone who's a natural hands-catcher (Chris Godwin), and last, but not least, it's the slot receiver who is more drawn to motioning and attempting to beat out his guy buy using double moves (Ryan Switzer).
I picked Travin Dural because he doesn't seem to have a certain position. He played well in blocking schemes, lined up at different spots (not limited to X, Y, or Z), and was very intruiging as a special teamer. I think it's either time that Jaron Brown starts contributing to the offense more, or begin to find his replacement in the draft. Dural would not be the replacement for Fitzgerald or John Brown, more of a complementary piece.
6th Round (198th Overall Selection)
Trevor Knight - Quarterback
Texas A&M - Redshirt Senior
6'1'' 219 Pounds
One thing is evident when looking at the QB's currently on the Cardinals, nothing is certain beyond this season. Carson Palmer (38 in December) and Drew Stanton (33 in May) are getting older. Zac Dysert seems destined for the practice squad again this year, and might not be here if someone else claims him. I already know that in this mock draft, the Cardinals have already selected DeShone Kizer, why would the Cardinals select another quarterback? Because the Cardinals need to learn from history, first round quarterbacks don't always work out for the Cards.
I think that the smartest thing Trevor Knight has done to this point is that he didn't accept being a backup at Oklahoma. He made it very clear he still has talent, and just needed the opportunity to exceed. That's what he would be doing in Arizona, gather information on the offense, learn it, and fight to be in a quarterback competition next offseason.
7th Round (234th Overall Selection)
Darrell Brown - Offensive Guard
Louisiana Tech - Redshirt Senior
6'3'' 305 Pounds
You don't see Louisiana Tech as a major school, more small time compared to LSU. Darrell Brown isn't a guy who has "wow" capabilities, you know exactly what you're going to get from him. A solid performer, not a sexy pick, just someone who can be that do-it-all offensive lineman, such as Earl Watford. He has seen some action at left tackle, but definitely doesn't have the quick feet for the position. Leaving him at guard, you might get the type of pass-blocker you're trying to plug in two spaces away from, Mike Iupati.
The Cardinals does seem to really want to improve on the ground game, wouldn't be surprised to see the Cardinals trade for a guard before the season began, to get themselves a more proven commodity then John Wetzel, Cole Toner, Ulrick John, and Evan Boehm. Darrell would be a step behind those guys, so be prepared for a little on-the-job training.