The Arizona Cardinals have already lost five starters in free agency. Calais Campbell signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tony Jefferson signed with the Baltimore Ravens, D.J. Swearinger signed with the Washington Redskins, Marcus Cooper signed with the Chicago Bears, and Kevin Minter signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. All were defensive starters this past season. They also lost depth when Alex Okafor signed with the New Orleans Saints and when Earl Watford signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Cardinals made up for some of the losses by signing Jarvis Jones, Antoine Bethea, Karlos Dansby, and Phil Dawson to replace the departed players. Even so, Bethea and Dansby are nearing the end of their careers and the team got older/slower on defense as a result. The lack of action to improve and reload the secondary is worrisome. The team might wait to get a veteran for cheap but could this hurt the Cardinals?
Looks like the Arizona Cardinals are relying on the draft to reload the team. With all of these needs and concerns, here is my mock draft 3.0:
Projected trade: Arizona Cardinals trade their 13th overall pick for Baltimore Ravens 16th and 122nd overall picks
Round 1(16): Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech 6’2’’ 225lbs Junior (from Ravens)
- Combine Results: 4.8 Sec 40yd Dash, 30 Inch Vertical, 114 Inch Broad, 6.88 Sec 3 Cone Drill, 4.08 Sec 20yd Shuttle
- 2016 Statistics: 388-591 65.7% 5052yds 41TD 10INT, 285yds rushing 12TD
The Ravens are trying to reload their offense and none of the three teams that pick after the 13th overall need a quarterback. The Cardinals trade down to acquire more picks but not too far down such that another team can snatch the targeted quarterback.
Patrick Mahomes has one of the strongest, if not the strongest, throw power in this draft class. His tendency to go for the big plays and his aggressive to attack any secondary without fear is exactly what the Cardinals are looking for in a quarterback. When under pressure, he might choose to run back and swerve to avoid it which could be a big problem in the NFL. Another red flag is the air raid offense he was apart of but I truly don’t see this as a problem. I see a very accurate quarterback with a very strong arm that can make any throw and makes good zip on the ball.
Pro Comparison: Ben Roethlisberger
Notable Names: Mitch Trubisky, Corey Davis, Mike Williams, Marlon Humphrey, Reuben Foster
Round 2(45): Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC 5’10’’ 186lbs Junior
- Combine Results: 4.42 40yd Dash, 36 Inch Vertical, 122.0 Inch Broad
- 2016 Statistics: 55 Tackles 2TFL 5INT 11 PD 1FF, 2KR TD (29.5 AVG), 2PR TD (15.8 AVG)
“I don’t think we’ll need a starter, but we’ll need a quality player who can help us on special teams and play corner,” Bruce Arians said to reporters of AZCentral. “If he’s a nickel corner, even better.”
This fits the criteria for a corner Bruce Arians has described above. He made a huge improvement as a corner from the 2015 to 2016 seasons while maintaining his dynamic kick and punt return ability. He is very fast and can compete with Justin Bethel and Brandon Williams for the starting position opposite Patrick Peterson. He will have a role on defense regardless. He isn’t big but there is no denying his raw talent. Should contribute on special teams right away as a kick/punt returner.
Pro Comparison: Bradley Roby
Notable Names: Josh Jones, Zay Jones, DeShone Kizer, Cordrea Tankersley, Marcus Williams
Round 3(77): Demarcus Walker, DE, Florida State 6’4’’ 280lbs Senior
- Combine Results: 18 Bench Press
- 2016 Statistics: 67 tackles 19.5TFL 16sacks 2PD 3FF
No team can ever have enough pass rushers as they are hard to come by in the NFL. Very active and aggressive with his hands when rushing the passer. Good footwork and bend at the line of scrimmage. NFL.com says he has an inconsistent motor but I see a high effort high motor defensive end. He might be a bit small for a 3-4 technique defensive linemen but look at Frostee Rucker. He can compete with Robert Nkemdiche, Rodney Gunter, and Josh Mauro for playing time.
Pro Comparison: Darnell Dockett
Notable Names: Alex Anzalone, Jake Butt, John Johnson, Desmond King, Elijah Lee, Samaje Perine
Round 4(119): Kenny Golladay, WR, Northern Illinois 6’4’’ 218lbs Senior
- Combine Results: 4.50 40yd Dash, 18 Bench Press, 35.5 Vertical, 120 Inch Broad, 7 Sec 3 Cone Drill, 4.15 Sec 20yd Shuttle
- 2016 Statistics: 87rec 1156yds 8TD, 192yds rushing 2TD
He is a very intriguing option at wide receiver. Has good size for the position and has all of the physical attributes to succeed. The tape show inconsistent route running just as NFL.com also sees. He is physical from the line of scrimmage and good use of hands causes separation from those assigned to cover him. He is a good prospect Larry Fitzgerald can mentor before he retires.
Pro Comparison: Kenny Britt
Notable Names: Davon Godchaux, Rayshawn Jenkins, Kareem Hunt, Duke Riley, Howard Wilson
Round 4(122): Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo 6’4’’ 270lbs Senior (from Ravens)
- Combine Results: 4.87 40yd Dash, 30 Inch Vertical, 110 Inch Broad, 7.05Sec 3 Cone Drill, 4.51Sec 20yd Shuttle
- 2016 Statistics: 45rec 533yds 16TD
Has big hands and is a big red zone target. He is very inconsistent as blocker but with time, he’ll get where he needs to be. With Darren Fells gone, Hakeem Valles inexperience, Ifeanyi Momah and Troy Niklas constant injuries, Roberts could see a lot of playing time right away.
Pro Comparison: Clive Walford
Notable Names: Blair Brown, Gerald Everett, Wayne Gallman, Tanoh Kapassagnon, Brendan Langley
Round 5(157): Lorenzo Jerome, S, St. Francis(PA) 5’10’’ 204lbs Senior
- Combine Results: 4.70 40yd Dash, 11 Bench Press, 7.63Sec 3 Cone Drill, 4.68 20yd Shuttle
- 2016 Statistics: 59 tackles 5.5TFL 6INT 11PD, 1KR TD
He isn’t a fast defensive back but he plays smart and has a high football IQ. He seems to be at the right place at the right time every time. He is a football magnet. He play at a small school but dominated his level of competition with 18 interception in his collegiate career. If that is not enough, he dominated at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. A hard working smart defensive back whose play speaks more volume than his combine results.
Pro Comparison: Tony Jefferson
Round 5(179): Jordan Evans, LB, Oklahoma 6’3’’ 232lbs Senior (Compensatory Pick)
- 2016 Statistics: 98 tackles 9.5TFL 2.5 sacks 4INT 8PD 1FF 2TD
Has the perfect size for an inside linebacker. He can lose sight of the ball carrier at times but has good speed recovery to make up for some of the mental errors. Can learn behind Deone Bucannon and Karlos Dansby. Will add more speed to special teams and should contribute there right away.
Pro Comparison: Gerald Hodges
Round 6(197): Jahad Thomas, RB, Temple
- Combine Results: 4.62 40yd Dash, 11 Bench Press, 32 Inch Vertical Jump, 116 Inch Broad Jump
- 2016 Statistics: 207Att 907yds 13TD, 33rec 418yds 6TD
Excellent pass catcher with faster playing speed than the combine results suggests. He just finds ways to gain more yardage when his runs look all about over. A better pass blocker than Kerwynn Williams, that’s for sure.
Round 7(231): Greg Pyke, G/T, Georgia
A swiss-army knife offensive linemen that Bruce Arians covets.