What happens if Arizona gets greedy and gets an inside linebacker and trades up for their quarterback of the future? Let's take a look.
1st Round (13th Overall Selection)
Reuben Foster - Inside Linebacker
Alabama - Senior
6'0'' 229 Pounds
I have to believe in what I've heard of Reuben Foster, he's a troubled senior player who has probably the most interesting traits. Keim said it reminds him of Patrick Willis when he came out, was suppose to be a top-5 player, but because he wasn't a "leader" at Ole Miss, he slipped for these reasons. I look at Reuben Foster as someone who seems destined to "make doubters regret".
Look at his Youtube videos, he would make special teams tackles look scary. I don't know about his character, or about the diluted sample at the re-check for the combine, but to me, he is a top-5 player who would be perfect for the Cardinals. FIRST: Reuben Foster compared to Haason Reddick at this point of time (for the NFL draft 2017), Foster is in a league of his own. SECOND: If I'm being perfectly honest, Foster seems to be a better player now then anyone you would get at 13, so if he slips, pounce on his playmaking ability. And Lastly, THIRD: This will not change Deone Bucannon's position, but rather, it will allow one inside linebacker (Bucannon) to be a roamer, while the other (Foster) to be a gap-player.
That means, in a pass-happy league where teams are always looking for an advantage, Foster would actually make the Cardinals better. If I'm making a bet though, Foster won't be there at 13, but for right now in our mock, he makes perfect sense.
1st Round (26th Overall Selection from Seattle Seahawks)
Patrick Mahomes II - Quarterback
Texas Tech - Junior
6'2'' 225 Pounds
Trade alert! The Cardinals give up a sucken chest of goodies for next year to move back into the first round, while trading with division rival Seattle. First, in this mock, I wanted to make sure that Mahomes got past Houston (25), then I would negotiate a fair deal to move up 19 spots. That meant giving up 3 fours, one this year, and two next year, along with our second round pick. Harsh, but necessary if you like the quarterback. I loved Mahomes, I loved his attributes and physical arm strength, and with Houston out of the way (they took Trubisky at 25), I knew I had to jump ahead of QB hungry Kansas City. I really was happy that Mahomes would become a Cardinal with a HUGE trade.
Let's first focus on the negatives: Air Raid System. It's typically a one-back set, in the shotgun, with a few routes set up for mostly deep shots. Dissect the last part, deep shots are what the Cardinals LOVE to do. Granted, in the Air Raid, there will be an under route (slants, comeback, in-route, or curl), and a homerun route (full-go, post, or corner). Try to imagine that the route scheme is typically small, one-two read, where the quarterback will only go for either the under route or the homerun route, with sometimes a hint of running back out.
If I'm being honest, Mahomes is far from a finished product, as there is a lot that goes into a successful quarterback. Footwork is very important. Being able to do 3-to-4 drop-backs is very different then to go to a 1-foot drop-back. Given where the Cardinals are, Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton can teach the footwork.
3rd Round (77th Overall Selection)
Trey Hendrickson - Defensive End/Outside Linebacker
Florida Atlantic - Senior
6'4'' 266 Pounds
Now, going off straight instincts, I really wanted Tarell Basham of Ohio, but he went 74th to Baltimore. My favorite attribute that flows between Basham and our selection in the third round was a motor that won't quit. You don't have to worry about being tired, Trey Hendrickson is the same in the first quarter as he is in the fourth quarter. That's just as important as any typical skill you look for in a pass-rusher.
You might notice that I've labeled Trey Hendrickson as either a defensive end/outside linebacker, but it's all about his body type. He looks like a perfect fit for a 4-3 defensive end, but he can really eat blocks like someone who weighs 30 pounds heavier. If I'm looking at one game in particular, it's the blowout loss to Old Dominion, but you could see him around the ball for a majority of the game. I wrote an article about how Kareem Martin didn't fit the scheme very well, but Hendrickson is a different beast. Give him one season to gain 15 pounds, he can be your starting down-lineman, and future Frostee Rucker replacement.
5th Round (157th Overall Selection)
Donald Payne - Strong Safety
Stetson - Redshirt Senior
6'0'' 217 Pounds
I thought long and hard about what safety/corner would fit in our system. The tendency has recently been hard hitter (Swearinger) or center fielder who can make up ground in the box (Jefferson). You cannot replace the production value or playmaking abilities of Swearinger or Jefferson, but you can make a jump on a guy who performed well in college. Granted, it was Stetson, but Donald Payne lives up to the name of pain. (sorry, really bad pun).
Seriously, the value is way better then that of Marqui Christian last year, as Payne is more of a center fielder then that of an in-the-box safety. It was between Dymonte Thomas and Payne, but looking at the production, I'm not passing on Payne. First off, his size is a lot better then the 5'10'' I thought he was, he measured reasonably at his pro-day at 6'0''. Size is very important at safety (Tyrann Mathieu is more of a nickel corner), and him being a team captain for two straight seasons, he obviously someone that will be a willing leader. In a three week span (at Davidson, at Brown, and vs Valparaiso), Payne has 40 tackles, while ending the year with 114 tackles. Even at a small school, that's impressive. 3 sacks as a safety, 3 forced fumbles, and 3 blocked kicks, which means special teams value.
5th Round (179th Overall Selection via Compensatory)
Rashaad Coward - Defensive Tackle
Old Dominion - Senior
6'5'' 322 Pounds
Really didn't start showing up on my radar until recently, when I was skimming through sleeper picks for PFW. He hasn't been a super productive player for Old Dominion, but he's been solid. He is a one-technique defensive tackle who can penetrated at the line of scrimmage, and would be perfect in the role that Rodney Gunter has played in the recent years. With Gunter and Nkemdiche filling the void of Calais Campbell, it wouldn't hurt to get someone who can play mostly special teams and on third downs.
6th Round (198th Overall Selection)
Greg Mabin - Cornerback
Iowa - Redshirt Senior
6'1'' 200 Pounds
There is a breed out there this year for the draft, generally speaking, and it's about getting the "bigger" corner. Kevin King and Ahkello Witherspoon won't be drafted based on production, but because each other being over 6'3'' tall. That's crazy to me, but it's the Richard Sherman height that has teams drooling over lanky corners. I waited until the 6th round to get a guy that I'm fairly confident in. He's played mostly nickel for Iowa, but his size is more suited for bump-and-run. When looking for a corner, there are specifics you must look for, and one of them is something that Bruce Arians has said: "That's your dude, we are playing dude coverage, stick to your dude". That's all you need Mabin to do, and with a previous injury, he probably doesn't even take a roster spot this year.
7th Round (234th Overall Selection)
Matthew Dayes - Running Back
North Carolina State - Senior
5'9'' 205 Pounds
Underestimated and underappreciated. That's what Matthew Dayes is for the Wolfpack, and that's what he is entering the NFL as. There was one instance where Dayes was completely shut down, against Louisville, where NC State had to mostly throw the ball trying to catch back up. Now, that's not including three straight games where Dayes lit into Wake Forest (meh), Notre Dame (nah), and at Clemson (that's better) with 100+ yard games. That's impressive.
Arizona Cardinals receives:
26th Overall Selection (Patrick Mahomes II - Texas Tech)
Seattle Seahawks receives:
45th Overall Selection (Raekwon McMillan - Ohio State)
119th Overall Selection (Stacy Coley - Miami (Fla.))
2018 4th Round Compensatory Selection (if not 4th, then translated to 4th in 2019)
2018 4th Round Selection
Okay, well that's all folks, I will be coming out with a full 7 round mock draft next week when we get closer, I wouldn't mind having some help with it, so if you're interested in helping me out with it, post in the comment section. If I can get 32 guys together, then maybe I can see what you think for each team. I know, last come last serve, you will end up drafting for the nasty 49ers and Rams, and the hated Seahawks. In any case, leave a comment if you're interested, if I don't get any takers, that's completely fine, I still a couple of guys that can help me. In any case, go Cards!