The big day is almost here! Dreams will be fulfilled as lives willed be changed. The 2017 NFL Draft is only several days away and I can barely contain my excitement!
I have noticed a several trends in the Cardinals draft history since the start of the Keim/Arians era:
- The Arizona Cardinals have drafted only four players they invited to visit the team or had private workout with: Tyrann Mathieu (2013), Logan Thomas (2014), Rodney Gunter (2015), and Robert Nkemdiche (2016).
- Three out of the past four draft, the Cardinals have drafted juniors in the first round. Jonathan Cooper, D.J Humphries, and Robert Nkemdiche were juniors when they declared for the NFL Draft. This excludes Deone Bucannon, who was a senior.
- From 2013-14, the Cardinals drafted juniors in the 2nd round (Kevin Minter & Troy Niklas). From 2015-16, every player the team drafted after the first round were seniors coming out of college.
- Since 2013, the Cardinals made trades with their second round pick in three out of the past four drafts. They traded down in the fourth round in 2013 and traded up the fourth in 2015.
If these trends continue, the Arizona Cardinals will only draft one or none of the players they have invited for a visit but I think this is the year they draft two. The first round pick likely to be a declared junior and the 2nd & later picks will be declared seniors. Arians mentioned that the 5th round compensatory pick gives the team leverage in the draft. He might be implying a potential trade if a certain player is within good trading distance. I don’t know what their draft board looks like but my guess is that a quarterback is not in the cards in the first round.
Without further adieu, here is my final Arizona Cardinals mock draft:
Positions of Need: CB, ILB, QB, S
Arizona Cardinals trade their 179th (compensatory pick) and 231st picks for Cincinnati Bengals 176th Overall pick.
Round 1(13): Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama (6’0’’ 229lbs)
2016 Statistics (Junior): 115tak 13TFL 5sack 2PD
Steve Keim and Bruce Arians love this inside linebacker. They even compared him to Bobby Wagner. He is a powerful tackling machine and has displayed good football awareness at Alabama. His urine test was dilute so some might say that is a red flag. He didn’t have any trouble at Alabama and so I don’t expect trouble from him in the pros. He can play right away or sit behind Dansby until he is 100% healthy. The Cardinals generally give their first round picks limited playing time as a rookie such as DJ Humphries and Robert Nkemdiche. He would be a great addition to an already loaded defense and will make it even better.
Round 2(45): Davis Webb, QB, California (6’5’’ 229lbs)
2016 Statistics (Senior): 382-620 4295yds 37TD 12INT
He is a hardworking quarterback. I watched teammates praise him for being a team captain in just his one season at California. With good protection and time, he can make any throw. He has a strong arm and has good zip on his throws. When under pressure, he steps back which increases his chances of making a bad decision. He has stepped up in the pocket before and so I have seen many good things from Webb. His record in college was not good but Webb is coachable. We saw that at the Senior Bowl and during his workout drills at his pro day and the NFL Network. At first, people would say he is another Nick Foles or John Skelton but I see a QB with really good potential. It’s not like he has to play right away. He can learn this system and get mentored by Arians and Palmer this season. He should succeed and if he does, he will be our franchise quarterback.
Round 3(77): Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego St. (5’10’’ 184lbs)
2016 Statistics (Senior): 67tak 3TFL 7INT 8PD 1FF
He plays well against the run and is not afraid to tackle. He can play outside or inside and still remain effective. He has excellent football intelligence and always seem to be around the ball. He is not the fastest but he has okay speed and can do many things for the Cardinals top defensive unit. He can rotate with Tyrann Mathieu in terms of playing safety of nickel cornerback. Kazee has talent and he has proved that at San Diego State.
Round 4(119): Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan (6’2’’ 214lbs)
2016 Statistics (Senior): 57rec 862yds 7TD
He has the length and the speed to become a very good wide receiver in the NFL. He has to be more physical with his hands at the line of scrimmage. If he can effectively use his hands, he can have more separation from his opponent’s defensive backs. Darboh can catch almost everything and was coached under Jim Harbaugh. He is a willing blocker and passionate about the game. He admires Larry Fitzgerald and now his idol can mentor him to become the Cardinals future star wide receiver.
Round 5(157): Donald Payne, S, Stetson (5’11’’ 193lbs)
2016 Statistics (Senior): 114tak 14.5TFL 3sacks 1INT 2PD 3FF 3Blk
Donald Payne was named Pioneer Football League Defensive Player of the Year for three consecutive years. He brings speed and a little more size to the safety position. The Cardinals always look at players from small football programs that dominated at their level of competition. Payne has 9 interceptions and 42 pass defections in his career. He even had 65.5 career tackles for loss. He can replace Tony Jefferson and is similar to Marqui Christian in many ways.
Round 5(176): TJ Logan, RB/KR, North Carolina (from Bengals) (5’9’’ 196lbs)
2016 Statistics (Senior): 120Att 650yds 7TD, 29rec 244yds 3TD, 21Ret 690yds 2KR TD
The Cardinals are looking for more depth at running back as well as searching for a kick/punt return specialist. Logan ran a 4.37 40 at the combine and is one of the best kick returners in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Editors Note: Andy used the compensatory fifth and the Cardinals seventh to move up to draft Logan.
Round 6(197): Storm Norton, OT, Toledo (6’8’’ 311lbs)
Norton started 28 straight games at left tackle for the Rockets, but projects more as a right tackle in the NFL.
He has good hands, long arms, but slower feet than you would prefer.