I'm going to start off by naming the players who were available for this mock, so that maybe you could make your own observations and selections. Go ahead and post who you would have taken. I did this mock with a couple of buddies, we did every five picks, it took 4 hours to do, but hopefully you enjoy it.
Arizona Cardinals Draft:
1st Round (13th Overall Selection)
Zach Cunningham - Inside Linebacker
Vanderbilt - Redshirt Junior
6'3'' 234 Pounds
Top prospects still available: Mitchell Trubisky, Taco Charlton, Jabrill Peppers, Marlon Humphrey
I looked long and hard at the options, and I didn't hold anything back. I thought about the potential of jumping up in the first round for Reuben Foster (Titans), Deshaun Watson (Jets), Mike Williams (Bengals), and Mahomes (Browns, 12), but I fought the urge because of the depth there is in the draft. Yes, Mitch Trubisky is available, but I will not depend on one year of production.
I loved Cunningham over Jabrill Peppers and Marlon Humphrey, as Cunningham was a sideline-to-sideline tackler that has developed durability since being a starter from his freshman year. Is he better then Foster? I don't know, I think Foster is the in-the-box linebacker, while Cunningham can use his length in coverage. Also, Karlos Dansby is 36 this year, don't plan on him being here until he is 40. Cunningham can immediately contribute on special teams and sub-packages, just like Deone Bucannon did his first year.
2nd Round (45th Overall Selection)
Chidobe Awuzie - Cornerback
Colorado - Senior
6'0'' 202 Pounds
Top prospects still available: Gareon Conley, Charles Harris, Cordrea Tankersley, Gerald Everett, Dion Dawkins, Cooper Kupp, JuJu Smith-Schuster
I kept writing different names down when the Cardinals pick came, but I ultimately chose to go with a bump-and-run corner who has potential to develop into nickel and dime looks for the immediate. Don't get me wrong, I kept looking at Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson, but they went 39 (Jets) and 44 (Bills), respectively. I came down with Chidobe because of his impressive combine. I know, don't judge specifically on combine numbers, but they are so damn impressive. 4.43 40-yard dash, 16 reps of 225-pound bench press, and 132-inch broad jump.
Goodness gracious if Chidobe isn't groomed for the BA system. He is so damn strong off of man coverage, being able to run stride-for-stride while using great change of direction. To me, he could very well be the corner opposite Patrick Peterson. Even if he is just a complementary piece, he will be a very good one. I would tell a random fan to look specifically at his strides; he makes up ground in a hurry, and is very durable in run-tackling. Also, being a 2-time co-captain doesn't hurt.
3rd Round (77th Overall Selection)
D'Onta Foreman - Running Back
Texas - Junior
6'0'' 233 Pounds
Top prospects still available: Chris Godwin, Ahkello Witherspoon, Jalen Myrick, Chad Hansen, Montravius Adams, Damontae Kazee, Joe Mixon, Joshua Dobbs
I really wanted to pair two Colorado corners in the same defensive backfield, but I chose to go a different direction. I went with pure power at the running back position, someone who is being devalued because of the potential "rise or drop" of Joe Mixon. Don't get me wrong, I think everyone deserves a second chance, but I would rather take a young man with a clean slate then someone who I would have to rebuild public opinion of. Also, if you notice, I went with another underclassman, something that hasn't happened in the Steve Keim and Bruce Arians era.
I really want people to understand that this selection does come with some draw-backs. Ball security (6 lost fumbles) and not really being an overwhelming force in the passing game. Don't get me wrong, those two areas are very fixable, just needs to be coached up a little bit. I really would love for the Cardinals to have no "downgrades" when David Johnson takes a breather, hence why D'Onta Foreman would be a great option here. The potential is even there for them to be 1000 yard backs each, and I'd say why not?
4th Round (119th Overall Selection)
C.J. Beathard - Quarterback
Iowa - Redshirt Senior
6'2'' 219 Pounds
Top prospects still available: Jamaal Williams, Howard Wilson, Isaiah Ford, Adam Bisnowaty, Wayne Gallman, Michael Roberts, Darreus Rogers, Ahmad Thomas
This is broader in the range, as to me, there are some very good players still available on the board, but it's way past the timeframe where the Cardinals need to grab a quarterback. The top quarterbacks (other the Beathard) were total reaches in my opinion, with Alek Torgersen, Jeremy Johnson, and Cooper Rush having some deficiency going to the next level. I was way closer to selecting Jamaal Williams then to drafting any of those quarterbacks.
Beathard has been a leader on the field for the Hawkeyes for a few seasons, and was a permanent team captain since 2015, and a co-captain in 2014. That shows the respect he got, and it was well deserved. He plays with very good ball placement when leading the receiver, trusts his eyes for reading coverages, and seems to have a good pocket awareness. The knock on him is that even though the o-line didn't have great talent, he wasn't able to elevate his teammates play. He didn't have a direct impact on winning. To me, get this guy to Bruce Arians, let him learn the offense for two seasons (behind Carson and Drew), then reap the rewards for your patience.
5th Round (157th Overall Selection)
Nate Theaker - Offensive Guard
Wayne State (MI) - Redshirt Senior
6'5'' 315 Pounds
Top prospects still available: K.D. Cannon, Dylan Donahue, Aaron Jones, Chad Kelly, Brendan Langley, Darius English, Vince Biegel, Erik Magnuson
Being able to respond to diverse situations is how you should evaluate offensive lineman when you’re trying to pin-point one from the other. Nate Theaker has played hurt, has been very consistent with his game play, and seems to be a great small school prospect. I chose him over Erik Magnuson (and just missed on Bisnowaty, 151st to the Chargers) because of the hungriness that you require for lineman.
He finishes plays, is just tenacious, and makes great crack-back blocks. Giving Theaker a home in Arizona is a good idea, as the Cardinals are continuing to look for depth on the line since they really struggled with injuries this last year. If it were me, I would pin Theaker, John Wetzel, Ulrick John, Evan Boehm, and Cole Toner for the starting right guard position. It's honestly not a great idea to spend all your cap on offensive line, so it's time to find the "right one".
5th Round (179th Overall Selection via Compensatory)
Xavier Woods - Strong Safety
Louisiana Tech - Senior
5'11'' 197 Pounds
Top prospects still available: Ryan Glasgow, Marquel Lee, De'Veon Smith, Aarlon Penton, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Chad Kelly, Damore'ea Stringfellow, Treston Decloud
This is a very strong defensive backs class, with the Cardinals being very lucky that Xavier Woods is still available at this point. They are very lucky that Xavier slides this far, but in this mock draft, I felt very comfortable almost selecting Chad Kelly in this situation. If not for the off the field issues, I wouldn't hesitant to draft two QB's in one weak class. Because Tony Jefferson and D.J. Swearinger both left during free agency, the Cardinals are now reeling to get themselves a contingency plan.
When I evaluated Woods, I thought he was a very instinctual safety, one that can cover the slot, and play immediately on special teams. Let's remember that special teams completely fell off, with the Cardinals being one of the worst in special teams statistically in 2016. I still don't know if the Cardinals will play Justin Bethel as a core defensive back, and if that happens, that might divert some playing time from special teams.
6th Round (198th Overall Selection)
LeShun Daniels Jr. - Running Back
Iowa - Senior
5'11'' 225 Pounds
Top prospects still available: Leon McQuay III, Charles Walker, Jadar Johnson, Dallas Lloyd, Blake Jarwin, Gabe Marks, Jehu Chesson, Ben Boulware
I'm not going to lie, I had my eyes on another underclassman (along with Chad Kelly, who went to New England at 183), but he went two picks before. Buffalo ends up grabbing Montae Nicholson at 195, but that's okay. I love LeShun Daniels, he was on one of my other mocks, and if a 1000-yard rusher lasts this long, why not?
What do you do if you have a wildcat type of running back (Kerwynn Williams), an unproven running back (Elijhaa Penny, love him), and a running back converting to receiver (Andre Ellington). I've already drafted D'Onta Foreman earlier, what about a special team’s cog (Stepfan Taylor replacement), or someone who is a one-cut runner on third down? I love the abilities of Daniels, so maybe he fits directly into what the Cardinals want in a third or fourth back.
7th Round (234th Overall Selection)
Krishawn Hogan - Wide Receiver
Marian - Senior
6'3'' 222 Pounds
Top prospects still available: Donald Payne, Tarean Folston, Ricky Seals-Jones, Samson Ebukam, Taysom Hill, Jerry Ugokwe, Josh Tupou
This was a very simple pick for me, as the Cardinals need someone who can make up reps if Jaron Brown doesn't move up the depth chart. This is a small school wide receiver who will either be stunning on special teams or will be somewhat a piece on clear passing downs. The last three rounds are typically considered developmental picks, players who will need attention, and might not even make the roster.
I really liked Samson Ebukam and Donald Payne, some other small school players, but receiver would seem to be more important. Can Krishawn Hogan be a sponge? Be able to soak up the information from professional receivers? I think he needs to be a Cardinal, someone who can be their developmental receiver. Learn from Fitz and John Brown, and maybe develop a little bit.
I had the opportunity to trade any of these picks, but decided not to. This was just a fun exercise, remember to follow Revenge of the Birds, as we get closer to draft time. Go Cards.