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There may be a run on cornerbacks in round one, how does that change the Arizona Cardinals draft strategy?

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The Cardinals need a cornerback and a run may occur if they pass on one early.

Purdue v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

The 2018 NFL Draft presents a unique problem for the Arizona Cardinals.

The talent in the class is vast, but maybe not at the normal positions that you look to draft early.

That plays well to the Cardinals need at wide receiver, tight end and interior offensive lineman, but the Cardinals have need at two positions that would be considered hard to fill and premium positions, at quarterback and cornerback.

That’s the problem when you come into the draft with multiple needs, you have to figure out ahead of time what position you will invest in early and if you’d overlook the proverbial best player available for the best player left at that premium position.

We know and have talked about the quarterback position, there could be six quarterbacks drafted in round one this year when the grades from most pundits would not warrant that.

Yet, one premium position the Arizona Cardinals are positioned well to address is cornerback.

We talked about the lack of talent at the two other premium positions in offensive tackle and pass rusher, and how that could shape the Cardinals plan if a quarterback doesn’t fall to 15.

On the flip side, the cornerback position is plentiful, at least it would seem, making corner at 15 less of a must.

Except, the Cardinals may be in a similar situation to 2016 if they pass on a cornerback at 15.

Gil Arcia, managing editor of Bucs Nation, spoke with NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein to discuss the 2018 NFL Draft and he had one really interesting nugget:

As for the running back position, the Bucs may see an opportunity at drafting one on Day 2. There may not be a run on the position in the first round so a top ranked back may slip into the second round.“I don’t see a run on running backs personally,” said Zierlein. “If there is a run on a position late in the first, I think it is going to be at cornerback.”

Glossing over the running back part, obviously this was a Bucs focused question and answer, Zierlein’s little mention of a run on cornerbacks at the end of the first is one scenario that could really screw up the Cardinals draft plans.

If you use Zierlein’s rankings on NFL.com as it’s basis, he views 19 cornerbacks as having a chance to develop into an NFL starter. However he only has three prospects with immediate NFL starter grades.

That means if the Cardinals were to pass on a corner at 15, they then have to hope one falls far enough to warrant a pick.

However, the drop off from Zierlein’s third ranked corner, Josh Jackson, to his eighth, Parry Nickerson is the same as the drop off from Zierlein’s first corner, Denzel Ward to his third in Jackson.

Meaning, the perceived chasm between Ward and Jackson is bigger than that of Jackson to Nickerson.

If the Cardinals miss on Jackson at 15, and there is a late first or early second run on cornerbacks, we are looking at the potential difference of getting the perceived second or third best corner to getting the 10th to 12th best corner.

This happened to Arizona before.

In 2016, the Cardinals had no second round pick after trading it for Chandler Jones, and ended up taking the 15th cornerback off the board.

It should not dictate that the Cardinals take a corner at 15, but it should make the idea of corner at 15 just as viable as taking the top pass rusher or offensive tackle when the fall off from getting the second or third best corner to the 10th corner is a reality in round two.