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4 Reasons to Stay at #8 for Cardinals

NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Virginia vs Clemson Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 NFL Draft is a little over 4 weeks away and now that we know what the Cardinals were able to accomplish in free agency and via the sparkling DeAndre Hopkins trade, the 4 prospects whom I hope the team would stay at #8 for (in order):

Stay at #8:

  1. Isaiah Simmons, S, Clemson
  2. Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio St.
  3. Jedrick Wills, T, Alabama
  4. K’Lavon Chaisson, OLB/DE, LSU

As enamored as I am to WR CeeDee Lamb, I believe it makes sense to add a top 10 prospect at a position of stronger need.

Isaiah Simmons

  • To me, he’s a rover safety who can solve the Cardinals’ greatest defensive vulnerability—-covering the TE. And we know how much more he brings to the defense!
  • I do not see him getting past the Lions (#3), the Giants (#4) or the Panthers (#7), but, stranger things have happened. Trades for QBs could happen.

Jeffrey Okudah

  • He is the most polished and disciplined CB I have watched on tape in years. Okudah credits the new HC at my alma mater (BC), Jeff Hafley, for teaching him how to play NFL style CB.
  • Again, it would be difficult to imagine Okudah sliding to #8, but the Cardinals have to be prepared in case he does. At the start of the season, Patrick Peterson will be 30 and Robert Alford will be 31 (turning 32 in November).

Jedrick Wills

  • Watching Wills play is like viewing a coaching clinic. Not only is he the most ready to play RT in this draft, imo, he’s the best OL fit in the entire draft for the Cardinals’ K-Raid.
  • Adding Wills would allow the Cardinals to use Justin Murray as the swing tackle, and, as Kliff Kingsbury pointed out, Murray also has upside at guard, if the need arises.

K’Lavon Chaisson

  • His rare combination of length, speed, quickness to the ball and sneaky power is too outstanding to ignore.
  • It took Chaisson some time to bounce back from his ACL tear in 2018—-but by the end of the season he was dominant off the edge. Plus, it’s a testament to Chaisson’s character and leadership that he and C Lloyd Cushenberry were given the Tigers’ highly-esteemed #18 jerseys which are given annually to the players who best represent the program and the university.

Trade Down Within 4 Spots:

If all 4 of the “Stay at #8” players are off the board and there is a good trade offer to move down as far as to pick #12, here are the next 4 players that, imo, could make a trade worthwhile:

5. Tristan Wirfs, T, Iowa

6. Andrew Thomas, T, Georgia

7. Mekhi Becton, T, Louisville

8. Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina

  • I have equal A- grades on Wirfs, Thomas and Becton, so moving down to as far as #12 and being able to select one of them and add extra draft picks is a win-win.
  • Javon Kinlaw looks like he could be a nifty fit at 34DE, but I am still very high on Zach Allen and believe that we can wait to pick a 34DE on Day 2 or early on Day 3. I prefer Allen’s motor and instincts to Kinlaw’s. But, Kinlaw is a superb athlete.

Position Contexts/Thoughts:

  • Safety: I already like the young starting safety tandem we have in Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson—-but we still aren’t certain about who can match up and win versus TE George Kittle and the like—-or even Ross Dwelley, for that matter. That makes taking Isaiah Simmons a no brainer. In fact, if he’s off the board, I am hoping that at least one of the 2nd the 3rd best cover safeties in the draft, Kyler Dugger (Renoir-Rhyne) and Jeremy Chinn (Southern Illinois) are on the board for the Cardinals at #72. Either Dugger or Chinn (whom I prefer of the two) would also be a no-brainer.
  • Cornerback: The plan to start Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford, with Byron Murphy in the slot appears to be very much set. But, if Jeffrey Okudah is on the board at #8 and the Cardinals rush his name to the studio (no podium this year), who knows what kind of offers they would get for Peterson. Maybe that’s how the Cardinals get a 2nd rounder back in this year’s draft? It’s a long shot, but, again the Cardinals need to be prepared for every possible scenario. The other thing is—-I think very highly of Byron Murphy and Chris Jones—-I wouldn’t pigeonhole, or overlook either one of them.
  • Tackle. While I feel confident that Justin Murray can pick up where he left off last season, Jedrick Wills’ talent is too good to pass up, and pretty much the same can be said for Wirfs, Thomas or Becton. The only thing that is tantalizing me is that next year’s draft pool for tackles appears to be even stronger.
  • Edge. it’s always good to have talent and depth on the edge, especially in trying to keep pass rushers fresh as possible for the 4th quarter, when a timely sack can win you the game. I am still of the belief that Haason Reddick could have a breakout season, but as is the case with Wills vs. Murray, K’Lavon Chaisson is a superior pass rushing talent to both Reddick and newly acquired OLB/DE stalwart Devon Kennard.

Trade Down into the back half of the 1st Round?

What if the Cardinals got a rare offer, say to move down to the late teens or early 20s for a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd—-would you do it? Here are some of the players that intrigue me in the latter half of round 1:

LBs Patrick Queen (LSU), Kenneth Murray (OK)

Edge A.J. Espeneza (Iowa)

DT Ross Blacklock (TCU), Justin Madabuike (Texas A&M)

Ts Ezra Cleveland (Boise St.) , Austin Jackson (USC) and Josh Jones (HOU). Lucas Niang (TCU)

C Lloyd Cushenberry (LSU), Cesar Ruiz (Michigan)

RB J.K. Dobbins (Ohio St.)

CBs C.J. Henderson (Florida), Kristian Fulton (LSU), Bryce Hall (Virginia), Trevon Diggs (Alabama)

S Xavier McKinney (Alabama), Antoine Winfield, Jr. (Minnesota)

Note: while it’s always nice to have more draft picks, the Cardinals would be wise to stay at #8 if one of their top rated players is still on the board. It’s time for the Cardinals to start stacking big-time 1st round picks.

But, as explained here, if by the time the Cardinals pick at #8 their top rated players are off the board and they have a number of equally rated players remaining, then, by all means, if they can get value in a trade, go ahead and make the trade.

What would like to see happen?