The 2020 NFL Draft is only a week away which means this will be my final Arizona Cardinals mock draft of the year.
Plenty of quality acquisitions were made by the Cardinals this offseason, highlighted by the trade for arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL in DeAndre Hopkins. They also bolstered their defensive front seven in free agency with the additions of defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, outside linebacker Devon Kennard, and inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell.
They were also able to re-sign 10 of their own free agents, including Kenyan Drake, Marcus Gilbert, and Justin Murray.
With no glaring needs on the roster, the Cardinals are now able to take the best player available with their first-round pick.
Round 1 (8): CeeDee Lamb - Wide Receiver, Oklahoma (6-2 198lbs)
Date of Birth: April 8, 1999 (Age: 21)
Career Stats (40 games): 173 receptions, 3,292 receiving yards, 32 touchdowns (9 carries, 20 rushing yards, 1 touchdown)
Thoughts: If Jeff Okudah and/or Isaiah Simmons are available here, the Cardinals must take one of them. The fact that it is unlikely to happen makes them unrealistic targets here.
I also took into consideration rumors in the social media world that the Giants are targeting Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Wills, who I originally had pegged here in my final mock draft. This does not change that fact that he could still be the pick if available.
AZCardinals.com writer Kyle Odegard said “If the Cardinals strengthen the interior of the offensive line, it will likely come in later rounds” in his latest draft primer article. If the Cardinals view Tristan Wirfs as a guard, then he likely will not be the pick at No. 8
Now there are rumors that the Eagles are aggressively pursuing a move up for Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, with the Panthers at No. 7 being their potential trade partner. But, I cannot imagine a Panthers team dropping that far to No. 21 to miss out on Okudah or Simmons. With the process of elimination, I predict the Cardinals taking Lamb here.
He is an underrated route runner who, in my opinion, has the best hands in the draft and excels in contested catches. He leads all draft-eligible receivers in yards after contact (6.1) and caught more deep passes of at least 20 yards (30) than any receiver in college football. Most importantly, Lamb reunites with Kyler Murray and becomes the heir apparent to Larry Fitzgerald.
Round 3 (72): Cam Akers - Running Back, Florida State (5-10 217lbs)
Date of Birth: June 22, 1999 (Age: 20)
Career Stats (36 games): 586 carries, 2,875 rushing yards, 27 touchdowns (69 receptions, 486 receiving yards, 7 touchdowns)
Thoughts: The value of the running back position is not what is was before and that means many of them will fall farther than expected during this year’s NFL Draft. The Cardinals are poised to add a running back at some point and they get one here.
Akers is a speedy (4.47 40) and elusive running back that was also a solid receiver out of the backfield at Florida State. Not only would the Cardinals be getting more depth but also a three-down player that can take over as a starter in 2021 when Kenyan Drake’s contract expires.
The Cardinals are interested in Utah’s Zack Moss but his medicals and lack of speed are a concern.
Round 4 (114): Davon Hamilton - Nose Tackle, Ohio State (6-4 320lbs)
Date of Birth: February 1, 1997 (Age: 23)
Career Stats (40 games): 66 tackles, 20 TFL, 7 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries, one touchdown
Thoughts: One of the more underrated interior defensive lineman in this draft. Hamilton is not just a space-eating nose tackle but a player that brings upside as a pass rusher and run stuffer. He is coming off his best season at Ohio State, setting career-highs in tackles for loss (9.5) and sacks (six). He could very well be the starting nose tackle of the future with Corey Peters’ contract expiring after the 2020 season.
Cardinals have shown interest in Utah’s Leki Fotu but his tape leaves a lot to be desired. He offers little to nothing as a pass rusher. Fotu needs to play with better technique and power than he did in college in order to unlock his full capabilities as a run-stuffing nose tackle.
Round 4 (131): Evan Weaver - Inside Linebacker, California (6-2 237lbs)
Note: Cardinals acquired this pick in the trade for WR DeAndre Hopkins from the Texans
Date of Birth: August 11, 1998 (Age: 21)
Career Stats (46 games): 407 tackles, 23.5 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 11 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles
Thoughts: Weaver is not very athletic (4.76 40), which will not only limit his upside but also how high he will go in the draft. But, hear me out.
The reason why I like Weaver is he was one of the team captains for the California Golden Bears and led the nation with 181 tackles last season. He is smart, usually at the right place at the right time and knows how to execute his assignments. He is also instinctive, quick in reaction which leads to his dominance against the run. There are coverage limitations with Weaver due to his lack of speed but was respectable in this category in college. I was not very high on him early in the draft process but after watching more of his tape, you fall in love with what you see.
Dennis Gardeck, Zeke Turner, and Tanner Vallejo are primarily special teams players.
Round 6 (202): Jared Rice - Tight End, Fresno State (from NE) (6-5 230lbs)
Note: Cardinals acquired this pick after trading OT Korey Cunningham to the Patriots
Date of Birth: December 28, 1995 (Age: 24)
Career Stats (39 games): 113 receptions, 1,365 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns
Thoughts: An athletic tight end that gives Kyler Murray another big target to work with. Rice’s best season was in 2018 when he set career-highs in catches (55) and receiving yards (664). He would be reuniting with former Fresno State teammate in KeeSean Johnson. The tight ends currently on the roster are Maxx Williams, Dan Arnold, and Darrell Daniels.
Round 7 (222): Khalil Tate - Quarterback, Arizona (6-2 215lbs)
Date of Birth: October 28, 1998 (Age: 21)
Career Stats (40 games): 459/792 (58%), 6,318 passing yards, 57 touchdowns, 31 Interceptions (366 carries, 2,285 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns)
Thoughts: Cardinals get a dual-threat quarterback here that can compete with Drew Anderson and/or Chris Streveler to be the third-string quarterback. Tate’s sophomore and junior seasons were much more impressive than his senior year. He rushed for 1,411 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2017. He threw for 26 touchdown passes in 2018.
Tate is underdeveloped as a passer but his athletic ability is among the best at the quarterback position in this draft class.
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