The NFL Draft is now 15 days away and the Cardinals still have a few big holes on the roster to fill.
At running back, the need may have died down with the addition of James Conner on a one-year deal but with him and Chase Edmonds scheduled to be free agents in 2022, a running back selection in the early rounds remains a possibility.
If the Cardinals want to fill their cornerback hole with Patrick Surtain II or Jaycee Horn, they will most likely need to trade up but with not much 2021 draft capital, that will unlikely happen.
Cardinals have not added a tight end after the departure of Dan Arnold to the Panthers. They have Maxx Williams and Darrell Daniels but neither are reliable pass catchers.
With all of that said, here is my mock draft 2.0:
Round 1 (22): Greg Newsome II - Cornerback, Northwestern (6’0’’ 192lbs) (from Titans in trade prediction)
Trade Prediction: Cardinals trade their first-round pick (No. 16) to the Titans for their first (No. 22), third (No. 85), and fourth-round picks (No. 126)
Date of Birth: May 18, 2000 (Age: 20)
According to Charley Casserly, the Colts and the Titans have serious interest in Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins. If this is true, both teams should consider trading up to acquire him considering they pick at No. 21 and No. 22 respectively.
With such a huge gap between pick No. 49 and pick No. 160, the Cardinals would probably want to trade back to acquire extra picks to fill that gap. The trade prediction with the Titans would do the trick.
I expect Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn to be taken within the top-15 picks. Cardinals trade down and still manage to get one of the top-5 cornerbacks in the draft. Greg Newsome II ran a 4.38 40, bench pressed 18 reps, and had a vertical jump of 40’’. He turns 21 in May and would be an immediate starter opposite Malcolm Butler. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed a 0.0 passer rating on third and fourth downs. Whether he is in man or zone coverage, Newsome can do his job well.
Round 2 (49): Pat Freiermuth - Tight End, Penn State (6’5’’ 260lbs)
Date of Birth: October 25, 1998 (Age: 22)
The Cardinals have a need at tight end and if Pat Freiermuth falls to No. 49, he would be an easy selection here. The 22-year-old tight end may not be as athletic or as popular as top-5 projected tight end prospect Kyle Pitts but he might just be the better overall tight end.
Freiermuth has quality blocking skills and is a threat as a pass catcher. He has sure hands and is a mismatch for opposing defensive backs. He has 1,185 receiving yards and 16 total touchdowns in his three years at Penn State.
Round 3 (85): Trey Sermon - Running Back, Ohio State (6’0’’ 215lbs) (from Titans in trade prediction)
Date of Birth: January 30, 1999 (Age: 22)
Chase Edmonds and James Conner will be free agents in 2022. Sermon is arguably one of the best running backs in this draft after Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, and Javonte Williams. Considering Sermon already has a strong relationship with Kyler Murray as former Oklahoma teammates, this is an easy add here with a strong chance for Sermon to start next season.
Sermon had his best year with Kyler Murray in 2018. He had 1,128 scrimmage yards and 13 total touchdowns that season. He got the attention of the NFL when he gashed Northwestern with a whopping 331 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He ran a 4.61 40-yard dash, had a 37’’ vertical jump, and caught passes in stride with ease at Ohio State’s Pro Day. Running back is not a need but cannot pass up on this talent right here.
Round 4 (126): Ben Cleveland - Offensive Guard, Georgia (6’6’’ 343lbs) (from Titans in trade prediction)
Date of Birth: August 25, 1998 (Age: 22)
The Cardinals may have loaded up the interior offensive line with proven veterans like Rodney Hudson and Brian Winters but I highly doubt they pass on another offensive line class as talented as this one. Cleveland is available here and is my favorite offensive guard in this draft.
Cleveland is massive, standing at 6’6’’ 343lbs. According to Pro Football Focus, he has not allowed a sack the last three years at Georgia. He is athletic enough for his position, running a 5.05 40-yard dash and has excellent strength (30 bench press reps). If drafted, he is a player that can challenge for the starting right guard job with Justin Murray and Brian Winters.
Round 5 (160): Shaka Toney - EDGE, Penn State (6’3’’ 242lbs)
Date of Birth: January 7, 1998 (Age: 23)
Toney had a productive four years at Penn State. He had 31 tackles and five sacks with the Nittany Lions last year. In his college football career, Toney had 115 tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss, and 20.5 sacks.
He tested well at Penn State’s Pro Day. Toney ran a 4.53 40-yard dash, bench pressed 24 reps, and had a 37’’ vertical jump. This athletic pass rusher will need to add more pass rush moves to his arsenal but he has above average athletic ability for his position to succeed. Toney is a player that could work his way into being a starter in the future with intriguing potential.
Round 6 (223): Deommodore Lenoir - Cornerback, Oregon (5’11’’ 195lbs) (from Vikings - Mason Cole)
I am rolling with the same pick here from my mock draft 1.0.
Lenoir was simply one of the best cornerbacks at tackling at the collegiate level. He made 154 tackles, six interceptions, and 27 passes defensed in his four years at Oregon. His excellent tackling ability, high motor, and physical nature would make him an impactful special teams player to start his career.
Can play slot or safety with a strength at run support. One of my favorite players in the draft in the later rounds. Cardinals have taken defensive backs in the later rounds in three of the last five NFL Drafts and that trend would continue here. Lenoir has met with the Cardinals.
Round 7 (243): Jonathan Adams Jr - Wide Receiver, Arkansas State (6’2’’ 210lbs)
Date of Birth: January 21, 1999 (Age: 22)
Adams ranked third in the nation in receptions (79) and touchdowns (12) last season. He led the Arkansas State Red Wolves with 1,111 receiving yards, which ranked fifth in college football. At 6’2’’ 210lbs, he has great size and a quality college football resume to be a potential red zone threat in the NFL. The question is whether or not Adams’ high production can translate in the professional level.
He is not very fast (4.59 40), making Adams’ long speed a concern for many NFL teams. He needs to polish his route running and trim down on his focus drops. Adams can dominate on jump balls (39’’ vertical) and his overall college production makes this a “low-risk, high-reward” selection.
Round 7 (247): Larnel Coleman - Offensive Tackle, UMass (6’6’’ 307lbs) (from Raiders - Rodney Hudson)
Coleman has arms longer than 36 inches and NFL teams value length greatly at the offensive tackle position. He made 16 starts at left tackle and 13 start at right tackle in his four years at the University of Massachusetts. Coleman had a solid pro day. He bench pressed 24 reps and running a 5.1 40-yard dash.
Cardinals have selected an offensive tackle in the later rounds (5-7) in four of the last five drafts. He is a worth the selection as a developmental prospect with length that can be a swiss-army knife on the offensive line. Coleman has met with the Cardinals.
Here is a shorter version: