The 2021 NFL Draft is only 24 days away and that means that it is mock draft season all day everyday until the draft finally arrives.
For those that follow me on Twitter, I typically post a Cardinals mock draft every Monday which some call it Mock Draft Mondays but it is about time I did one with lengthier thoughts for each selection.
The Cardinals are far from done in free agency with cornerback, running back, and tight end being their biggest positional needs. There were reports from Ian Rapoport that they are interested in cornerback Quinton Dunbar and running back Todd Gurley.
It is hard to believe this team will go into the draft with so many holes to fill and potentially making this a need-based draft. Of course drafting for need can also be BPA (best player available) to the Cardinals.
This entire draft is contingent on a top-10 prospect or top-ranked quarterback falling to pick No. 16.
Without further ado, here is my mock draft.
Round 1 (24): Terrace Marshall - Wide Receiver, LSU (6’3’’ 205lbs) (from Steelers in trade prediction)
Trade Prediction: Cardinals trade their first-round pick (No. 16) to the Steelers for their first-round (No. 24) and second-round pick (No. 55)
Date of Birth: June 9, 2000 (Age: 20)
Cardinals will try to fill the remaining holes on their roster through free agency before the 2021 NFL Draft. This will allow the Cardinals to draft any player they deem as the best available. Considering their next pick after round two is in round five, that is a huge gap that I believe Steve Keim will try to fill via trading down.
Marshall is only 20 years old and has caught 23 touchdowns over the last two years at LSU. He ran a 4.38 40-yard dash and benched 19 reps. He possesses deep speed to stretch the field and has flashed as blocker. If he gets drafted by Arizona, he will have the opportunity to learn from two of the best wide receivers over the last decade in DeAndre Hopkins and AJ Green. He can rotate in and out with AJ Green as the No. 2 before taking the full-time starting job in 2022.
Round 2 (49): Creed Humphrey - Center/Guard, Oklahoma (6’4’’ 302lbs)
Date of Birth: June 28, 1999 (Age: 21)
The Cardinals traded for Rodney Hudson and signed Brian Winters but that will not stop Steve Keim from improving the interior offensive line. Humphrey was a three-year starter at Oklahoma as well as Kyler Murray’s college teammate in 2018. Although he only played center in college, he dominated at guard in the Senior Bowl. Could start at guard for the Cardinals.
He has NFL-ready strength (29 bench reps) and quick feet demonstrated at the 5-10-5 shuttle drill (4.46 seconds). According to Pro Football Focus, Humphrey has not allowed a single sack in his college career. Humphrey was also a two-year team captain which fits the mold of players with leadership qualities that Steve Keim has been adding in free agency.
Round 3 (67): Trey Sermon - Running Back, Ohio State (6’0’’ 215lbs) (from Texans in trade prediction)
Trade Prediction: Cardinals trade their second-round pick (No. 55) acquired from the Steelers from earlier prediction to the Texans for their third-round (No. 67) and fourth-round picks (No. 109).
Date of Birth: January 30, 1999 (Age: 22)
The Cardinals need a running back to pair with Chase Edmonds and so far, they have not added one in free agency. So it seems that they are most likely to draft a running back than not.
Sermon is a 22-year-old running back that played his first three collegiate seasons at Oklahoma before transferring to Ohio State last season. He had 870 rushing yards and four touchdowns with the Buckeyes in 2020. Just like Humphrey, Sermon was Murray’s college teammate. Two former Sooners potentially reuniting with Kyler Murray could make him very happy. The fact that Sermon has played in an air raid offense and has the Murray connection should help his learning curve in the pros.
Round 4 (109): Milton Williams - Defensive End, Louisiana Tech (6’3’’ 284lbs) (from Texans in trade prediction)
A defensive lineman of his size should not be able to run a 4.67 40 yard dash, 6.96 seconds on the 3-cone drill, and jump 38.5’’ on the vertical. Williams has excellent strength, benching 34 reps at the bench press. He had 104 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks over the last two years as a starter.
He was quite good against his level of competition. Cardinals need to get more athletic in the trenches and Williams has everything necessary to succeed. Has great play strength and really solid hand usage as a pass rusher on the defensive line.
Round 5 (160): Tre Brown - Cornerback, Oklahoma (5’10’’ 186lbs)
According to Ian Rapaport, the Cardinals are set to visit with free agent cornerback Quinton Dunbar. Whether they choose to add him or not, the Cardinals will still likely add a cornerback in the draft. They get a cornerback later than expected in the draft but one that has been very impressive in his college career at Oklahoma.
Brown is a little smaller than the average corner but plays a lot bigger than his size. According to Pro Football Focus, he has not allowed a completion of longer than 39 yards in the last two years. He was very impressive in his one-on-ones at the Senior Bowl. He had 141 tackles, two sacks, four interceptions, and 35 passes defensed in his four years at Oklahoma. Really good kick returner as well with 4.42 40 speed. Great value here.
Round 6 (223): Deommodore Lenoir - Cornerback, Oregon (5’11’’ 195lbs) (from Vikings - Mason Cole)
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.
Round 7 (243): Hamilcar Rashed Jr - EDGE, Oregon St (6’3’’ 254lbs)
Date of Birth: January 2, 1998 (Age: 23)
Rashed Jr had a breakout 2019 season with 62 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, and two forced fumbles. Unfortunately, he was unable to replicate those numbers last season dropping to zero sacks in 2020.
Despite the massive drop off in production, he had a great pro day and is a great athlete. He ran a 4.62 40-yard dash, had 25 bench reps, and a 35.5” vertical jump. Rashed Jr is also from Phoenix, Arizona and we know how Steve Keim loves bringing the natives back to the valley.
Round 7 (247): John Bates - Tight End, Boise State (6’6’’ 259lbs) (from Raiders - Rodney Hudson)
A big target for Kyler Murray to work with. Bates’ college production is nothing special. He only has 579 receiving yards and two touchdowns through four seasons at Boise State. But, his big catch radius to go along with his blocking skills might make this selection a steal.
Here is a shorter version (* = trade prediction):