Firstly, I have missed you #RedSea nation! A battle with covid and a few other obligations had pulled me away from dropping content. No worries though, I am back! The Cardinals are entering the most important off-season in recent memory.
Their division rivals the Los Angeles Rams are Super Bowl Champions. This team also knocked the Cardinals out of the playoffs in blowout fashion. Leading to reports of internal unrest with star QB Kyler Murray and the organization. The off-season has begun.
The jobs of head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Kiem are on the line. Another off-season filled with ignoring key position groups and drafting without a plan for prospects could be their Coup De Grace.
With the help of the user-friendly Mock Machine at the Draft Network, I completed a 7-round mock draft attempting to keep this team within playoff reach. Without further adieu.
*Multiple trades were made to gather extra picks*
Round 1: Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College
Rodney Hudson was a welcomed addition to this offensive line. He missed games due to injuries and dealing with covid-19. Keim cannot expect consistent growth from his young quarterback with below-average offensive line play. Insert Zion Johnson at either guard spot.
Zion Johnson, iOL. #77— Rapinas do Mar (Cortes) (@cortesrapinas) February 9, 2022
Excelente ancoragem pic.twitter.com/5jLsY6XLS3
He would create an interior wall with Hudson that Kyler can be confident in! Plus the inside run game will be improved. His movement skills and proficiency to reset/latch his hands showcase his ability to recover. Johnson would be a vast upgrade over Max Garcia.
Round 2: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
Arguably the best and most consistent wide receiver at the Senior Bowl. I was able to see him up close, his frame and length stood out quickly. Christian Watson blends together strength, size, and speed.
We see you, @ChristianW2017 pic.twitter.com/X0wkexyE0u— Paige Dimakos (@The_SportsPaige) February 3, 2022
He is a hassle to reroute in press coverage. Once Watson stacks defensive backs his speed takes over and separation is evident. A.J. Green and Christian Kirk are free agents. The cheaper and more athletic route is to select Watson. This will create an explosive trio with DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore.
Round 3: Boye Mafe, ED, Minnesota
Chandler Jones is another impending free agent to hit the market. Regardless if he returns, adding more talent on the edge of the defensive is important.
Minnesota edge Boye Mafe at the Senior Bowl (per @PFF):— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) February 8, 2022
Practice: 92.6 pass-rush grade, 45% win rate
Game: 94.5 pass-rush grade, 41% win rate
now that's seizing the opportunity pic.twitter.com/ySsTjW49rp
Boye Mafe is an explosive athlete with a high ceiling. He had a great Senior Bowl. He finished the day with 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 3 TFLs. Mafe would make a great young student and learn from Jones, or be a part of the plan to fill his shoes.
Round 4: Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska
Entering and ending 2021, the Cardinals' secondary was the Achilles heel. Marco Wilson showed some promise as a rookie. Byron Murphy is better suited in the slot/nickel role. This defense is in dire need of a number one cornerback.
Cam Taylor-Britt is a fiery competitor that leads with high energy. He is a scheme versatile corner with experience in man and zone/off coverages. He will add much-needed toughness as a force defender against the run. CTB has the physical tools and mentality to be productive starting outside cornerback.
Round 4: Rachaad White, RB, Arizona State
Currently, the Cardinals have three running backs due to hit free agency. Including their two top backs James Conner and Chase Edmonds. I expect one of the two to return. TDN’s mock machine had a talented running back right in the Cardinals’ backyard fall to this pick.
Senior Bowl standout, Rachaad White is arguably the best pass-catching back in this class. He blends together patience, vision, and easy footwork. The way Kingsbury used Edmonds and Conner fits White’s skillset. He would be the best running back on the team from a talent standpoint.
Arizona State's Rachaad White is a do-it-all back that shows tremendous ability on 3rd down both in receiving and in pass protection! I think he's someone who can come in and make an immediate difference to any team with a Man/Gap/Power focused scheme!— Scouters Anonymous (@Scouters_Anon) February 5, 2022
-E@chaad_3 #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/UB1kg2sVwX
Round 4: John Ridgeway, IDL, Arkansas
If Vance Joseph is insistent on running a 3-4 base defensive front, it would serve the team well to find a true nose tackle. This will help strengthen a weak-run defense.
John Ridgeway has the height and weight you desire for a 0-tech (6’4 327 lbs). His heavy hands and pairs them with good arm length. He is a prototypical two-gapping defensive lineman that will clog running lanes. Another benefit, he commands two offensive linemen to keep Simmons and Collins clean as off-ball linebackers. This value is good such a sizeable void on the interior of the Cardinals’ defensive line.
Round 5: Dominique Robinson, ED, Miami (OH)
Double dipping on the edges is the direction I chose. Adding a developmental rusher with length and traits is a positive move.
Dominique Robinson stands at 6 foot 4 and 254 pounds with an incredible wingspan. He has good first-step explosiveness and short-area quickness to win with a wide-angle. He can fill the role as a designated pass rusher (DPR) early in his career as he develops the rest of his game. A future pairing of Mafe and Robinson gives the Cardinals two athletically gifted rushers to hand the keys to.