We are in the middle of the 2022 SB Nation Writer’s Mock Draft and that means sitting and watching the board fall apart right in front of you.
For the Arizona Cardinals drafting 23rd means that you control nothing.
Best laid plans and all.
So, I sat and after 10 picks I felt great about what was on the board. All the UGA defenders that would interest me (no I am not going to give you the picks), every wide receiver but one was available (London was taken in the first ten picks).
Then there were some juicy names still on the board: Stingley and Karlaftis. So, do the math, with 13 picks left I had: Davis, Wyatt, Walker, Karlaftis, Stingley, Olave, Williams, and Wilson still on the board.
One had to get to me at 23, right?
So, I sit at 23 with both guards available, I can take the third best cornerback, whoever I think that is, or maybe add the fifth best wide receiver in the class.
Defensive front players I am probably out on here.
Then, our friends at Buffalo Rumblings contacted me and asked in a hypothetical scenario where this played out if I would have been interested in trading down.
My ears perked up immediately, moving down to just 25 with Zion Johnson, Kenyon Green, Tyler Linderbaum, Kaiir Elam and Andrew Booth Jr. on the board, that feels like an easy call.
So, what would the offer look like.
Matt from Buffalo Rumblings offered 25 and 130.
Looking at the trade value chart that would give me a two-point edge in things, so I told Matt let’s do the deal.
Now, coming out of that I roll into the draft with picks 25, 55, 87, 130 in the first four rounds.
How could that play out?
25. Kaiir Elam, CB - Florida
The Bills moved up for Andrew Booth Jr. in this scenario, the Cowboys take an OG in the writer’s mock and I won’t dictate which one they take so I will just say both are “off” the board. That gives me Elam, Burks or Dotson that I would like.
For Elam, he is one of the more size and speed friendly cornerbacks in this class. He played poorly at times last year, but his work against Alabama was brilliant. He has to cleanup how physical he is, but rather a cornerback that has to be pulled back physically than the opposite.
55. Cameron Thomas, Edge - San Diego State
Thomas is an interesting prospect. His size, 6-4 267 puts him as an edge, but can he add a little weight and play in a 34 as a defensive end? That is the ideal spot for him as he is a violent, physical run defender with juice to rush from the interior as well, but if he can put on about 13-20 pounds we could be talking about a dominant 34 defensive end.
87. Justyn Ross, WR - Clemson
This was an interesting one to be able to grab. At 6-4 205lbs Ross has the size and catch radius to make plays as a true “Z” for the Cardinals.
He tested similar to Plaxico Burress, so can he play similar? In the third round with the names starting to dwindle at the wide receiver position, Ross gives the Cardinals a big target who could answer the need at “Z”.
130. Lecitus Smith, OG - Virginia Tech
Smith offers a physical presence inside, who has done a nice job as a pass protector. Adding a fourth round pick will allow the Cardinals getting an extra pick that could address their needs. Smith is that fit and that pick.