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Revenge of the Birds selects Zion Johnson for the Cardinals at No. 23

The way the board shook out put the Cardinals in a tough spot.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 30 Boston College at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the news always shifting it is an interesting time of year for the NFL and especially the Arizona Cardinals.

When you only have the 23rd pick but some glaring needs, you cannot dictate things.

However, you can allow the draft to come to you and then pounce.

For the Arizona Cardinals in the 2022 SB Nation NFL Mock Draft, that is what I did.

With no actual recourse to trade, you sit and watch the draft unfold in front of you. Doing so is long and tedious.

Through 10 picks I felt great:

  1. Aidan Hutchinson - Jaguars
  2. Kayvon Thibodeaux - Lions
  3. Kyle Hamilton - Texans
  4. Ikem Ekwonu - Jets
  5. Evan Neal - Giants
  6. Malik Willis - Panthers
  7. Sauce Gardner - Giants
  8. Jermaine Johnson - Falcons
  9. Trevor Penning - Seahawks
  10. Drake London - Jets

So, you have the Arizona Cardinals’ alleged top player on the board, Jordan Davis, then you have every wide receiver on the board except London, then you have the other Georgia defenders. Willis and Penning going top 10 is exactly what the Cardinals need in order to have things fall their way... right?

11. Derek Stingley Jr. - Commanders
12. Trent McDuffie - Vikings
13. Travon Walker - Texans
14. Charles Cross - Ravens
15. Jordan Davis - Eagles

That was a tough five pick stretch. Stingley is probably the best player in the draft, Walker and Davis are beasts and Davis addresses the biggest need on the team.

However, no wide receivers still, so the Cardinals should be in good shape... right?

16. Kenny Pickett - Saints

Boom, another huge pick.

17. Jameson Williams - Chargers
18. Chris Olave - Eagles
19. Garrett Wilson - Saints

Damn, that is a tough stretch there and something we definitely could see happen.

Allegedly, Williams is the Cardinals’ top receiver target, followed up by the Buckeyes boys.

20. Devonte Wyatt - Steelers
21. Bernhard Raimann - Patriots

Well, another name down in Wyatt, which brings us to the breaking point for edge players and offensive linemen.

The Cardinals either get the final top edge player in the class or get the top interior offensive lineman.

22. George Karlaftis - Packers

That gives the Cardinals a couple of choices.

A. Obviously in real life they could trade back.
B. They can take whoever they grade out as the top interior offensive lineman.
C. They take CB3.
D. They take WR5.

In this scenario, with “A” not an option.

23. Arizona Cardinals - Zion Johnson, OG - Boston College

Another scenario where we probably see a first-round pick sit for their first season, Johnson is a potential All Pro. He has the size, speed, agility, strength and length to be a true force at guard for a decade.

Johnson compares favorably to former Bucs guard Ali Marpet and Kansas City Chiefs guard Joe Thuney.

Those are nice high end comps for the Boston College product.

However, he has a high floor, where you could see a Cameron Ervin to Mark Glowinski type of player.

While Erving being the worst case scenario is not wanted, he’s been a starter for a number of teams over his career.

In this scenario, what would you do if you cannot trade back?