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Questions about this Year’s Gambo 5

Rutgers v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Background: STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 20: Jahan Dotson #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on before the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Beaver Stadium on November 20, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania.

2022 Gambo 5

Gambo has been very accurate the past few years and is on quite a roll. This year he says he isn’t guaranteeing the pick, as he has successfully done during the Kingsbury era. Maybe this year has been harder for him to get an accurate read on the Cardinals’ draft board. One of the reasons could be that Steve Keim is being extra cautious about giving away hints as to what Kyler Murray’s offensive wish list is. Typically, Gambo is well informed, thus I am inclined to believe that the Cardinals are playing things closer to the vest this year.

  1. Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M.

My first thought is that Kenyon Green could be Kyler’s top choice for improving the interior of the line because of his and his dad’s ties to Texas A&M. Green is from Humble, Texas. It’s possible that Kyler and his dad know him.

Secondly, the omission of Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum on this list could mean that Kyler is 100% happy with Rodney Hudson. Kliff and Kyler have consistently raved about Hudson’s ability to read defenses and make the line calls.

Thirdly, while Green is an absolute mauler in the running game, the two concerns about him are the subpar numbers he put up at the Combine and some speculation by pundits about a knee issue.

On the flip side, Boston College’s Zion Johnson aced every step of the pre-draft process. He was a standout at both guard and center at the Senior Bowl, while putting on a clinic during the one of one blocking drills. At the Combine, his numbers at his size were very impressive:

Zion Johnson: 5.18 -40; 32 - bench press (most of any OL); 32” - vertical; 112” broad jump; 4.46 20 yard shuttle.

Kenyon Green : 5.24 -40; 20 - bench press; 26” - vertical; 102” broad jump; 5.12 —- 20 yard shuttle.

Lastly, when one projects which player would have a stronger chance to slow down Aaron Donald, Zion Johnson works off a rock-solid base and heavy hands. The technical flaw that Kenyon Green needs to clean up is his tendency to lunge at some of his defenders, which a player like Aaron Donald will feast on, just ask Max Garcia.

2. Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn St.

Dotson is a slightly faster, stronger hands version of Christian Kirk. He would be fantastic at running the cross corner routes and slot go routes up the seam that Kyler consistently threaded the needle to Christian Kirk. But, like C-Kirk, Dotson is a finesse player who tends to avoid the middle of the field on shorter crossing routes and hitch screens.

The first question is, if the Cardinals are targeting Jahan Dotson for C-Kirk’s slot role, what does that suggest about how the coaches view Rondale Moore and Andy Isabella, both of whom are faster than Dotson and should be able to excel on the cross corner and seam go pass routes?

The second question is, wouldn’t Kyler be better off with a taller, more physical RAC WR like Arkansas’s Treylon Burks or a long, vertical home run playmaker like Christian Watson or George Pickens, particularly with Rondale Moore and Andy Isabella as slot talents?

3. Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

Marco Wilson believes that his former Gator teammate is the best CB in the draft. That’s understandable, but Kaiir Elam is coming off his worst season at Florida. He got beat deep a few times times versus Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia, then got a little handsy after that (7 penalties) and struggled his way to a 61.8 PFF grade with a pass coverage grade of 58.1.

Conversely, while 1st team All-SEC CB Roger McCreary (5-11, 190) of Auburn does not have Elam’s attractive size (6-1 1/2, 198) and speed (4.39), he was consistently matched up in press man coverage versus the top WRs in the SEC the past few years and is coming off a stellar season in which he earned a 89.9 overall PFF grade and 89.7 coverage grade.

4. Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

Gambo lists Trent McDuffie at #4, but, like many of us, he doesn’t believe that McDuffie will be on the board at #23. For those keeping score, McDuffie did not allow a TD over the last two seasons and gave up no passes of more than 20 yards while earning an 86.8 overall PFF grade with an outstanding 89.3 coverage grade. Plus, McD is a CB version of Budda Baker in run support and screen busting.

Kyler Gordon, McD’s teammate, is coming off a super season as well. Gordon gave up 20 passes on 40 targets, many of them from the slot, for 234 yards, 0 TDs and 2 interceptions. His overall PFF grade was 87.2, with an outstanding coverage grade of 89.6.

5. Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

No one can deny how much Jordan Davis dominates in stuffing the opponent’s running game, and more than likely he we will be well of the board at pick #23, but the question about Davis is whether a nose tackle in today’s NFL is worthy of a 1st round pick, particularly if he plays less than one half of his defense’s snaps.

The defensive interior player who could make more sense for the Cardinals is Houston’s Logan Hall, who is a gifted 3 technique, Calais Campbell type playmaker at 6’6”, 283 pounds. Hall is a 3 down player. Tony Pauline mentioned Hall as a “wild card” at #23 for the Cardinals.

Those are some questions.

What kind of questions and possible answers do you have about this year’s Gambo 5?

On an excitement meter, with 10 being the highest, how excited would you be if the Cardinals select:

  1. Kenyon Green
  2. Jahan Dotson
  3. Kaiir Elam
  4. Trent McDuffie
  5. Jordan Davis

Thanks as always to Gambo. He makes being a Cardinals’ fan all the more enjoyable and informational, whether the team wins or loses.