After months of speculation, the NFL Draft is finally here.
After this weekend the Arizona Cardinals, with a season full of turnover and turmoil, will see optimism abound with the inclusion of several new faces through the NFL Draft.
Before we begin, a few of the trending topics and a list of prospects the Cardinals have met with.
Now, let’s take a look at some options in a potential simulation for the Cardinals, one for fun and one as predictive.
Below is a “fun” option looking at some of the players available, team needs and a new type of approach by Arizona: Adding to the offense by filling needs at OL, RB, a tantalizing WR prospect, a 3rd string QB option late and a punter who played for Arizona State.
I do feel like Arizona would prefer a mock in which they would be able to add all of this: a solution at Right Guard (and maybe left tackle next year) a dynamic rushing option, starting center and building the lines as well as a wide receiver with size.
As for my PREDICTIVE 7 round simulation...this is where it gets gritty. These are players that I feel Arizona could actually draft similar to the above, but with one major difference:
They aren’t able to trade down from Pick #3.
The current odds on DraftKings and others have them taking OL Paris Johnson, and in a perfect world, I think Arizona could want to trade back and select him. However, I also go by the NFL Combine as more of the last source of “truth” for NFL teams. At the combine, we at ROTB heard that there were teams (including Arizona) who had Texas Tech DE Tyree Wilson ahead of Alabama Edge Will Anderson.
Round 1, Pick 3: Will Anderson, DE, Alabama
With this simulation, Bryce Young and Tyree Wilson were off the board. I went with Anderson, thinking back to the combine and news that Arizona liked him.
So I still think there’s a chance but would I say that it’s more of a thing than a trade down or Johnson at this point? Probably not...but maybe.
From there, it only got stranger...
As Arizona wasn’t able to trade down...but was able to use DeAndre Hopkins in a trade UP:
A DeAndre Hopkins trade on Thursday involving picks 27 (Bills) and 34 (Cardinals) would roughly be the equivalent of a late third-round pick.— Johnny Venerable (@JohnnyVenerable) April 25, 2023
Round 1, Pick 27 (TRADE WITH BUFFALO) John Michael Schmitz, OC, Minnesota
Arizona sends Hopkins and Pick 34 and receives back a 1st round pick. I think that Arizona wanted to add a 2nd rounder this year or a 1st next year and were thwarted, but they still are able to make a move up.
Schmitz is the only first round graded OL this year, and I could see him going to a few teams ahead like the Jets playing back but also the Giants. Instead Arizona finds a long-term center option.
Round 3, Pick 66 Gervin Dexter, DT, Florida
Arizona needs to up their physicality on the defensive line, and Dexter brings that plus size to a Cardinals team that has been weak on the front seven. Notice so far it’s been all lines and pass rushers. I think this could maybe go to more of a premium position than DT, but it’ll be hard for Gannon’s defense without being strong against the run up the middle
Round 3, Pick 96 (Compensatory) Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn
Arizona’s met with the stout, yet athletic, Bigsby at least once and he seems like he could be a solid pair with James Conner as this Cardinals team will want to run the ball a LOT and after Conner (who has missed time in 4 straight seasons now) needs someone else in the room.
Round 4, Pick 105 Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, CB, TCU
Arizona has a barren cornerback room with Byron Murphy leaving for the Vikings. Adding THT, who they’ve met with, fits the profile and they will have guys who can be decent depth at corner 2 and 3 and can focus on a longterm CB1 in the future knowing this upcoming year isn’t likely to be competitive
Round 5, Pick 168 (Compensatory) Andrew Vorhees, OG, USC
Arizona doesn’t land a Steve Avila or a mauler on the OL early in the draft but find a brash, bold and experienced interior lineman later in the draft in Vorhees
Round 6, Pick 180 Jay Ward, S, LSU
SEC secondary are great, and with Budda Baker asking for a trade and the status of Isaiah Simmons up in the air regarding his 5th year option, no idea how that turns out but adding a body who can be a special teamer at best, or filling in after an exodus at worst, is the move
Round 6, Pick 213, Jalen Redmond, DT, Oklahoma
Not a former teammate of Murray, but still adding to the lines, Redmond isn’t as athletic and might be capped with his upside but he might be able to push for a job in a year or two.
I would have preferred taking a specialist (Michael Turk, ASU fans?) or a kicker but they re-signed their previous kicker so instead it’s another big boy to close it out.
Thoughts, Cards fans?