Here's why 7 Round mock drafts are a futile exercise: The most objective way to scope out whom a team will draft over the entire seven rounds is to choose one reputable scouting service or draft guide's "Big Board" and limit your selections to those players available when your team (in this case, the Cardinals) picks.
Problem is - player-rankings on the various big boards are all over the place. ( I compared the big boards of CBSSports, ESPN and three draft guides (Lindy's USA Today and Pro Football Draft Guide). Using DT Aaron Donald as an example: PF Draft Guide ranks him #12 over all. Lindy's ranks him #22. USA Today ranks him #55). The divergence of opinion is wide for just about every player. You can assume that there will be equally as much disagreement among the drafting teams. At best, the typical dynamic figures to be that (1) the Cardinals set up their Top 120 Board. (2) In each round, at least one player they rate higher than their drafting slot will fall to them. (3) They'll draft the highest-ranked available player unless there are at least two rated close together (In this case, they'll pick the one who best fits a position need or can best help the club). And that doesn't even factor in trades. Whom they wind up picking in each round is a giant crap-shoot. In other words, trying to nail a 7 round mock is like shooting darts blindfolded at a moving dart-board.
Therefore, instead of simply projecting "The Guy" for each of the six current Cardinal picks, I'll review an assortment of possible Cardinal picks round by round:
20. Aaron Donald DT Pittsburgh, Timmy Jernigan DT LSU, Louis Nix III DT Notre Dame, Ryan Shazier OLB Ohio State, Dee Ford DE/OLB Arkansas, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix S Alabama, Calvin Pryor S Louisville, Eric Ebron TE UNC, Justin Gilbert, CB Oklahoma St., Zack Martin OT/OG Notre Dame
Cards' biggest need is at safety but we won't reach for a Clinton-Dix or Pryor if someone we clearly rate higher (like Jernigan, Nix, Ebron or Shazier) is still available. Alexander can either play inside or outside, giving Keim the flexibility of making him an ILB (to replace Dansby) or an edge rusher (to push, back up or replace Abraham). It's unlikely Mosely, Mack, or Barr will be available at #20, but Shazier and Ford should be. (It all depends on where we rate them on our Board and who else might drop to us). Our Front Three depth is a bit thin and there's been growing buzz that we may seek to bring in a younger clone of Darnell Dockett. (Like Dockett, both Jernigan and Donald profile as penetrating DT's, but like Nine-Oh can also play RDE on the opposite side from Cambpell). But will either last till #20)? Our situation at NT remains a bit fluid - Cards loved the rotational tandem of Dan Williams and Alameda Ta'amu, but Ta'am's rehab from injury could leave us a bit thin there. If Nix III were to fall to us, I think the Cards would think long and hard before we pass on him. Although we signed veteran LT Jared Veldheer, there is some talk about beefing up the offensive line even more. A premier swing-man like Zack Martin (who can play tackle or guard but has short arms) has been mentioned in the media. #20 might be a bit early to draft a pure guard but our front office has to be intrigued about the talent-level of a couple of them (Cyril. Richardson and Xavier Su'a-Filo). Gollin's Wild-assed Guess (one week out): Ryan Shazier OLB Ohio State.
52. Deone Bucannon S Washington State,Telvin Smith OLB FSU, Jimmy Garoppolo QB Eastern Ill., Zack Mettenberger QB LSU, Carlos Hyde, RB Ohio State, Jeremy Hill RB LSU, Brandon Cooks WR, Ore St., Donte Moncreif WR, Ole Miss., Pryor, Richardson, Su'a-Filo
It's quite possible that at least one of the prospects listed as possibilities at #20, along with others figured to be gone at #52, might fall to us at #52. The most intriguing of this bunch is Mettenberger who's been injured and unable to work out. (He's reported ready to do all the position drills at his upcoming Pro Day. (Jaworski rates Mettenberger his #2 QB prospect and might remind Bruce Arians of a young Ben Roethlisberger. His interviews impressed me). Would we leap on him at #52 or pass in the hope he'd still be around at #84? Note the inclusion of a couple of speedy WR's (Cooks and Moncrief) who might back up, push and/or replace Ted Ginn Jr as our #3. We also included a couple of big, all-purpose RB's (Hyde and Hill) who might be more dynamic than Jonathan Dwyer. Note too the paucity of
edge-rushers. (Would we fill a glaring need and reach for one if he were available? SK and BA say "no" but it would be hard to ignore a Ford or Shazier if they dropped to us). Gollin's Wild-assed Guess (one week out): Deone Bucannon S Washington St.
84. Zack Mettenberg QB LSU, Terrance West RB Towson, Dakota Dozier OG Furman, Jordan Tripp OLB Montana, Trent Murphy OLB Stanford, Daniel McCullers NT Tennessee, Robert Herron WR Wyoming, Logan Thomas QB Virginia Tech, AJ McCarron QB Alabama, C Richardson, Moncrief, Cooks
The #84-hole is definitely "loaded." We're now definitely at that stage of the draft where you stand at the foot of the cliff and hope to catch the best prospect who falls over it. (Who that might be, I have no clue). That said - we've added a bunch of new prospects who might be available at #84 - including a few more OLB's, QB's and WR's plus a big ol' NT, a S and an OG. Buccanon, West and Herron could be drafted earlier as could McCullers (who, at 348, is an extremely large individual). But my secret wish is that the QB crop is pushed down a bit and Mettenberg escapes the 2nd and high-3rd rounds. Gollin's Wild-assed Guess (one week out): Zack Mettenberg QB LSU
120. Storm Johnson RB Central Fla., Terrence Brooks S, Amahd Dixon S Baylor, Caraun Reid DT Princeton, Jeremiah Attaochu OLB Georgia Tech, Brandon Thomas G Clemson, Max Bullough ILB Mich St., Aaron Colvin CB Oklahoma,
A few more prospects added to any undrafted members of the earlier group:
This is where you start rolling a few dice on boom or bust guys with high upsides. The highly regarded Colvin got injured at the beginning of the Combine. Bullough was suspended before the Rose Bowl. Reid is an Ivy Leaguer. Gollin's Wild-assed Guess (one week out): Aaron Colvin CB Oklahoma
160. Jeff Janis WR, Saginaw Valley, Will Clarke DE/OLB West Virginia, Joe Bitonio OG Nevada, Kenny Ladler, S Vanderbilt, EJ Gaines CB Missouri, Arthur Lynch TE Georgia, Damien Southward S Wisconsin, Andrew Jackson ILB Western Kentucky
Add these names to the guys mentioned earlier. Janis is a blazer with nice size, but from small program. Clarke can rush the passer and could be snapped up earlier.
Gollin's Wild-assed Guess (one week out): Damien Southward S Wisconsin
196. Larry Webster TE/OLB Bloomsburg, Josh Huff WR Oregon, Colt Lyeria TE Oregon, Dri Archer RB/WR Kent State,
USA Today has Logan Thomas and Terrance West lasting into the 7th round so go figure. I originally had us drafting Lyria here, but he has an overwhelming amount of negative baggage to overcome...Webster starred at basketball before playing the past 2 seasons as a pass rusher...Some like him better as a TE prospect...I originally had us drafting Lyria here, but his amount of negative baggage worked against him...Gollin's Wild-assed Guess (one week out: Larry Webster TE/OLB Bloomsberg