Mock drafters and draft pundits love to match team-needs with drafting strategy because it's the simplest road to take, but many teams (including the Cardinals) at least say that they simply don't draft that way - which means that, not only is it difficult to figure out who the Cardinals will select with each pick; but it will be even more difficult to determine who the 7 teams who pick ahead of them (and have varying drafting philosophies) will draft. (i.e. kind of throwing darts blindfolded at a moving target).
This uncertainty is magnified by the handful of GM's who love to wheel and deal early in the draft. You might be 100% certain that the two teams ahead of you have no interest in the stud offensive tackle high on your radar screen and that he'll be delivered to you on a silver platter. But this ignores the possibility that some team sitting in the late-twenties will love the kid and plans to leapfrog your team to steal the star tackle.
Moral: "Take mock drafts with a grain of salt, because too many different things can happen."Rather than prognosticate about who the Cards will definitely draft (because I don't have a clue), I'd rather give you a more general picture of where I think the Cardinals are roster-wise; and what the Cardinals may be thinking as they approach Draft Day :
Everything points in the direction that (barring injury) Kyler Murray, under Klif Kingsbury's tutelige, is on a glide-path towrd being our QBOF. Cards re-upped backup Brett Hundley who demonstrated late in the season that he can operate the offense and at least occasionally can put some points on the board. Drew Anderson provides depth but remains somewhat of an unknown quantity.
Bottom Line - Cards could think opportunistically and add a depth/potential QB in a late round or free agency, but the need isn't pressing.
Cards jettisoned David Johnson (and his hefty contract) as apart of a "steal of the century" trade for All Pro WR D'Andre Hopkins); opting instead to tender Kenyan Drake (who, as a late-season add-on), gave us unexpected consistency as Johnson's backup). Cards appear to like backup RB Chase Edmond, but not as a bell-cow. Chris Sreveler has been brought in as a possible multi-facted weapon.Cards re-signed backup RB DJ Foster.
Bottom Line - Cards said to be interested in draftng a mid-round RB to back up Drake..
Cards shocked the world when they landed game-changer D'Andre Hopkins in a trade that, among other things, dumped expensive RB David Johnson. (A year ago, the Cards stocked up on WR, drafting Isabella, KS Johnson and Butler - none of whom lived up to expectations). The signing of Hopkins gives the Cards a starting WR group that includes Hopkins, FItzgerald and Kirk.
Bottom Line - The trade for Hopkins may put the kabosh on rumors that the Cards may leveraging the chemistry between K Murray and Cee Dee Lamb by drafting the Oklahoma WR at #8. If anything, the missing void in the Cardinal receiving lineup would appear to be the need for a blazer wideout (say, somewhat like Ruggs III). . Logic suggests the Cards might add a speedy WR but not at #8.
Cards improved their TE corps from unproductive to bordering on the respectable. (Unit consists of Maxx Williams, Darrell Daniels and Dan Arnold). If the right TE was available at the right value, the Cards could leap on him. .
Bottom Line - Not much out there at TE to pick from
Cards have both decent talent and depth on the OL, but no one stands out that would wow you. DJ Humphries anchors the starting group at LT. In addition to Humphries, a bunch of versatile linemen like Marcus Gilbert, Justin Pugh, JR Sweezy, Mason Cole, Max Garcia, Lamont Gaillard etc. fil in the boxes.
Bottom Line - This draft is deep in Top 15 offensive linemen. It is not out of the question that the Cards will use their #8 pick on (or trade back for) Tristan Wirfs, Mekhi Becton, Jedrick Wills, Andrew Thomas or Austin Jackson. Or they could hope that someone like Boise St. lineman, Ezra Cleveland is still there at #40.
Starting Card Front 3 (consisting of Zach Allen, Cory Peters and Jordan Phillips) looks better than respectable, but depth behind them is pretty thin.
Bottom Line - ALthough Peters is a solid mainstay and Allen's best days as a pass rusher are in front of him and Phillips is well-respected, Cards lack depth at a "collision position." If a DT with Donald-like talent (like Derrick Brown) or a game-changer like Javon Kinlaw were available at #8, the Cards could go in that direction.
Sollid at one of the two ILB spots manned by Jordan Hicks. The pickup of D'Voncre Campbell buttons down the other ILB position and strengthens the unit. Chandler Jones has been chalking up almost biblical numbers as a pass rusher, and Devon Kennard should represent an impressive presence opposite Jones at the other OLB spot. Looks like a make or break year for Hassan Reddick (So far his athleticism hasn't been matched by his production). We remain dangerously thin here - like the OL, there are plenty of warm bodies but none that jump out at you.
Bottom Line - (Note - I'm listing "Swiss Army Knife" Isaiha Simmons as a S (because I think he'll be more valuable to the Cards as a safety opposite B Baker than he would at any of the LBs. It's quite possible, however, that the Cards might move him around all over the chess board. Young (- said to be a "generational talent") and Epenesa are considered to be talented edge rushers. . Murray, Baun, D-Gaither, E Weaver, Queen are all solid prospects but, other than Simmons, I don't see any other "generational talents" here.
There are holes. It looks as though Patrick Peterson has decided that his best shot at future immortality is with the Cardinals, but there are still questions regarding the opposite corner - Murphy is living up to his earlier billings, but seems to be best suitable as a slot-corner. Alford was supposed to be the answer as #2 CB, but he was injured all of last year. I think Chris Jones is underrated at corner.
Budda Baker looks like a fixture at one safety with the other safety spot and position-depth up for grabs among the Johnson Boys.
Bottom-Line - If Simmons were a available at #8 (and he had the football smarts to lead the defense from the safety position) he'd be the guy I'd want the most in this draft). Cards will be on the constant lookout for a second cover corner and DB depth overall.
Zane Gonzalez and Andy Lee are solid FG and P specialists with Brewer a capable LS.
Cardinal ST units improved last year and gunner, coverage, blocker units figure to be influenced by the guys filling the bottoms of our Offensive and Defensive rosters
So that's the deal. Most likely #8 picks - Simmons, Brown, Lamb, one of the top OL's. Stay tuned.