Brady Podloski | April 5th, 2020
The Arizona Cardinals have been very active this offseason, determined to fill the needs on their roster. They’ve brought in an array of defensive talent from free agency including linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, outside linebacker/edge Devon Kennard, and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. They also had four notable re-signings with running back Kenyan Drake, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, right tackle Marcus Gilbert, and left tackle D.J. Humphries. Going forward, the team looks to have a dynamic offense with the acquisition of star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (for a second-round pick and running back David Johnson) to go along with the second-year quarterback, Kyler Murray.
However, while the Cardinals have reliable and game-changing weapons, they still have a weak offensive line with holes in the right tackle and center positions. Moreover, the defense still has problems, including the lack of a viable edge presence across from Chandler Jones. They also need an interior defensive tackle to pair with Corey Peters and need to add additional depth to the linebacker position as new signing Campbell was only signed for one year. Going into the draft, the Cardinals only have six picks and hope to come away with great value from their picks.
For this mock draft, I used The Draft Networks mock machine.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL team mock drafts here.
Round 1, Pick 8: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Re-signing Gilbert does not prevent me from making this pick; in fact, I’d be thrilled as Wirfs has the potential to be a franchise tackle. Of the four high ranking offensive tackles – Wirfs, Jedrick Wills Jr., Mekhi Becton, and Andrew Thomas, Wirfs would be the best fit for the Cardinals as a result of the functional athleticism needed to excel in the run game and the substantial amount of screens. Tackles for the Cardinals need to have movement skills and be able to dominate in space.
Wirfs has an extremely high ceiling as he’s an elite athlete for his size, but also has a wrestling background. Currently, Wirfs has the potential to do it all as he can be extremely valuable in pass blocking being left alone with one on ones. There is speculation that Wirfs plays guard in the NFL, but the importance of having an elite tackle far outweighs the value of an elite guard.
Round 3, Pick 72: Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
Okwara has bend, an explosive first step, but also has flashed a speed to power move. He’s one of my favorite prospects because he has the physical tools to become an elite pass rusher. He reminds me of Yannick Ngakoue as a prospect, with a high ceiling as a pass rusher, but poor run-stopping ability. Okwara has the highest upside for anyone not named Chase Young in this class. If he can continue polishing and developing his pass-rushing tools, he’ll be a steal at this spot.
Okwara is the perfect development project for the Cardinals defense. He can be a rotational player for the first year and then become a full-time starter, primarily due to his run-stopping ability, where he has lots of room to improve. Kenard can start, and allow the cardinals edge or outside linebacker to have depth.
Top 2, not 2🤷🏽♂️ https://t.co/L91PPRn0ZZ— Julian Okwara (@julian_okwara) January 30, 2020
Round 4, Pick 114: Nick Harris, IOL, Washington
Harris had a poor performance at the Senior Bowl, as well, only weighed in at 290 lbs at the combine. At 290 pounds, Harris struggled at the Senior Bowl with bull-rushes, which is even more problematic with Aaron Donald in the division. Once Harris gains weight and develops the strength to anchor and mitigate the bull rush, he can be a thriving center in the Cardinals scheme. Harris could eventually replace the current starting center, Mason Cole, who struggled in 2019. He has the movement skills to play a vital role in the Cardinals system. The center and guards are asked to get out in space and pull as the offense runs a high number of screens, sweeps, and tosses.
Round 4, Pick 131: Davion Taylor, LB, Colorado
Taylor is a coverage linebacker who can get side to side quickly and can stick with tight ends in man coverage. Taylor is an athletic freak who can compete for the backup positions. The Cardinals defense runs a 3-4 scheme with two middle linebackers – with Jordan Hicks and Campbell. Taylor could develop under Campbell and then take over for him after his contract expires. Overall, picking Taylor in the fourth round gives depth to the linebacking core.
Round 6, Pick 202: Raequan Williams, IDL, Michigan State
Williams is an additional depth piece to the defensive tackle position. He had five sacks and seven and a half tackles for loss during his senior year at Michigan State. He has good hand usage, which allows him to generate pressure and hold the point of attack against the run. Overall, he would make a great addition alongside Peters.
Round 7, Pick 222: Omar Bayless, WR, Arkansas State
Bayless has excellent ball skills and makes some spectacular catches; however, he lacks high-end athleticism to be an above-average starter. Bayless was highly productive with 92 receptions for 1,653 yards and 17 touchdowns but against the lower-end competition. By adding Bayless to the wide receiver core, the Cardinals ensures there is depth in case of any injuries.
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Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images