I’m channelling my inner Kevin Costner. VONTAE MACK NO MATTER WHAT. In a mini series i’m going to run the mock draft simulator, and make the selections of the team in question fr the first THREE rounds of the draft. No trades, we’ll see how the cards fall, and make selections accordingly. If you are an Arizona Cardinals fan, I want you to head over to twitter right here… yes there, no go back, click on the blue shiny word, and I want you to call me a bum, to call me a genius, and everything in between. This is a bit of fun, of course without trades it’s not quite true to life but I’ll walk you through my theories and share the experience with you!
Round 1 – Pick 16
So the Cardinals first appearance on the board is pick 16 in the first round, they’ll then pick again in the second at spot number 49, and then don’t pick again until the 5th round. They only have five picks in total this year, and two of those are 7th rounders. So the pressure is on here as stand in GM for Arizona, to get these first two picks absolutely spot on. They can’t afford to be wasted. Now if you’re a listener of our weekly podcast, you will know by now that I’m super hot on the Cardinals making a certain selection in the first round. I’ve convinced myself so effortlessly that it’s the perfect fit for both parties, and I’m not about to go back on that now… HOWEVER, the Cardinals signed James Conner this week which sent the idea of Najee Harris out the window. Is it totally unjustifiable to select Najee Harris anyway? No, but will they do it? No. Not now. With Chase Edmonds and James Conner, plus Eno Benjamin, the Cardinals can run multiple backs and no longer have the need for a trojan horse like Najee. So, with that being said…
Selection: Alijah Vera-Tucker IOL – USC
The Cardinals need to be able to compete in that division, and they’re not going to be able to do that without a run game. I do like what we saw of Chase Edmonds last season, he showed some real promise, but they needed another back with some power. Taking a flyer on James Conner is a very low risk play, and if he can stay healthy and reignite his career in Arizona then it’s a great pick up! With the addition of Rodney Hudson, and Josh Jones still to grow into his role, after falling in the draft last year right into the Cardinals lap, the offensive line is far improved already. But for a team who now has all the weapons in place, barring arguably a tight end, focusing on an improved O line in a division with the likes of Aaron Donald and Nick Bosa, is not a terrible idea.
Vera-Tucker is a mauler. He models his game on the likes of Quentin Nelson of the Colts. He’s going to be an excellent pulling guard, who’ll get down the field and pancake anybody in his way to clear a path for Kyler and the running backs. Vera-Tucker is a very safe pick, who if available at 16, you simply can’t turn down.
Would Cardinals fans still like to see Najee Harris in Arizona? Is passing up on him because of James Conner a mistake?
Read MORE: Najee Harris – Undrafted Player Profile
Round 2 – Pick 49
The Cardinals division is loaded with wide receiver talent. Twice a season they face Russell Wilson with Lockett and DK Metcalf. The 49ers with George Kittle & Deebo Samuel, and the Rams now with Matt Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Robert Woods. While the Cardinals did add Malcolm Butler, and brought back vet Robert Alford, that doesn’t quite cover the need, and you can’t have enough help on the back end. The front 7 looks great going into the season. With JJ Watt signing, and last years first round pick Isaiah Simmons hopefully finding a starting role that works for him, the Cardinals could, and should, be a lot better on defence this season. We haven’t seen what Simmons is capable of yet, and I’m hoping this year that will change. Budda Baker is turning into an elite safety, so things look pretty good theoretically, and with one pick left before the 5th round… here’s how I’m spending it:
Selection: Asante Samuel Jr – CB FSU
Asante Samuel Jr, while he might be 5″10, which is often considered undersized at the pro level for a corner, has some excellent man coverage skills on display. His zone coverage is not quite as fine tuned, and certainly suits man better. He could be a very good nickel corner if that’s where Arizona decides to use him, but I can’t see any reason he can’t line up outside too. With Patrick Peterson no longer a Cardinal, they’ll need to fill that void, and if that could be Samuel Jr long term, then there’ll be no complaints. I like his potential, the game runs in his blood, and as a mid second rounder, the Cardinals can sit back and relax knowing they just picked up two starters, and two impact players at that.
With only two rounds to make an impact, I think this is a very solid outcome for Arizona. Vera-Tucker for safe guarding your Quarterback, and even further improving the line. And then a defensive back filling a need in the secondary. Arizona Cards fans let us know on twitter what you think! How would you spend the two picks? Would you make some trades? Drop down to the back of the first round perhaps? So. Many. Options.