NFL Draft 2015: Who Will The Arizona Cardinals Take In The First Round?
With the NFL draft just around the corner, one big question remains in the minds of many that follow the Arizona Cardinals closely: who will the Cardinals take a chance on with the 24th pick in the first round?
The Cardinals improved in 2014, despite losing numerous players to injuries. Although many of those players will return for the 2015 season, the team still lacks in linebackers and pass rushers. With an unsure Daryl Washington who is still dealing with his suspension issues, it is important that Arizona builds the depth at the linebacker position. The Cardinals also face the challenge of find pass rushers which the draft is stuffed with. There are a few players in the draft who can suffice both of these needs. Arizona needs to claim one of them on Thursday night.
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In this year’s draft there are multiple players who can make a difference for the Cardinals. However, there is one player that stands out to me. This player can get to the quarterback and also drop into coverage. This player ran a 4.6 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. This player fits with the Cardinals. This player is Eli Harold.
The 6-foot-3, 247 pound athletic freak out of Virginia can do it all. Picking Harold would suffice the need for a pass rusher. He has great speed, footwork and vision. Harold is best when he can get an extension and bull rush the blocker backwards. With 24 games under his belt as a Cavalier, he has plenty of stats and film to prove his worth. Last year, Harold posted 75 solo tackles, 17.5 sacks and 2 interceptions.
There have been a few concerns. After watching some of Harold’s game film, it is hard to decipher his determination during some plays. One play he will chase down the ball carrier, and the next play he seems to take the play off. But if you recall, the same was said about Calais Campbell when he was drafted out of Miami. And his draft stock fell because of that very reason.
Another concern is his strength. Harold needs to develop his upper and lower body strength. Surprisingly, Harold has admitted this and said that he can “put on weight and still not miss a beat.” Strength is always something that a player can improve on, but the fact that he knows he needs to put on weight doesn’t make this as big of a concern to me.
Overall I really like Arizona taking Harold with the 24th pick. In fact, if Arizona decides to trade down, they could possibly still select Harold later on and pick up another addition in the process. All eyes will be watching Thursday night. Bruce Arians and Steve Keim will hopefully make the right decision for the 2015 team.
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