Arizona Cardinals priorities change in first round
By Scott Allen
The Arizona Cardinals draft number 29 in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft
All off-season until last week getting a pass rusher seemed to be the number one priority for the Arizona Cardinals going in to the 2016 NFL Draft. Then they made a trade with the New England Patriots for defensive end/linebacker Chandler Jones.
Everything changes. Instead of worrying about drafting a pass rusher, the focus now shifts to other positions. Do the Cardinals look at a cornerback? Do they look at offensive line? Do they consider drafting a quarterback?
Of those three, I honestly think the Cardinals could find a quarterback at number 29. I would say don’t reach though. If you are drafting a quarterback in the first round, he’d better be NFL ready. They are few and far between though.
Clearly there is no shot at Carson Wentz from North Dakota State. California’s Jared Goff will be long gone too. What about Paxton Lynch from Memphis though? Could he drop as far as number 29? Maybe. Maybe not. The team with the most doubt with their quarterback situation seems to be the Denver Broncos. They pick after the Cardinals.
The Cardinals worked out Dak Prescott from Mississippi State. However he comes with some baggage. He recently was arrested for DUI. If this was a year ago I would have said take a shot at him earlier rather than later in the draft. Now I’m not so sure. I believe though Prescott could be a guy ready in 2-3 years after Carson Palmer retires.
The Cardinals still have to shore up their cornerback position. Jerraud Powers is still a free agent but the Cardinals have not been in any hurry to re-sign him. I like Mackensie Alexander from Clemson but he is likely to be gone.
What about the offensive line? I think it is safe to say D.J. Humphries was not ready for the NFL when draft in the first round last year. However there is some speculation the Cardinals really knew that all along and drafted him more to be ready for the 2016 season.
The Cardinals could draft center Ryan Kelly from Alabama. I’ve heard his name come up more than once over the past couple of weeks. Right now A.Q. Shipley would be your starter. He’s serviceable but is he a good long-term choice at the position? General Manager Steve Keim will get the right guy at 29, I’m sure of it.