Mission Accomplished: Arizona Cardinals revamp offense via draft

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: Josh Rosen of UCLA poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: Josh Rosen of UCLA poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked /

After a lackluster free agency period, the Arizona Cardinals entered the 2018 NFL draft with needs at a number of crucial positions

With defensive-minded head coach Steve Wilks now at the helm, most pundits predicted the Arizona Cardinals draft would be defensive heavy. But by day three of the draft General Manager Steve Keim had made his statement: the Cardinals were going to rebuild and reload on the offensive side of the football.

Arizona made their first selection an aggressive one. Through a trade with the Oakland Raiders, the Cardinals moved up to the tenth overall selection and drafted polarizing quarterback prospect Josh Rosen.

Rosen comes to the Cardinals with three years of high level PAC 12 experience under his belt, and joins newly acquired quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon in an intriguing quarterback room.

With Rosen the Cardinals are getting the most polished passer in the draft. Rosen is a highly intelligent, rhythm passer, who excels in his short and intermediate passing, but possesses the prerequisite arm strength to push the ball downfield.  Interestingly enough, Bradford is a fairly accurate professional comparable for Rosen.

Both rely on above average line play to succeed. And while both can win games for their respective teams, neither possess the ability to consistently escape the pocket and improvise when a play breaks down. Perhaps the biggest concern with both signal callers is their durability.

On Days two and three, the Cardinals had a clear motive of surrounding their future franchise quarterback with a talented and diverse supporting cast.

With the 47th overall pick, the Cardinals selected Scottsdale native Christian Kirk. Kirk, an explosive receiver out of Texas A&M, comes into the league with a skill set to immediately make plays out of the slot.

What makes Kirk an exciting prospect is his potential upside as a receiver that can play both in the slot and line up outside. At 5’11”, Kirk has the necessary size to develop into a bonafide number one receiver, and who better to mentor him than Cardinals great Larry Fitzgerald?

Kirk should step in from day one and fit seamlessly into Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy’s offense. McCoy has a history of working with dynamic slot receivers, from Steve Smith to Keenan Allen.

If Kirk can develop into an X receiver, he has All-Pro potential. If not, he still possesses Jarvis Landry type upside in the slot.

In the third round the Cardinals decided to find protection for their seemingly fragile quarterback room, drafting Center Mason Cole out of the University of Michigan. Cole, showcased his versatility throughout his collegiate career as he started 51 games, first at left tackle before transitioning to center.

Cole projects as a center at the professional level and his experience coming out of Jim Harbaugh’s pro-style offense should serve him well.

While Cole is slightly undersized, his strength should improve as he transitions into a professional weight training program. Look for Cole to takeover a starting role within the next few seasons and quite possibly as early as this Fall.

In the fourth round, general Manager Steve Keim dipped into the skill position pool one more time, drafting running back Chase Edmunds out of Fordham University.

Edmunds brings much needed depth to Arizona’s backfield, and projects as a nice compliment to backfield-mate David Johnson. Edmunds is slightly undersized, but has electrifying agility. Edmunds excels at making people miss, and should immediately step in as a nice pass catching option for either Rosen or Bradford.

In the sixth round, Head Coach Steve Wilks could not fight the temptation of drafting a defensive player, selecting defensive back Christian Campbell out of Georgia Tech.

With their final pick, Keim and Arizona’s scouting department returned their sights to the offense, drafting Cincinnati Bearcat offensive lineman Korey Cunningham. Cunningham faces an uphill battle to make the roster, but does have intriguing upside.

Days removed from the draft, the Cardinals have to be content with the way their draft unfolded. Arizona entered the draft process with a clear objective: to revamp the offense. Without a doubt, they did just that.

In Mason Cole, the Cardinals add immediate depth and competition to their offensive line. In Chase Edmunds, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy nabs a satellite back capable of filling the Danny Woodhead role from day one.

In Christian Kirk, Arizona’s stable of quarterbacks receive a dependable weapon out of the slot, with intriguing upside. And with Rosen, the Cardinals are desperately hoping they found their franchise quarterback.

This draft was about one thing and one thing only, giving a complete makeover to an offense in dire need of one. Mission accomplished.