The Arizona Cardinals early free agent acquisitions are bound to have an effect on the organization’s draft-day decisions
There’s been some changes to the Arizona Cardinals since this writer’s first try at a mock draft for the club. The team’s front office has already addressed some needs with a few free agent pickups. The Cards were also awarded four compensatory draft selections, tying them with the New England Patriots and Washington Redskins for most in the league.
With those adjustments to the Cardinals now in the books, it’s time for another prognostication. The free agent additions in particular have changed the landscape of the franchise a bit. The following is the second of what could become a series of mock drafts for the Redbirds by yours truly.
While most draft experts have Arizona nabbing Ohio State’s Nick Bosa with the first-overall selection, Alabama’s Quinnen Williams could be very much in play for the organization. The Crimson Tide’s stud defensive lineman has drawn comparisons to the 2018 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Aaron Donald. That’s enough to intrigue the Cards, and general manager Steve Keim throws a draft curveball of sorts by taking the 6’4, 295 pound Williams.
With their second pick of the draft, the Cardinals go with a local product. Arizona State’s N’Keal Harry remains close to home, giving the squad a badly-needed, pass-catching option. The 6’3, 214 pound wide receiver racked up 213 receptions, 2,889 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns in three campaigns with the Sun Devils.
Although Arizona added veteran cornerback Robert Alford a couple of weeks ago, Notre Dame’s Julian Love is drafted in the third round. The 5’11, 193 pounder is simply too good to pass up after amassing 176 tackles, five interceptions and an eye-popping 39 passes defensed in three seasons. Love joins a suddenly impressive group of Cards’ cover guys that includes Alford, Patrick Peterson and David Amerson.
After passing on Bosa, the Cardinals add an edge rusher in the fourth round. Clemson’s Austin Bryant is the selection, giving the team pass-rushing depth behind Chandler Jones, Brooks Reed and possibly Markus Golden. The 6’5, 265 pounder tallied 130 tackles, 21 sacks and 37 tackles for loss over the past four years with the Tigers.
Arizona finally addresses their offensive line problems in the fifth round. Keim gets good value at a relatively late point in the draft with Ohio State’s Isaiah Prince. The offensive tackle was a first-team, All-Big Ten performer for the Buckeyes as a senior in ’18.
With the first of their three sixth-round picks, the Cards reunite quarterback Josh Rosen with one of his former UCLA teammates. Tight end Caleb Wilson is brought to the desert, despite the fact that former Buffalo Bill Charles Clay was inked to a deal this past week. The 6’4, 235 pound Bruin caught 114 passes for 1,675 yards and five scores in 24 career collegiate appearances.
West Virginia wideout David Sills becomes sixth-round selection number two for the Cardinals. The 6’4, 210 pounder hauled in an incredible 33 touchdown receptions during the past two seasons with the Mountaineers.
Arizona adds another defensive lineman with their third sixth-round pick. Central Florida’s Trysten Hill is brought to the nest after accumulating 71 tackles, six sacks and 20 tackles for loss in 33 college contests.
The first of the Cards’ three seventh-round selections turns into Paul Adams, an offensive tackle out of Missouri. Oklahoma guard Ben Powers becomes the club’s third offensive lineman taken in the draft with the second seventh-rounder. The third and final seventh-round pick is North Texas linebacker E.J. Ejiya, who receives the honor (or dishonor) of being the draft’s “Mr. Irrelevant” for 2019.
And there it is. An attempt at predicting what the Cardinals brass will do with their whopping 11 draft selections in April. Stay tuned, perhaps mock draft 3.0 will be just around the corner.