Arizona Cardinals 2021 mock draft analysis
With the 2021 NFL Draft a few months away, the Arizona Cardinals have a lot of areas to address.
The Arizona Cardinals are the 16th pick in this year’s draft after finishing the season 8-8. While the team improved on offense and defense compared to the 2019 season, they are still missing key pieces to put them over the top.
Different news outlets have come up with the latest mock drafts for where they believe college players might end up. Some of them end up being true, while others completely miss the mark.
Here are four different mock drafts for the Arizona Cardinals’ 16th pick:
CBS Sports – Tyson Campbell – Cornerback (Georgia)
The Cardinals should want nothing more than to draft a cornerback with their first pick. Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick are testing free agency, but neither of them were Pro Bowl caliber this season anyway.
If neither of them resign, Byron Murphy will more than likely be the cornerback guarding the opposing team’s top receiver, and he has not reached that potential yet. That would leave Kevin Peterson, who has not been good at any point since joining the Cardinals.
Enter: Tyson Campbell. The 6’2 cornerback has size, length and speed to compete with star receivers. He also likes to tackle, unlike most corners in today’s league.
His only downside is that he has trouble finding the ball – which accounts for him having just one interception in his career at Georgia.
Sporting News – Kyle Pitts – Tight End (Florida)
Another position the Cardinals struggled at was tight ends. In 2020, both Dan Arnold and Maxx Williams combined for 540 yards on 39 receptions throughout the season. While quarterback Kyler Murray enjoyed throwing it to them this season, neither have the separation or breakaway speed to extend plays.
Enter: Kyle Pitts. For 6’6 and 240 pounds, the former Gator moves as quickly off the line as any wide receiver, and has reliable hands as well. His time at Florida saw him finish with 1,492 yards on 100 receptions and 18 touchdowns.
His only downside is his blocking. While his run blocking has progressed, he is not known for being a consistent blocker.
Pro Football Focus – Patrick Surtain II – Cornerback (Alabama)
Surtain is undoubtedly the best cornerback in the 2021 draft class. That could be a problem with the Arizona Cardinals selecting 16th. There might be a possibility that he is available when the Cardinals select, but with teams like Denver, Dallas, Carolina, and even the Chargers drafting ahead of them, Surtain could be gone before Arizona is even on the clock. If by some miracle he is available, the Cardinals will be getting the second-coming of Patrick Peterson in his glory days.
Surtain can match up with the top receivers in the league at this stage, and will only improve as time goes on. He also fits Arizona’s man coverage scheme perfectly. His only downside is that he lacks redirection and can get turned around easily.
ESPN (Todd McShay) – Travis Etienne – Running back (Clemson)
This one makes the least sense with the 16th pick. While Arizona might lose out on Kenyan Drake to free agency, the team still has a good dual threat in Chase Edmonds, and has yet to see how good Eno Benjamin – who was last year’s pick – can be.
Despite how good Etienne is, it would be a waste for the Cardinals to use to their first-round choice on a running back. The running game was the offense’s biggest weapon in 2020, where they finished seventh in the league in rushing yards per game (140), and combined for 2,237 yards.
Regardless, whoever the Cardinals select with the 16th pick will be worth it, because they will drastically improve whichever area they are struggling in.