Cardinals 2022 Draft: Three-round mock to remain an NFC contender

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Roger McCreary
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Roger McCreary /
4 of 5
Arizona Cardinals
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Darian Kinnard /

Second Round (Pick No. 55)

Darian Kinnard – OL (Kentucky)

The plethora of second-round edge rusher talent was very enticing here, but instead, I opted to take the versatile offensive line prospect out of Kentucky, Darian Kinnard. The Cardinals really suffered from poor interior offensive line play all season long in 2021, no matter who was under center.

While most of this poor play was at the center position with the backup Max Garcia constantly not being on the same page with whoever was at quarterback, the play of the guards was also very suspect this past season.

Second-year player Josh Jones started off the year on an All-Pro pace, but really fell off of a cliff around midseason, and veteran Justin Pugh just hasn’t lived up to the money Arizona paid him a few years ago.

So, I have the Cardinals opting to protect Kyler Murray by selecting Kinnard here. Kinnard is a highly versatile player who could provide upside almost anywhere along the offensive line, however, I think his immediate role will be as a guard, replacing either Pugh or Jones (who will hopefully kick out to right tackle).

Kinnard shows great mobility for an offensive lineman, which will allow him to excel in a zone rushing attack, which the Cardinals deploy. He also has the skills and power necessary to deal with the bullrushes on the inside of the line.

As long as Murray can see over his 6-foot-5 frame, the offense shouldn’t have to worry about Kinnard holding down his assignments.