7 Round Arizona Cardinal Draft Prediction
By Jason Cabrera
For anyone that is on the Patreon site and can listen to our bonus shows, you know that The FF Fanatics just did our first ever NFL Mock Draft. You also know that I was not particularly happy with what the guys did at 13 with my team choosing a WR which, if you’ve listened to ANY of our shows you know I am vehemently against. Yes, I got salty much to the delight of CJ, and lost my cool a bit. If you’re a constant fan of ours, you know CJ enjoys the misfortune of others a bit too much, and that’s all I’ll say here about that, if you want to hear the entire dust up, go ahead and subscribe on Patreon.com and either join me in my outrage or CJ in his delight.
I had problems sleeping after that (yes, I take the draft that seriously), and felt the need to put something out to the universe, so I decided what better way than to do my own 7 round Cardinal Draft prediction. I’ve run a lot of simulations and done a lot of research, but I don’t want to step on the show by doing my own full mock draft (I like most of ours other than 13 anyway), so instead just focusing on my team would be best. This is not necessarily 2017 draft relevant, so call it a selfish side project. With that, lets start with Round 1.
Round 1, Pick 13: Haasan Reddick, LB Temple.
OK, so the Cardinals have Deonne Buccanan at Dollar Backer and they just brought in Karlos Dansby to fill the Backer position next to him. I love Dansby, he plays well in Arizona, but he is also 35 years old and not the long-term answer. I would absolutely LOVE for Rueben Foster to fall to 13, but I don’t see it happening, he likely won’t get past the Saints. So that brings me to Reddick.
If you know anything about the Cardinals you know they covet two things above all else: speed and versatility. If you dig deeper into the defensive side of the ball, you find that the ability to tackle is a close third. Reddick checks all three of these boxes. He runs a 4.52 second 40 and is amazingly good sideline to sideline. Speed, check. He has played on all three levels of the defense, starting his college career at defensive back, then switching to defensive end, and finally ending up at linebacker for the Senior Bowl where he absolutely excelled. So, he has the ability to rush the passer, drop back into coverage or stuff the runner. Versatility: check. Watching the tape, one of the things that stands out about Reddick is his tackling ability. He doesn’t rely on big hits, he wraps up the carrier and brings them down like a pit bull. In that way, he may be a better option than Foster who does rely a bit much on his hit power. Tackling: check!
This is a fantastic piece to add to the defense and I think his mentality and athleticism fits in well with the Cardinals, so he’s my pick at 13.
TRADE Round 1, Pick 18: Patrick Mahomes II, QB Texas Tech
Bear with me on this. I believe that the Cardinals want Mahomes. His arm strength, fast release, pocket mobility and awareness make him just too enticing as the arm of the future in the desert. He has the highest upside, and sitting behind Palmer for a year (or two, I think Palmer plays in 2018) under the tutelage of Bruce Arians, Palmer, Tom Moore and Byron Leftwich will give him the absolute best opportunity to maximize his potential.
Now I don’t see Mahomes being available at 45, and I think the Texans may also be targeting him, so the Cards will likely trade their second-round pick and a 2018 pick to move ahead of them, and the most likely partner for such a trade would be the Titans at 18 who already have a pick at pick 5. If they can swing the trade, they would move up and take their heir apparent, and solidify their defensive and offensive centerpieces for the future in a single round. Long shot, I know, but I could see Arians doing this, especially with the vast number of compensatory picks they have this and next year.
If Mahomes goes earlier than expected or they can’t swing the trade, Davis Webb or Deshone Kizer would be the most likely next targets in round 2.
Round 3, Pick 77: Adam Shaheen, TE Ashland
Ah, the third round: Steve Keim’s bread and butter. So, I’ve seen a lot of interesting risers go out of this round and fallers go into this round, and the options are excellent. If Chris Godwin falls to round 3, I definitely see the Cards snatching him up, but I don’t think that will happen. We really need a good Safety, but the talent pool in this round is predominately corner which is another area they could use some help, though I think Justin Bethel and Brandon Williams are going to have a better year.
But I have seen Shaheen’s video and he is a monster. He’s in the prototypical mold that Arians likes in a tight end, and will give the Cards an upgrade over Troy Niklas, who just hasn’t worked out. He will need some time to acclimate to the size and speed of NFL defenders, but I think his upside is tremendous, and I think if he is available at 77 he’s the pick.
Round 4: Pick 117: David Jones, S Richmond
Here’s where it starts to get interesting. Arizona loves those small school prospects, and David Jones stands out to me as one that could be enticing at 177. The loss of so many defensive players hurt, but the ultra-athletic Jones could help lessen the pain. He’s 6’3” tall, about 210 and dude runs a 4.43 second 40. Did I mention the Cards love speed? He’s not afraid to get in there and hit somebody and if he gets the ball in his hands, he knows what to do with it. I also think he is not done growing and could stand to put another 10 or so pounds on, but his ball skills and speed make him a very good upside player in round 4.
Round 5, Pick 157: Brendan Langley, CB Lamar Southland
Here’s a guy out of another small college that could be a real steal at 157. He’s tall, 6’0 and has 4.43 speed. He’s a bit raw, but will add a nice depth dimension to the secondary which is most definitely something the Cardinals need right now.
Round 5, Pick 179: Jeremiah Ledbetter, DE Arkansas
Personally, I love SEC linemen, they are typically big, fast and have faced the best competition college has to offer. Ledbetter is a good example of that, standing 6’3”, weighing 280 lbs. and running a 4.84 second 40. That is lightning at that size! To play at the next level, he is going to need some more bulk, but the raw abilities are there to make him a monster for opposing offensive linemen while adding more depth in the D-line rotation.
Round 6, Pick 197: Ishmael Zamora, WR Baylor
Round 6 you are looking for upside players who will add depth and develop into contributors. Zamora is 6’4” and runs about a 4.49 second 40: so, big and fast. He is very raw, relying heavily on his athleticism rather than technique. Perfect for someone who needs to learn and build skill at the next level. If you get this guy to learn under Fitz for a year, add some bulk and route running polish, he could be a very dangerous weapon!
Round 7, Pick 231: Zane Gonzales, K Arizona State
I am hoping that the Aguyao experiment of last year tempers everyone and Gonzalez slides into the 7th for the Cardinals to pick up. We signed Phil Dawson who is excellent, but also in his 40s. Gonzales is accurate, big for a kicker and has a lot of power. He could be the leg of the future for the Cardinals.
Well, there you have it, my hopes for the Cardinals. One thing you should always keep in mind about the Cards is that they will do what you least expect, so if even 1 of these picks is accurate, I will be pretty proud of myself! That’s all you’ll hear from me until post draft, so enjoy guys, and good luck to all your teams out there and as always: thanks for listening and reading along with us!